New to Collection – Graphic Novel on Hurricane Katrina

DrownedCityLast August, 2015 was the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which greatly affected the greater New Orleans area of Louisiana. New to our collection is a graphic novel depiction of this event titled Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, written & illustrated by Don Brown. Considering many graphic novels are fictionalized stories, this is a very moving, illustrated portrayal of an environmental disaster appealing to children and adults alike.

I have also been reading a book on Hurricane Katrina that portrays the dire circumstances endured by one of the New Orleans hospitals. It is titled Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink. Without giving too much of the plot away, medical personnel in the hospital started making life and death decisions regarding Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) patients who were barely hanging on to be rescued. I am citing this book because below are two illustrations from the above mentioned graphic novel, depicting the harrowing situations faced in some of the flooded hospitals.


While we do not carry Fink’s book in our library collection, I will demonstrate how to request an item by Interlibrary Loan in my next blog post! But if you can, read these two books together as they complement each other rather nicely.

Drowned City can be located in our catalog here.

Read an excerpt of Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial here and see if you would like to order this from another library. If you would like to request a certain item be added to our collection, fill out the form here.

New to Collection: “Capitalism: a Love Story” by Michael Moore

MichaelMooreA must see movie this election season is Michael Moore’s Capitalism: a Love Story. IMDB summarizes the film as examining “the impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world). The film moves from Middle America, to the halls of power in Washington, to the global financial epicenter in Manhattan. With both humor and outrage, the film explores the question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Families pay the price with their jobs, their homes, and their savings. Moore goes into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere. What he finds are the all-too-familiar symptoms of a love affair gone astray: lies, abuse, betrayal. . .and 14,000 jobs being lost every day. ‘Capitalism: a Love Story’ also presents what a more hopeful future could look like. Who are we and why do we behave the way that we do?”

No matter what side of the political aisle you fall, you will take away various interesting tidbits, such as plutonomy: “a term that Citigroup analysts have used for economies where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few.” Also, according to Moore, the top 1% are afraid because the middle and lower classes (the 99%) have the larger vote. One person, one vote. . .so use it wisely!your-vote-counts

The DVD can be located here in our catalog. If you are a fan of Michael Moore, check out some of his other movies we have in our collection.

Check Out Our New DVDs – Including “Star Wars : The Force Awakens!”

freedvdcover_star_wars_the_force_awakens_2015_custom_front-610x410In honor of National Library Week (April 10-16, 2016), come visit us in the library and check out some of the other items in our collection, such as DVDs! We have a wide variety of newly released DVD movies…for instance, Star Wars : The Force Awakens. You can locate it in our collection here.

To search our collection for DVDs, go to our main library page, click on “Research Tools,” enter the search term “motion picture” into the search box which will direct you here. Once on the search results page, you can narrow down your search by clicking on the “DVD” format tag and further narrow your search by “publish date” (year).

*Also to note, our lending policy on A/V materials (which includes DVDs) has been extended to 2 weeks. Our Lending Policy webpage can be located here.*

So come in and pick up a movie or two!

New to Collection – The Hobbit Illustrated Edition

hobbit-illustrated-jemima-catlin-hardcoverCalling all Hobbit and Tolkien fans (young and not so young)! New to our library’s collection is the beautifully illustrated, and bound, 2013 edition of The Hobbit. Jemima Catlin won the distinct pleasure of creating this children’s illustrated edition by way of a university final art project. She decided to create an illustrated edition of another Tolkien short story, titled Roverandom, for her university final. In doing so, she contacted HarperCollins Publishers asking if they could send her the Roverandom text so she could bind it together with her illustrations, into a book, for her project. As a result, the publisher contact asked her to send him a sample of her project. After an in-person meeting, the publisher sent her project on to the Tolkien estate. While Christopher Tolkien (Tolkien’s youngest son) and his wife didn’t feel her illustrations were representative of Tolkien’s Roverandom tale, she was contacted one year later for a meeting with the Tolkien’s to discuss her illustrating a children’s version of The Hobbit. The result is located here in our collection.

Taken from an interview on the Tolkien Library website, she discusses where her idea for the illustrated cover came from. “TL. I’d wish to add one final question to the interview. Looking at the hobbit sitting against the tree on the cover, is this referring to the famous picture of Tolkien? Showing him as a hobbit? Guess he must have like that!

There is a long story behind the cover! I’ll try to keep it shortish though:
The cover illustration for The Hobbit is inspired by the cover for ‘The Red Fairy Book’ by Andrew Lang. I came across this book while searching ‘red book’ on google images for inspiration for the cover. The image on the front of the Red Fairy Book shows a lady leaning against a tree, and this reminded me of the famous photo of Tolkien sitting at the foot of a tree. JRR-Tolkien-Sitting-Author1I thought it would be nice to draw Bilbo in the same position as Tolkien from that famous photo, a way of including him in my drawing somehow.  A month later, before drawing the cover illustration, I found out that The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang was one of Tolkien’s favourite books as a child and a big influence on him! This spooky coincidence lead me to drawing Bilbo at the foot of a tree in the same position as Tolkien, and with trailing vines opposite – similar to The Red Fairy Book. Bilbo had to be facing the other way though so that the tree trunk could wrap around the spine – so this slightly disguised the fact that he was sitting in a similar position to Tolkien” (Collier).

To read more of Jemima Catlin’s interview on the Tolkien Library’s website click here.

To visit her webpage click here.



Works Cited

Catlin, Jemima. The Hobbit. n.d. Website. 22 March 2016. <>.

Collier, Pieter . “Interview with Jemima Catlin about the new illustrated edition of The Hobbit.” 10 June 2013. Tolkien Library. Electronic resource. 22 March 2016. <>.

Quick Searching on Presidential Candidates’ Issues

Primary2016The Illinois Presidential Primary and State Primary election is coming up on March 15, 2016. If you haven’t had much time to look in depth at the presidential candidates’ individual websites, or you’re looking for a quicker option/comparison, Google has a way! Go to Google, input any presidential candidate’s name and the word “stance” (unquoted) into the search box.


The results are presented in a box titled “Issues” with drop down arrows. Once you click on the arrow for a particular issue you’re presented with quotes from the candidate (from different sources) on that particular issue, showing their stance.


To learn more about using this tool read On the Road to the 2016 Elections with Google Search.”

*The contents of this blog post do not express the author’s or MVCC’s political views.*

“War and Peace” 2016 Television Adaptation

War and peaceIf you’ve been watching the BBC miniseries adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (being simultaneously broadcast on Lifetime, A&E, and History networks) and you’re interested in comparing it to the written word, please check out one of our copies. We have two (2) hardcover novels located here and here. We also have an eBook format that is available through Project Gutenberg.

• To access the free eBook format, browse over to the main MVCC library page.
• Click on “Research Tools”.
• In the box titled “Search Books, DVDs, Videos, & More” click on the “Ebooks” link.
• Select the drop down “Title” and enter War and Peace:

**Click on the screen shots for a larger view.

Search War and peace
• Click on “Search.
• This will take you to the one (1) result of the War and Peace eBook:

War and peace Ebook

• Click on the “To access ebook” link
• You will be re-directed to the Project Gutenberg War and Peace page:


• From here you can choose to read the book online, send to Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, or read the file on a Kindle (file links with and without images) or an iPad (using the EPUB links with or without images).
**And again, the eBook format is free through Project Gutenberg!

Read the review on the 2016 adaptation of War and Peace.

Browse here to learn more about free ebooks by Project Gutenberg.

New to the Collection: “Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility” 2 Disc DVD Set

SenseAndSensibilityIf you are a fan of Jane Austen and Downton Abbey, you’ll want to check out this DVD set to tide you over until the new (and final) season of Downton starts in January on PBS. It’s a BBC television adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

In Sense & Sensibility, Dan Stevens (best known for his role as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey) plays Edward Ferrars. Elinor Dashwood likes Edward until she finds out the devastating news that Edward has been secretly engaged for four years. Will Elinor find happiness with Edward or another suitor?

Also included in this 2 DVD set is Miss Austen Regrets, “the new BBC biopic based on the letters of Jane Austen” (DVD container). Jane reveals to her niece why she never married, and also remembers the man who got away, Reverend Brook Bridges, played by Hugh Bonneville (best known for his role as Robert Crawley on Downton Abbey).

It’s interesting to watch actors in other roles before they became famous for the best known ones!

Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility DVD set can be found here in our catalog.

Search for other Jane Austen materials here.

And if you’d rather just binge watch Downton Abbey until the premiere of the final season, click here for available seasons on DVD.


New to the Collection: “American Qur’an” Book

American Qur'anIf you are coming to MVCC’s library to visit the “A is for Arab” traveling exhibit, which is on display from November 5 through December 10, please also check out the “American Qur’an” book which is new to our collection. The beautifully illustrated, oversized, book was created by Sandow Birk over a 9 year period. It contains all 114 suras (chapters of the Qur’an) paired with scenes from American contemporary life.

To read about the background of Birk’s beautiful book, and to see samples of the illustrations,  click here. To locate “American Qur’an” in our collection click here.

New to the Collection: “The Shining” DVDs

KubrickIf you are looking for a good horror film to curl up on the couch and watch this Halloween, check out “The Shining” DVDs. It is available in two different versions. You might ask “What is the other version? I only remember the famous Stanley Kubrick/Jack Nicholson one!”

Here’s a little back story: apparently Stephen King didn’t really “approve” of Stanley Kubrick’s version, as he felt the adaptation leant itself more towards the supernatural elements versus the important themes of his novel, such as the alcoholism of the lead character. King’s novel was almost autobiographical as he was struggling with alcoholism, so the story was very personal to him. Therefore, in 1997, King decided to produce his own adaptation for television, starring Rebecca De Mornay and Steven Weber (of “Wings” fame). King’s adaptation focused more on the lead character’s alcoholism, and also had a stronger female lead in the wife, as opposed to Shelley Duvall’s portrayal in Kubrick’s version. While King’s version was panned by critics, I think it’s a good idea to watch both adaptations of his novel and decide for yourself which you prefer.

To watch a video of the differences between King’s novel and Kubrick’s adaptation click here.

To find Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” in our collection click here.

To find Stephen King’s television adaptation in our collection click here.King

And if this doesn’t suit your fancy search for “Horror films” at our library and check out other scary DVDs for Halloween!

Changes Coming to FAFSA Filing in Late 2016

fafsa1Starting next Fall (around October 2016) it will get easier to apply for student financial aid! Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, students and families will be able to submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) starting October 2016, instead of having to wait until after January 2017.

“Under the current aid rules, students planning to attend college next September can’t file a FAFSA until January. They will probably apply later, since the FAFSA requires information from their family’s 2015 tax return, which is due in April. When the new rules go into effect next fall, students planning to attend college in September 2017 will be able to file the FAFSA as early as October 2016. They will do so using data from (already filed) 2015 tax returns. This means they have information about their federal aid eligibility as they consider where to apply to college. By filing the FAFSA earlier, they also maximize their chances of getting money from state aid programs that ration aid by giving grants only to those who apply early”(Dynarski, 2015). The change occurred by not having to use the prior year’s tax return information, instead using income from two years earlier.

*While the change is still a way off, if you have any questions or concerns regarding this or current FAFSA procedures, don’t hesitate to contact our Financial Aid Office in Building S, Room 107, or call them at 708-974-5726.

To read more about this, check out “Applying for Financial Aid Is About to Get Easier” from The New York Times, and “FAFSA Reform” from Inside Higher Ed. You can also check out the resources MVCC Library has by searching “Student aid” at our website.