Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yes, it's that time of year again. And, the Waterloo Public Library will once again provide paper versions of popular state and federal tax forms. You're welcome to visit our second floor and browse through the tax-form rack and to take what you need.

However, If you can't find the form you need, log on to one of our 30 public access computers, visit either the IRS or the Iowa Department of Revenue , find the form you need and print it for 5 cents a page!

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free H1N1 Vaccinations!

It’s Flu Season, Get Your H1N1 Vaccine

FREE Clinic for all Black Hawk County Residents

ü Tama Hall at Hawkeye Community College

ü 1501 E. Orange Rd., Waterloo, 50704

ü Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ü 1:00pm to 7:00pm

ü Register online for an appointment www.bhchealthclinics.com

ü Walk ins first-come-first-served and subject to vaccine availability

ü Save time! Visit the Black Hawk County Health Department website for consent forms, vaccine information sheets and general flu information in English, Bosnian and Spanish. http://co.black-hawk.ia.us

ü Translators onsite to help you

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, November 20, 2009

Printer Upgrade Monday!

Good news! Library computer users will see a dramatic increase in printing speed sometime early next week when our new HP p4015x computer, purchased by the Friends of the Waterloo Public Library, comes on line.

The new printer is rated at 50+ monochrome pages per minute, much faster than the Kyocera, which will be retained for color prints. Patrons may choose to print in duplex, but the default is simplex (i.e., "single-sided). For now the price will stay at $00.05 per page.

Patrons will enjoy the speed and high quality; staff members will appreciate the 1,000 sheet paper capacity as well as the high-yield toner cartridges that should be good for more than 20,000 pages! Waits in line while harried librarians scurry around with toner cartridges will be much less common.

The bad news is that we'll have to reconfigure every public access computer to "see" the new printer. We'll then have to do some testing to make sure we've done our job correctly. This means that the public access computers will not be available Monday morning. We know that computer access means a lot to our patrons and we'll work as fast as we can to get them up and running again.

If you appreciate this great new service, consider expressing your thanks to the Friends of the Waterloo Public Library!

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ID Required November 15, 2009!

Beginning November 15, 2009, library patrons wishing to use Public Access Computers will be required to have library cards!

Starting November 15, 2009, the Waterloo Public Library will require all users of Public Access Computers (PACs) to have valid library cards or be able to prove, with photo identification, that they are not residents of Iowa. Residents of Iowa who are not from the Waterloo Public Library service area may be given Open Access cards. Patrons with sufficient proof that they are NOT Iowa residents may be given visitor passes.

Authentication Rules:
  • No visitor passes for Iowa residents!
  • Non-residents must show photo ID!
  • Library cards may be obtained at any service desk.
  • Lost cards may be replaced for $2.
  • Fines will not prevent PAC access.
  • Patrons with photo ID may have library card number looked up 1 time.
  • Patrons without library cards or sufficient ID may obtain access to the Express Computer for one 20 minute session each day.
To avoid delays or loss of PAC access, get your library card today!

Patrons with questions or concerns should contact any staff member or Technical Systems Administrator, Mike Dargan: dargan@wplwloo.lib.ia.us or 319 455 6722.

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mac OS 10 X: Snow Leopard!

Macintosh's OS 10, after seven years of service, no longer "new," has a new version: Mac OS X Snow Leopard. We'll be adding a few Mac OS titles over the next fiscal year. If there's one in particular that you want, let us know and we'll try to get it for you.

For that matter, book requests for any operating system, are always welcome! You may submit requests directly to the Adult Print Non-Fiction selector by using this form: print non-fiction.

For a list of non-fiction that's currently on-order (or maybe already delivered), follow this link: WPL FY10 Non-Fiction Orders

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, October 09, 2009

Youth Services Librarian

Shared Youth Services Librarian

The Cedar Falls and Waterloo Public Libraries are seeking a full-time Shared Youth Services Librarian. Position is salaried, and supervises the Youth Departments at both the Cedar Falls and Waterloo Public Libraries. Some evening and weekend work required. Salary range $47,301-70,252.

Qualifications include: understanding of child/adolescent development, strong knowledge of children’s literature and print/electronic reference sources appropriate for children, familiarity with children’s electronic media and general technology, strong written and oral communication skills, ability to plan and develop children’s programming relevant to two diverse communities; the ability to lead two departments with humor, integrity, fairness, and support a team-oriented constantly changing environment; possess a philosophy of youth services, and a management philosophy/model; possess grant writing skills, the courage to try new approaches, energy and creativity. Have knowledge of assessment and determining effective outreach venues. Spanish language preferred, but not required. ALA accredited Masters or comparable post-graduate degree required. Four years of increasingly responsible experience in a library setting, including two years of lead or supervisory experience. Position also requires the physical condition necessary for standing, sitting, or walking for prolonged periods of time; adequate speech, hearing, and eyesight required; may be required to lift moderately heavy objects. Post-offer, pre-employment physical and drug screen required.

For consideration, submit application (from Cedar Falls City Hall or www.cedarfalls.com/jobs ), resume, and cover letter with salary requirements to the City of Cedar Falls, Admin. Services-Youth Librarian, 220 Clay Street, Cedar Falls, IA 50613. Deadline for application materials: October 23 at 4:30 p.m. EOE

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Kenneth M Davenport Obituary

Obituary: Kenneth (Ken) Marvin Davenport

WATERLOO -- Kenneth (Ken) Marvin Davenport, 66, of Waterloo, died at the University of Iowa Hospitals on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 after a long illness. His body was cremated by the Cremation Society of Eastern, Central and Western Iowa.

Kenneth Marvin Davenport was born February 18, 1943 in Harbor Beach, MI to Angus Marvin and Clarice Elaine (Dollman) Davenport. Ken graduated from high school in Tawas, Michigan. He attended Michigan State University where he earned a B. A. in Geography as well as a Master’s degree in Geography. He attended the University of Minnesota where he did postgraduate work in Library Science. He then attended Kent State University where he earned a Master of Library Science degree.

Ken married Diane Carter in 1966; they were later divorced. He later met Patricia Durfee; they married in 1996, but were together for many years before that.

Ken worked as a library consultant for the North East Iowa Service Area from 1991 until his recent passing; he worked with approximately 85 libraries, many of them smaller libraries located in small towns of Northeast Iowa. Ken became an expert on library governance as well as E-Rate, a federal program that helps schools and libraries get internet access. He was a tireless advocate for libraries in Iowa, and was a regular participant at local Legislative Forums, where his beard, suspenders, and dry sense of humor were all appreciated. He was a great story teller, and even when he became very ill, posted notes on his Facebook page about his most recent exciting ride by helicopter to Iowa City.

He was a long time member of the Iowa Library Association; he served on the Executive Board in the 1990s and was the long time Chair of the Credentials Committee for the annual conference. Ken was also a member of the Cedar Falls Supper Club.

His interests included reading, geography, Renaissance festivals, Celtic culture, fine food, and spending time on his computer, corresponding with friends, blogging, and getting into Web 2.0. Ken was on Facebook and Twitter, and used them not only to socialize but further his causes/passions.

Survived by: his mother, Clarice Davenport of Lansing, MI; brothers: Grant of Salsa, Alaska, Bruce (Rose Mary) of Lansing, MI; and sister, Patricia (Jack) Kirk of Preston, Maryland. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Ann (Frank) Carraro of Ottawa, Illinois; 16 nieces and nephews; and by many dear friends from the Iowa Library system.

Preceded in death by: his wife, Patricia (Pat) Ann (Durfee) Davenport on January 20, 2008 and his father, Marvin Davenport on May 24, 1983.

Ken’s body was cremated, but his spirit lives on. A celebration of his life is planned for Friday, October 16 at the Waverly Public Library. Friends wanting to contribute to a memorial fund are asked to do so in Ken’s name at small public libraries in their area.

Sympathy cards to Ken Davenport's family may be sent to his office, and will be shared with his family.

Ken Davenport

Northeast Iowa Library Service Area

415 Commercial Street

Waterloo, IA 50701

Condolences may be left at the Cremation Society Website,

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

TutorVista Renewed!

Need help with your homework? Having trouble with chemistry? alegebra? physics? Want someone to talk you through your essay for Introduction to College Writing? If so, you're in luck: TutorVista has been renewed for another year!

Between the hours of 3 and 11:00 p.m., CDT, logon to TutorVista and get expert help from trained professionals! If you don't have home computer access, come to the Waterloo Public Library to use this great service. Or, if you have a home connection, use your WPL library card to take advantage of TutorVista.

Thanks to the Friends of the Waterloo Public Library for subsidizing TutorVista!
c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chat Any Place, Any Time, Any Computer

A few weeks ago, a librarian asked me if we could install Yahoo Messenger on our Public Access Computers. As it turns out, he had had a few queries from patrons who wanted to use instant messaging clients to chat with their buddies.

I'm not unsympathetic to IM users--I've done over a thousand chat sessions myself since 2007. However, I maintain four computers (one at each library, one in my home office, and the laptop in my living room that I am using to compose this blog), and trying to synchronize settings and buddies on all those boxes, plus my new iPhone, is problematic. (Don't forget my motto: If you don't think too good, don't think too much!) Installing proprietary IM clients on our Public Access Computers is not imminent.

So, when I feel the need to use Instant Messaging, I go to www.meebo.com. Once I'm on Meebo, I log in with whatever identity I need, and there's my list of chat buddies. When I'm through with the session, I log out, and nothing is left behind. When I land on another computer, I log in with Meebo, and my settings automagically reappear.

So, the next time you're on a foreign computer, and want to use Instant Messaging, surf to Meebo, log in and start chatting.

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MP3 Players @WPL

Patrons are regularly plugging their MP3 players into Waterloo Public Library public access computers and attempting to download tunes or books for later enjoyment. It appears that many of our users are getting along just fine, but others run into troubles. A problem I encountered today, and its resolution, might be of interest to those who can't quite figure out how to get the latest Andy Williams or Petula Clark hit onto their player.

The patrons had repeatedly downloaded their files from Rhapsody, had their MP3 device plugged into a USB port, but couldn't figure out how to get the blasted songs onto the player! They requested assistance from the librarian who figured it might be a good way to stump me, or at least get me out of my chair for a few minutes.

As I surveyed the situation, I could see that they and the librarian had been doing several things right. They were on a Teen computer (Teen computers run with local administrator rights and have no security other than a utility that restores the original state of the hard drive on restart), had the device plugged in, and were clearly downloading files. But where were the files landing and how could they get them onto the MP3 player so that grandma, mom, and their teen princess could get on their way?

As usual, I was pretty much clueless about what to do. So, I used my normal strategy: see what works, what doesn't work, and poke around. I had them do another download from the Rhapsody site. So far as I could tell, Rhapsody didn't give them an option to "save as" which would determine the file location. Apparently, Rhapsody uses a default--but "what" default?!?

When their download was complete, I had them browse to My Computer, and saw that their MP3 player appeared as a device with an assigned drive letter, e:. I had them browse around (the mom was extremely patient, meanwhile, the teen princess wandered off to ignore some boys) the folders on the MP3 player, found some odd files and folders, but nothing downloaded from Rhapsody.

Next step: Browse around in My Documents, Microsoft's default (does that word ring a bell?) folder for files. We browsed to My Documents > My Music, saw a folder labeled "Rhapsody," browsed (when I say "browsed," think "click it!") it, and voila! We had found the location of the downloaded music.

But how do we get the music onto the MP3 player? We decided to act as if there were not DRM (Digital Rights Management) issues to vex us, copied the entire Rhapsody folder from My Documents > My Music to the E: drive (the MP3 player), and were stumped. How would we get the files to play. Mom waved over the teen princess, she took the wheel, and within about 30 seconds she was rockin' and rollin' (or whatever they call that darned noise that passes for music nowadays) and carefully ignoring her grandma, mom, and me (some things never change).

The moral of this story? If you're having trouble getting your music transferred to your MP3 player, try to persuade a librarian to put you on one of our Teen computers. When you download your music, watch to see if you are prompted to save to a particular location; if so, choose your MP3 player. If not, poke around in My Documents and My Documents > My Music for likely files. If you find them, copy them to the root of your device and then fork it over to someone under age 14 to get it running!

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Why won't my *.odt or *.ods file open?

At about 2:oo this afternoon, a distraught young lady asked a librarian why her resume wouldn't open on a library Public Access Computer. When Tim noticed that the resume's file extension was .odt rather than the expected .doc of a Microsoft Word document, he brought the problem to my desk.

I immediately agreed with him that this resume had been created with a non-Microsoft word processor that uses XML to generate "Open Document Format" files. In this case, Open Office Writer which saves, by default, using the .0dt extension. My experience has been that Microsoft applications do not open their .odf counter parts.

However, this problem can be dealt with in at least two ways: Avoid the problem by always saving files created within the Open Office suite as .rtf (Rich Text Format) or by saving using the format denoted by the Microsoft counter part. For example, save files created by the OO Writer as .doc, by OO Calc as .xls (Microsoft Excel), and so on.

The other way to solve the problem is a bit more cumbersome and not always available: Install the current Open Office suite, open the problem file, and save it to the appropriate format. The library likes to help people in trouble, so we installed Open Office on a staff computer, opened the troubled job-seeker's resume, printed it, and off she went to her interview.

We're happy to have helped this woman in the pursuit of her job, but we'd much rather see her avoid the problem in the first place. If you're going to use Open Office, and it's a fine product, and you think you might want to open the files elsewhere, save a copy in the corresponding Microsoft format, or play it safe and save in Rich Text Format!

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, June 29, 2009

Brickwork in Front of the Library

Access to the Waterloo Public Library parking lot has been difficult over the past few days as workers install decorative brickwork crosswalks at the intersection of 3rd and Commercial Streets. The work has closed Commercial, but the good news is that Jefferson Street is finally open. Building the Riverfront Loop has been a long and difficult process. However, it's now coming together nicely and will be a great place for festivals.

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, May 31, 2009

MWD Sunday Carnival

My Waterloo Days continues Sunday with a carnival on the plaza; 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.  The plaza is a great festival venue and MWD 2009 might be the best ever!

(Doubleclick the slideshow to see full-screen.)

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, May 29, 2009

MWD Fireworks!

The first My Waterloo Days festival on the plaza is a great success.  Lots of food, music, people, and best of all fireworks!

Join us at the library courtyard, 9-3:00 p.m., for hot dogs and pop for a buck!

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Party on the Plaza!

My Waterloo Days got off to a good start today with great weather and and a new venue, the River Loop Expo Plaza. I'm looking forward to the fireworks Friday night at 10:00 and hope to make it to the parade Saturday morning at 9:30.

Visit the festival's web site for a full schedule and description of events.

The library will be open Saturday; stop in if you need a break from the festivities.

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Join Us on Facebook!

The Waterloo Public Library now has a Facebook "fans" page.  If you're on Facebook, and are interested in what's happening at the WPL, become a fan.  If you're not on Facebook, it's easy to join.  

Once you're a WPL Facebook fan, you'll receive regular notices of what's happening in the Waterloo library world!  

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Einstein Speaks

Albert Einstein lived once more at the Waterloo Public Library this evening.  Actor, writer, director, Duffy Hudson, who brought us Edgar Allan Poe last October, fascinated a crowd of 37 with his portrayal of the German genius who gave us E=MxC2.

During his 45 minute monologue, Einstein explained not only the concepts of space, time, and relativity, but also how he "imagined" complex mathematical concepts.  After the show, Duffy doffed his wig and answered questions from the audience:  for another 45 minutes!

It's obvious that Hudson enjoys acting as much as the audience enjoys watching and interacting with him afterwards.  He'll probably come up with a new act next spring, and we'll probably have him back!

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, April 17, 2009

Duffy Hudson as Albert Einstein!

Duffy Hudson, actor, director, and motivational speaker, brings his "Duffy Hudson as Albert Einstein," one-man-show to the Waterloo Public Library, Wednesday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m.  Those of you who caught his "Edgar Allen Poe" show last spring know that we're in for a special treat!  

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Work on Downtown Exposition Site Advances

Work continues on the Exposition port of the River Renaissance Project. Note the tarps protecting the newly poured concrete from cold weather.

c 2009 Waterloo Public Library

Saturday, March 14, 2009

External Floppy Drive Available

The Waterloo Public Library hasn't supported floppy drives for a couple of years now. Maintenance of the drives on our public access computers has become uneconomical and most people have moved on to other types of portable media. However, for those who still have floppy diskettes, if your computer's drive doesn't work, ask a librarian for help. We now keep an external floppy drive at the Reference Island and the librarian may be able to help you.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Information about the recently passed Economic Stimulus Bill may be found on line at www.recovery.gov. Stay tuned for details.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, February 01, 2009

External SD Card Reader

Did you get a digital camera or digital video device for Christmas? If so, it's possible that it stores data on SD (Secure Digital) cards.

Until recently, WPL patrons with such devices had to download the data directly from their devices using a USB cable as our computers lacked SD card capability.

We now have an external "All-in-one Ultra" SD card reader at the desk. If you need to move data from an SD card to the computer, and wish to use a card reader, ask a librarian for assistance.

If you have questions or suggestions about the configuration or equipment of the Public Access Computers, please post them to this blog as comments, or send an email to me at dargan@wplwloo.lib.ia.us.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free Income Tax Help!

The UNI Vita Club offers free income tax help Mondays and Wednesdays, February 9-April 15, with the exclusion of spring break, March 16-20.

VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, was established by the IRS to provide future tax professionals with experience while offering free tax preparation help to low-income people.

For more information, call the UNI Department of Accounting at 319 273 2394 or check out their website.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, January 23, 2009

On Line Tutoring

The Waterloo Public Library Learning Center has yet another service for patrons: Online tutoring from TutorVista.com!
Library patrons with questions about Math, Science, and English, may receive one-to-one attention from experts in the particular field.
Assistance, directed primarily at grade levels 2-12, if available 360 days a year from 3:00-11:00 p.m.
Users will be asked to log on using their library card number. TutorVista will want to know the users grade-level and the topic for which advice is needed.
When you or your friends and family are need of schoolwork help, log on to the the Waterloo Public Library's TutorVista service and talk to an expert!

Thanks to the Friends of the Waterloo Public Library for subsidizing our TutorVista subscription!

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Teen Advisory Meeting

Calling all teens: Have a voice at your library. Attend the Teen Advisory Group Meeting, 5:00 p.m., Thursday, January 15, 2009 in the Teen area on the second floor.

Join Kristi the Teen Librarian for fun, pizza, and discussion of the future of teen services at the Waterloo Public Library. If you have questions, please call Kristi at 291 4496.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, January 11, 2009

IRS Tax Forms Online!

The tax season is upon us and once again demand for forms and instruction booklets is high.

The Waterloo Public Library tries hard to keep commonly used tax materials on hand, but we're not a comprehensive repository. For unusual forms or instructions, please visit the Internal Revenue website: www.irs.gov.

The library has does not provide advice to tax filers, but does provide access to IRS services. Our 30+ public access computers may be used to file taxes on line. We can't guarantee complete data security, but we're confident that when you finish a session and restart your computer, your personally identifiable information is cleared from the computer.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Sunday, January 04, 2009

WiFi at the WPL

Free high speed WiFi access is one of the Waterloo Public Library's many services to patron. The second floor has two Linksys 802.11a/b/g access points serving some 250-300 sessions each month.

Usually, if you start up your computer, wait a few seconds, then start your browser, you'll automatically attach to an access point. If you're unsuccessful the first time, wait a minute or two (yes, 60-120 seconds!) and try again. If you're still not connecting, use your computer's network utility to search for available networks.

The two access points will show up as "linksys" and "TrainingCenter" when you scan (your computer should have done this automatically) for available network services. If your computer finds reference01 and reference02, select the one with the strongest signal.

Once you're connected, wait a few seconds, then launch your browser (e.g., Internet Explorer or FireFox). If you've successfully attached to an access point, you should be prompted to login. Agree to our acceptable use policy, then either login with a user name and password, or click the "skip" button and off you go.
Once you're connected and browsing, you have 8 hours of 4mbs/256 access to the Internet. You may also download up to 2gb/day. Most of the commonly available ports are accessible, but if you have difficulty using a resource, give a detailed report to a librarian who will forward the problem to our technical staff.

While the AP signal is strongest on the second floor in the vincinity of either the stairwell or the Tranining Center, some computers are sensitive enough to connect and work well on the first floor; especially in the area west of the large type collection. At some point we'll be improving service on the first floor and will also upgrade to 802.11n service.

Meanwhile, enjoy the WiFi access, report any problems to staff members, understand that staff members have been asked to NOT configure patron WiFi devices, and try to be careful with your drop cords! If someone were to trip over a dangling cord they could be injured or your expensive computer might be damaged.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Color printing returns!

Thanks to the team at ASI the our Kyocera Color printing is back online.

If you ever get a printout that's streaked, blurred, or is otherwise a poor result, please report the problem to a staff member. We expect only the best quality from our printers.

c 2008 Waterloo Public Library

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