Gale Courses – Speed Spanish I


If you have ever thought about picking up a language, Gale offers a number of courses to quickly get you up to speed and ready to converse. Speed Spanish, the first of three such courses, is a more active alternative to our Mango Languages service and one of the most popular courses offered by Gale. This 6-week lesson provides a crash course on functional Spanish, teaching six simple recipes to quickly glue words together over 24 hours of course time. It is ideal for upcoming vacationers to Spanish-speaking countries and learners eager to jump into conversations.

The course is broken down into twelves lessons. Lessons usually contain several chapters of instruction and drills, a post chapter FAQ answering most of the common problem or exceptions present in the material, a short five question quiz, and an open forum to discuss the contents with students and the instructor. After going through orientation, lessons unlock every Wednesday and Friday that you are free to complete at your own pace. Each is designed to teach one of the six recipes along with an increasing amount of vocabulary words.

  • The Magic Circle (A mix of useful words that form the basis of later lessons)
  • Hay (There is/are)
  • Donde Esta (Where is/are)
  • Tengo/Tiene (I have/you have)
  • Quiero/Quiere (I want/you want)
  • Me gusta/Le gusta (I like/you like)

Interspersed with the lessons are numerous conversation examples that tell the story of Daniel Smith and his misadventures in Mexico, most notably his escape from police on a donkey. A welcomed addition that provides a fun way to review the phrases and vocabulary picked up during the lessons. His story ends on a cliffhanger, but continues in Speed Spanish II and III.

There is no graded homework and the final exam will determine the entirety of your grade. That said, you get what you put in. Do not think about the grade; think about what you are gaining from the course. The instructor is more than happy to comment in the discussion boards on any questions you may have on the lesson and engaging with the other students can go a long way to boosting your fluency. Just be sure to be up to date in your studies if you want a response as everyone else will already be on to the new lesson. The full syllabus can be found through the Gale Courses portal at:

Outside of using your library card, this course would cost nearly $150 through the general Ed2Go portal. Take advantage of the most valuable card in your wallet. I highly recommend this class to anyone with an interest in learning and especially using the language. Feel free to check out the other courses offered by the service, such as Beginning Conversational French or Instant Italian. The instructor, Dan Mikels, teaches several other language courses through Gale and has helped authored more than 20 other similar classes. The next session begins October 17, sign up now! ¡Que te diviertas!



Archery Open House at Blackwell Forest Preserve

IMG_20180804_105815Visitors gathering near the Blackwell Traditional Archers’ tent to try out an Atlatls, the bow’s predecessor.

This past weekend on August 4, 2018, the annual archery open house at the Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville, Illinois commenced. Blackwell has one of the best outdoor archery ranges in the area, and perhaps the state. It features a beginners range, an Olympic range going out to 90 meters, and a 3D target range for hunters. And this past weekend, hundreds of visitors came to be introduced to the sport.

Only two ranges were occupied for the event. At the beginners range, the DuPage Forest Preserve District had brought many learner bows for all comers to try for the first time. All one had to do was sign a waiver and you were able to loose two arrows at a target no further than 10 meters. It’s not much, but it’s does give one a taste of the art. Moving down to the Olympic range, there were several booths along the way. There were some from the Forest Preserve District, one from the Warrenville Police Department, one from Nock and Feather, an archery shop from Aurora, and one from our own Blackwell Traditional Archery group that was manned by several of our older members. When you reached the Olympic range, the actual Olympic lane was also set up to be a beginners’ lane but further down that was the proper tent of the Blackwell Traditional Archers.

It was here that we had various traditional archery tackle on display from everyone from the group. There were some unstrung English longbows and American Indian bows, a glass case filled with antique and modern reproduction arrowheads, and some introductory books on the topic. On the actual bow racks, we had several types of traditional Asiatic bows from group members that we were freely demonstrating with. And the most exciting portion was trying out the Atlatl or spear thrower. It was the predecessor of the bow and it was available for attendants to come and try their hand with. All of the atlatls and many of the bows on the desk inside the tent belong to one Dan McGehee, who actually hand made almost all of them. He is also notably the president of the Blackwell Traditional Archery group as well.

IMG_20180804_132014A view of the display inside the BTA tent.

IMG_20180804_112732Dan McGehee, on the right, gives a quick overview on the use of the Atlatl to two attendants, one of which is our very own Jay Purrazzo.

Jay hurls a spearJay hurls an atlatl!

IMG_20180804_132104MVIMG_20180804_132126Perforated armor and shield from a heavy longbow.

MVIMG_20180804_144746_exported_stabilized_401395128771027617Dan is pulling a 110 pound longbow and loosing a heavy arrow against the armor.

The Blackwell Traditional Archers usually travels to archery clubs across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin just to have fun with shooting traditional archery equipment. Sometimes we are asked to demonstrate said equipment at events setup by those clubs. And soon, we will be bringing that knowledge to Fountaindale Public Library. On September 10th starting at 7pm, myself and some other Blackwell Traditional Archery members will be presenting the history of archery. It will give you a chance to learn about this storied art, have your questions answered and to meet us in person! I hope to see you readers there!

MVIMG_20180804_123350_exported_stabilized_56034338645890180The author and a fellow archer drawing and loosing their arrows at a long range target.

MVIMG_20180804_132802Yours truly in the middle, a friend on the left, and Jay Purrazzo on the right.


New Year, New You?

Last year I swore it would be a New Year, New Me type of attitude. Well at least when it came to my eating habits. I had informed everyone in my family and my fiancé that 2017 would be the year I would start watching what I ate and start to eat healthier and exercise. Well as we already know, changing a lifestyle of eating habits overnight is no walk on the park.

It’s been a whole year now and I have changed a couple of things in my eating habits. I eat less candy, no chocolate, and a little bit of chips but not too often. But, the most important thing is I’ve been getting ingredients that are low sodium or reduced fat. However, that still isn’t enough. I need to do more so I can feel more energetic and just overall start on a cleaner diet. Luckily, Fountaindale has many useful databases that can help.

I decided to try Gale Courses. I searched cooking and looked through the many results it gave me. I then looked at the start dates and selected one that I found worked with my work schedule and clicked, “enroll now.” I then, selected my course start date, clicked “continue”, and created a free Gale Courses account with my library card. After I registered to the course, I received an email with a confirmation number. The class I signed up for was, Luscious, Low-Fat, Lightning-Quick Meals to teach me how to eat better.

Start Course dates are:

  • January 17, 2018
  • February 14, 2018
  • March 14, 2018
  • April 11, 2018

Before starting a course, it gives you all the information you need. It provides the syllabus that contains all the information you need to know and what the next 6 weeks will be like. It also provides the requirements that will be needed in order to complete this course, which in this case is only an email and internet. I believe this is a fun class to take and to learn more about cooking. Therefore, if you are looking for ways to bring up the flavor and start eating healthier this New Year join me. Or sign up for another class. Better late than never, I say. Let the lessons begin!

food blog -DR


Free PlayStation Plus Games in January 2018

Are you ready PlayStation Plus Subscribers? This January Sony is offering up a couple games for free. All PlayStation + subscribers who have either PS4, PS3, or PS Vista need to get ready to play because its game time.

= Owned by Fountaindale Public Library

(Along are also included OpenCritic scores)

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (82% on OpenCritic)  √
  • Batman: the Telltale Series (71% on OpenCritic)


  • Sacred 3 (55% on OpenCritic)  √
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales (73% on OpenCritic)

PS Vita / Crossbuy PS4 :

  • Psycho-Pass: Mandatory (77% on OpenCritic)
  • Uncanny Valley (62% on OpenCritic)

PS VR (Jan. – March 6)

  • Starblood Arena (68% on OpenCritic)

Pretty exciting games coming up this new year, but don’t forget about the free games still available this December.


  • Darksiders II: Deathfinitive Edition
  • Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends  


  • Syberia Collection
  • Xblaze Lost: Memories

PS Vita :

  • Forma.8 (crossbuy)
  • Wanted Corp

Don’t forget to check our library’s catalog at or call at 630-759-2102 to see if the video game is available or place a hold. If you don’t have a library card just give us a call or check out the library’s website to see what forms are accepted.


Universal Class – Bartending and Mixology 101



Here at the Fountaindale Public Library we have a vast selection of databases in which one can choose from.  These include ones that fall under specific categories of research as pertaining to such topics as Articles & Research, Arts & Entertainment, Auto & Home,  Business & Employment, Consumer Information & Finance, Education & Homework Help, Genealogy, and Government & Law…just to name a few.

Today I will be looking at those that fall under the category of Education& Homework Help.  These include Universal Class, Mango Languages,, and Gale Courses.  Specifically, I will be discussing Universal Class and my experience with it and using it.

Universal Class is an excellent resource for anyone looking to further their knowledge and education.  Universal Class offers a staggering 500 online continuing education courses with real instructors.  Some of the courses include such diverse subjects as: Computer Training, Personal Finance, GED Training, Business, Pet and Animal Care, Professional Development, Health Services Training, Music and Painting, and many others.






The course I took and will be discussing in this blog is Bartending and Mixology 101.     To start you need to register as a new user.  After you have created an account, you then can decide on one of the 31 subjects listed.  Once you have decided on what subject you would like to pursue, below each one is an estimate of how many online courses each subject details.  You can also choose to search through the Course Catalog in the Find Course search box.  I typed in the word “Bartending” and with that it came back with 1 match found.  It could also be found under the main subject area of Arts, Crafts & Hobbies and under the subheading of Cooking and Baking.  It shows that there are 7 Lessons, 11 Exams & Assignments, 3 Hours average time, and how many CEUs.  The 7 Lessons were broken down as Alcohol Awareness, Bar Essentials – Alcohol, Bar Essentials – Additional Requirements, Cocktails, Beer, Wine, and Heated Drinks, Types of Establishments, and Employment.  I joined the course and began.  Each lesson included text, photos, videos, as well as links to certain recommended/essential sites as well as glossary of terms.  Each part is divided into sections that need to be completely in order to proceed further through the course.  After going through the specific lesson each portion would go turn from a red color to becoming highlighted with a checkmark and turning green.  Finally each lesson would end with an exam that would be either multiple choice, essay, or sometimes a combination of the two.  After which, would be sent to the instructor to be graded.  Sometimes it would take a few days other times it would only take a few hours to get your grade back via email to see if you passed to move forward through to the next portion of class.  Eventually, I reached the conclusion of the course and when I received the final email that I had passed and completed the course, I was presented with a Certificate of Course Completion.


bartending pic


The whole class and experience was very rewarding.  I found it to be entertaining, informative, and even fun.  The materials were presented in a way that was very easy to understand.  I also found navigating through the course very easy and user-friendly.  I also liked how the instructor would back all the grades in a very timely manner.  I cannot recommend Universal Class highly enough.  Cheers!


-Brian S.

Maintaining your new habits

picture1We are now 4 weeks into the New Year, how are your resolutions holding up?
Fitness and changing diets tend to be most common choice for New Year goals, and it’s easy to become discouraged or distracted, especially with the recent wet weather… but don’t despair!
If you are looking for some help to stay on track, you may find these apps helpful:

Exercise Apps:

These apps will help you track your activities. From walking, running, to wrestling, and many other workouts. You can set goals, create routines, and track your progress.

Google Fit
Monitor your progress through the app and online, connects to MyFitnessPal, LoseIT, Runkeeper, Runatastic, MapMyRun, MapMyRide. Aggregates info from other apps to track fitness, nutrition, sleep, and weight.

runkeeperandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Spotify. Tracks workouts through GPS and provides maps, pace, and previous records to motivate you to push harder!


jefitandroid, iOS
Large exercise database, lets you create custom fitness routines, and manages stats. It does lack connection to other apps for tracking, but it comes highly recommended for weight training.

Diet Tracking Apps:

Track your calories and nutrients. These come with databases of food, food importers, and custom food entry. Import exercise data from many other apps to get a complete view of your progress. All of these apps have great base features available, without subscription.

mfpandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, Runkeeper. I found their food database is the largest, and it was easy to connect to Runkeeper. You can manage your entries through their website in addition to the app.


mndandroid, iOS
Works with GoogleFit and Fitbit. I like the interface much better than MyFitnessPal. It is app only though and I’ll occasionally need to add new items to the database for future use.


loseitandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, Runkeeper, MapMyFitness. App is available on more phones and tablets, as well as through the website.  I haven’t personally used it, but it comes highly recommended.

And lastly, Habits!

The key to long-term success is turning your goals (whether to get into shape, lose weight, remembering to floss etc.) into small manageable tasks that you repeat until it becomes habit.
I am no good at that.
I am however, an avid collector of shiny video game rewards.

Habitica is a free habit-building app that plays like a game. It lets you break down those big goals into small tasks that you can easily track. You are rewarded for completing good habits immediately, with gold and experience points. Indulging bad habits or not completing a task yields immediate consequences by losing health points. With your earned coins you can “purchase” gear, pets, mounts and other game items.tasks-page

And best of all, if you rope your friends into the game, you can compete with them or join together to fight bosses!


The terrifying Basi-list!

habiticaHabitica is available on android, iOS and PC. I’ve managed to floss every night for three and a half weeks now, Habitica has been far more successful than my dentist. Try it out!





Every New Year brings about with it a time of change, growth, re-birth, and resolution. It is the time for the fresh start, making plans, setting goals, and living up to one’s full potential…all for the betterment of oneself. Acknowledgement is the first step, obtaining the means to reach said goals is the next. So, where does one start? Well, how about The Fountaindale Public Library! Come on into the Fountaindale Public Library and check out our newest Lobby Display! This month’s display is appropriately titled: “New Year, New You”, with an emphasis on health and exercise. The display contains a plethora of books to choose from as well as a smattering of audio books as well.

Here is a sampling of some of the titles that await you:

  1.  The 90-Day Fitness Challenge by Phil and Amy Parham
  2. Strong Women, Stay Young by Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D.
  3. Shape Your Life: 4 Weeks to a Better Body- and a  Better Life by Barbara Harris
  4.   Stronger, Faster: Workday Workouts that Build Maximum Muscle in Minimum Time by Brian Kaufman
  5. Fit and Fabulous After 40: A 5-Part Program for Turning Back the Clock by Denise Austin

…And, it’s all conveniently located for you on the 1st Floor, right when you first walk in!


So, come on in and get your New Year started off right!

– Brian