Staff Picks

Crunch Time: Train up at the library

Learning isn’t always easy

Ever had the dream of an exam or project due and you’re not at all prepared? Maybe you’re not even a student anymore but the dream still lingers.

Why is that? Maybe it’s just human nature to want to do or learn something that challenges us. There can be some anxiety in learning something new because, by definition, you have to start from a place of not knowing.

Man working at desk

Curiosity turns the task of learning into play

When I’m fascinated by a story, research subject, or activity, the rest of the world fades into the background. In devoting my attention to such a process, I’m creating new space in my life that wasn’t there before.

My current goal is to dedicate more time to writing. If you’re also working on writing, check out some of my reading recommendations for writers (below) or try a class.

Make time

Is there something you’ve always dreamt of doing but haven’t had the money or time for a class? Take the leap! The library has you covered with free professional resources online and in print.

Need some ideas? Try typing one of these into our catalog at yoga, meditation, carpentry, martial arts, World War II history, astrophysics, social media, bicycling or photography.


Gale Courses

"Delivers hundreds of engaging, instructor-led online courses focused on professional development, technology skills, and personal enrichment to transform lives and foster positive changes in your community.”

Atomic training

Atomic Training

Online video training tutorials on the most popular software and devices, including Microsoft® Office®, Adobe® Creative Suite®, Google™ Docs, iPad and more. First time users of Recorder Books databases will need to create an account.

Thousands of online video tutorials that can help you learn software, technology, creative (photography & video), and business skills to achieve personal and professional goals. You will be asked to create a profile using your Des Plaines library card. Use in Firefox or Chrome.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

More of a whimsical (or magical) take on the why and how of creativity of any kind. A quick read, this is good inspiration for starting something new.

Originals by Adam Grant


by Adam Grant

If you're a fan of Freakonomics or Malcolm Gladwell, Originals is a fun and educational read. Grant has a more personal voice than other business writers. This title is a scientific and unique take on the nature of originality. Listen to my comments on the DPPL Pint & Click podcast episode 9

The Hero is You: Sharpen Your Focus, Conquer Your Demons, and Become the Writer You Were Born to Be by Kendra Levin

The Hero is You

by Kendra Levin

Using a fresh new approach to Joseph Campbell’s archetypal Hero’s Journey, Levin reveals how to be a hero in the narrative of your own writing process. This book is particularly great because it features you as the main hero. It's packed with introspective exercises and wisdom gleaned from the author's publishing experience.

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