Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mukwonago River

I do not live in Mukwonago, but I work here three days a week at the library. Since I have been working here I have gotten to enjoy all sorts of festivities that I thought were only part of big city life. The Farmer's Market, Flea Markets, and Midnight Magic. I got super excited when I heard about "Mukwonago's Music In the Park" hosted by the Mukwonago Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. Friday evenings from 6pm-9pm at Indianhead Park-Beach there is free admission to see a live band with lots of vendors to choose from.

I got to thinking about the Mukwonago River and how packed the beach is most days when I drive past. While doing a little research I found an article in a Milwaukee neighborhood newspaper that talks about the ecological diversity of the Mukwonago River. It is revered for it's lack of pollutants, pristine condition, and overall impressive healthy inhabitants. Did you know the river has one of the most diverse mussel populations in south-eastern Wisconsin? It was also awesome to know that someone has been doing an annual sampling of the fish in the river and last year they found 35 different species of fish. To make things even cooler, here I was just looking at Indianhead Park-Beach, and this article talks about the over 2,700 acres that have been conserved to ensure the area stays protected.

Read the article for yourself! I got a kick out of it, because the newspaper The Bayview Compass is from the neighborhood I live in. It is nice to know that more people outside of Mukwonago are appreciating the natural and social wonder the community has to offer.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Technology Tip #2: Organize and Store Your Photos

Digital photography is great! You can take hundreds of photos on one memory card and store them easily on your computer. A common issue I run into with some people is they misunderstand the longevity of digital photographs. They believe that these photographs will be safely stored forever on their computer. The truth is print photographs have a longer life span than digital photographs and that has to do with a technology term called "digital migration".

Digital migration is moving your digital photographs from one electronic device to another. For example you create digital photograph with your phone/scanner/camera and then usually transfer it to a computer. The digital migration is not over for that photograph yet, because you will probably have to move it to several other computers in your lifetime. Consumer Reports suggests replacing your computer every 4 to 6 years. If you move your images on to each new computer, suddenly by the time your new baby gets old enough to graduate high school you have "migrated" 3 or 4 times. Every time you complete that process the chances of those images getting lost or damaged is increased. To avoid those problems I suggest saving them to a online web album.

You can utilize a online web album for easier access and saving of your photos. There are a ton of free services and I am a big fan of Picasa. I think this Google provided program is awesome because is easy to download, will search your computer for all of your photographs, comes with a simple free photo editing software, and gives a lot of control over if anyone can view your photos on the internet. You can also clearly label each photo, change the size of the photo, and correct some of the errors like "red eye". If you find Picasa not to your liking there are other free services like Photobucket and Flickr.

Once you download Picasa and start uploading your photographs you save your computers in a "online web album". That way if your computer ever blows up, melts, freezes, or gets stolen, your photos will be saved and accessible through any other computer with internet access. You can also save your photos in different albums. Here is an example of what a album with one photo would look like (that is my nephew..isn't he cute).

If you are interested in getting started with Picasa I suggest checking out some of the intro material. If you are still a little confused stop in at the library and the staff can assist you in understanding. Good luck with your photos!

Local author Pischke to discuss "The Women of Block 12"

Join us Thursday July 28, from 7:00pm-8pm as we welcome social worker and freelance writer Linda Pischke to the library. Mrs Pischke is the author of the book, The Women of Block 12: Voices From a Jail Ministry. A resident of Mukwonago, Mrs. Pischke will discuss her experiences working with the Dismas Jail Ministry, an outreach organization serving inmates and those affected by crime. In her book, The Women of Block 12, Mrs. Pischke not only tells of her time working with incarcerated women awaiting trial, but she lets the women tell their own stories. The stories they tell of broken childhoods, heartbreak, and shattered dreams are also stories of growth, courage, the resilience of the human spirit, and the power of faith. For more information, stop by the Reference Desk, call (262) 363-6456, or write us at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Technology Tip of the Week Part 1

So I have been mulling over some ideas for a weekly blog segment. There have been some neat blog posts in the past including, BBB (Big, Beautiful, Books) and the Construction Updates on the expansion are awesome! But I wanted something where people could come and learn a little tidbit of information. Since a lot of patrons come to the library to use technology and learn about it, I thought our virtual presence should offer the same services. So welcome to the new weekly blog addition, Technology Tips!

Tips for Week #1: SHORTCUT KEYS
Using the mouse for some people can be difficult, and take a lot of time. A way to make that easier (especially for seniors) is to utilize shortcut keys. Shortcut keys are certain buttons or combination of buttons (pressed at the same time) on the keyboard that will make actions happen. It is often nice because instead of clicking three things to get to that command, you can press these button combinations to make it easier. There are oodles of them, these are just some of the simpler ones I use on a daily basis. Try the web browsing tips NOW! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dial 6411

Instead of paying for information when you call "411". Dial your local library at 262-363-6"411".
Besides what you pay for your own phone bill, there is no charge and we can look up information for you! Here are a couple of popular reference questions that we answer for you in a jiffy if you call...
-Find the address or telephone number for a person or business.
-Directions if you are lost.
-Looking for dates and information about local events.
-Simple recipes.
-Find out what programs are going on at the library.
-Check a stock or market value.
For more complex questions we may take a few minutes, or have to call you back. But we are here. Don't forget you can always e-mail us at If we are closed we also offer the 24/7 chat with a librarian with our AskAway service. Call us if you want to know more about it :).

Writers' Group Meetings

Most of our patrons come to the library because they enjoy reading. There are a select few who come here on the last Wednesday of every month because they enjoy writing. Writing is a great way to exercise your creativity, release stress, and share with others. So capture your thoughts, ideas, and emotions on paper and then let a friendly group of fellow writers help you craft it. Everyone takes turn reading their piece for 5 minutes, and then receives feedback from the rest of the group. Come and join the Wonago Word Weavers Wednesday of every month, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Please note that some meeting times may change.
July 27th, August 31st, September 28th, October 26th, November 30th, and December 28th.

If you are a novice writer and want some materials to help you get started, the reference desk at the Mukwonago Community Library is a good place to stop at. We may suggest the super cool The Writer magazine that is available for checkout. Or you may be interested in an e-book Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing. For our teens and young adults we have a book for you called Seize the Story.

No matter what your ink, we can make you think!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Construction Photos: Ten

What a difference a bunch of dirt makes! If you haven't driven by the construction site recently, I urge you to do so-- it's really looking good. All of the big holes have been filled in, the basement is fully enclosed and the structural steel support structure is mostly in place. You can really get a sense of the size of the place now-- and it is big! Here are some shots from today:

A view from the west looking down what will be the main entry way for the new library. The lobby and entrance will be located just past the elevator shaft structure.

A view from the south at the portion that is above the new basement area. Most of this space will be staff work areas, with the community room way down on the far north end.

This shot is from the north, looking back at where the new building will merge with the existing. The outline of the huge western bow window can be seen well in this shot.

One final shot of the elevator shaft, with the framework for the expansion on the north visible behind it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Easy Meals for the Entire Week

I can be honest when I say I have not been using my youth to develop my cooking skills. I pass through life on deli sandwiches and spaghetti. Through a little luck and the lazy days of summer I found a little spare time to start cooking. For months I have been complaining..."Why can't I find a easy and affordable shopping list that is coupled with recipes for meals for the entire week...grumble...grumble?".

I found one!

The magazine Everyday with Rachel Ray has a leaflet that has a shopping list and the recipes! I went shopping last night and for $77.00 I got 7 interesting, inspiring, and delicious meals. I also have to be honest that I ended up purchasing some items I have never used or eaten in my life. My step-dad is a chef so that is a pretty embarrassing revelation. I found out that kale is a green lettuce type item, and that bow-tie noodles have an entirely different name on the box.

My first recipe was a smash! I made a homemade pizza with hot sausage, rosemary flavored red pepper and onion, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan sprinklings! For the first time in a long time my leftovers weren't boring!

Now if you have a fancy cell phone like a Android or a Smart Phone they also have apps where you can photograph a section of the magazine and it will download the recipes and shopping list to your cell phone. How cool!

Now enough about Rachel Ray, have you ever tried Cooks Illustrated? This is one of the most trusted and traditional cooking magazines that cooks have trusted for years. My aunt swears by a pie crust recipe with vodka....and it really is awesome.

A long story short, we have a lot of great items at the library that can help make your life a little more exciting....even in the small tasty ways.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Energy Presentation

Local energy expert Arley Uhrig came and gave a presentation on Global Warming/Climate Change last month. Come see part II of his series where he will help you understand how you can conserve energy in your home around you. Besides talking about energy conservation and efficiency he is extremely knowledgeable about how it works.

Come and listen to his presentation and bring your energy questions. There is also a little display of books and resources in the library if you need something to get your noodle going!

Presentation II will be tomorrow (Thursday) July 7th at 6:3o pm.

See you there!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Construction Photos: Nine

Things are really moving at the construction site now that the weather has started to cooperate a little bit. We're back on schedule! So keep your fingers crossed that things keep moving smoothly and we can be moved back into our wonderful new home by the end of the year. Here are some shots of the progress:

Here we see an excavator clearing away the soil around the foundation of the existing building so that the waterproofing on the new and old portions can be integrated.

The purple stuff helps keep the waterproofing in place and also provides some insulation. Soon these canyons will be filled up with all the dirt piled around the perimeter of the site.

A shot from the inside, showing where the demolition on the north end roof has been marked off by the big blue tarp.

A view from the west as one of the workers finishes demolishing the northwest corner of the old library building (Yikes! I hope they put things back together as well as they've ripped them apart).

A close up of the roof area after demolition.