It’s Important to Destress

April 26th, 2015


Don’t be like Kitteh! Finals can be a tough time, but there are definitely ways to help make them a bit easier!  With final exams starting in a couple weeks (You can find the final exam schedule here), it’s time to start thinking about how to get ready.  Of course you’ll be studying quite a bit, but you should also plan to take breaks from that studying to keep fresh.

A study from the University of Illinois posits that taking a break during your study time can help keep you focused and increase your overall productivity.  The University of Illinois states “This study is consistent with the idea that the brain is built to detect and respond to change, Lleras said, and suggests that prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance.”  With this in mind, be sure to prepare for some distractions from your intense studying.

At this point, you may be wondering “What’s the most efficient way to set myself up to study and take short breaks?”.  Well, the best place to do that is the library!  You’ll likely be here to study anyway, but we have a number of ways for you to take a meaningful break.

One of them is our gaming collection.  If you didn’t already know, we have added a new collection of board games to the library, and they make the perfect distraction during your finals studies.  Currently, we have Settlers of Catan, Blockus, Ticket to Ride, Tsuro, Carcassonne, and Hey, That’s My Fish!  Many of these games are easy to learn and quick to play.  Just the diversion you’ll be looking for!



Our Library’s First Online Catalog from 1991 #TBT

April 23rd, 2015

Check out this archival video from 1991. The MVCC Library celebrated our first online catalog. This system predated the world wide web, so it relied upon hardwired terminals. It was a major project to migrate from the physical, card catalog online records. Our library was one of the early adopters of the technology.

This was a big year (1991) for the MVCC library. All of the system modules were implemented, the card catalog cabinets were physically removed from the library, and librarian Maria D’Aversa was named Innovator of the Year by the campus for her leadership on this project.

The footage here includes “pallbearers” Maria D’Aversa, Diane Grund, Sylvia Jenkins, Nancy Hessler, Betsey Teo, Barb Rys, and Doreen O’Brien. Vice President of Academic Affairs, Margaret Lehner, delivers the eulogy for the catalog.

This video includes the “funeral” for the old card catalog, and it includes publicity for the new online catalog. The “funeral” includes our current college President, Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, when she was a faculty librarian. It also includes Dr. Margaret Lehner who was the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the time and who serves as our Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Assistant to the President.

Moving from Card Catalog to Online Catalog at Moraine Valley (1991)

Happy 45th Earth Day!

April 22nd, 2015

Earth_DayWhile spring has not really sprung here in Illinois quite yet, today (April 22nd) we celebrate Earth Day! According to Earth Day Network’s website, today is the 45th anniversary of the environmental awareness day. “The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.” If you search MVCC’s library website for the subject “environmental protection” many resources result, including MVCC’s own Sustainability Manager Stephenie Presseller’s streaming video and podcast, “Walking the walk : my enduring sustainability journey.” Check these resources out if you get a chance and Happy Earth Day!

Official State Pie

April 21st, 2015

Pumpkin pie is poised to join an illustrious list that includes things like popcorn, the painted turtle, square dancing and the Tully Monster. The Illinois House just overwhelmingly passed a measure to declare that pumpkin pie be the official state pie of Illinois. The Senate begins consideration of the measure today. This designation celebrates Illinois’ status as the top producer of processed pumpkin. Around 500 million pounds of pumpkin are harvested annually in the state. Ninety percent of the pumpkins in the US are grown within a 90 mile radius of Peoria, IL and the nearby town of Morton is home to Libby’s pumpkin processing plant, which cans more than 85 percent of the world’s pumpkin.

It might be time to start learning our pumpkin facts in anticipation of this event. An interesting book in our collection is Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon. pumpkin

The University of Illinois Extension has a wealth of information on all things pumpkin including recipes, history, growing pumpkins, festivals and more. Here are just a few pumpkin facts to get us started.

Pumpkins originated in Central America.

Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.

Pumpkin flowers are edible.

Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds.

The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.

In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.

And…it’s almost time to start preparing to bake your own Illinois official state pumpkin pie. Planting season is late May.

200 years of immigration to the U.S., visualized

April 16th, 2015


(Insightful Interaction/Natalia Bronshtein)

The United States as a land of freedom and full of opportunities always attracts numerous immigrants. Due to wars, crises, diseases and poverty, a massive exodus of immigrants were forced to leave their countries of origins and came to U.S. to find a way out in the past 200 years. Where did these immigrants come from? And what is the percentage of immigrants from a certain country? Professor Bronshtein created a colorful interactive illustration of the number of immigrants to the U.S. since 1829 based on the data from the yearbook of immigration statistics and significant events in the world history. Here is the link.

Archival Footage from the 1971 MVCC Fire #TBT

April 16th, 2015

Early in its history, which began in 1967, Moraine Valley Community College sustained two fires, both of them destroying one of the temporary structures on the campus.

The first fire occurred on January 22, 1969, and destroyed Building 800. This building was to be the physical education facility along with the bookstore and receiving. Several art supplies were lost in the fire. Classes were scheduled to begin on February 10 at this location.

On Tuesday, July 27, 1971, Building 1200 was destroyed. The video shows the North Palos and the Roberts Park fire fighters engaged in striking down this fire. A substantial microfiche collection was destroyed along with some of the personal books of instructors and drafting supplies for drafting classes. The Director of Institutional Research, the Dean of Institutional Services and the Dean of Instruction had their offices in the building. Damage was estimated at $100.000.
The temporary structures represent the beginnings of the campus at its 111th street location. At the time of the 1971 fire, the first permanent structures were under construction and would become available in January of 1972 for the 7,000 students currently enrolled.

1200 Building Fire (1971 Archival Footage from Moraine Valley Community College)

So, The Clash, Toby Keith, and Dr. Dre walk into a library…

April 15th, 2015

Oh finals, so close yet so far way. What is even farther away it seems is summer, but since graduation is May 15 then we have just over one month until summer shenanigans commence. I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of living in the Chicago land area is all the fun summer festivals and outdoor concerts.  No weekend is left unfilled by neighborhood block parties and festivals.   To get you through finals and the summer weeks in between the big weekends we have a wide variety of music available for check out.  While we do have some Bach for the classical fans among us, you may  be surprised at other albums in our collection.  We try to have something for everyone, from The Clash, to Toby Keith to Dr. Dre.  Below are some suggested festivals in Chicago this summer and some of the artists whose works you could check out in preparation for concert going.


First big shin-dig of the summer is Chicago Blues Fest, which will be June 12-15 in Grant Park.  Not only is this fest free, but its headliner is a legend in the Blues world, Buddy Guy.  Highly recommend Hard Time Killing Floor, it is a song the embodies the voice, feel and humm that makes Blues the Blues.


Come mid summer its time to head over to Union Park for Pitchfork Festival for the weekend of July 17-19. This year the line up is full of contemporary artists you wont want to miss out on, but don’t forget Chicago’s very own Wilco who is headlining this year.  Wilco’s lead singer Jeff Tweedy recently went solo and his hit Summer Noon is just the song to get you in the mood for lemonade and porch sitting. Neko Case who has a solid solo career in recent years will be back in Chicago with The New Pornographers at this year’s Pitchfork.  Its hard to keep your head from bobbing along to their latest hit Dancehall Domine.


Lollapalooza, its the big one, the festival we hear the most about and long to be one of the lucky few to have gotten a ticket.  Come July 31st through August 2nd Grant park will be filled with music fans of all variety basking in the sun (or rolling around in the mud like music goers did in 2012). Headlining this year is a former member of the Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney.  If the Beatles member isn’t your cup of tea another big name in music, Metallica, will be performing.


Mud fun at Lollapalooza 2012.

Now, as I mentioned we have a wide variety of music and if none of these festivals tickle your fancy then I recommend utilizing our collection of music to your advantage.  Be it for your cruise across the nation soundtrack or background music at your BBQ, we may have just what you are looking for.  Below are just a few of the many artists we have in our M 1600 section of the collection.  In fact, I dare you to not find at least one artist below that you have heard of and want to hear more or are an old favorite.

Alan Jackson, N.W.A., Pearl Jam, Aretha Franklin, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Madonna, Elvis Presley, Sonic Youth, Kenny Chesney, Green Day, Nat King Cole, Public Enemy, Billie Holiday, Paul Simon, The Roots, Amy Winehouse, Queen, Radiohead, The Highwaymen, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Tanya Tucker, David Bowie, The Wailin’ Jenny’s, Mudhoney, Eminem, Norah Jones, Willie Dixon, U2, Melissa Etheridge, and so so much more.  And remember, if you have any questions about how to find our music or look up a particular genre or artist you can always ask a librarian.

Chicago in Film

April 14th, 2015

Did you know that before there was Hollywood, Chicago was the place for movie making? Chicago has a long history as an important place in the film industry. Movie making began in Chicago in 1896, with two of the world’s first film studios headquartered in Chicago. William Selig’s Polyscope studio, at Irving Park Road and Western Avenue, was the world’s largest. Chicago’s innovative filmmakers developed some of the earliest movie cameras and projectors. The weekly serial was also born here.

Some of the original buildings remain. At Claremont and Byron you can spot this building’s doorway that still bears the Selig symbol.

A few miles away at St. Augustine College, you can find this former entrance to Essanay Film Manufacturing, the most important of Chicago’s silent film studios.


The major studios eventually left Chicago for sunnier climates, but today the area still enjoys a vibrant business as setting and location for many movie productions. It is not uncommon to be able to see scenes from your everyday life on the big screen. You can also borrow many of these movies from the MVCC Library for your smaller screen viewing. This list from our collection includes movies that are important to Chicagoland because they were either filmed in the Chicago area or are stories/histories about Chicago. Here are some highlights from our collection.






If you want to find out more about Chicago’s film industry there are a few really great resources you might want to consult. From the Chicago Historical Society, The Encyclopedia of Chicago covers the history of movie production and movie going in Chicago and highlights the importance Chicago has played over time. The Chicago Film Office oversees filming in Chicago. Their site includes links to casting call information, film festivals, a listing by year of movies that were filmed in the city, and a listing of what is filming right now around the city. For an extensive listing of movie (and television) people, including actors, writers, and directors from Chicagoland you can visit the IMDb website. Lastly, for a guide to 100 years of movies and locations (and quite a few anecdotes), as well the history of the industry in Chicago, check out the book Hollywood on Lake Michigan from our collection.

Beat End of the Semester Stress with Carcassonne!

April 12th, 2015

We’re coming up on the end of the semester, which can be a stressful time. BUT!  Your library can help. As always, you can come in and work with us to get help finding those resources and understanding your assignments.  Also, you can come in to the library to combat that stress by unwinding with one of our games in our new board game collection!  We’ve been running a series of posts highlighting our collection, and this post will feature Carcassonne.

Some consider Carcassonne to be a “Gateway” game.  The rules are fairly simple, the gameplay is fast, and players are never removed from play.  If you’ve not played many board games before, this one might be a good entry point for you!

In the game, you take turns placing tiles to create a midieval landscape.  Each tile represents a different entity of a typical midieval kingdom.  Players compete to build cities, cloisters, roads, and fields by connecting the tiles.  Each side of a tile represents either a road, field, city or cloister and must be matched up with sides of other tiles that match.  The walls of a city must match up with another and a road must connect with another road, for example.

To score points, you must claim parts of the map with your followers as it is being built.  As you place your tile, you must determine if you intend to place your follower on a portion of it.  As cities, roads and cloisters are finished, the the players who have claimed them gain points.  You must anticipate your opponents strategies to claim territories for yourself and keep them from scoring.


Come on over the MVCC Library and bust some stress by putting your planning and strategy skills to the test with some of your friend!


In case you missed some of the previous posts, we’ve covered Settlers of Catan, Hey, That’s My Fish!, Tsuro,  Ticket to Ride , and Blokus

Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library: Celebrate National Library Week, April 12 – 18, 2015

April 8th, 2015


It’s National Library Week! Sponsored annually since 1958 by the American Library Association (ALA), this week celebrates the contributions of libraries and librarians and promotes the use and support of libraries all over the country. This year’s theme, Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library, recognizes the endless opportunities offered to library users through specially designed programs, resources and services.

Libraries, whether academic, public, school or special, connect people to technology, support teaching and learning, offer instruction on library use, provide meeting spaces and much, much more. So, during this week, take a few moments to reflect on the importance of libraries and the value they add to your life. After all, there are no limits to what you can achieve through your library.

National Library Week activities include book discussions, children’s programs, exhibits, fundraisers, displays and films. Some libraries even offer amnesty for fines. For more information on National Library Week visit ALA’s website. To learn about local events in honor of National Library Week check your local library or click here to find festivities in Chicago.