Officialness and The Torture Report

December 18th, 2014

In case you missed it, last week the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, also known as the Torture Report. So, for all you political junkies and civics geeks out there, you might be interested in having a copy of it.

Now the cool thing about everything published by Congress, or for that matter the government in general, is that it is supposed to be in the public domain. You may have a copy of this report for free, if you would like it in a digital format. It also means that if you have access to a printing press, you can also print it yourself and charge for it. The publisher Melville House is rushing the book into print, and it will hit store shelves on December 30. Amazon has already published a Kindle version of the book and has it on sale currently for $9.99. But, for the connoisseur, you can purchase the official government printed edition from the Government Publishing Office for $29.00.

If you are downloading a free version from the Internet, you should make sure you get the official copy. You can check for any digital government document’s “officialness” using Adobe Reader. Official stamp denoting an unmodified government documentLook for the certificate stamp on page 1 of any government document downloaded from the internet. If it is there, this means it is an official copy, and you have confirmation that the document has not modified in any way.

The Library already has a number of official reports like this from congress. These items are especially useful if you need Primary Sources for a research paper. Look for items in our catalog denoted as an “E-Resource”. Our collection is especially strong on the topics of, foreign affairs and especially the Middle East, the environment, cybersecurity, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year… For Baking!

December 9th, 2014

Does the thought of your upcoming cookie exchange make you break out in cold sweats?  Do you think your family will gag if forced to eat those same old Christmas tree sugar cookies?  Did Santa conveniently forget to eat those “delicious treats” you left out for him last year?  It sounds like it’s time to step up your baking game!

Whether you need fresh inspiration for this year’s holiday goods, or you just feel like working out the stress of finals in your kitchen, the library is here to help.   Get out the mixer and preheat that oven because we’ve got what you need to dazzle everyone at the cookie exchange and make sure Santa leaves your house with an even fuller bowl full of jelly.

Check out some of these goodies from our cookbook selection: Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet, Baking Illustrated by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated, A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent, or The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal.

Do your cookies taste good but look bad? Then Autumn Carpenter’s The Complete Photo Guide to Cookie Decorating is for you.

Don’t forget our magazines! Martha Stewart Living, Good Housekeeping, Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country are full of mouthwatering recipes, pictures, and ideas.    They’re in the wooden magazine rack right by the café.   Flip them through on your next break!

And finally, if you’re specifically looking to do some baking to give to people, you may want to check out Gourmet Gifts or The Creative Kitchen.

The Nocebo Effect

December 8th, 2014

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Great Britain, England, and the United Kingdom? Me too. As it turns out, over 6.5 million people have found the answer to that question on the YouTube channel CGP Grey. Short videos give explanations to things that people often wonder about in areas such as geography, politics, economics and more. Some popular videos on the channel include things like “Copyright: Forever Less One Day,” “The Trouble with the Electoral College,” “What is Reddit?” and “Is Pluto a Planet?” Videos have been featured on Mashable and CBS and several videos have gone viral including “How to Become Pope” and “Death to Pennies.” The following video gives an entertaining explanation of the Nocebo Effect.

How Chicago’s Neighborhoods Got Their Names

December 5th, 2014

Check out this cool article about Chicago’s neighborhoods? Ever get Edgebrook, Edgewater, or Edison Park confused? Well, this will help. This is a nice cheat sheet for suburbanites who want to look like they know what they are talking about!

How Chicago’s Neighborhoods Got Their Names

It’s often said that “Chicago is a city of neighborhoods.” This may seem redundant—isn’t every city a city of neighborhoods?—but Chicago really is a big, wonderful amalgamation of unique enclaves. Where do the names for all these neighborhoods come from? We sought to find out…read more.

Computer History Museum (online resources)

December 5th, 2014



The Computer History Museum is located in the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View, California. Don’t stress if you are not a frequent visitor to the world’s technology capital. Take a visit to the Computer History Museum YouTube Channel. It has TONS of great videos featuring technological innovations and leaders in the web and computer technology. Here’s a short video on the birth of the World Wide Web:

Birth of the WWW

Come Settle Your Library!

December 4th, 2014

MVCC Library is happy to announce that it has added some new items to its collection!  We have added a number of tabletop games to our catalog, and we want YOU to know about them!  In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a series highlighting each of our new games showcasing their gameplay and even some educational benefits.  (Hey, classrooms can have room for games too!)


The Settlers of Catan is a strategy game set on the island of Catan.  You are a settler seeking to expand your territory across the map. Be wary, because there are other settlers trying to achieve the same goals and resources are limited!  The goal is to amass resources (Wool, Lumber, Brick, Ore, and Sheep) to expand your influence by building roads, new settlements, and even cities.  As you expand, you are able to gain more resources and grow faster.


The game creates a social atmosphere, as well.  As you grow on the tiny island, you are bound to come into conflict with the other players, but it also encourages you to trade with other these same players.  So, you’ll have to be careful on whose territory you’re encroaching, and whose trades you’re accepting or denying.  It just might come back to haunt you!


The Settlers of Catan offers a number of educational opportunities.  Planning, strategizing, statistics, and negotiating are just a couple of the components that are crucial to playing and mastering the game.  Mayfair Games, the people that created Settlers of Catan, created a hand sheet of many of the things this game can teach.  You can find that article here.


Come on over to the library, and check out our awesome collection of games, have a seat in the lounge, and take some time to relax with friends during your busy semester!

Necessary Conversations

December 4th, 2014

Talking about race and the way it impacts our lives, our neighborhoods, our schools, our jobs, and our relationships can be hard and complex. It’s a conversation that is often avoided in both inter-personal relationships and our larger culture. The recent grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers that killed two black men–Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, NY–have made the conversation necessary and urgent on a local and national scale.

There’s a lot of information about both cases in the media, but getting some background information about the issues might  be the best way to start. This CQ Researcher article about race and ethnicity (MVCC login required) is a good place to acquainted with the issues that are coming up in the discussions around the grand jury decisions.

Social media is one way to keep up with immediate responses to these issues by activists, the media, and regular people like you and me. Take a look at the hashtags #blacklivesmatter #ferguson and #ericgarner on Twitter or Facebook.

Colorlines, an online news source focused on race issues, is rounding up the news related to Ferguson as well as Eric Garner at

The reporting on these cases in the mainstream media  has reflected a wide range of biases–take a look at a number of sources to get a well rounded picture.

There are also lots of organizations working for change. If you’re interested in activism in your neighborhood or nationally, you might want to take a look at this list of organizations compiled by the Black Youth Project Chicago.

Here in the library we’ve started having some conversations about race in relationship to our One Book, One College author, James Baldwin. His work in the civil rights movement, and the essays he wrote about being a black man, the racially motivated violence he saw in his own Harlem neighborhood, and the larger power dynamic at play in the country during the 50s and 60s, still resonate. His Collected Essays are worth reading.

If you’re looking for more information about the issues brought up in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, we have a number of books about racism, police accountability, and racial profiling here in the library. Here are a few titles to get you started, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for in this list, please ask a librarian!

Race and ethnic relations : American and global perspectives / Martin N. Marger

Racism without racists : color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America / Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Revealing whiteness [electronic resource] : the unconscious habits of racial privilege / Shannon Sullivan

The harms of crime media : essays on the perpetuation of racism, sexism and class stereotypes / edited by Denise L. Bissler and Joan L. Conners

Blue vs. Black : let’s end the conflict between cops and minorities / John L. Burris ; with Catherine Whitney

Cop watch : spectators, social media, and police reform / Hans Toch

Racial profiling : research, racism, and resistance / Karen S. Glover

Racial profiling / Fred C. Pampel



“Blowing Off Class? We Know” (From NY Times)

December 4th, 2014

Hey students, ever wonder what we know about you? Well, in some ways, we do not know as much as you might think but in other ways we are interacting online more than ever. This article from the New York Times, Blowing Off Class? We Know by Goldie Blumenstyk, highlights some of the issues around college data collection. It is good food for thought for college students.

You probably know that librarians have been at the forefront of privacy protections for decades. Our library does not hold data on student checkouts, use of our research tools, or use of our facility. We support the library community’s principle that researchers and readers should be able to explore topics freely without scrutiny or judgment of others.

Here is a quote from the American Library Association’s statement on privacy:

Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. The courts have established a First Amendment right to receive information in a publicly funded library.1 Further, the courts have upheld the right to privacy based on the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.2 Many states provide guarantees of privacy in their constitutions and statute Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. The courts have established a First Amendment right to receive information in a publicly funded library.1 Further, the courts have upheld the right to privacy based on the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.2 Many states provide guarantees of privacy in their constitutions and statute law.3 Numerous decisions in case law have defined and extended rights to privacy.4

In a library (physical or virtual), the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf.5

Protecting user privacy and confidentiality has long been an integral part of the mission of libraries. The ALA has affirmed a right to privacy since 1939.6 Existing ALA policies affirm that confidentiality is crucial to freedom of inquiry.7 Rights to privacy and confidentiality also are implicit in the Library Bill of Rights’8 guarantee of free access to library resources for all Numerous decisions in case law have defined and extended rights to privacy.4

Studying Community Colleges

December 2nd, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, we had a blog about the efficiency of community colleges with an article and video from CNN.  We have many resources available physically here in the library to help anyone gain a deeper understanding of the field and we want to make sure you know about them.

The following journals are available on the shelving next to the coffee shop ( for previous issues, ask a librarian for help):

The Journal of Applied Research in the Community College is a semiannual journal, published in September and February.   It serves the needs and interests of institutional researchers and planners in the community colleges as well as those of administrators, faculty, policy makers and others.

Community College Review is a quarterly academic journal dedicated to community college education.

A publication of the American Association of Community Colleges, Community College Journal is published bimonthly.

Community College Enterprise, a journal of research and practice is published semiannually.

We also have a wide range of books on the subject, including perspectives on leadership, governance, student services, gender, and mission.





Reality is Broken: Why Gaming Will Save the World!

December 2nd, 2014

Are you into gaming? Do you spend more than one hour a day playing games (online, at home, on your phone, wherever)? 100s of millions of people around the world make gaming a part of their daily lives. Playing games is a natural activity for humans. We have played games together for centuries, but video games are only about 30 years old, AND, more importantly, they have the potential to change the world. How? The answer is explored in this book,
Reality is broken : why games make us better and how they can change the world by Jane McGonigal. You can check out this book in our library.

McGonigal explores the psychology and benefits to gaming. She also hows how the self-organization involved with online games and the problem solving skills can be valuable. More importantly, she discusses ways that we can use gaming (and the psychology of gaming) to solve actual, real-world problems. Here’s a video where she discusses some of her work:

CHM Revolutionaries: Reality is Broken- Jane McGonigal with NPR’s Laura Sydell