Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.
Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now….
Released from prison, Shadow finds his world turned upside down. His wife has been killed; a mysterious stranger offers him a job. But Mr. Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than is possible, warns that a storm is coming — a battle for the very soul of America . . . and they are in its direct path. Continue reading “8 Books to Read for New and Upcoming TV Shows”→
A new presidential administration is underway. Regardless of your political beliefs, it’s a good time to remember that as U.S. citizens, we have the duty and the right to speak up about issues we care about.
If you’re new to the civic process in general, our Political Science Guide includes some great resources to familiarize yourself with government processes, including books and websites.
Here are some ways to stay connected and to help you voice concerns:
Join the email list for a nonprofit organization that represents a cause you care about.
National Public Radio (NPR) has a new show, titled Indivisible, in which listeners with differing political views are encouraged to call in and discuss concerns. In the Chicago area, the NPR station is 91.5 FM.
White House Petitions are online petitions that you can start or sign. The White House is required to address petitions that reach at least 100,000 signatures.
Regulations.gov is an online database of proposed changes or additions to regulations. The government is required to review and consider submissions on this site, so speak up!
Contact your Senator or Representative. This site has some tips on the different methods of contact, and allows you to find your elected officials by entering your zip code.
Like any organization, the government needs to know what’s working (or not) for its people. By staying informed and providing feedback, YOU can help shape the direction of our nation!
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.
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.
On September 14, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th librarian of Congress. The 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.”
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).
As we come closer to the end of President Obama’s term, I thought it would interesting to take a look through his reading lists over the years. So if you want to read the books that the President did check out one or more of them from the Prairie State College Library.
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. Thesixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America’s first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.
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.
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).
While it may be difficult to believe, we have just started the 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:
March 15th, the date of the state-wide primary elections.
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.
Illinois has an easy-to-use portal to help you determine your polling place.
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.
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.
Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and its sequel Go Set a Watchman, died today at the age of 89.
A native of Monroeville, Alabama, Lee was 34 when To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. The success of the novel, and its immediate connection to the current political and cultural climates, led quickly to the production of a film adaptation starring Gregory Peck. The movie was released in 1962, and received 3 Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck and Best Screenplay Adaptation. The book was also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.
In 1964, Lee declined to give any more interviews, citing her exhaustion with answering the same questions again and again. She also wrote no more novels. When it was announced that a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird would be published in 2015, questions were raised about its authenticity, and Lee’s actual intentions.
Harper Lee was one of the 20th century’s most renowned and celebrated authors. To read her novels, watch the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird, or learn more about her, check out one of the items below.
How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a
Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a
Forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence
Impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?
This is the question asked at the very beginning of the current Broadway show, Hamilton. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical tells the story of “the ten dollar founding father without a father,” Alexander Hamilton, through hip-hop, R&B, and jazz.
The show has been selling-out since it opened in August, and audience members include Beyonce, Julie Andrews, and the Obama family. It was just announced today that the original cast recording is up for a Grammy award, and theater insiders are certain that it will sweep the Tony Awards next year.
Before I discovered Hamilton (the musical), which I’ve been listening to on endless repeat since it was released in September, I had no idea this man’s life was so fascinating. Here was someone whose face is printed on our money and I couldn’t even have started to describe some of his accomplishments.
So just what is it about this musical that’s so captivating? The music and the writing are stellar, with catchy hooks and internal rhyme sequences that boggle the mind. But at its heart, it’s the story of one of the most ambitious men in American history. Often considered to be America’s first immigrant, Alexander Hamilton arrived in New York at the age of 17 to attend college, and began making waves almost immediately. During his life, he fought in the Revolutionary War, was an aide to George Washington, wrote countless papers and treatises, and was the first secretary of the treasury. His views were often considered controversial, and political powers played out such that in 1795, he resigned his position. Less than 10 years later, he was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.
Miranda found the inspiration for the musical in Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton, and eventually asked Chernow to be the historical advisor for the show.
The Chicago Blackhawks could make history tonight at Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Stanley Cup will be on stand-by tonight, at the United Center in Chicago, and with a 3-2 game lead in the series, the Hawks have the chance to win their third title in six years. It would be the Blackhawks’ first time to win the cup at home in more than 75 years (since 1938). The last Chicago team to win a title at home was the 1997 Bulls.
Feel like déjà vu? The Hawks were in the same position in 2010 and 2013 and took home Lord Stanley both times. If you’re interested to learn more about Chicago’s stellar sports teams, check out our titles below. If the Stanley Cup does make an appearance tonight, here are 22 Things You Might Not Know About the Stanley Cup to sound like the smartest person at the party.
For Game 6, the puck drops at 7 p.m. tonight, Monday June 15th.