Barb Keleher

Chinese New Year 2021

Happy Lunar New Year! The Chinese New Year falls on February 12, 2021 and the celebration lasts for several weeks. “The Chinese Zodiac, a system that has existed in Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years, dictates which animal represents a given year.” The cycle repeats every 12 years, and 2021 is the Year of the Ox.”

The Moraine Valley Library extends a Happy New Year to our International Students from China.

Something Old, Something New

I spent part of the winter break rereading Orwell’s 1984, watching Netflix’s The Rain for the second time and listening to a new musical group, Reina del Cid, that I discovered on YouTube. I had no specific reason why I chose this novel/series/music but I think they were helpful in that I challenged myself to evaluate present beliefs and explore new concepts.

I have read 1984 numerous times in my life. It is interesting to compare and contrast its meaning each time I read it. During high school and college, the plot and the characters were simply fiction to me. As I grew older and read 1984 in graduate school or taught it to high school students, I began to see the novel in a new light. Reading this book at the end of 2020 provided a sense of uneasiness that I usually feel when I read non-fiction books about the state of the world. Also, there is a ABC five part limited series adaption of the novel in the works that addresses numerous issues. “As the world grapples with democracy and government in our divided age of surveillance, ‘fake news’ and truth decay, the urgency of Orwell’s masterpiece is undeniable. The small screen feels like a natural home for his portrait of a society in which people trust their screens more than the world outside their windows.”

I also must confess to a Netflix binge during the winter break. I watched three seasons of The Rain. I initially saw two seasons of this series in the pre-pandemic year, 2019. What a difference viewing it pre-pandemic and in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. While reading and/or watching dystopian material I often wondered how real people would handle every day life. The Rain impacted people more intensely but there were similarities to our present situation. The reviews have been mixed but it is interesting to watch how governments and tech companies handled the disaster.

Finally, my discovery of the musical group Reina del Cid has been enjoyable. Librarian discloser…I feel compelled to include this fun fact about the group. One of their early songs “Library Girl” was filmed in the University of Minnesota library. They do some covers but their original work is excellent. I would highly recommend the weekly program Sundays with Reina del Cid.

I think challenging our minds during these times is important to our mental health. Have a great Spring session.

Veterans Day 2020

Today the MVCC library would like to thank all veterans who have served and continue to serve our country. “Moraine Valley is honored to have those who served our country in the military as members of our college community.” Visit the MVCC Veteran site and explore the numerous resources that the college offers.

National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. The celebration of adoption began in 1976 when Governor M. Dukakis announced that Massachusetts would “promote awareness of the need for adoption for children in foster care”. Here is a brief background on adoption in the United States. The MVCC catalog and databases are an excellent source of information on this topic.

Happy National Adoption wishes to all loving adoptive families.


“The dystopia described in George Orwell’s nearly 70-year-old novel 1984 suddenly feels all too familiar. A world in which Big Brother (or maybe the National Security Agency) is always listening in, and high-tech devices can eavesdrop in people’s homes. (Hey, Alexa, what’s up?)  A world in which the government insists that reality is not “something objective, external, existing in its own right” — but rather, “whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth.” The perfect storm of 2020 is a tense presidential election, a pandemic that sees no end in sight and social upheaval that permeates every corner of the country. It may seem that reading this novel at this time may be counter-productive to one’s mental health. Perhaps it is paramount that we try to understand the past to find solutions to the future. “Today, 1984 reads more than a novel; it’s a prophecy that will sting you with parallels that still hold true some seven decades later.”

Sign into the MVCC Hoopla app and check out a 1984 e-book or a 1984 audio book by George Orwell. Or, perhaps you may want to watch a streaming video of 1984 also on Hoopla. I also plan to read the e-book On 1984. This book discusses the division in America and the similarities of 1984 to our present world.


The Chinese Moon Festival

October 1 marks the mid-autumn festival of the Chinese Moon Festival or Moon Cake Day in China. It traditionally falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. This holiday is the second most important festival in China after the Chinese New Year. Similar to the American Thanksgiving holiday, the Moon Festival celebrates family gatherings. Turkeys symbolize our traditional day of family reunions. The Chinese use the first full moon of October as a symbol of family homecomings. They celebrate this holiday with special moon cakes (cookies), incense, and various symbolic gestures to welcome the full moon.

This Autumn festival is celebrated in other parts of Asia as well. They focus on family gatherings, special foods, and various ceremonies.

Happy Moon Day Festival!

The 19th Anniversary of 9/11

Today marks the anniversary of the terrorist assault on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93. The attacks claimed the lives of 2,977 people.

The MVCC library has an extensive collection of material that may help you understand the initial attack and the tragedy that continues to have long lasting effects on America and the world. You may find this article interesting. The author explores how different generations view the 9/11 tragedy.

Free America Flag Cleaning - Puritan Cleaners

Bird Migration and the Chicagoland Area

Birds from the Northern Hemisphere are seasonal travelers. During the Spring, the birds fly northward to take advantage of the increase of food. As Winter approaches, food decreases and birds make the trip back south.

Cook County pond

“Fall migration is a much less hurried affair for birds compared with spring, when various species are rushing to get to their breeding grounds and find the best place to nest.” Because Chicago is part of the Mississippi Flyway, hundreds of bird species annually traverse from the south to the north and back again. Fall is a great time to look upward and see nature’s aviators maneuver the Chicagoland sky. Area forest preserves are a great place to bird-watch. You need little equipment. Perhaps a pair of binoculars and a bird guide book that you can find in the MVCC library, or add an app to your smart phone.

Actually, bird watching has increased in popularity since the pandemic began. Here are some tips that may help you become interested in this fascinating hobby.  

Labor Day

The celebration of Labor Day began in 1882 as a salute to the workers of New York City. The idea of a special day for the American working class spread throughout the country and on “June 28, 1884, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September a national holiday.”

The history of labor unions in America is important for all of us to know. The MVCC library has a collection of print books (how to check out print books) and ebooks to help us understand the history of the U.S. labor movement. The Chicago labor movement may also interest you. The library also has numerous books on Chicago labor. Another great source for historical news is the Chicago Tribune Historical database. It is amazing to read newspaper articles about past labor unrest in Chicago.

The labor movement in the United States and the city of Chicago is a combination of tribulation and triumph. Enjoy your day off.

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