In the Collection

Blog posts about items in the catalog, ideally with permanent links to catalog records.

Celebrate Indigenous Authors

In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Monday, October 12th, 2020, explore this selection of works by Native American authors available at the library, in print and online.

If you are curious about the history of Indigenous People’s Day, which was first celebrated in Berkeley, California in 1992 and is observed in an increasing number of cities and states, check out the American Indian Center of Chicago’s page.

Click on the virtual display below to view selected works:

Celebrate Indigenous Authors

Explore Nobel Prize Winner Louise Glück’s Poetry

Louise Glück – Photo gallery. Nobel Media AB 2020. Thu. 8 Oct 2020.

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the celebrated American poet Louise Glück on Thursday. The Nobel Committee cited “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal” in the award announcement.

To learn more about Glück and her career as a poet, check out her Poetry Foundation biography or read the New York Times article about the Nobel Prize announcement in the Library databases.


Find Glück’s collected poetry in POEMS 1962-2012, which includes poems from her Pulitzer Prize winning book The Wild Iris, and other works in our print collection.

Glück has also published extensively in literary magazines. Find her works online through the Library in The New Yorker and American Poetry Review.

Find an audio recording of “The Golden Lily,” one of Glück’s most studied poems and audio recordings and text of many other poems available from the Academy of American Poets.

Debunking Electoral College Myths

In most U.S. elections, the winner of the popular vote is the winner of the election. As we have seen many times, that is not always the case in the presidential election due to our Electoral College system. In particular, the winner-take-all laws in many states have resulted in the winner of the popular vote losing the election. This has led to millions of votes being effectively ignored and swing states, and swing state issues, carrying more weight than others.

Many people, for many years, have felt that the Electoral College system is unfair. It is a system that came about because of slavery and the result is that some votes count more than others. Since 1797, there have been roughly 800 attempts in Congress to get rid of the system. These have come from states both large and small and from both sides of the aisle. Defenders of the Electoral College point to reasons like: It protects small states. It’s what The Founders wanted. The way it works is written into the Constitution. Democrats will always win without it.

These are all myths. There is a way to fix it. Watch this short, informative video from The New York Times to find out more. To delve even deeper into the topic, these books from the MVCC Library are a great next step.

It Is Officially Spooky Season!

I know, I know, this whole year has kind of felt like “spooky season” right? But now that it is October 1st, I feel like I can officially break out the scary movies. Here are some titles that are available to stream at any time through some of Moraine Valley Library’s online services:

Get Out (2017) - IMDb
Get Out: A young Black man visits his white girlfriend’s family and discovers the sinister reason for the invitation
Sleepy Hollow (1999) - Photo Gallery - IMDb
Sleepy Hollow: Based on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a detective is called to investigate a series of murders in which victims’ heads go missing
Suspiria (1977) - IMDb
Suspiria: A newcomer to a ballet academy discovers the school is a cover for something supernatural after a series of murders
Psycho (1960) - IMDb
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho: The tale of an ill-fated traveler who checks into the Bates Motel

These are just some options to get a good horror movie marathon going. Don’t forget to check out all that is available on Hoopla, Kanopy, and Swank!

New E-book Spotlight: September Roundup

The Library acquired access to two new collections of e-books over the summer, University Press Scholarship and Wiley Online Library. To introduce these new collections, we are featuring e-book selections on our social media platforms (Follow the Library on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!) and the Library blog and bringing all the recommendations together in a monthly roundup virtual display!

Check out the virtual book display below for the New E-book Spotlight picks for September.

MVCC Library E-Book Spotlight

Guest Post: How You Can Read 200 Books In a Year?

This is a guest column from faculty member Jason King who teaches geography and math. Professor King contributes semi-regular posts to this blog.
It’s hard to make time to read for pleasure and as you age into this mad world, it doesn’t get any easier. And there’s so much to learn out there! If you’re living an ascetic life because of Covid, at least it may be possible to come out of it with a wealth of information only books can give you.

By the end of today I’ll probably have read 200 books this year.* How did I do it? I’m not blessed with excessive time, nor do I have a fortune to spend on books. Here’s what I’ve been doing since 2017 to get 150 books read a year.

  1. Try to find reading synergies in your life. If reading has to be done as a substitute for other things – you either drive to work or you read, for example – it’s always going to be hard to find time. But if you can use these as a complement your potential for reading more can increase drastically. I read when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, when my kids are playing at the park, when I’m on a treadmill, when insomnia hits. I used to be a snob about e-Readers, but now most of my reading happens on a Kindle Paperwhite – if I had a more advanced model I’d get more distracted than I already am.
  2. Use the library. Buying 200 books would be difficult on a lot of budgets and floorplans – it would cost a ton of money and take up a lot of space, and I don’t reread books very often. I use two library apps, Hoopla and Libby, in a combination of my local library and Moraine’s library, on which I can always find something I want to read. I still buy books when I find ones that are tough to find but it’s more rare now.
  3. Audiobooks are books, too. Some snobs think that listening to audiobooks isn’t the same as reading audiobooks – the research suggests that retention and brain usage are basically the same in either medium, so I do count audiobooks. For me, opening up audiobooks as a reading option opens up a lot of time to read. I listen to audiobooks when I’m doing dishes, doing the laundry, driving to and from places, hiking, and shopping, and sometimes playing video games. If I get cut off in traffic it’s possible I lose some of the material, but I can always rewind – and, to be frank, I sometimes space out when I read paper books as well.

    Sometimes this irritates my family, when they have to ask me something twice because I couldn’t hear them the first time. 🙂
  4. If you’re listening to audiobooks, don’t be afraid to try listening to them at higher speeds. Using Hoopla and Libby allows you to listen to audiobooks at accelerated reading paces – I regularly listen to audiobooks at 2x speed, but sometimes at 2.5x or even 3x. This isn’t as awkward as it sounds – some narrators read glacially.
  5. Book selection is key. For me there’s a bunch of important aspects of picking books:
    –Many of my favorite books are contingent on time and place. Some books are great when you’re exploring an idea in your own life and reading them later on would make them feel redundant and irritating. Other books are great, but need to be read after education and experiences are cultivated. Some books I’ve tried to read when I was preoccupied or angry and my opinion of them was colored by the environment of my life. Some books should be read when an expert opinion guiding you through them.
    –If books are like food, I have found it’s good to make sure you allow yourself cheat days. Reading only classics or higher-level academic stuff gets boring, but reading only pulp fiction and easy-to-read material also feels gross after awhile. No matter what, it’s still better to eat only junk than to starve.
  6. Use a tracker to keep you honest, if you think it would help. I like tracking my books on Goodreads – it lets me log my books read, pages read, helps me set a reading goal, and can even make recommendations if you need some ideas on what to read.

I’ve included some of my favorite library books I’ve read this year. Feel free to send me questions or ideas on good books if you have any!

Deep River by Karl Marlantes (audio book, ebook)

Calypso by David Sedaris (print book)

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (audio book)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (ebook, print book)

The Counterlife by Philip Roth

  • *By the end of September 5, I read another, so I’m now at 201 for the year.

Are There Really Farting Microbes on the Planet Venus? This is a Job for Research!

Maybe you were scrolling through a news feed today and saw some headlines about aliens on Venus, or at least this weird gas that maybe means aliens. Maybe you’re not sure what to make of that or even if it’s true.

So we’ve got this library full of reliable news sources and books just waiting to be explored. Let’s do a little SCIENCE RESEARCH!

Oh, come on, don’t you want to know about the alleged aliens? Let’s check out some different databases and see what we can find!

If we’re looking for science news, a great place to start is Science Magazine Online, where we can find a news article describing the research that lead to the discovery.

If we are looking for more news, maybe we should try a news database, like the New York Times. If we search “life on Venus” under news, we find another article about the research that looks at this specific gas found in the Venusian atmosphere that we know is produced on Earth by tiny microbes. The production of that gas could mean there are living microbes, like bacteria, in the Venusian clouds! ALIEN BACTERIA!

Maybe now you’ve been bit by the knowledge bug and you want know more about Venus or the other planets. Follow me down the rabbit hole of astronomy information! We’ve got some great books in our collection that you can find through our Catalog! You might find a few books that look interesting…

As for life on Venus, we may not have the answer yet, but with a little bit of research we can discover what the headlines really mean. It wasn’t that bad, was it?

Librarians are always ready to help you dig into the databases to find what you need. All you have to do is ask us!

Chicago Poets: Past and Present

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
–From “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg

The Carl Sandburg’s poem “Chicago” presents an iconic and enduring image of the city of Chicago. Sandburg was a long-time Chicago resident, and the city was often featured in his poems. But what makes a poet a “Chicago Poet?” A poet born in Chicago? Lived in Chicago? Someone who wrote poetry in or about Chicago? An artist embraced by the City? (For an in-depth exploration of this question, check out the Chicago Magazine article “Is Chicago the Poetry Capitol of America?“).

However you define a Chicago poet, the city has produced some of the greats, including Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, One Book selection 1919 author Eve L. Ewing, and many others. Check out the Library’s collection of works by Chicago poets, both past and present, in the virtual book display below:

Chicago Poets

And dive deep into the Library’s collection of One Book selection 1919 author Eve L. Ewing:

Eve L. Ewing

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.

Get to Know Eve L. Ewing, Author of the One Book selection 1919

Photo credit: Nolis Anderson

Eve L. Ewing, the author of the 20-21 One Book selection 1919, is a scholar, writer, artist, cultural organizer, and according to the bio on her website “made in Chicago.”

One of the things that makes Ewing unique is the wide range of her work, from poetry to scholarly texts, from podcasts to graphic novels. 

Explore her works available through the library below:

Eve L. Ewing

Ewing is amazingly prolific; her work is everywhere online. Here are a few interesting items:

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