Jen Kolan

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.

Stress Relief

During these highly stressful times, it is important to find some ways to relieve stress. Are you interested in trying meditation? How about yoga? We also have resources on tai chi or qigong? Not only are there electronic books on these topics, but there are even video and audio meditations and exercises. All of these materials are free to access with your Moraine Valley library account. If you have any questions, please Ask a Librarian for Help!

Multilingual Information on Covid-19

If you are looking for information on Covid-19 in other languages, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has their information in 16 different languages here.

The World Health Organization‘s website is available in six languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish). You can go to their Covid-19 page. Then in the top right, choose the language.


Illinois Appears to be Making Progress in Flattening the Curve!

According to the chief analytics officer at Rush University Hospital, the stay-at-home order in Illinois appears to be working. He and others at Rush built a Covid-19 forecast model that they made for hospitals, but is available for the general public here. We need to continue to hunker down if we want the curve to flatten more so please continue to stay at home to protect yourself and the people in our community! #stayathome #flattenthecurve






Today is Autism Awareness Day (and Month)!

April is Autism Awareness Month, but April 2nd also happens to be Autism Awareness Day. There are many e-books and some streaming videos available here through our library catalog. You can also try searching for articles in our library databases. Academic Search Complete and PsycArticles are a good place to start. If you are looking for information from a teaching perspective, the Eric database and Professional Development Collection are your best bet. If you need any help, the librarians are all working from home and available to help. Our Ask a Librarian page will get you in touch with us.


April is National Autism Awareness Month - ADAPT Community Network

Update – Keeping You and Your Food Safe

Last week, I posted a video of a doctor showing how to sanitize your groceries when you bring them home. Since then, there have been some articles supporting the need and some disputing it. So I wanted to update you. According to the USDA’s website, “We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.” That said, some are still recommending sanitizing groceries if you or someone in your home is “at higher risk for severe illness“. Here is a Healthline article that may be helpful.



Merriam-Webster Adds “Covid-19” and More to Dictionary

In keeping up with the times, Merriam-Webster has made an unplanned update to their dictionary. Some of these changes are the addition of brand new terms like “Covid-19” and “social distancing”. Others were words they were planning on adding in the next update anyway, and some changes were to existing definitions. You can read all about it here.

Coronavirus in Wisconsin: Latest COVID-19 updates from across the ...



Keeping You and Your Food Safe from Covid-19

Hopefully we are all following the social distancing rules and staying home as much as possible. According to the National Institutes of Health’s webpage, “The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces…..scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.” So, when you need to get groceries or want to support your local restaurant by ordering takeout, do you know how to handle the food and packaging when you get back home? This video by an MD in Michigan details the procedures for sanitizing your groceries and keeping your takeout food safe. It’s been making the rounds on social media and news cites, but just in case you missed it, it’s well worth watching the entire 13+ minutes. (PS – it’s also a good idea to sanitize your mail before you touch it. I’ve been putting mine in quarantine for 3 days.) See my update to this blog post here.









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