March Book Display: Earth and Beyond

The book display for March explores the search for life outside of Earth, as well as the strangeness of life on our planet.

NASA recently discovered seven Earth-like planets, 40 light-years away. While a long distance for us, it is, cosmically, only a hop, skip, and jump away. As our technology improves and our science advances, we continue to discover more and more planets outside our solar system. And with each new discovery, we wonder whether they could be life on those distant worlds and how we can get to those worlds. Closer to home, Curiosity, the Mars rover, is on the search for evidence of alien life on the Red Planet. How would the discovery of life outside Earth change your perspective?

However, we can stay on our blue dot to explore high strangeness and alien worlds. In our oceans is the largest creature to ever exist: the blue whale, a mammal species known for its intelligence, unique language, and development of culture. Cephalopods (squids, octopuses, and cuttlefishes) have unique, identifying personalities.  We cannot forget the oddness of all the creatures: the poisonous, egg-laying mammal, the platypus.

Take some time to read about the odd and wonderful life on our planet. Consider the possibility of alien life and our continued, scientific search for worlds outside our own. And if you desire, read about alien abductions and UFOs.


The Last Unicorn

by William DeBuys

Call QL737.U53 D434 2015

“In 1992, in a remote mountain range, a team of scientists discovered the remains of an unusual animal with beautiful long horns. It turned out to be a living species new to western science — a saola, the first large land mammal discovered in 50 years. Rare then and rarer now, no westerner had glimpsed a live saola before Pulitzer Prize finalist and nature writer William deBuys and conservation biologist William Robichaud set off to search for it in the wilds of central Laos. The team endured a punishing trek, up and down whitewater rivers and through mountainous terrain ribboned with the snare lines of armed poachers. In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin, Colin Thubron, and Peter Matthiessen, THE LAST UNICORN is deBuys’s look deep into one of the world’s most remote places. As in the pursuit of the unicorn, the journey ultimately becomes a quest for the essence of wildness in nature, and an encounter with beauty”


Beyond the Stars: Our Origins and the Search for Life in The Universe

by Paolo Saraceno

Call GQ982 .S2713 2012

“What is the origin of the universe? Are we alone in the Universe? Using clear and plain language, the author explores these two interesting scientific-philosophical themes with a broad range of studies, including astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, biology, geology and planet science.The first part discusses the origins of everything, from the Big Bang to humankind. It follows the long course of evolution — from original matter to the formation of more complex structures, from the furthest galaxies to the nearest stars, from planets to organic molecules, from the first and most elementary forms of life through to the reptiles, the dinosaurs and the advent of man.The second part traces the history of the Earth and evaluates the risks of extinction in the future as predicted by scientists. Is the Earth the only habitable planet in the Universe? This question initiates the discussion on the importance of the Earth’s position in the solar system and the significance of our geologically alive planet.The final part is dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial beings with identifiable life forms. It also describes attempts for searching, from the past to the near future.This remarkable book provides the best answers we have to the epic questions about us and our place in the universe.” Continue reading “March Book Display: Earth and Beyond”

Fair Use Week

It’s Fair Use Week. Libraries, universities, artists, and journalists around the world are rejoicing what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called a “First Amendment Safeguard.”

To quote fairuse.org, “Fair use and fair dealing are essential limitations and exceptions to copyright, allowing the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances…facilitat[ing] balance in copyright law, promoting further progress and accommodating freedom of speech and expression.”

Fair use is essential in the function of schools and universities. Instructors are able to show videos in class, distribute articles to students, and have imagines in slides. This right to distribute copyrighted material. Check out the Prairie State College Library’s LibGuide on Fair Use for more information.

However, the right of fair use extends beyond academia and is an essential factor in journalism and the arts.

If it wasn’t for the principles of fair use, journalism and news reporting would be extremely difficult. Organizations like CNN, The Washington Post, Democratic Underground, and even The Daily Show are able to report on current stories and use copyrighted material to support these stories because it is considered fair use. ESPN, and other sports websites, would have to obtain permission and possibly pay money before they used team logos.

nba
espn.com 02/22/2017

For the arts, fair use protections encourage artists to experiment with current media. Pieces of art that are transformative and do not infringe on the commercial rights of the rights holder, qualify as fair use. Many musicians are experimenting with this form of art.

Monthly Display: Elections

In two short weeks, we, citizens of the United States of America, will be able to exercise one of our most important rights as citizens: voting.Women's suffrage

The history of voting rights in the United States reveals the best and worst things about our nation. In the beginning of our nation, the right to vote was exclusive to white, property owning men aged 21 and over. This right slowly opened up to all citizens, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. A short paragraph does little justice to history of voting rights in this country. The fight for voting equality shows the great bravery of many of our citizens. All people, especially people of color and women, put their lives at risk. Many died or were gravely injured for the vote. Moreover, it also shows the great shames our nation must face. Our long and continuing history of denying people their full and equal rights as citizens.

On November 7th, please exercise your right. Do it for those who came before you and those who will come after you. For information about your local ballot, visit Ballot Ready.

 

Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

On September 14, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th librarian of Congress. aptopixlibrarianofcongress-7b2acThe selection of Dr. Hayden is a landmark appointment; she is the first woman and the first African-American to head the Library of Congress. In addition, Hayden is also only the third career librarian to serve as Librarian of Congress, which has previously been held by historians or other scholars. The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library with over 160,000,000 items.

Dr. Hayden grew up in Chicago, attending Roosevelt University and then the University of Chicago Graduate School Library. Her first position out of library school was with the Museum of Science and Industry, where she meet Michelle and Barack Obama. In 1991, Dr. Hayden became second-in-command at the Chicago Public Library. Then in 1993, she was selected as director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. As director, Hayden was selected as Librarian of the Year by the Library Journal, she served as president of the American Librarian Association, and received national praise for keeping the library open during  riots in Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s arrest.

Dr. Hayden has been a champion of “Equity of Access” through her entire career. She fought against the Bush Administration and the PATRIOT Act, earning significant praise. As Librarian of Congress, Dr. Hayden has vowed to digitize the Library of Congress’s collection, providing equal access to our nation’s literary and information resources.

In her nomination address, Dr. Hayden said, “I’ve talked for years and cited how slaves were forbidden to read, you could get your hand chopped off, or people who taught slaves to read were punished, that’s Fredrick Douglass’s thing. So to have an African American heading up the world’s largest library is not quite an oxymoron, but it speaks to the history.”

Follow Dr. Carla Hayden on Twitter.

 

 

References

Gross, Daniel. “Carla Hayden Takes Charge of World’s Largest Library.” September 20, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016. http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/carla-hayden-takes-charge-of-the-worlds-largest-library.

St. Lifer, Evan, and Michael Rogers. “Hayden leaves Chicago PL to head Enoch Pratt Free Lib.” Library Journal 118, no. 10 (June 1993): 19.Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 30, 2016).

Woods, Baynard. “Carla Hayden: New Librarian of Congress Makes History, with an Eye on the Future.” The Guardian. September 15, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/15/carla-hayden-librarian-congress-first-woman-african-american-post-interview.

Constitution & Citizenship Day

Constitution & Citizenship Day is a federal observance of the adoption of the United States Constitution. Introduced in 2004 by West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, the day is set aside for the promotion of civic education on the principal document of our nation. Senator Byrd believed it was imperative that all people in the United States have a fundamental understanding of the document that guarantees our freedoms. Moreover, it is also an opportunity to reflect how our nation has struggled with expanding full and equal rights to all people. On the anniversary of the signing the Constitution, September 17, 1787, all publicly funded schools are mandated to teach about the Constitution.

The Prairie State Library is excited to host a Constitution & Citizenship Day event on Thursday, September 15th from 12:30 to 1:45. The activities will include a lecture by Professor Andrew Schott titled “‘This Process Affords a Moral Certainty’ The Election of the U.S. President” and a “Citizenship Game Show” hosted by Professor Jennifer Eick-Magan.

Need more information? Want to impress your friends or enemies during the Game Show? Bone up on your knowledge of the U.S. Constitution by using PSC Library’s Guide to Constitution & Citizenship Day.

 

References:

Krache, Donna. “Constitution Day Ushers in Mandate to Teach the Constitution.” CNN. September 16, 2005. Accessed September 02, 2016. http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/09/16/constitution.day/.

OBAMA, BARACK. “Proclamation 9323–Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, Constitution Week, 2015.” Daily Compilation Of Presidential Documents (September 16, 2015): 1. Points of View Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed September 2, 2016).

Stranger Things @ PSC Library

In a small Indiana town, a boy, Will Byers, vanishes. The search for Will pulls together his friends and family and the town sheriff. They find themselves up against a secret corporation, sinister government scientists, and a girl with other-worldly powers. This is Stranger Things, Netflix’s newest original series.

Rooted in nostalgia for the 1980s, Stranger Things also finds kinship with government conspiracies and a truth that may be hard to believe. (Very minor spoilers ahead.) Our series heroes find themselves up against a government scientist, who was principle investigator in Project MKULTRA before working at Hawkins National Laboratory (the secret corporation). This is where fiction fades into reality. Launched in 1953, during the early stages of Cold War, Project MKULTRA was a CIA-led investigation into mind control. The intelligence agency concern was on the ability to manipulate and extract information from subjects through the use of drug and physical influences. The CIA wanted control and tap into the minds of Soviet agents and were worried about the Russians doing the same. Over the course of MKULTRA, the CIA gave LSD to college students without consent, attempted to hypnosis subjects, and experimented with electro-shock therapy. Ultimately, Project MKULTRA provided no conclusive medical advancement and continues to be a black mark for the US government.

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a federal law “establishing the right of access to government information and agency records as essential to a free and open society,” the wrong doings of the government agency were made public. In 2001, all remaining MKULTRA records were made public. These can be freely accessed through archive.org.

What are the stranger things you can find at the Prairie State Library?

Cahokia Mounds

Looking for a weekend trip? Want to visit a World Heritage site? How about the third largest pyramid base in the world? You do not even have to leave Illinois.

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Cahokia Central Plaza

Cahokia Mounds, located in what is now St. Clair County, Illinois, was the largest pre-Columbian indigenous city north of Mexico. Built where the Missouri River feeds into the Mississippi, the city was a principal trade hub that connected peoples and goods from Canada to Appalachia to Mexico. At its most populated, Cahokia reached 40,000 inhabitants, a population not matched in the U.S. until the late 18th century. At the time, approximately 1,100 C.E., it was one of the most populated cities in the world, greater than major European cities like London and Paris.

Today, Cahokia stands as a testament to the sophistication of indigenous people. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the settlement complex is an architectural marvel. Covering over 6.5 square miles, Cahokia contains 120 earthen mounds, with additional satellite sites, serving religious, political, and social purposes. Located in a flood plain, the site had to be drained and many tons of rock and soil had to be moved to construct the plazas and mounds. The principal structure, Monk’s Mound covers over an immense 14 acres, making it the largest earthen structure and the third largest pyramid base in the world, rivaled only by the Sun Pyramid in Teotihuacán and the Great Pyramid in Cholula, Mexico.

Much is left to be discovered about Cahokia. An active archaeological site, researchers are re-discovering cultural, economic, social, and religious artifacts. We are constantly expanding our understanding of the land’s first people.

What can you discover?

References

Barnes, Ian. The Historical Atlas of Native Americans. Edison, N.J. : Chartwell Books, 2009.

Johnson, Michael, and Richard Hook. Encyclopedia of Native Tribes of North America. Buffalo, New York : Firefly Books Inc., 2014.

Kehoe, Alice Beck. “Cahokia, the Great City.” OAH Magazine Of History 27, no. 4 (October 2013): 17. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed July 5, 2016).

 

Sustainability Month @ PSC Library

“We have much to learn by studying nature and taking the time to tease out its secrets.”

– David Suzuki

On Friday, April 22nd, we will celebrate the 46th Earth Day. Earth Day, which began in 1970, was created to draw attention to environmental issues, such as agricultural suitability, climate change, ecological preservation, biodiversity, and green energy. Since the first event, Earth Day has stretch across the globe, bringing together over a billion people. Prairie State College has taken the month of April to focus on sustainability, hosting a number of events on campus.

This Earth Day will be a proud moment for the global community as 120 nations, including the U.S. and China, will sign the Paris Climate Agreementa promise to decrease greenhouse gas admissions and a commitment to the reversal of global climate change.

The Prairie State Library has several titles on sustainability and issues relating to climate change. Check out what you can study and discover nature’s secrets:

Blessed Unrest The Big Ratchet Age of Sustainable Development How to Think Seriously About the Planet

Careers in green technology and sustainable development are rapidly growing. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has projected a 21% growth from 2010 to 2020. This job growth cuts across several labor fields with opportunities for every type of student. Explore the multitude of options and start planning for your future!

Careers in Focus: Environment Green Careers Green Collar Jobs Sustainable Communities

Sources:

Davenport, Coral. “Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris.” The New York Times. December 12, 2015. Accessed April 21, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html.

Earth Day Network. “Our Mission.” Earth Day Network. Accessed April 21, 2016. http://www.earthday.org/

Kirk, Karin and Monica Bruckner. “The Workforce for a Sustainable Future.” InTeGrate. Accessed April 21, 2016. http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/programs/workforceneeds/workforce_overview.html

What you should know about the Illinois Primary

While it may be difficult to believe, we have just started the5140570614_227de6dc42_m 2016 primary process;  the Republican Party has held an election or caucus in 4 states and the Democrats in 3. On March 1st, the nomination process will kick into a higher gear with  “Super Tuesday” when 11 states will host a primary election event. “Super Tuesday” is a Tuesday in February or March when the highest number of states host their primary events. Primaries continue until June 7th, when California and New Jersey elections round off the cycle. Click here for a complete calendar of election events.

Primary season can be a very confusing time. The United States Constitution only sets standards for general elections, therefore, the standards for primary elections are left to the states, the political party in each state, as well as local jurisdictions. This can leave a rather mixed bag of events. For example, the Republican Party in South Carolina held their primary election on February 20th, whereas the Democrats held it on February 27th. In
North Dakota, the Republicans will have a closed caucus but the Democrats will select their nominee through an open primary. Check out The Imperfect Primary by Barbara Norrander from the Prairie State College Library for a more thorough discussion on the U.S. political, nomination system.

Some important things to know about the Illinois primary:

  1. March 15th, the date of the state-wide primary elections.
  2. It as a “hybrid primary.” This means that when you go to your polling place you may select the primary ballot for any party. In a “closed primary,” you may only vote in a party’s primary if you are a registered member of that party.
  3. Illinois has an easy-to-use portal to help you determine your polling place.
  4. Voting is open 6am-7pm.
  5. Voter registration ended on February 16th; however, you can still register to vote! Called “Grace Period Registration,” any Illinois resident may register in-person at an election authority in their jurisdiction. This also includes updating your address or legal name. Make sure you have the right forms of identification when you register.
  6. You can vote now! Tuesday the 15th could be a very busy day for you, as well as other voters. You also may be too excited to wait and want to vote as soon as possible. Illinois allows for early voting for any qualified voter. If this is something that interest you, there is a map of all early voting locations in suburban Cook County.
  7. If you are not an Illinois resident, you should vote in your home state!

As mentioned above, the Republican and Democratic parties are holding their primary elections on March 15th. The field for presidential candidates could change, which often happens after Super Tuesday. However, this does not change your duty as a voter. You have the opportunity to cast your vote for your party’s nomination in several races. This includes national positions, such as United States Senator, as well as for very important local positions, like Circuit Judges.

Finding balanced and unbiased information about the candidates can be difficult. The Illinois State Board of Elections provides a complete list of all the candidates running for a position in this primary cycle. You can determine your voting districts by using either their desktop or mobile application. A recommended third-party site is BallotReady. Its expressed mission is to empower the voter by providing easy access to information about the election, the candidates, and any referendum. BallotReady allows voters to compare and contrast candidates in each position and examine each person based their stances to specific key issues.

Happy Voting!

 

Black History Month @ PSC Library

On February 10th, 1976, President Gerald Ford, in his statement on the creation of Black History Month, wrote that as a nation we should “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” However, the founding of Black History Month dates back further than President Ford’s “Message” and has a history before the official recognition by the United States government. This Month’s history first began in 1915 and is closely tied with Chicago.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, an alumnus of the University of Chicago, met with four colleagues at the Wabash YMCA in Chicago to form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). Through ASNLH and Journal of Negro Life, Dr. Woodson published the scholarly works of Black researchers and intellectuals. In 1925, he used the publishing and organizing power of ASNLH to declare the first Negro History Week in February of 1926.

Starting in the 1940s, Negro History Week began to shift to Black History Month. At his House of Knowledge in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, Frederick H. Hammurabi, a community activist, started celebrating Black History Month and emphasized the scholarly pursuit of “African-American history and historic links between African-Americans and African culture and traditions” Hammurabi, who, inspired by his own journey to discover his African roots, helped individuals in Bronzeville discover their own African roots and spread the knowledge of African, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean history and culture.

With this history, the monthly book display, in part, seeks to explore the history of the Black community and culture in Chicagoland. It is a rich and diverse history. It is a history of labor and the industrialization of the United States. It is a history of art and literature and the Black Renaissance. It is also the history of civil rights and the continued fight for social, economic, and political equality. The history includes musicians, athletes, and a President.

Chicago's South Side Bridges of Memory I've got to make my livin' Black Chicago Renaissance

In addition to the glance on material relating to Chicago, this month’s display also examines African history. The history of the continent is deeply rich and complex. It includes the culture, achievements, and life of many distinct and disparate people and civilizations. It spans millennia; it is the cradle of humankind, the birthplace of art and language, home to great and powerful empires, and origins of modern legal and justice systems.

Africa: A Biography of the Continent African History The Washing Of The Spears A History of West Africa

Sources:

DePaul Digication. “House of Knowledge: Knowledge is Power.” CGCT Bronzeville Community Tour. Accessed February 4, 2016. https://depaul.digication.com/cgct_bronzeville_community_tour/House_of_Knowledge

Ford, Gerald R. “Message on the Observance of Black History Month.” Speech. February 10, 1976. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/library/speeches/760074.htm

Scott, Daryl Michael. “Origins of Black History Month.” Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Accessed February 4, 2016. https://asalh100.org/origins-of-black-history-month/