National Library Legislative Day

Library of Congress; photo credit: USCapitol

The proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018 includes massive cuts to library program budgets. But Congress must approve the budget, so there is still time to save funding. Today is National Library Legislative Day, so this week is the perfect time to take action! Here’s what you can do:

  • Tell us why you care about libraries by writing on the library’s chalkboard (located near the computer lab).
  • Sign up to be a library advocate to stay informed about library legislative issues.
  • Contact the Illinois Senators (Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth) by email, phone, and/or Twitter to ask them to support library funding.

If you’ve ever used the PSC Library (or any library for that matter!), visited a museum,  or simply believe that credible information should be available to all, then this issue directly affects you. Show that you care by taking action! (And if you’d like to learn more about the civic process, check out the library’s Political Science guide.)

Advertisements

This week in 1871: the Great Chicago Fire

chicagofire

  Image: Library of Congress, LCCN 92506070

October 8-10, 1871: Thanks to a combination of very dry conditions, a predominance of wooden buildings, and a smaller fire from the previous day which compromised the efficacy of firefighters and equipment, what would be known as the Great Chicago Fire ruined about a third of the city. We might never know for sure if Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was to blame for the blaze, but check out these four great resources from the PSC Library and beyond to learn more about this important event in Chicago history!

  1. Chicago Tribune Historical Archive

Primary sources were created by individuals during the time of the historical event, rather than by later researchers. Newspapers are a great example of a primary source, and the PSC Library has digital access to the archives of the Chicago Tribune.

One way to find articles created around the time of the Great Chicago Fire is to look at the news articles published around October 8-10, 1871. To do this, first find the archive that covers the time period of interest. In this case, since we are searching for articles created during 1871, click on the fifth archive in the list, “Chicago Tribune (1860-1872).” Once there, you have the option to search within the publication or to browse specific dates.

Continue reading “This week in 1871: the Great Chicago Fire”

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.

01-cahokia-central-plaza-615
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).