Try Some Classical Holiday Music

While it’s certainly not hard to find Christmas and other holiday music this time of year, some of it gets a little repetitive after a while. Why not try something a little different from the usual carols and popular renditions? Some of the great pieces of classical music were written for the events and celebrations of the season, so this is a perfect time to give a listen to them!

In order to get to this music, you can use a great site called Naxos Music Library.


Naxos Music Library logo

Naxos has tons of a fantastic classical music, over 1.7 million tracks, all available for streaming directly from a computer. Because the site is only available to students, faculty, and staff at Prairie State College, you will need to log in if you are listening from off-campus, just follow the on-screen directions.

To get started right away, just enter your keyword in the search bar up at the top and click search:

Naxos Music Library search bar

Then, when you’ve found something you want to listen to, click on the title. You’ll be presented with a list of tracks. Check off the ones you want to try, and then click on the play button on the left:

Naxos Music Library play instructions

Here are some interesting pieces to try out before you get searching on your own!

J.S. Bach – Christmas Oratorio

J.S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio

G.F. Handel – Judas Maccabaeus

G.F. Handel - Judas Maccabaeus

Anonymous (Performed by Sequentia)Verbum Patris Humanatur

Sequentia - Shining Light


Science Fiction and Fantasy. What is the Difference?

Applied Science and technology are central to the Science Fiction genre. Science Fiction is also called Speculative Fiction because it is written with the question in mind, “What if?” (Seed 2). Common settings are: Earth, near space, or the interior of the Earth, and narratives may emphasize historical or political events. Narratives may also be spiritual (Star Wars), and even didactic in some cases. Protagonists can be human or alien (Films: E.T. the Extraterrestrial and District 9.)

Science Fiction may be set in dystopian or utopian societies (Snowpiercer and The Hunger Games series.) Often, a narrative can begin with a utopian society that actually turns out to be dystopian for some of the characters involved (Films: Elysium, and After Earth.) Dystopian narratives can fall under the Post-Apocalyptic fiction genre (The Road), but there are differences still between Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic fiction (See Prairie State Library resources for further details.) Post-Apocalyptic fiction is usually set in a world after some catastrophic event.

On the other hand, Fantasy authors often construct worlds of their imagination (Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.) Think dragons, fairies, and witches ( A Game of Thrones.) Fantasy can also include darker, more horrific characters such as orcs, vampires or werewolves (Interview with the Vampire and True Blood: The Sookie Stackhouse series.)

Both genres can include elements of the other, and rely heavily on the tension between the light and dark nature of existence.

Want to read from the Science Fiction or Fantasy genre? Want to use this as a research topic? Prairie State Library has the resources that you need!

Source: Seed, David. Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

The Number 13 and Friday: An Unlucky Combo

How did Friday the 13th come to be so revered as an unlucky day? Check out some of these fun facts below ….

Norse MythologyLoki Bound: There were 12 gods gathered at a feast when Loki, the trickster god, entered. Balder, who was protected against all forms of wood, with the one exception of mistletoe by his mother Frigg. Because he loved chaos, Loki tricked the blind god, Hod to throw mistletoe at Balder. Hod ended up throwing it through Balder’s heart which killed him. From this act, Odin foresees Loki’s role in the “Twilight of the Gods” and the end of the world and punishes Loki by chaining him to a rock.

Knights Templar: the arrest of Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, did occur on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307. On Friday the 13th in 1307, thousands of Knights Templar were arrested on orders from King Philip IV of France because of suspicions that their secret initiation rituals made them “enemies of the faith.” After years of torture, they were burned at the stake. Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code popularized the link between the Knights Templar and Friday the 13th.

Christianity: Judas was the 13th person to come to the Last Supper. Friday is considered to be the day that the crucifixion took place on.

Muslim: Eve is said to have tempted Adam on a Friday.

Another states that the superstition regarding Friday comes from Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales,” published in the 14th century, where Friday is considered a day of misfortune and ill luck “on a Friday fell all this mischance.”

Witches Covens have 13 members (12 witches and the Devil). Friday is the day of the Witches’ Sabbath

Friday was for many years the day of execution of criminals, commonly called “hangman’s day” in Britain.

There is a phobia known as friggatriskaidekaphobia. The word comes from “Frigga,” the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named, and “triskaidekaphobia,” or fear of the number thirteen. It is also sometimes called “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” from the Greek “Paraskevi” for Friday, “Dekatreis” for thirteen and “phobia” for fear.

In fact, the number 13 has been considered cursed across the world for thousands of years. The number 12 is historically considered the number of completeness. There are 12 months of the year, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 hours of the clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus, 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, among many incidences of the pattern historically.

Rex, J. (2000). It’s Friday the 13th, a day with a history. Advertiser, The (Adelaide).

International Business, T. (2012). Friday the 13th: History, Origins, Myths and Superstitions of the Unlucky Day. International Business Times.

2015 Award Winners and Finalists

medalsStop by the Library this month to check out our display filled with current and previous winners of book awards or continue reading to see this years winners and finalists.

Pulitzer Prize:

Honoring excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917.

National Book Award:

Celebrating the best of American literature and enhancing the cultural value of great writing in America.

Nobel Prize for Literature:

Awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel, produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”

Man Booker Prize:

The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers.

National Book Critics Circle Award:

The National Book Critics Circle honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature.

Caldecott and Newbery Medal:

The Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children” and the Newbery Medal is awarded to “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”.

Check This Book Out! Man Booker Prize Winner 2015

Set in 1970s Jamaica, author Marlon James’s third novel explores crime, corruption, and the attempted assassination of Reggae music legend, Bob Marley. This epic tale is narrated in several voices: from the young street hustler to the most powerful in Jamaican politics, from woman to man, and from Jamaican dialect to English. James crafts a powerful tale that is sure to capture the reader’s imagination.

Check out this novel and other new books in our collection:


One Book: The Signal and the Noise.


This year’s One Book selection is The Signal and the Noise.  Go to the One Book One Community website to find out more information.  For other books about real world mathematics and statistics, check out the book display outside the Library Classroom.  Take a look at some of the titles we have…


How Did that Start: Halloween

Sign2015October is upon us and that means it’s that time when the leaves start turning red and gold, days get shorter, and nights get colder. It’s a time where brisk winds bring upon noises you’re not sure you’re really hearing, and where shadows dance around with your fears. With October comes one of the very best holidays, in my opinion, Halloween. Halloween is the one day of the year where everybody confronts their fears and fantasies by dressing up in costumes, sneaking off into the night, and performing mischief. It is also a time where mother nature sets the perfect mood for you to sit down with a scary book or horror film. Likewise, kids get to experience the ultimate of sugar rushes as they go door-to-door collecting gumballs, candies, and gelled popcorn creations. Like most holidays, Halloween did not just spring to life in America; it came to us through thousands of years of growth and change, passing from culture to culture, from the Ancient Irish to the Roman Empire and several others all putting their stamp on it.

For the most part, Halloween was believed to start as part of the Celtic religion’s New Year celebration, Samhain, which occurred on November 1st. It was on the day before Samhain, that the Celtic people believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became paper thin and blurred. During this time the ghosts of the dead could return and once again walk the face of the earth. To ward off the spirits, Druids would build huge sacred bonfires and offer sacrifices of corn and animals to the deities. Citizens, likewise, would dress in costumes of animal heads and skins to hide themselves from the spirits. People would also burn effigies depicting their fears, and since the reality boundary was so thin, they felt that it was a prime time for fortune-telling.

In 43 AD, the Roman Empire finished conquering the lands of the Celtic people. Always good for taking someone else’s traditions and combining them with their own, Rome, decided to merge Samhain with two of their own festivals. The first was called Feralia, which usually occurred mid-October. Romans usually took this day to formally commemorate the passing of the dead. The other festival they merged Samhain with was Pomona, a day dedicated to the honor of the goddess of fruits and trees (it is widely believed that the tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween came from Roman tradition).

When the Roman Empire fell, the holiday that would eventually come to be known as Halloween, once again evolved, this time thanks to the Roman Catholic Church. Early on in the Church’s history they started a day in mid-October to celebrate the saints and martyr’s. Eventually that celebration would move to November 1st and become known as All Saints’ Day; a day to honor the dead. The day before (October 31st) would come to be known as All Hallows’ Eve, and similar to Samhain, people would celebrate with bonfires and costumes. In fact, in France during the 14th and 15th centuries, the tradition of dressing up, evolved into a reenactment of a custom called the Danse Macabre (The Dance of Death) which started during the plague known as Black Death, wherein party-goers would dress up so that demons could not tell who they were.

In the mid-19th century, Halloween, came to America with British and Irish immigrants. One tradition had the adults of families go door to door asking for food or money and people gave gifts because it was thought to be good luck and kept spirits from performing mischief. Later in the early to middle part of the 20th century, Halloween became the secular community-based holiday that we know today, where kids go door-to-door asking for treats and threatening tricks, families display Jack ‘O Lanterns, and both grownups and children dress up in costume and attend parties and dances.

In celebration of the spirit of Halloween, you can find frightful, horrifying, and haunting tales both true and fictitious on the Monthly Book Display.

Banned Books Week: Celebrate the Freedom to Read


During the week of September 27 to October 3, we’re celebrating Banned Books Week and the freedom to read along with schools, bookstores and libraries across the nation.  You might not believe it but books still get challenged and banned today.  There were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2014, here’s a list of the 10 most challenged titles of last year.  Check out which books you’ve read from this list of the most frequently challenged books of the past two decades.  You might even be surprised which books have been challenged and why.

Here are a few titles you can check out that have been challenged:


Staff Favorite: Scott Pilgrim

spcoverThe Library now has the complete collection of the Scott Pilgrim series by Brian Lee O’Malley. If you are unfamiliar with the comic or the 2010 Edgar Wright movie, Scott Pilgrim features Scott, a 22 year old, unemployed slacker, who falls in love with Ramona Flowers, a rollerblading message delivery girl. Unfortunately for Scott, to date Ramona means that he has to defeat her 7 Evil Exes.

Great for anyone who loves video games, anime/manga, or just pop culture in general. Stop by the Library and check them out.  You can also find articles and more information on Scott Pilgrim by using OneSearch.

The New SWAN Catalog

The New SWAN Catalog

slide-3-readyA library catalog is the place you go to see what books and movies a particular library has that you can check out or place a hold on. The Prairie State College Library, along with over 70 local libraries, use what is called the SWAN Catalog, which has recently gotten a new look and interface. Continue reading to find out more on using this new catalog to see what we have or to order books and movies from our partner libraries.


Your Account

Before you can sign up for a SWAN account you must make sure that you already have a library account with the Prairie State College Library. To set up your account, you will just need to bring your Student ID to the Circulation Desk.

After you set up your Library Account you can log in to SWAN by going to the Catalog ( and clicking on Log In in the top right hand corner.

log inTo log in just type in your PSC Student ID number (located at the bottom of the card) into the Library Card Number box. You PIN number will be the last 4 digits of the phone number that you signed up for your Library Account with.

After you are logged in you can check the status of your account by clicking on My Account in the top right hand corner. This area will tell you what items you have checked out, on hold (ordered from another library) and if you have any fines.

checked outSearching SWAN

To search SWAN, just begin by typing the name of the item you are looking for in the search box. The default search is ALL FIELDS. If you want a narrower search, click on the ALL FIELDS drop down menu. From there you can limit your search to author, title, subject, etc … .

searchWhen you have found the item you are looking for on the Results page, just click on the Title to see its status. If the item is not checked out, write down the Call Number and bring it to a Librarian at the Reference Desk who will be happy to show you where the item is located.

On this screen you can also place a hold on checked out items, add the item to a wish list, and check out summaries, reviews and excerpts of the item. In addition, the SWAN Catalog will produce further Suggestions that are similar to the book.

item recordPlacing a Hold

In addition to the books we have at Prairie State College, you can also search what items our partner libraries have and, if you want, have them sent to Prairie State College, by placing a hold. You can find the Search Box for all of the libraries by going here or by clicking on the Prairie State College drop down menu and selecting Everything.

everythingThen you just search the catalog for your item and when you find it, click on the Place Hold button. A librarian will then call or email you when the item is in. It will usually take 2-4 business days to arrive.


If you have any more questions about using the SWAN Catalog, stop by the Reference Desk and a Librarian will be happy to help out.

Library Resources to Expand Your Digital Skill Set

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that YouTube and all its video glory has only existed for the past ten years. Though YouTube first appeared on February 14th, 2005, the first video was posted ten years ago today on April 23rd, 2005.Untitled

While YouTube is full of videos on seemingly every subject, no matter how random, there are also a ton of education friendly channels that can help you with your assignments or just to learn something new. Check out CrashCourse for lessons about history, disease, and psychology to name a few. SciShow and MinuteEarth are more science and space focused, but are full of interesting facts and ideas to explore.

If you would rather produce your own content online, the Library has resources to help you expand your digital skill set, with titles on editing and production, as well as careers in multimedia, it’s all there for you to check out!

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Resume and Job Hunting Help @ PSC

Prairie State College’s Student Career Development Center provides current students and PSC graduates with a wide-range of services to help make successful career choices. You can visit Office 152 in the Adult Training and Outreach Center to get started.

There is also the Chicago Heights Workforce Center at PSC, who’s mission is to “assist Cook County residents with grant-funded training and career opportunities that result in career paths and self-sufficiency”.  They can help with career counselling, training and education, job development/placement and workshops.

You can also search for current job listings on the College Central Network (CCN), a free online job listing source for employment opportunities in northern Illinois.  Job hunting while on campus?  Check out the upcoming Job Fairs and Employer Recruitment Visits happening at PSC.

Spring Job Fair 2015

Tuesday, April 14
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Conference Center

There are also one-on-one consultations and Day and Evening Workshops happening several times a year at the Student Career Development Center.  These free professional development workshops are offered on a variety of topics like:

  • Career Changers
  • Résumé Basics
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Job Search and Techniques
  • How to Attend a Job Fair

Need help getting started on your resume or cover letter? Come into the library to find some of these books that will help you land that job:


Using Research Starters

If you want to find out an overview of a topic, where do you go? Many people try Wikipedia first. It has a lot of information. Now what if you need an overview of a topic but would like one you could cite for a paper? That’s where our research starters come in. They are shorter than Wikipedia entries but can still get you started. The sources are usually from encyclopedias, as well.

For example, let’s say I go to and type adhd in the search box. I get 205,000+ results, but the top one before the numbered ones says Research Starter.

adhd reserach starter

Now I can click where it says “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)” and read approximately five pages about ADHD. It comes from Magill’s Medical Guide, a quality source. At the bottom of the research starter it lists a bibliography that you can also use including sources from the DSM-5 and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

There are more than 62,000 research starters (1), so your topic has a great chance of having its own research starter. I’ve found them for microeconomics, wicca, the sinking of the Lusitania, zebras, the solar system, cloning, and more.

(1) Enis, Matt. “Industry: EDS Research Starters Debuts.” Library Journal 139.5 (2014): 22. Professional Development Collection. Web. 27 Feb. 2015.

The Most Popular Ebooks at PSC

Many of you know that we have a very large eBook collection here at PSC (we have over 4 times as many ebooks as print books), and by the looks of it, you’ve been busy reading them! Here are 12 of the most accessed ebook titles in our collection for 2014. Feel free to take a look at them by click on the cover images, or explore the ebook collection on our own either in OneSearch or directly in the ebook collection.

Dinner Roles: American Women and Culinary Culture
Dinner Roles: American Women and Culinary Culture

Cambodian Buddhism: History and Practice
Cambodian Buddhism: History and Practice

The Poorhouse: Subsidized Housing in Chicago
The Poorhouse: Subsidized Housing in Chicago

Pro Tools 101: An introduction to Pro Tools 10
Pro Tools 101: An Introduction to Pro Tools 10

Muse in Bronzeville: African American Creative Expression in Chicago, 1932-1950
Muse in Bronzeville: African American Creative Expression in Chicago, 1932-1950

Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag
Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag

Nurse's Grant Writing Advantage : How Grantwriting Can Advance Your Nursing Career
Nurse’s Grant Writing Advantage: How Grantwriting Can Advance Your Nursing Career

Arguing with Tradition: The Language of Law in Hopi Tribal Court
Arguing with Tradition: The Language of Law in Hopi Tribal Court

Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide
Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide

Scientific Research as a Career
Scientific Research as a Career

Bacteria: The Benign, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Bacteria: The Benign, the Bad, and the Beautiful
Obesity: Cultural and Biocultural Perspectives
Obesity: Cultural and Biocultural Perspectives

Check Out Test Prep Guides

Have you ever wanted to check out a study guide for the GRE, ASVAB, or NCLEX? Prairie State Library has many test prep guides. Let me show you a step-by-step way to search for the guides through our OneSearch. Click on any of the screenshots (pictures) to see them more clearly.

gre 1

First, type the name of the test into the search box on our homepage, I used GRE as an example. Then hit enter or click on Find It.

gre 2

Next, you will come to our results page. To find books on campus, use the limiters on the left-hand side and click the box next to “In the Library.”

gre 3

Finally, check the status of the book you want to see if it says “ON SHELF.” If it does, then you can find the book with the Call Number (Call No.) or write down the Call Number and bring it to a librarian to help you locate it. If the one you want is checked out, you can put it on hold or find a different book that is available.

We have guides for the ACT, ASVAB, CDL, CLEP, GED, GMAT, GRE, GRE psychology, LSAT, NCLEX, SAT, TOEFL, and more!

That’s it! Three simple steps to finding a test prep guide! As always, come to the Reference Desk in the library if you have any questions, or call us at 708-709-7948!

Where Can I Find…in the Library?

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!