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Learning Word 2013 on Lynda.com


As part of the staff here at the Fountaindale Public Library who teach a variety of computer classes to our customers, I’ve taught classes to people in our community for more than a dozen years. There continues to be a demand for this type of service at our library.

The classes that we teach here include instruction on most of the Microsoft Office Suite of software programs.  They meet for one, two-hour session, and the customers who take the classes come away from them with enough knowledge to start using that particular program, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.

In addition to our onsite classes, our library also makes available to Fountaindale Public Library cardholders three excellent online resources to further enhance customers’ knowledge of Microsoft Office programs. They are Gale Courses, Lynda.com, and Universal Class. Here is the link to the page on the library’s website for these resources: http://www.fountaindale.org/resources

Whenever I teach one of our onsite classes, I let those people attending know about these resources and provide them with a list, as a handout sheet, so they can try them out. The list is similar to the one shown below.


Earlier this month, I completed the Word 2013 Essential Training course on Lynda.com that I started back in August. I wanted to see what the overall content of the course was and what type of learning experience it provided.

The class consists of 5 hours and 9 minutes of video instruction. The instructor was David Rivers and it turned out to be a great way to learn the basics of creating, editing, and formatting documents in Word 2013.

The course covers more than we can offer in our two hours of onsite instruction. The Lynda.com course includes the flowing topics:

  • Creating new documents
  • Saving documents and document versions
  • Editing PDFs in Word
  • Cutting, copying, and pasting text
  • Finding and replacing text
  • Undoing mistakes
  • Adjusting paragraph and page formatting
  • Applying theme and styles to documents
  • Illustrating with pictures, shapes, and clip art
  • Creating and saving macros and Quick Parts
  • Checking spelling and grammar
  • Tracking changes and inserting comments

Unlike classroom instruction, one of the real benefits of the Lynda.com video courses is that you can go back and replay / review any sections that you might want to spend more time with. At the beginning of this post is a look at what the onscreen presentation looks like.

Even after teaching the Word 2013 class here at the library many times, I still  found a few things that I can bring to my in-house class that would be very useful to the students. So, taking the course was time well spent.

Lynda.com offers customers a very flexible learning platform to help you acquire a variety of Microsoft Office Skills such as Word 2013. It allows you to tailor your study time to fit your schedule. The content is well presented by knowledgeable and personable instructors. Plus, once you have completed the course, you are eligible for a Certificate of Completion,  which you can print. The one I received is similar to the one shown below. Yours will show your full name.


Taking courses through Lynda.com is easy to do through our library’s website. You will need to have a Fountaindale Public Library card that is up-to-date and in good standing to access it remotely.

Overall, I think you’ll find it to be a winning package!

-Tom D




Last year, the Village of Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission published a book about Bolingbrook to mark the celebration of the village’s first 50 years. The volume was published by Arcadia Publishing as part of the publisher’s Images of America series.

“The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.”

I’ve known about this series of books for some time and have read several of them over the years, because of my interest in local towns and local history.

A few months back, the Fountaindale Public Library added two resources to its digital services collection: hoopla and freegal music. Here’s the link to these services on our website: http://www.fountaindale.org/ebooks . Between them, the two services provide access to digital music, movies, eBooks, eAudiobooks, and more.


As I was getting acquainted with these resources, I discovered that on hoopla, many of the Images of America series titles, like the one on Bolingbrook, were available through the eBook component. As a person who enjoys reading about this type of history, I was thrilled.

Some of the same titles, in printed paperback format, are available from the libraries in the Pinnacle group, of which Fountaindale is a part. However,  I feel that there is a distinct advantage to having the hoopla app on a tablet and being able to download the title of my choosing to that device and reading it that way. I can adjust the font style and size, adjust the background color of the page, as well as the margins.

I’ve already started a list of some of the titles that I plan to read over the next couple of months. Some are about places in Illinois, one is about a well-established ski resort in scenic Vermont where I lived and worked for more than a dozen years, and the last one is about a popular Jersey shore town where I spent time during hot East Coast summers.

  • The Lincoln Highway Across Illinois
  • Riverview Amusement Park
  • Route 66 In Illinois
  • Lockport
  • Stowe
  • Point Pleasant

So, go ahead and enjoy the popular and widely used features of both these resources when you have a chance. But please don’t forget the wealth of very readable local type historical material that is there for you to enjoy through hoopla. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

-Tom D.

Fantastic Beasts: We Know Where to Find Them!


We are now less than one month away from the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a new movie set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World!

As you may or may not know by now, the movie is set in New York City and stars Academy  Award winner Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander. When Newt gets kicked out of Hogwarts and comes to America, he brings with him a case full of magical beasts that get set loose on the streets of New York. And one week before the movie release, we will have some of our own beasts at Fountaindale! Join us on Saturday, November 12th from 10 AM to 4 PM! But it won’t just be beasts! Oh no! We’ll also have wand crafting, a scavenger hunt, and a Wizard Emporium where you will find all your magical necessities! The whole library will be in on the fun, converting to 1920s New York City for the day. You may even run into a few of your old favorite Harry Potter characters! We are pleased to announce that the schedule is now available! Without further ado:

Schedule of Events

All Day

  • Fantastic Beasts 1920s Street Photo Area

10:00 a.m.– Noon

  • Fantastic Beasts Animal Experience—Meet Cool and Amazing Creatures of All Shapes and Sizes
    • This event includes real-life fantastic beasts, including snakes, a giant tortoise, a barn owl, a two-toed sloth, and more!

10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

  • Make Your Own Wand Craft
  • MACUSA Wand Registration
  • Creature Maze
    • Can you find your way through this forest full of fantastic beasts? This maze will get you all turned-around. Watch out for magical creatures!
  • Wizard Emporium
  • Find the Fantastic Beasts Creature Scavenger Hunt Challenge

11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

  • Experimental Creatures Lab—Bristle Bots

1:00–2:00 p.m.

  • Center Stage Players present Your Favorite Scenes from Harry Potter

2:00–4:00 p.m.

  • Studio 300’s Have You Seen This Wizard Poster Shoot
  • Make Your Own Wand Craft
  • MACUSA Wand Registration
  • Creature Maze
  • Wizard Emporium
  • Find the Fantastic Beasts Creature Scavenger Hunt Challenge

…and Brooks Café has a special wizard menu of Butterbeer, Potions, and Chocolate Frogs!

This is an all-ages, no-registration event – so stop by to discover the magic!



Got Chromebook?

Yes we do.

Since late May of this year, it is possible to checkout one of our Acer Chromebooks at the 3rd Floor Desk at our library.

They are lightweight, have a 15-inch Full HD, wide viewing angle display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, and USB 3.0 for easy transfer of text and data files, photos and even movies at ten times the speed of USB 2.0.

Adult library card holders (18 years old or older) may come to the 3rd Floor Desk to borrow one of the Chromebooks for use on the 3rd Floor of the library for up to 4 hours.  Please make sure your library card is up-to-date, is in good standing,  and has your picture on your account before you stop at the desk.

If you haven’t used a Chromebook before, we have a handy Chromebook FAQ page on our website for you to get up to speed on working with one.  Use this link to access the guide: http://fountaindale.org/chromebooks .

We also have a single-page sheet, “Getting Started with a Chromebook,” that you can use while you are using a Chromebook.

Here are some Key Points to follow when working with one of our Chromebooks:

  • Save your work, because everything is cleared when you close the lid or log out.  You can save to the cloud or to a USB drive.
  • You can go online without having a Google email account, but you will need to create an account and log in and use other apps. Please use this link if you need to set up a Gmail account: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=mail or you can visit the 2nd Floor Computer Commons for assistance in setting up a Google email account.
  • You must use Google apps (for example, Docs and not Word), but you can open a Word file (for example) and edit it in Docs.

Once you’ve checked out a Chromebook, what other things can you do, while you are in the library, aside from checking your e-mail and surfing the web?

Here are a few more, based on what our customers and those in other libraries, are doing:

  • Access our library’s databases, download articles, and send them to yourself as email attachments. Or, you can print them using our library’s wireless printing.
  • Access and read magazines using Zinio, the library’s digital magazine collection.
  • Access the library’s digital collection of ebooks and eaudiobooks through OverDrive and use the Listen or Read in Browser feature. You can learn more at these two links: http://help.overdrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1775654 and http://help.overdrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1775655
  • View your digital photos using the built in SD Memory Card Slot.

So, if a Chromebook sounds like it would be a good fit for you, stop by the 3rd Floor Desk and try one out!

-Tom D.

PROBLEM: Wondering what to do with all those treasured photographs that you inherited from a family member?

SOLUTION: Scan to DVD Class at Studio 300.


In the decades before the age of smart phones and digital cameras, most people took photographs with cameras that used photographic film. The images were then usually sent to a lab where the film was processed and the images were printed on photographic paper. This is how most families documented their lives, in particular, special occasions like weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.

As people live longer, the oldest members of many families, often grandparents and older aunts and uncles, leave these treasured images to the younger generations.

In many cases, the pictures, sometimes mounted in albums or ornate folders (like the one above), get put away in closets, attics, and basements because the family members who receive the pictures really don’t know what to do with them.

This year, I joined the ranks of those who received family photographs. In my case, the photographs came to me from an elderly aunt after her death. There were dozens and dozens … most of them in black & white…some color…and a few gems in black and white that were carefully color-tinted by hand.  The sizes ranged from wallet sized snapshots to formally posed large wedding portraits.

Studio 300, at our Fountaindale Library, has a very workable solution that will make it possible for you to preserve the priceless images that have been passed on to you.

The Studio offers a class called “Scan to DVD.” It will show you how to digitize and save your photographs.

I attended a session of the Scan to DVD class that was held on September 21. I learned a lot. Since the class was only an hour in length, it was a demonstration class, rather than a hands on session. The knowledgeable staff member showed the class the basics needed to come to the Studio and start working on their scanning project.

The instructor showed those attending how to use a specialized Epson photo scanner that can be used to digitize your family photographs, slides, and even negative film. She also showed us another type of flatbed scanner that is available in the Studio that is good for larger size photographs that may be in folders or albums.

The class also covered the basics of using the Epson scanner software and programs like Apple’s Photos.  A nice feature of Photos is the ease with which you can create a slide show of your scanned images. Very impressive results and not too hard to do.

The software that I mentioned above will help you make some adjustments to your scanned images. Should you need more, the Studio can also help you with other classes it offers like “Photoshop 101” that is coming up in mid-October and “Photoshop: Photo Restoration,” that will be offered in October as well.

The first of the two photographs that I included, shown above, shows the original picture of my aunt and uncle and their wedding party. It was taken at a photo studio, in the 1940s. You can see part of the folder in which the picture was placed. The second photo, shown below, was cropped and enhanced a little. Some issues with spotting were also corrected. These things were done in Photoshop and the resulting image shows some of the things that can be done with this software.


If you are also working on family history and genealogy, having the ability to connect a name with an image of a relative is a powerful reason to want to start working on preserving photographs of family members.

Studio 300 and its staff are a fabulous resource for this type of project. I now have a solution to how I can save the photographs I inherited. I can now also make them available to other members of my family in a usable format.

-Tom D.

Nothing good on TV? Try these YouTube Live Streams!

In 1992, Bruce Springstein wrote 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On), lamenting an abundance of television material, but nothing which was truly satisfying.  Why not unplug from your regular cable channels and jump on a live stream program via YouTube?

What’s a live stream?  It’s live video and audio coverage of an event or activity over the Internet.  Because live streams are built into the YouTube app, it has the features regular videos have such as the ability to search for a stream, find them in recommendations, and add them to a playlist.

Yes, it sound great, but what kind of options are available on a live stream?  You’d actually be very surprised by the sheer amount of options for all ages and areas of interests.  Here are a few of my recommendations!

Visiting a notable aquarium or science center may be a matter of proximity, so a growing number of institutions are offering animal encounters 24 hours a day on an internet stream.  You can have access to a front row penguin experience with a live stream hosted by the California Academy of Sciences.  Most of the time, the penguins can be seen socializing,  swimming, sleeping, and eating.  The best time to check out this stream is during the penguin daily feedings at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. PST.  The biologist feeding the penguins will give an overview of their diet, social practices, and general care.  You don’t have to push a little kid out of the way for a good look at the penguins.  Thanks to the live stream, you have the best view of these fine flippered friends.  The California Academy of Sciences even posted an underwater view of the penguin habitat, so it’s easy to see them frolic and swimming without holding your breath.


Also recommended:
Live Jelly Fish Cam from the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Live Shark Cam (Lagoon View) from the California Academy of Sciences
Live Shark Cam (Reef View) from the California Academy of Sciences

Cute Animals
Now you can enjoy the hijinks of cute puppies and kittens without those pesky allergies getting in the way.  The creator of Kitten Academy is based in Illinois, and provides a safe and loving environment for fostered and rescued cats and kittens.  The cameras are rolling 24/7, and the night vision mode is amazingly clear.  The kitties have the run of the room, with toys, hiding spots, perches, and other cool cat friendly equipment.  I think they’re in a good place emotionally.  The FAQ’s on the live stream includes information on adopting the kittens and cats on the channel.  Think of it, you could be adopting an internet superstar!  There are also special close up videos of kittens playing, sleeping, and general kitty cuteness.

There are a lot of other live puppy and kitten streams, this one just happens to be one of my favorites!

Space: The Final Frontier
I may never have the opportunity to travel in space.  It would be cool and I would absolutely love to do it, but until NASA starts accepting librarians on their trips, it’s a severely cost prohibitive experience.  With that thought in mind, NASA offers a fantastic live view of earth from the International Space Station.  What was once only an astronauts view is now available to anyone, anywhere, at any time.  It’s an absolutely awe inspiring live stream, and I usually watch this at night on the YouTube app before going to sleep.  The music in the background is equally fantastic.  Anyone with a love of space exploration will love this live stream.  Great for kids!

Oh The Places You’ll Go!
While I’m a huge fan of the Abbey Road Live Cam, I have to say I’m completely enamored with the Shibuya Crossing live stream from Tokyo.  I’ve seen film clips of all the people crossing the busy streets in this crowded Japaneese city, but to see it live is very cool.  The people crossing the road seem like a synronized drill team or a flash mob depending on what time of day you’re tuning in.  Rain or shine, there’s always something interesting to watch when several hundred people are crossing the street.  For viewers in our Central Time Zone, I advocate watching the Shibuya Crossing live stream at night due to the time difference.

Is there a live stream you enjoy watching?  Post your recommendations on our blog and we’ll check them out!

See You At the Library!

Up and Running with Chrome OS through Lynda.com


I, recently, had the experience of taking a technology related course in Lynda.com.  Lynda.com is an online subscription library we offer here at the Fountaindale Public Library that teaches the latest software tools and skills through high-quality instructional videos taught by recognized industry experts.

To begin with, you have to create an account.  Once you have done that, you are now ready to be exposed to a plethora of various subjects and topics to examine and purse.

The course I took was “Up and Running with Chrome OS”. “Up and Running with Chrome OS” is taught by Doug Winnie.  Presented in five parts of video instruction, Winnie examines the various facets of what you need to do and what you need to know to get up and running with Chrome OS.  He begins with a brief introduction of the course overview.  From there, he examines Chrome OS by discussing what it is and how it’s different.  He also analyzes both the advantages as well as the limitations of Chrome OS.  The second part of the course focuses on getting around Chrome OS.  This includes starting it up for the first time, navigating the Chrome OS user interface, working with files, and installing as well as managing apps.  Next, Doug zeros in on personalizing the Chromebook with an emphasis on changing themes as well as changing system settings.  The last thing topic he covers is on updates to Chrome OS with an overview of changes, updated windows controls, using “OK Google” voice search, and organizing your app drawer.  With that he concludes the course, with a brief summary of all the topics that were discussed.


As you proceed through the course, it tracks your progress.  Finally, once the course is completed, you are then able to print up a certificate of completion.

I found the course to be very informative, easy to follow, and well presented.  You can tell Doug is well versed in all the intricacies of Chrome OS and what it entails.

I really enjoyed my experience with Lynda.com.  It makes learning very easy and hands on.  It allows you to learn at your own pace.  If there is a certain section or any material that you aren’t too sure or familiar with, Lynda.com lets you go back to those parts and/or sections and replay them.

If you get a chance to check out Lynda.com, do so.  Learning has never been easier, more user friendly, or convenient. I can’t recommend it highly enough.


– Brian S