Does it make sense to open a blues bar?

We get many interesting questions at the reference desk. “How do I do research about the feasibility of opening up a blues bar?” was just one of the questions we got in the last couple weeks.

To do research about starting a business, the Library’s Research Tools page is one place to start. We have access to databases such as “Business Source Premier” that focus on business topics. Also, we have Research Guides on a variety of topics. For this topic, the guides for Economics and Company Information can lead you to sources that will help you find information about current restaurant and nightclub trends. The Research Guide for Governmental Information can help you find demographic statistics, consumer information, and regulations to consider.

History of Labor Day

Many states celebrated a “labor day” in the late 1800s but Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. One of the probable reasons for the federal holiday was that U.S. President Grover Cleveland was attempting to placate organized labor after the Pullman Strike, a nation-wide railroad strike that ended after many lives were lost and much property was destroyed. Workers began the strike at the Pullman Company in Chicago on May 11, 1894, as a reaction to wage cuts. You can visit the Pullman National Monument and Historic Pullman Foundation at 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in Chicago.

Disco Demolition Exhibit

This is part three in the series of things to do in Chicago this summer.

In the exhibit “Disco Demolition: The Night Disco Died,” the Elmhurst History Museum has gathered memorabilia from an infamous July 1979 event during a doubleheader at Comiskey Park in Chicago. That day, radio station WLUP sponsored a promotion featuring DJ Steve Dahl, and anyone who brought a disco album to the park got in for 98 cents. The plan was to blow up the disco albums on the field after the first game. The albums were blown up, and then thousands of fans went out on the field and would not leave until the police showed up. The Sox had to forfeit the second game because of the condition of the field.

The book from 2016 about the historic night is available in the library. The Elmhurst History Museum is at 120 E. Park Avenue in Elmhurst. www.elmhursthistory.org

Travel Suggestions for a Long Weekend

Memorial Day is just a few weeks away. If you don’t have plans but want to go somewhere new, here are some sites with details about nearby destinations.

13 best day trips

Weekend getaways near Chicago

Best day trips for under $100

Best train trips from Chicago

Also, the library has this book and ebook on the subject:

Last-Minute Travel Secrets: 121 Ingenious Tips to Endure Cramped Planes, Car Trouble, Awful Hotels, and Other Trips from Hell by Joey Green

Hotel Secrets from the Travel Detective: Insider Tips on Getting the Best Value, Service, and Security in Accommodations from Bed and Breakfasts to Five-Star Resorts by Peter Greenberg (ebook)

This Week in Space History

One of the most dramatic events in space exploration history happened 47 years ago this week. On April 11, 1970, the Apollo 13 space mission was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; the goal was to be the third mission to land on the moon. Two days after the launch, an oxygen tank exploded, causing loss of power, heat, and water in the spacecraft. The carbon dioxide removal system also was damaged. Amazingly, the crew (with help from many people on Earth) was able to make the repairs necessary to return a few days later on April 17.

The library has this material on the subject:

Easy Recording

Need to record a podcast or narrate your powerpoints?

You can check out microphones and other recording equipment from the library to help you create podcasts, soundtracks, or other audio assignments. Or check them out for your own personal use.

For example, the iRig handheld microphone helps you easily make professional quality recordings with your phone or tablet—the microphone plugs into the headphone jack. A tripod stand is also available. You can check out the iRig microphone for 4 hours or for 1 week.

Cameras, headsets, laptops, microphones, cables, calculators, flash drives, adapters, and chargers are also available. Loan periods vary, depending on the item. Ask at the Circulation Desk.

Valentine’s Day & Chocolate

The National Retail Federation says about 50 percent of consumers will buy candy for Valentine’s Day 2017, spending about $1.7 billion on candy alone. Are you buying chocolate for Valentine’s Day?

Some books about chocolate available in the library:

The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars by Joël Glenn Brenner

The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes by Maricel E. Presilla

The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg with Ann Krueger Spivack and Susie Heller; photography by Deborah Jones

Photo credit: “Chocolate-2” by jules is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Coming around again?

Are LPs making a comeback? For those of us with stacks of them in the basement, they never left. But statistics show that there seems to be renewed interest in the format. In 2015, revenues from vinyl sales were $416 million, the highest level since 1988. RIAA keeps these statistics and has other information about music sales on its website. And there’s a historical connection for this time of the year—Edison demonstrated the hand-cranked phonograph for the first time near the end of the year in 1877.

Three’s a Crowd?

Were there 5 million people at the Cubs rally downtown last week? Everyone agrees that there were a lot of people there, but just how do they decide on a number? One estimation method was developed by journalism professor Herbert Jacobs in the 1960s. The method is described by msnbc in an article that discusses estimating crowds and some recent historical gatherings. And in 2011, Popular Mechanics magazine talked about some of the science behind crowd estimation.

 

Poetry

Do you think about poetry if you are not studying it for a class? Do you write poetry yourself? Do you enjoy reading poetry?

Some poetry facts:

  • You can find some poems celebrating autumn on the site Poets.org.
  • October 6 was National Poetry Day in England.
  • The 21st and current poet laureate of the United States is Juan Felipe Herrera, and he was poet laureate of California from 2012 to 2015. He has published more than a dozen collections of poetry and short stories and books for children and young adults.
  • Most states have or have had a poet laureate. The Library of Congress website has an interactive map to show information and history about the position in each state.
  • Kevin Stein, professor at Bradley University in Peoria, is the Illinois poet laureate. On the state’s poet laureate website, Stein says he wants to “foster an audience ranging from poetry newbies to those more seasoned devotees of the art.”

Search on poetry in the library’s catalog to find a variety of books on the subject.