Friday, July 21, 2017

Illinois Unclaimed Property

In Illinois, forgotten bank and investment accounts are a common form of unclaimed property. How does an account become forgotten? Typically, as businesses upgrade technology, an address might be accidentally altered or a name misspelled. One number off on an address, or one letter off on a name, could create enough confusion to ‘misplace’ an account. Or, when people move, a little-used account might be overlooked when completing the change of address forms.


In Illinois, property is considered unclaimed if the owner has not touched it in five years. A database of unclaimed properties can be found here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nonfiction Book Review



This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression by Daphne Merkin

Attractive, educated, and successful, Daphne Merkin appeared to have all the glamorous trappings of a charmed upper-middle class life – including a coveted position as a staff writer for The New Yorker. But in between landing lucrative book deals, summering in the Hamptons, and hobnobbing with Manhattan’s literati, she was also periodically staving off overwhelming urges to drown herself, slit her wrists, or walk into oncoming traffic. In her new memoir, This Close to Happy, Merkin paints a sharp and devastating portrait of despair. With graceful candor, she recounts her lifelong battle with clinical depression, which led to various hospital stays, myriad meds, and a rotating cast of therapists. She also describes her obsessive, destructive relationship with her mother, a withholding and enigmatic woman who loomed large in Merkin’s life, even after her death from lung cancer. This Close to Happy is a deeply intimate book, and some may cringe at the author’s propensity to overshare – or worse, they may characterize her as another “poor little rich girl” insufficiently aware of her obvious privilege. But the quality of her writing – elegant, perceptive, and utterly absorbing – ultimately elevates the material, so much so that the book essentially transcends the genre of confessional memoir. Furthermore, in the age of social media, where carefully crafted images of happiness are the norm, This Close to Happy qualifies as an especially courageous book. By sharing her descent into darkness, Merkin helps to shed light on a poorly understood disorder that unfortunately still carries a burden of stigma. --Romi Pekarek Smith








Friday, May 26, 2017

Protect Yourself This Mosquito Season

SPRINGFIELD – As we enter mosquito season, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding Illinoisans of the best ways to avoid being bitten.  Different types of mosquitoes can carry different types of diseases, like West Nile virus and Zika virus, but steps you can take to protect yourself from mosquito bites are essentially the same.

“Each year since 2002 when we saw the first human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois, we’ve seen the virus circulate across the state,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D. J.D.  “Now, for the second summer, we’re monitoring for Zika virus in Illinois.  While Zika is also primarily transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, the main type of mosquito that carries Zika virus is rarely found in Illinois.  However, taking some simple precautions can help you avoid mosquito bites, regardless of the type of mosquito or the diseases they carry.”

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Culex pipiens, “house” mosquito.  Mild cases of West Nile virus infections may cause a slight fever or headache.  More severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.  Symptoms usually occur from three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.  However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile Virus.

Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, a mosquito that rarely has been found in Illinois.  Unlike West Nile virus, Zika virus can be passed from person to person through sex, so it’s important to wear a condom if you or your partner may have been exposed to Zika.  Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms and might not realize they have been infected.  The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes), and typically last several days to a week.  However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.  Since December 2015, 116 cases of Zika virus have been reported in Illinois; 115 cases are travel-related and one case occurred through sex with someone who traveled to an area with Zika virus.  More information about Zika virus can be found on the IDPH website.

Predicting how bad the mosquito season will be is like predicting the weather - it can change week to week.  The key factors in determining high or low levels of mosquito activity are temperature and rainfall.  Although people usually notice mosquitoes during rainy conditions, those mosquitoes are commonly called floodwater or nuisance mosquitoes (Aedes vexans) and typically do not carry disease.  In hot, dry weather, mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus breed in stagnant water, like street catch basins and ditches, and multiply rapidly.  Similarly, the type of mosquito that carries Zika virus also breeds in stagnant water like empty flower pots, tires, and any container that holds water that is not changed weekly.  There are two other types of mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus and Aedes triseriatus) found in Illinois that can also carry disease and breed in water-collecting containers. 

Here are some simple precautions you can take to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and protect yourself from being bitten.  Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel, and report.
  •        REDUCE - make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.  Try to keep doors and windows shut. Eliminate, or refresh each week all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
  •        REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions.  Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  •        REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.  The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the IDPH website.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14

In 1914, Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. The U.S. Census Bureau has compiled a variety of statistics on mothers and their characteristics.  Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Join us for a discussion of I Am Malala

Bookit! Nonfiction Book Discussion Group
Wednesday, May 24
7 PM, Multipurpose Room
No registration necessary -- Just drop in!

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education And Changed The World

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai gained international recognition when she began speaking out as a passionate advocate for girls' access to education. Unfortunately, she also attracted the attention of the local Taliban, who shot her in the head while she was riding a school bus. In her inspirational autobiography I Am Malala, the author recounts her miraculous survival and details her continuing efforts to campaign for peace and human rights.

Copies of I Am Malala are available now at the Reader Services Desk.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Celebrate National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, 2017


The Corporation for National and Community Service's Volunteering and Civic Life in America website shows how states and cities rank on different factors related to volunteering and civic engagement. The data for this website were collected through two supplements to the Current PopulationSurvey – the Volunteer Supplement and the Civic Supplement. The Current Population Survey is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households, (approximately 90,000 adults) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tax Day 2017


According to the IRS, “People have until Tuesday, April 18, 2017 to file their 2016 returns and pay any taxes due. The deadline is later this year due to several factors. The usual April 15 deadline falls on Saturday this year, which would normally give taxpayers until at least the following Monday. However, Emancipation Day, a D.C. holiday, is observed on Monday, April 17, giving taxpayers nationwide an additional day to file.”

The filing date for Illinois State income tax returns is also April 18, 2017.