Here are the books most checked out or read online at Prairie State College in 2016!
Maybe it’s no surprise given the popularity of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, Hamilton, but Hamilton by Ron Chernow was tied for most number of check-outs, along with Cambodge: The Cultivation of a Nation, 1860-1945, by Penny Edwards.
Following on those two, we have next group of highly-read books, a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction.
Just behind those titles in popularity come our next batch!
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!
Following up a recent post on this blog addressing the issue of fake news, it’s worth addressing an issue we sometimes run into when patrons come into the library looking for information on conspiracy theories. For example, if someone were to ask for a resource about how best to spot a reptilian, or for information about how NASA faked the landing on the moon, we would have a problem, because the kinds of books and articles that address those questions don’t generally meet the criteria for inclusion in the library’s collection. The main thing that keeps them out is their lack of references to anything resembling objective evidence, let alone scientifically verifiable studies. As works of fiction, they fail the requirement of literary merit.
This is not to say we don’t have information about particular conspiracy theories, or how they emerged, or why people believe them. We certainly have resources along those lines. This scientific paper, for example, explores how the tendency for people to believe in conspiracy theories is related to their perceived lack of control in the world.
We also have many books and articles that cover real conspiracies, which certainly have occurred, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Nixon’s Watergate conspiracy, Project MKUltra, and so on. Real conspiracies are eventually uncovered, and one researcher has even offered estimates for how long it should take conspiracies to be uncovered given the number of people that would have to be involved. For example, given the number of people who would have had to be involved in the conspiracy, the moon landing conspiracy should have been outed in a bit under four years.
Finally, if you’d like some help deciding whether something you’ve found on the internet is discussing a real conspiracy or a conspiracy theory, check out this short checklist in Scientific American. Your PSC Librarians are also happy to discuss questions about evidence and information creation.
Feeling prepared for final exams and assignments can help you feel less nervous during this inherently stressful time. But how to prepare when there’s SO MUCH to do? We have some suggestions:
Use a time management method, such as the Pomodoro Technique, to make the most of your time. Make a list of what needs to be done and make yourself a study schedule. Limit distractions by keeping cell phones silent and out of sight during study time.
Create your study space by finding a quiet area that allows you to focus on the task at hand. The library is a great place to work! It’s quiet, and sometimes it helps to be near other students who are in the same “need-to-study” boat. If you’re studying with a group, you may also check out a study room for 2 hours per day.
Keep yourself well by eating right, getting enough sleep, and taking periodic mental breaks to do something you enjoy. If you’re looking for leisure reading material for such breaks, we have some great book suggestions.
Finals will be over before you know it. You can do this!