NEW! Chicago Consumers' Checkbook can now be accessed from home

You can now access Chicago Consumers’ Checkbook from computers outside the Library if you have an HPPL card. You will need to register the first time you use it, but this will give you the privilege to submit reviews for all kinds of local services. It’s similar to Yelp or Amazon, but you don’t have to write clever reviews, just concise.

The popular Chicago Consumers’ Checkbook contains articles and ratings on a wide variety of local service firms, professionals, and stores. It includes ratings for insurance companies, plumbers, heating and air conditioning contractors, auto repair shops, dentists, doctors and more. 

The Chicago Consumers’ Checkbook online database also includes their national online Guide to Top Doctors, which lists 20,000 of the top-rated physicians in 35 specialties across the country, as well as their Guide to Hospitals which provides detailed information and ratings of more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide.

Non-HPPL cardholders, please click here. (available only inside the library)

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Tax Forms

The Library has not received the Internal Revenue Service or the Illinois Department of Revenue tax forms and instruction booklets as of January 14, 2014.

We will have the most common forms for individuals. The Library does not supply forms for businesses. Businesses and individuals, who need business and employer forms, should order directly from the IRS. Click here for the order form.

We were notified by the IRS  that the instruction booklets for the 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ will be shipped by late January through late February.

If you need your forms and instruction booklets now, please visit the Internal Revenue Serviceand the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Seniors and low-income tax filers can obtain free tax preparation help. The State of Illinois listing of Illinois sites.

Internal Revenue Service Contacts:

  • Forms and Publications (Individuals & Businesses) - (800) 829-3676
  • Telephone Assistance for Individuals - (800) 829-1040
  • Telephone Assistance for Businesses - (800) 829-4933
  • Refund Hotline - (800) 829-1954
  • Telephone Assistance for the Hearing Impaired - (800) 829-4059
  • Taxpayer Advocate Service - (312) 566-3800 OR (877) 777-4778

Local IRS Offices (open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm)

  • 5100 River Road, Schiller Park IL, (847) 671-7541
  • 230 S. Dearborn, 17th Floor, Chicago IL, (312) 292-4912

Illinois Department of Revenue Contacts (Monday- Friday 8:00am-5:00pm):

  • 24-Hour Forms Order Line - (800) 356-6302
  • Taxpayer Assistance Lines- (800) 732-8866 OR (217) 782-3336
  • Taxpayer Assistance for the Hearing Impaired - (800) 544-5304
  • Business Hot Line - (217) 524-4772

Local Illinois Department of Revenue Offices (open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm)

  • Maine North Regional Building, 9511 W. Harrison Ave., Des Plaines IL, (847) 294-4200
  • James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Concourse Level, Chicago IL., (800) 732-8866
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History in the Headlines: Kristallnacht as reported in 1938

The front page of the Chicago Tribune on November 9, 2013 featured a story commemorating the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

The library's Chicago Tribune Historical Newspaper and New York Times Historical Newspaper online resources allow you to see how this horrific event was reported in real time to readers in 1938.   Take a look and see why journalism is called "the rough first draft of history!"

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Online Resource of the Week: NovelistPlus

Phew!  After a brief respite, we're back with our feature, Online Resource of the Week.  This week, it's NovelistPlus!  Calling all bibliophiles!!!

NovelistPlus and NovelistPlus K-8 are the go-to resources for readers advisory in both fiction and nonfiction.  Just some of the things you can do on NovelistPlus:

  • Get recommended reads lists based on reader age and subject interest
  • Locate author read-alikes
  • Get recommendations based on previously-read books
  • View lists of award-winning titles
  • Create your own account on Novelist, where you can create and save your own lists or authors or titles
  • View and save/print lists of book series, so you can make sure you read the series in order and that you haven't missed a title!

Need material for your book club?  Novelist also has book discussion guides with brief background material on the author, a summary of the book, and suggested discussion questions.

For teachers, NovelistPlus K-8 offers curriculum-based book lists and annotated bibliographies.  And don't miss the book talks and book discussion guides, too, and the picture book "extender" activities you can use for after you read to the kids.  NovelistPlus also allows you to search on lexile range.

Even more, NovelistPlus offers an advanced search tool so powerful it goes to 11!  You can conduct a search based on an author's nationality and/or cultural identity, publication date range, audience age, grade level, fiction/nonfiction, award-winners, etc.  And most books include reviews from such sources as Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal.

How do you access NovelistPlus and NovelistPlus K-9?  Go to our Online Resources page and locate the resource under "Books".  Or click here to directly access the landing page for NovelistPlus.  Enter your HPPL card number, without spaces, and you're in!

Questions about using NovelistPlus or any of our online resources?  Call the Reference Desk at 847-681-7031, or email us at

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Online Resource of the Week: Health & Wellness Resource Center!

Starting today, we'll be introducing our "Online Resource of the Week" feature.  We'll discuss and highlight one of our subscription online resources!  This week we're looking at Gale's Health & Wellness Resource Center.

Image of the Health and Wellness website

The Health & Wellness Resource Center (HWRC) is an easy-to-use medical database of professional and consumer articles, pamphlets, newsletters, videos, newspapers, and reference materials, designed to make your quest for reliable medical information as simple as 1-2-3.  You can search by disease or condition and find loads of info, as well as the latest in treatment options and drugs.  Want to know how alternative medicine might approach a condition or disease?  HWRC covers that, too!  Just click on the "Alternative Medicine" tab and search for your topic.

HWRC also has reliable information on Drugs and Herbal remedies, so you know what to expect when taking a particular medication.  You can even type in your symptoms ("dry eyes") and see a list of medicine and herbal remedies that can help to alleviate them, along with an explanation of how those remedies work and any possible side effects and warnings.

Directories are also included in HWRC.  Search the Gale Medical Health and Information Directory, as well as the National Directory of Adult & Senior Services, National Directory of Children, Youth & Families Services, National Directory of Mental Health & Addiction Services, and National Directory of AIDS/HIV Resources, Including Infectious Diseases.  Locate up-to-date contact and general information for various service agencies, companies, institutions, foundations, and chapters. 

Need a definition? Mosby's Medical, Nursing and Allied Health Dictionary makes it easy to get the correct medical definition of a word or phrase.

HWRC includes numerous links, by condition, to trusted, free websites.  Each site has been evaluated for accuracy and reliabity, so you know that the information you're getting is of the highest quality.  Want to take an online assessment of your health?  HWRC provides a list of several reputable medical sites that offer online assessment tools for a number of conditions, or just general health. 

How do you access HWRC?  Go to our Online Resources page and locate the resource under "Health".  Or click here to directly to HWRC.  Enter your HPPL card number, without spaces, and you're in!

Questions about using HWRC or any of our online resources?  Call the Reference Desk at 847-681-7031, or email us at



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Have you tried Universal Class?

One of our newer online resources is Universal Class, which offers over 500 online continuing education classes.  The classes meet online, at your convenience, with a real instructor.  Classes cover a wide varierty of subjects: computers, business, arts & photography, crafts, GED prep, health & medicine, writing help, homeschooling, and more!

Classes are available in a diverse range of subjects including computers, business, home & garden, health and medicine, hobbies, and more.  View a listing of class topics.

Get Started!

Step 1: Go to the sign up page to create your account with your user name and password.

Step 2: Go to  to enroll in your class and start learning!

• You are welcome to enroll in up to 5 courses.

• You have up to 6 months to finish each course

• You have access to your course 24/7 via the Internet.

• Attend class and do assignments on your schedule.

• Each course has a real instructor who you may communicate with using e-mail.

note: These are non-credit courses and are provided for your personal enrichment. These courses are not intended to be a substitute for any state, government, licensing, or educational requirements.


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RAILS - Our New Library System!

You may recall that last year the North Suburban Library System (NSLS), of which Highland Park is a member,  was nearly shut down by the lack of state funding. Everything but the most essential services - notably, interlibrary loan - was cut.

Other library systems in Illinois, facing the same budgetary issues, pooled resources with NSLS on July 1st to create RAILS: the Reaching Across Illinois Library System.  Composed of the now-defunct Alliance Library System (ALS), DuPage Library System (DLS), Metropolitan Library System (MLS), North Suburban Library System (NSLS), and Prairie Area Library System (PALS), RAILS now serves more than 3,700 libraries over 27,000 square miles.

How does this affect you?  Service levels will remain the same as before July 1st, so there is no service interruption!  You can read more about RAILS on their website.

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