Blog

Get A Kindergarten Readiness Packet!

Do you have a child who is getting ready to start Kindergarten? 
Sign up to receive one of our Kindergarten Readiness Packets.
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a packet, personalized for your child, that is full of fun ways to practice the skills needed to start this next chapter.

Packets can be picked up through Curbside Service or at the Kids and Teens Ask Us desk.

This Week in the Prairie Patch: August 9-15

Plant Updates: We have patty pan squash, summer squash and several varities of tomatoes ready for harvest this week. We're also continuing to harvest swiss chard, carrots and herbs. New blooms in the garden include a pink butterfly milkweed and sunflowers. Our Garden Giveaway is daily in the lobby.

Sensory Garden: Our latest sensory walk was installed, look for the blue signs and  explore sunflowers, dill, sage, squash and ornamental grass.

Programming: We have a handful of outdoor programs for kids in the Prairie Patch, including a Monday morning yoga class on August 17 and 24. Click here for more information and to register.

Book Recommendations:

Green Green: A community gardening story

Old Manhattan Has Some Farms

Chicago Gardens: An Early History

In Search of Meadowlarks

Seed Library:

Are you interested in helping plant future gardens? To learn what you need to do to save your seeds and donate to our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Business owners: Reopening and Staying Open

Reopening and Staying Open - How to Assess the Past 60 Days and Prepare for What's Next
Thursday, Aug 6, 2020  at noon. 

This live SCORE webinar will help you figure out your best steps. SCORE, a nonprofit resource and education partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides mostly free assistance to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The expert presenter will cover:

  • Creating a profit & loss statement for planning purposes
  • Positioning yourself in the market 
  • Managing capacity limits in your place of business
  • Planning for extended adjustments due to the coronavirus and other long term consumer changes


Register and SCORE will send the recording if you can't make it.

Click here for their list of upcoming webinars. Take a look at their recorded webinar list here.

Find information about our local SCORE chapter.


Honoring Olivia de Havilland

Legendary actress Olivia de Havilland passed away on July 26 at the age of 104. She was one of the last remaining stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her career spanned more than fifty years and forty-nine feature films. She won Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for To Each His Own and The Heiress. Olivia was well known for her roles in Gone with the Wind, The Snake Pit, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte. She had an ongoing rivalry with her younger sister, actress Joan Fontaine.

Backed by the Screen Actors Guild, Olivia took Warner Brothers to court in 1943 when it added time to her original contract as a penalty for turning down roles. The California Supreme Court ruled in her favor in what became known as the De Havilland Law, which loosened the grip studios had on their actors.

In 1952 Olivia's handprints and footprints and handprints were added to a concrete slab at Grauman's Chinese Theater, and in 1960 she was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2017 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Watch a few of Olivia de Havilland's movies or read a biography about her on Hoopla.


This Week in the Prairie Patch: August 2-August 8

Plant Updates: Shhh, don't tell the TriState Fire District that this Saturday is 'Sneak Some Zucchini on your Neighbor's Porch Day'.

Garden Giveaway: Available daily in the library's lobby. Depending on our harvests, you will find herbs such as mint, chives, dillweed and sage. We also have kale, swiss chard, carrots, beans and a variety of squashes. If you have any questions about the program, or are interested in donating surplus from your garden, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Meet the Garden Team: The Prairie Patch is maintained by a handful of IPPL staff and community volunteers. Each week, we will share information about a different team member. This week, meet Megan Lawrence!

Role: Youth Services Associate

Where are you from?: Willowbrook

How long have you been a library patron?: I have worked at IPPL for a little over a year, but I have been a patron for 8 years.

What do you like about gardening?: Lots of thingsIt is relaxing and a great way to spend time outside. I loved helping my parents in their garden when I was little and now, I can share gardening with my kids. It has been fun to explore nature with them through the garden.

Also, there is an artistic element in planning a garden and using plants as the medium. Finally, I really like being able to grow things from seed and see the result, and I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment in sharing my flowers and veggies.

What are your favorite gardening books?:

Native plants of the Midwest : a comprehensive guide to the best 500 species for the garden

Six seasons : a new way with vegetables

What is your favorite thing to grow?Zinnias, Bee Balm, Tomatoes, and Peonies

Do you have a favorite gardening quote or phrase?:

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." Audrey Hepburn

"Mommy look it's a tomato!" My daughter, Clio

Seed Library: Are you interested in helping plant future gardens? To learn what you need to do to save your seeds and donate to our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Finally, thank you to everyone who participated in our Prairie Patch Art Show! If you participated, your artwork is available for pickup at the Kids & Teens Desk.

August Programming for Littles

We are taking a break from some of our regular Zoom classes in August, but we still have lots of ways for you to have fun!

If you like to sing, move, and make music...
Sign up for Steppin' with Irish Dance for Preschoolers (ages 3-4)
Meets in the parking lot at 2pm on Thursday, Aug. 27th

Or slow down and practice some mindful movements at Pause and Pose - a yoga storytime held outside in the Prairie Patch on Mondays at 10a.m. from August 10 - 24

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a custom, 15-minute Mini Musician session weekly in August, for children 18 months - 6 years with a caregiver. You can also listen to Miss Heather's curated playlists anytime on Spotify. Classes are held via Zoom.

If you are getting ready for Kindergarten, sign up to receive one of our Kindergarten Readiness Packets! Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your child's name to request a packet, personalized for your child and full of fun ways to practice the skills they will need to start this next chapter. Please indicate if you'd like to pick up your packet at the Kids and Teens Ask Us Desk or through Curbside Service. 

If you like to create and craft...
Pickup a LittleShop at Home Mystery Bag, each with a surprise assortment of materials and paper inside. Request for curbside pickup by calling 630/887-8760, or stop into the Kids and Teens Department. While supplies last.

If you have a baby 17 months old or younger...
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a custom, 15-minute Babytime weekly in August, with songs, rhymes, sign language, and more. Classes are held via Zoom.

If you want some one-on-one time with a storytime librarian...
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a Storytime One-on-One session! Classes are held via Zoom.

And as always, you can find a little bit of everything on-demand at any time on our YouTube page!


This Week in the Prairie Patch: July 26-August 1

View the Prairie Patch Art Show: We are excited to showcase art from patrons of all ages. Now in the garden through August 1.

Garden Giveaway: Available daily in the library's lobby.

Meet the Garden Team: The Prairie Patch is maintained by a handful of IPPL staff and community volunteers. Each week, we will share information about a different team member. This week, meet Cathy!

Role: Garden volunteer and Darien Garden Club ambassador to IPPL

Where are you from: Darien

How long have you been a library patron? – since 1991 almost 30 years

What do you like about gardening?: I love many aspects of gardening; food production (nothing like a fresh garden tomato or broccoli harvested until Nov), creating wildlife and pollinator habitat with native trees, shrubs and plants in my suburban yard, sharing plants, knowledge and enthusiasm with others especially the next generation of gardeners, learning something new every day about growing and caring for the garden as well as about the garden visitors and their role in pollination and pest control.

What are your favorite gardening books? I love to cook with fresh produce so I recommend: From Asparagus to Zucchini (Jones Books – MACSAC) to get you started and to answer the question "What do you do with swiss chard? And others?

What is your favorite thing to grow? – Dahlias! Also, perennial and annual sunflowers, zinnias, tomato, and any and all native plants.

Do you have a favorite gardening quote or phrase? I have a few:

"The earth laughs in flowers." E E Cummings

"Tickle the earth with a hoe, it will laugh a harvest." Mary Cantell

"All gardens are a form of autobiography." Robert Dash

If you are interested in helping us in the garden this summer, please contact Natalie Williams about volunteering: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Book Recommendations:

Prairie Dog Song: The key to saving North America's grasslands

Q&A About Plants

STEM Kit: Plant Cell

Seed Library:

Are you interested in helping plant future gardens? To learn what you need to do to save your seeds and donate to our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Honoring John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis, a Civil Rights icon, passed away on July 17 at the age of 80. He was instrumental in the historic nonviolent struggle for racial equality in the United States. John Lewis joined the Freedom Riders in 1961 who were determined to ride an integrated bus from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans. In 1963 he became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee until 1966. John Lewis was one of the "Big Six" leaders who organized the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, which led to the Civil Rights Act. In March 1965 he helped lead a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama for African American voting rights which became violent and was known as "Bloody Sunday." In 1970 he became Director of the Voter Education Project until 1977.

John Lewis was elected to the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's 5th congressional district in 1986 and served seventeen terms. At the time of his death, he was the senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party and a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. In an increasingly polarized Washington, John Lewis managed to gather and maintain admirers across party lines.

The civil rights icon has also been honored with numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal and the sole John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage Award" for Lifetime Achievement.

View The Washington Post's a visual story to remember his legacy.

John Lewis wrote the March trilogy, graphic novels depicting the first-hand account of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. Borrow them from Hoopla.

Watch documentaries, Freedom Riders, on Hoopla or check out The March: the story of the greatest march in American history.

This Week in the Prairie Patch: July 19- 25

We are starting to harvest the garden! This week we have picked summer squash and lots of herbs. With this bounty, we're starting the Garden Giveaways. For your health and safety, our giveaways will be different from previous years. For details see below:

Free for you!

      • This food was grown organically in the Prairie Patch, IPPL's community garden.
      • Food is harvested throughout the week as it ripens.
      • Stop by the designated table on the first floor anytime the library is open to see which herbs and veggies are available.

      • For your safety…
      • Masks are required
      • Please practice social distancing
      • Wash your hands and any food that you take home
      • Please don't touch anything you won't keep

Join us for the Prairie Patch Art Show: Calling all artists, reserve your blank yard sign by emailing your name and contact information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Pick up a sign this week (one per family) and decorate with waterproof materials (permanent markers, oil pastels, acrylic paint, etc.). Bring it back to the library by Thursday, July 23 to be displayed in the Prairie Patch the week of July 26.

Meet the Garden Team: The Prairie Patch is maintained by a handful of IPPL staff and community volunteers. Each week, we will share information about a different team member. This week, meet Monica!

Name: Monica Dzierzbicki

Role: Youth Services Librarian/Mid-Kids Specialist

Where are you from? Illinois

How long have you been a patron? I've worked at IPPL for over 20 years.

What do you like about gardening? Gardening connects me with the principles of peace, community, nourishment and respect for all living things.

What are your favorite gardening books? There are way too many 🙂

  • Non-Fiction Titles: (newest reads)

Garden DIY: 25 fun-to-make projects for an attractive and productive garden by Daniel Johnson (2020)

The little gardener: helping children connect with the natural world. by Julie Cerny (2020)

In the Garden by Emma Guiliani (2020, Great book to share with kids, but so full of information for anyone. It shows the full range of the growing seasons in great detail.)

  • Non-Fiction Titles: (tried and true)

Ready, set, grow! a kid's guide to gardening by Rebecca Hershey (1995)

The ultimate step-by-step kids' first gardening book by Jenny Hendy (2010)

Up in the garden and down in the dirt by Kate Messner (2015

If you are interested in helping us in the garden this summer, please contact Natalie Williams about volunteering: nataliew@ippl.info

Seed Library:

Are you interested in helping plant future gardens? To learn what you need to do to save your seeds and donate to our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: nataliew@ippl.info

Resources for Returning to Childcare and Preschool

There is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety about schools and childcare facilities reopening in the Fall. Parents and teachers are asking questions like "What will it look like?" and "How can I prepare my children?"

These questions are hard to answer, but there are resources that can help. The Illinois Early Learning Project has a new toolkit of resources, strategies, and activities to keep young children learning at home and help prepare them for what the world outside of home looks like upon reopening.

You can find graphic tip sheets with helpful phrases to use to explain why we wear masks or how to social distance. There are Parenting Pep Talks with tips on handling your child's big feelings and making time for connection. And of course, there are lots of resources for learning at home during trying times and tips about getting your child ready to return to childcare.

Check them all out here!

This Week in the Prairie Patch: July 12-18

This week's post is brought to you by the letter 'Z' for ZINNIA. In addition to the zinnias found vibrantly blooming in planters outside the front door of the library, there are several individual zinnia plants now visible throughout the Prairie Patch. Look for them intermingled with beds including the carrots, herbs and in Bea's Garden.

Also, there are still spots available for our outdoor Kids + Teens programs scheduled in the Prairie Patch, including a Mud Kitchen, STEM in the Prairie Patch, Mid-Kid yoga and a Mid-Kid Field Day. Click here for schedules and registration information.

Join us for the Prairie Patch Art Show. Calling all artists, reserve your blank yard sign by emailing your name and contact information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Pick up a sign this week (one per family) and decorate with waterproof materials (permanent markers, oil pastels, acrylic paint, etc.). Bring it back to the library by Thursday, July 23 to be displayed in the Prairie Patch the week of July 26.

Meet the Garden Team: The Prairie Patch is maintained by a handful of IPPL staff and community volunteers. Each week, we will share information about a different team member. This week, meet Mary!

Name: Mary Laffey

Role: Gardening Volunteer

Where are you from? Downers Grove

How long have you been a patron? Since I was twelve years old!

What do you like about gardening? I love the idea of creating, nourishing, and caring for something that is both beautiful and useful to the community.

What are your favorite gardening books? The Secret Garden and Mandy

What is your favorite thing to grow? I love our little "tea section" of the prairie patch with the mint, lavender, lemon, and chamomile

Do you have a favorite gardening quote or phrase? "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." - Cicero

If you are interested in helping us in the garden this summer, please contact Natalie Williams about volunteering: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Book Recommendations:

The Complete Summer Cookbook: Beat the heat with 500 recipes that make the most of summer's bounty

The Vegetable Gardener's Book of Building Projects

The Big Book of Blooms

Weekly Garden Giveaways: We hope to start these soon!

Seed Library:

It isn't too late to plant your own garden. If you are interested in getting seeds from our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Online: Free Legal Consultations for Immigrants: August 4

Talk to a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative from World Relief DuPage/Aurora for free for half an hour on immigrant related issues (including citizenship) on August 4, 2020. There are six time slots. By appointment only. Click on the time that you want to register. All one-on-one meetings will be over a secure virtual platform. You will be sent instructions to join the meeting the day before, or the morning of, the appointment. If you have questions, please call 630-887-8760 and ask for Joe Popowitch.

This Week in the Prairie Patch: July 5-11

Early evening is a great time to visit the Prairie Patch.

Now that the library is open, no visit is complete without a walk through the Prairie Patch. The sunny weather and our awesome watering team have worked together to help make all of the plants explode in growth. We have several visible summer squashes growing, lots of tomatoes with blossoms, flowers on the butterfly bush, and fresh herbs like dill, chives, mint and chamomile. See last week's post for a map of the garden.

Also, we have several Kids + Teens programs scheduled in the Prairie Patch, including a Mud Kitchen, STEM in the Prairie Patch, Birdwatchers Meetup and Water Balloon Olympics. Click here for schedules and registration information.

Sensory Garden:

Our newest sensory garden features include listening for a wind chime, touching the lambs' ear and looking at the tall yellow hollyhock.

Weekly Garden Giveaways: We hope to start these soon!

Book Recommendations:

Fiction:

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems

A Lullaby of Summer Things

The Shell Seekers

Non Fiction:

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi

Born to be wild : Hundreds of Free Nature Activities for Families


Seed Library:

It isn't too late to plant your own garden! If you are interested in getting seeds from our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Volunteering:

If you are interested in helping us in the garden this summer, please contact Natalie Williams about volunteering: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Celebrating Carl Reiner

The legendary comedian, actor, writer, director, and producer, Carl Reiner, passed away on June 29 at the age of 98. His career scanned seven decades. Carl Reiner is best known for The Dick Van Dyke Show. In 1959 he created the pilot for a TV series, Man of the House, which became The Dick Van Dyke Show. He won five Emmy Awards for writing and producing the show. It was on television for five years and then went into syndication for many generations to enjoy.

In the 1950s Carl Reiner acted in Your Show of Shows and acted and started his writing career with Caesar's Hour starring Sid Caesar. In 1960 he teamed up with Mel Brooks and their routine "The 2000 Year Old Man" was a huge success. They won a Grammy Award for the album based on this routine.

Some of his memorable movies were Ocean's Eleven, The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!, The Jerk, The End, Oh, God!, The Thrill of it All, All of Me, and Toy Story 4.

Carl Reiner won many awards and honors. In 1960 he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2000 Carl was awarded the Mark Twain for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. The Directors Guild of America awarded the talented director with the Honorary Life Member Award. Carl and his son, Rob Reiner, became the first father-son duo to have their footprints and handprints added to a concrete slab at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 2017.

Watch The Dick Van Dyke Show on Hoopla. Listen to Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks' 2000 Year Old Man routines on Hoopla.


This Week in the Prairie Patch June 28-July4

Interested in knowing what we're growing? The map to the left features what's planted in each bed.

Sensory Garden:

Want a sneak peek for what to 'see' in the next Sensory Garden tour? Look for the beautiful and big yellow hollyhock growing in the perennial bed near Bea's Garden. 

Weekly Garden Giveaways: We will hopefully start these in mid July. 

Book Recommendations:

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi

Enchanted gardening : growing miniature gardens, fairy gardens, and more

Container and fragrant gardens: how to enliven spaces with containers and make the most of scented plants

Roses without chemicals: 150 disease-free varieties that will change the way you grow roses

  • Seed Library:

It isn't too late to plant your own garden! If you are interested in getting seeds from our Seed Library, email Natalie Williams: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Volunteering:

If you are interested in helping us in the garden this summer, please contact Natalie Williams about volunteering: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.