Jen Kolan

The Science Behind Why We Wear Masks

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Do you remember at the beginning of the pandemic when many were saying that masks don’t protect against Covid-19? At the time, based on a long standing myth in the physics, it was thought that the virus could not be airborne because the particles were too large to remain aerosol. Last summer, a group of scientists challenged that thought which finally lead the World Health Organization and CDC to acknowledge that SARS-CoV-2 is, in fact, airborne. You can read about the origin of the myth and the research that lead to uncovering it in Wired magazine’s article, The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup that Helped Covid Kill. You can also read about it in this British Medical Journal editorial, Covid-19 Has Redefined Airborne Transmission or this government document Dismantling Myths on the Airborne Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). If you would like to do more research on SARS-CoV-2 or any other scientific topic, you can try one of the Moraine Valley Library’s science databases or our nursing and biological science databases. For help with this or any other research inquiries, the librarians are always happy to help. Just Ask a Librarian.

And the Oscar Goes to…

Last night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (also known as “The Academy”) gave the award for Best Picture of the Year to the movie Nomadland. We don’t own the movie yet, but the library does have copies of Nomadland, the book both in print and as an e-audio book. The book and movie tell the story of a woman who lives out of her van while traveling around the American west looking for work. A few of the actresses in the movie are actual van-dwelling nomads in real life. Hopefully we will have the movie soon, but in the meantime, you can check out some of the previous Best Picture winners from the library. Click on the image below to get to a list with descriptions and available options (including the books if we own them and they share the same name as the film).

Image of theater seats and stage








1919 author, Eve L. Ewing, on Charter Schools

If you’ve been following our One Book, One College programming this year, you already know Eve L. Ewing, author of 1919 and other books and articles.  A couple of weeks ago, her opinion piece, Can We Stop Fighting about Charter Schools? was published in The New York Times. As a sociologist and educator, she is often asked about her thoughts on the topic. In this piece she argues that, we need “political leaders to abandon some of the principles that have guided education policy in our generation.” She says “we need to replace the fight over charter schools with the assertion that every child deserves a great school,” and to do that, we need to take “seriously the ‘educators don’t get paid enough’ realizations of 2020” and address “the teacher shortage that is going to worsen in the aftermath of the pandemic,” (Ewing, 2021).

If the topic of charter schools interest you, the library can help. You can find books on charter schools in our library catalog.  If you are looking for articles, our education databases are a good place to start. You can also find articles on the topic in our news databases and many of our multiple subject databases. When in doubt, be sure to Ask a Librarian!

Ewing, E. L. (2021, Feb 22). Can we stop fighting about charter schools? New York Times (Online) Retrieved from https://go.openathens.net/redirector/morainevalley.edu?url=https://www.proquest.com/newspapers/can-we-stop-fighting-about-charter-schools/docview/2493195195/se-2?accountid=1977

Relax and Check out our Streaming Video and DVD Collection

Once finals are over, I’m sure you are all looking to do some relaxing. We have all kinds of streaming videos and DVDs in our collection for your enjoyment. Looking to stream one of our feature films? Or would you prefer to check out the feature films in our DVD collection? Do you like documentaries? Here are our streaming documentaries. We have many documentaries in our DVD collection as well. Are you a stand up comedy fan? We’ve got you covered. We have stand up comedy in our streaming collection. Here are our stand up comedy DVDs. We even have streaming audio stand up comedy. If you need help with these, or any of our resources, remember to Ask a Librarian. Here are some of my streaming films:

Some of Jen's Favorite Streaming Films

Voting for Judges

Voting for judges has always seemed weird for me. How does the average person know if a judge is qualified? This is especially difficult in Cook County where there are so many judges (62 on the ballot). Worry not, the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screenings has compiled a grid that will help you. Each candidate is rated by up to 12 different Bar Associations on whether they are qualified and/or recommended. They have a separate page that summaries judicial candidate recommendations; it even states which associations said no. If you want to look more in depth, Injustice Watch has a Check your Judges page. If you live in another county, the Illinois State Bar Association reviews judicial candidates by county.

File:3D Judges Gavel.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Access Denied

Have you ever found an interesting article in your social media, but you couldn’t read it without unblocking ads or subscribing to the publication?  I had this happen to me recently when I found an interesting article entitled Can Books Compete With Netflix? Yes, and Here’s Why. It was published in the Wall Street Journal so when I tried to open it, I hit a paywall. Instead of paying for a subscription, I remembered that I can check to see if it’s in our Wall Street Journal database.  Did you know that we have access to 100’s of magazine and and academic journals through our databases?  You just need to go to our Research Tools page and either go to “All Databases” or choose a subject category underneath.

Partial view of the of the Research Databases List with a red arrow pointing toward All Databases

The Wall Street Journal database is under “News”.  I did a search in the database for the article title, and I found it!  Some publications don’t allow access to ALL of their articles so sometimes you may not be able to find what you are looking for.  If that ever happens, the library can order the article from other libraries through our Interlibrary loan form, but sometimes, we may be able to find it in one of our other databases. The librarians are always happy to help, so please Ask a Librarian for help. If the article I was looking for interests you, here is a link to it in the WSJ database. Can Books Compete with Netflix? To read it, you will need to log in with your MV user name and password.

Lord of the Flies

In researching for a book entitled Humankind: A Hopeful History (due out this June), historian and author, Rutger Bregman came across a story of some schoolboys who were shipwrecked just like the fictional characters in William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. The boys set off in a stolen boat from the island of Tonga and after getting caught up in a storm, they ended up shipwrecked on the island of Ata.  Unlike the boys in the fictional story, all six of these boys survived.  You can read the real boys’ story in this article, also written by Rutger Bregman, entitled “The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months”.  There is a follow up article interviewing one of the boys who is now a 73 year old; it’s entitled “The ‘real Lord of the Flies’: a survivor’s story of shipwreck and salvation”.  If you’ve never read the Lord of the Flies novel, it is available as an Ebook and and Eaudiobook through our library catalog.  If you are interested in other stories of shipwrecks (real and fictional), we have some of those as well. You can also read a blog post from earlier this week about Recently Discovered Shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. If you need help accessing the resources mentioned in this post, or you have any other questions, please Ask a Librarian for help. 

Boat, Sea, Sky, Landscape, Nature, Beach, Sand, Old


De-stress with Nature

Spring is my favorite time of year. I love all the flowers, ornamental trees, and seeing everything turn green. I find spending time in nature definitely helps lower my stress level. This year, because of the pandemic, many natural areas are closed or restricted, but there are still many open.

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the following state parks in Northeastern Illinois remain open for limited day use: “Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park / North Point Marina, Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Goose Lake Prairie State Natural AreaIllinois and Michigan Canal State Trail (includes Buffalo Rock, Channahon, Gebhard Woods, and William G Stratton), Kankakee River State Park, Moraine Hills State Park, Silver Springs State Fish & Wildlife Area, Volo Bog State Natural Area.” “Parks will be open from sun-up to sundown. Guests will be allowed to engage in activities such as wildlife observation, hiking, biking, equestrian use and fishing (both from the bank and boats with a limit of two persons per boat. For additional information on recreational boating, please see guidance issued by DCEO) and mushroom hunting. All visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, shelter reservations, interpretive educational programs, beaches, special events and concessions will remain closed; turkey hunting will remain suspended at state parks.” Remember to social distance and to only gather with members of your household.

Some of the Forest Preserves of Cook County are also open for day use, with restrictions that are currently in place until May 31st. “We urge you to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask when in the forest preserves.” They also ask that you only visit with members of your household, do not use the picnic tables, and if you need to, step off the trails to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. For more information on their restrictions and for a list of closures, please refer to the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Covid-19 news page. You should also know that other counties may be restricting usage to residents only.

I wish I had a spring photo of the geese at Saganashkee Slough, but this one from March will have to do.


Sesame Street and Covid-19

I know that many of our faculty, staff, and students are parents. As a parent myself, I wanted to share this with all of you. This Saturday, April 25th, The ABC’s of Covid 19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents” will air at 8:00 AM Central time on CNN and CNN.com and other CNN options listed in this article. The people at Sesame Street have also put together a list of resources for children and families. In addition to the town hall, Sesame Street has aired other short videos about social distancing, hand washing, etc. Those can be access on Youtube here. I wanted to include this public service announcement from Elmo’s dad. While my children are older than the target audience for Sesame Street, this PSA still made my eyes a bit leaky.

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