Halloween at The Prairie State College Library

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INTRODUCTION

      This month the Prairie State College Library is celebrating Halloween by highlighting some of the interesting fiction and non-fiction books that are available for students to check out.  But do you know about the history and significance behind Halloween?


HISTORY AND SIGNIFICANCE

        Did you know that immigrants from Ireland and Scotland introduced Halloween to the US in the early 1800s? (CNN).

            Halloween, along with many of the traditions we know today, can be traced back almost 2,000 years to ancient Celtic traditions and the pagan festival known as “Samhain,” a time when it was believed that the “ghosts of the dead” were beginning their spiritual journey “into the otherworld” (Santino, 2009).  During this time, it was custom for people to sacrifice food and other items, as well as honor those that have passed away by lighting fires (Santino, 2009). As time passed, many attempts were made by missionaries among others to change or eradicate these pagan traditions (Santino, 2009).  However, these customs continued to live on in other holidays, such as the “All Saints Day,” with many of these beliefs and customs eventually coming to be represented in different cultures, such as in England where “cakes were made for the wandering souls” (Santino, 2009). In addition, things such as wearing costumes and treats became popular, traditions stemming from the ancient belief of “souls of the dead,” as well as other entities traveling around (witches, fairies, etc.), and food being offered as a way to honor them (Santino, 2009). Eventually, many of these traditions were introduced into the United States by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland, as well as Africa (Santino, 2009). Today, Halloween is a very popular holiday, with U.S. consumers spending billions of dollars each year and almost half of the population wearing costumes or decorating their home (CNN).


Want to learn more about the history of Halloween, read some scary books with Haunted Houses, or even books with Zombies?  Check out the “Halloween Display” near the Library Classroom to find the books listed below, as well as other interesting books!

   
       
       

referenced works

“Halloween Fast Facts.” CNN. Cable News Network, 15 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/13/us/halloween-fast-facts/>.

Santino, Jack. “Halloween: The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows.” The American Folklife Center. Library of Congress, 2009. Web. 12 Oct. 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html>.

Plagues of the Past

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Credit: NIH

Credit: NIH

Everyone’s worried about Ebola lately, right? Ebola in Texas, West Africa, where will it strike next? What will become of the parts of Africa where it has struck? Well what about all the plagues and diseases of the past?  Ebola isn’t the first disease to strike the world.

There was the Black Death, also known as the Bubonic plague in the 1300s. In four years, it killed “tens of millions of people” in Europe. (source) It’s caused by bacteria, Yersinia Pestis, which overwhelms the immune system. Nowadays, only 5% of those with Bubonic plague may die due to medical intervention, but back in the day, “fifty to ninety percent of untreated” patients would die.

On the plus side, Europe became a lot more sanitary after that, cleaning up the rodents that could have caused the plague. They also started improving diets because those who were weaker, older, or sick already were most of the people who died from the Bubonic plague.

Another disease causing multiple epidemics was smallpox. It was extremely infectious between humans and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in Europe from 1400-1800. It also has hit China, Egypt, and the Roman Empire, causing massive casualties. It only takes 24 hours for the rash to spread over the entire body. Still, death didn’t come for 11-16 days after showing symptoms. It wasn’t until 1967 that the World Health Organization tried to eradicate it globally. At that time the disease was mostly in India. It was considered eradicated after the last case in 1977. (Agents of Bioterrorism by Geoffrey Zubay et al. QR 175.M55)world map

Up until now and since 1976, Ebola has come in outbreaks infecting and killing hundreds, but this time the virus has spread to nearly 5000 people killing 52% of them. (source) There are a few strains of Ebola with varying fatality rates, usually from 50-90%. It can take three weeks for the virus to kill someone, but it can take three months to recover. Since it’s a virus and not a bacterial infection, it is more difficult to create a vaccine for it.

So will there be any changes in Africa once the epidemic ends? Will it be like the plague where they learned from it and improved hygiene practices and diet? Will someone be able to create a vaccine?

I found it very interesting to sit down with a few of these books and skim them for information about plagues and diseases. If you want to learn more about these and other viruses, pandemics, epidemics, and plagues, check out some of the books we have on this topic. You can also visit the QR, microbiology, section of our collection for more books on viruses.

Bioterrorism To Catch a Virus The Viral Storm 50 pandemics Rising Plague

One Book: American Born Chinese

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OneBook: Introduction

Every year the Prairie State College Library selects one book as part of its “One Book” community-wide program to promote literacy and discussion. As you have probably heard, this year’s One Book is “American Born Chinese” by Gene Yang, a graphical novel focusing on three seemingly unrelated, yet interrelated stories dealing with Chinese American identity and American culture.

In preparation for the community’s program on this book, the Prairie State College Library is highlighting some interesting books available on display that relate to the theme of this book. On this display, you will find books on the history of the Chinese Americans, popular Chinese tales, among other topics.  You can find books on all these topics, including those listed below, on the “OneBook” display located next to the Library Classroom.

BOOKS ON DISPLAY


   
       
       

How to search for items within the library only

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Here at PSC we have a wealth of databases and thousands of peer-reviewed journals to browse and download that are available 24/7 (with your PSC email username and password). However we also have books and DVDs that you can check out from the library, everything from graphic novels to fiction to psychology and beyond!OneSearch

To locate only items within the library (like print books or DVDs), start at the same OneSearch box on the library’s homepage.

Once you have entered your title (or any other search terms) you will need to look at the left side of the page and scroll down to Catalog Only. Click the box to limit your search it our Main Collection.

catalog

Then look for the Call No. and that will tell you where the book will be on the shelf. Feel free to ask any librarians for help or visit this previous blog post to learn more about where different sections of the library are!

call

Where Can I Find…in the Library?

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8-26-2014 1-16-11 PM

Welcome or welcome back to the library. A new school year is underway, and the library is here to support you. We have many different resources that we want students, faculty, and staff to be aware of so you can take advantage of them! (Click on the pictures to enlarge them).

DVDsA new and exciting addition to everyone is our DVD display rack. Now you can browse our DVD selection right in the library. Look through the covers, bring the one you want up to the circulation desk with your ID, and borrow DVDs for 7 days! New covers and titles are being added often.

Location: Near the front door of the library, opposite the circulation desk.


ereaderAnother new addition as of this semester is our e-readers. Now you can check out a book from our 3M collection and then check out an e-reader to take home with you for 3 weeks. This way you don’t have to have a phone or other device that you can read it on, and you can take it with you anywhere!

Location: Check books out in catalog, check out e-reader at circulation desk.


reference booksWhat staples do we have to offer you in the library? Besides the usual fiction and nonfiction, we have reference books, graphic novels, books on display, a quiet reading room, study rooms, and more!

Among our reference books are dictionaries, encyclopedias, subject-specific overviews, almanacs. These books cannot be checked out, but you can make limited copies for yourself or use them in the library.

Location: The middle of the library on shorter shelves.


graphic novelsOur graphic novels are very popular in the library, and rightly so I think! I’m a big fan of graphic novels because you can see the characters as the author or illustrator imagined them, and you have to read the pictures just as much as you read the text. They recently moved to being shelved by the fiction but are still pulled out separately.

Location: Back left of the library under the sign that says “Fiction.”


book displayEvery month the librarians put together displays on relevant and/or interesting topics. Our current displays are books on video games and books on back to school. Other displays we have put together include themes like Halloween, Christmas, Going Green, Gardening, the World Cup, Summer Reading, and Poetry Month.

Location: Past the computers, in front of the library classroom.


study room meets quiet roomWe also have a quiet reading room past the circulation desk where there is no talking and you can read or work without distractions. If you have two or more people that want to discuss something or study or work together, there are three study rooms available to reserve for up to 2 hours at a time. This can be done with a student ID up at the circulation desk.

As always, the reference librarians are at the reference desk by the computers ready to help you with your academic needs whenever the library is open. Stop by, interrupt us, and ask away! We’re here for you!

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