Sunday, June 26, 2016

What's Happening: June 26 - July 2, 2016

There are always all kinds of fun, free  programs for all ages at the library. Here is what's happening this week!

Just Dance 2016 - 2:00pm

Junior Green Thumbs - 2:00pm
Young Authors - 5:00pm

Preschool Storytime - 10:00am
CHS Summer Reading Club - 6:00pm

Baby Boogie - 9:30am
Social Media Computer Class - 2:30pm
PNG Video Game Programming - 6:00pm
Blum House Book Club - 6:30pm

Wii Open Gaming - 4:00pm
History and Genealogy Club - 6:00pm
A Jawsome Evening at the Collinsville Library - 6:00pm

Masterpiece Kids Craft - 2:00pm

Thinking Saturdays - 9:00am
Kids Movie Matinee - 2:00pm
Internet Computer Class - 3:00pm

For more information on any program, see the calendar at, call 618-344-1112, or come into the library!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Program Coordinator

Sunday, June 19, 2016

What's Happening: June 19 - 25, 2016

There are always all kinds of fun, free  programs for all ages at the library. Here is what's happening this week!

Just Dance 2016 - 2:00pm

Junior Green Thumbs - 2:00pm
Young Authors - 5:00pm

Preschool Storytime - 10:00am
Kids Craft: Candle Holders - 2:00pm

Baby Boogie - 9:30am
Social Media Computer Class - 2:30pm

Mutt-i-grees Animal Classes - 2:00pm
Wii Open Gaming - 4:00pm
History and Genealogy Club - 6:00pm

Masterpiece Kids Craft - 2:00pm

Thinking Saturdays - 9:00am
Make It and Take It Craft: Greeting Cards -10:00am (paid program)
Kids Movie Matinee - 2:00pm
Microsoft Excel 2013 Computer Class - 3:00pm
For more information on any program, see the calendar at, call 618-344-1112, or come into the library!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Program Coordinator 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Staff Recommendations: June

Every month members of our staff share what media they are consuming - be it books, movies, video games, or any of the other mediums the library has to offer. After all, a love of art, in all its forms, is what brings us together at the library!

Vicky Hart - Library Director

Currently, I am reading "Gator's Challenge" by Eve Langlais, book #4 in her Bitten Point Series.  It is fantasy/paranormal/shapeshifter/interracial romance.  Yup, I love romance and science fiction/fantasy, preferably multiple book series.  I chose this title because I had read the first three in the series and I am hoping this will tie up loose ends!

What am I watching?  "Game of Thrones", Season 6, of course!  ​

Katie Heaton - Fairmont City Branch Manager

I am reading The Giver Quartet Series by Lois Lowry.

I read "The Giver" several years ago and loved it.  Recently I discovered that there were more books in the series.  I'm sure I'm not the only one to miss this considering the copyright dates of these books.

The Giver (1993), Gathering Blue (2000), Messenger (2004) and Son (2012).

This Young Adult series does not carry one character through all of the books, but gives stories about different characters and reappearing characters that help link this Utopian society series.  Interesting read.

Ginny York - Youth Services Coordinator

Some children's books I've found on our shelves that I'm impressed with:
"Are You a Horse?" (Andy Rash)  Funny as well as sneaking in a lesson on living/nonliving  things and their characteristic.  Riley gave it 2 thumbs up.
"Hurry, Hurry!" (Eve Bunting) So simple I used it for Baby Boogie.  Beautiful illustrations.  Few words building excitement for the surprise ending.
"No Sleep for the Sheep!" (Karen Beaumont)  Fun use of language. 
"Potty Animals" (Hope Vestergaard)  Going to bring it home to read to Riley.  I think she'll love the lessons on bathroom etiquette.

What I'm reading:
"Call the Midwife: The Workhouse Years" (Jennifer Worth) My favorite show - this is the 2nd book of memoirs she wrote that the show is based on.  I'm loving the history in it as well as getting to know some of the characters from the show better.
"Home Safe" (Elizabeth Berg) I just listened to this book and enjoyed the development of the main character, a middle-aged widow who is learning to live independently and re-shape her life.  I thought it was quite thought  provoking about what someone in her shoes would go through. 

Grahm Underwood - Service Desk Coordinator 

"Your favorite band is killing me : what pop music rivalries reveal about the meaning of life"
by Steven Hyden
Often hilarious and always entertaining, I am forced to recommend this book despite the author's inexplicable preference for the Smashing Pumpkins over Pavement!

Terry Pierson - Program Coordinator

My primary focus is on "The Matheny Manifesto" by St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. This is much more than just a book about baseball, as Matheny attempts to impart lessons on life, leadership, and attitude through his love of the game. 

I am also quite consumed by "Xenoblade Chronicles X" on the Wii U. Xenoblade boasts as massive and immersive of a world as any free roam sandbox game out there - in fact, it can be a little overwhelming. The game is beautiful, engaging, and just the size and depth of it makes it an experience unique to video games. 

Stephanie Moore - Library Clerk

This month I am reading "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins. So far it is a great mystery/suspense book that has me wanting to read the book in one sitting! Fans of "Gone Girl" would definitely enjoy this one.

As far as listening goes, I am really enjoying the new Red Hot Chili Peppers song Dark Necessities and looking forward to their new album, "The Getaway", which comes out June 17th.

Michelle Wilson - Library Clerk

I have recently read the full Divergent series and love recommending it to those interested in the YA section. I am also reading "The Fault in Our Stars" right now, but with my A&P class I have not had a lot of time allotted for it. What I have read so far, I have liked.

I also have been keeping up with "Game of Thrones", so 10/10 would recommend on that (to appropriate age groups).

I play "Dungeon Defenders", "Castle Crashers", "Viva Pinata", "Fable" (II & III), "Sims" (Bustin' Out & The Urbz) and "Munchkin".

Music: Death Cab for Cutie, White Stripes, Regina Spektor, The Beatles, Postal Service, Skrillex, Roger Miller, Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, World Order, and the list goes on.


If something has caught your interest, ask to order it through the library today. Also, feel free to ask any of us what we are spending time with or recommend whenever you're in the library. We are always happy to help and share what we love! 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Program Coordinator 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Know Your City - St. Louis Architecture

   St. Louis is a bastion of remarkable architecture. Through history, the city has been home to many notable and innovative architectural achievements. 

Basilica of St. Louis, (The Old Cathedral)

  • The first cathedral west of the Mississippi
  • Completed in 1834
  • Named for King Louis IX, the namesake of the city
  • 95 ft. 
  • Sole survivor of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
  • Greek Revival style

The Old Courthouse

• Originally served as a federal and state courthouse, now operates as a museum
• First completed in 1828. Renovations continued until 1864
• The tallest building in St. Louis and Missouri until Union Station was built in 1896
• 192 ft.
• Housed the Dredd Scott case
• Greek Revival style

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

• Anheuser-Busch’s largest and oldest brewery
• Opened in 1852
• The six-story Brew House is the centerpiece and is crowned by a clock tower
• In 1852, annual production was about 1.8 million barrels. Today, that number is 15.8 million
• Romanesque style
• National Historic Landmark District

Eads Bridge

       • At 6,442 ft. the Eads Bridge was the longest arch bridge in the world in 1874
       • Named for designer and builder James Eads
       • Road and railway bridge
       • The first true use of steel in a major bridge
       • Encountered intense resistance from steamboat interests
       • National Historic Landmark 

Wainwright Building

       • One of the first skyscrapers in the world
       • Completed in 1891
       • Named for Ellis Wainwright, a local brewer, building contractor, and financier
       • 147 ft.
       • Palazzo style
       • National Register of Historic Places

Union Station

       • Once the world’s largest and busiest train stations
       • Completed in 1894
       • Modeled after the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh
       • Today it serves two passenger lines (Metro Link) and acts as a shopping center and hotel 
       • “The Meeting of the Waters” fountain celebrates the Mississippi and Missouri rivers 
       • Romanesque Revival style
       • National Historic Landmark

St. Louis Art Museum

      • Built for the 1904 World’s Fair
      • Architect Cass Gilbert drew inspiration from the Baths of Caracalla in Rome
      • Inscribed “Dedicated to art and free to all”
      • Six statues atop the entrance represent the principal periods in art history – Egyptian, Classic,    Gothic, Renaissance, Oriental, and Modern
      • “The Apotheosis of St. Louis” statue looms over “art hill” in front of the museum

Flight Cage

       • Purchased for the 1904 World’s Fair
       • Represented the founding of the St. Louis Zoo
       • Remains one of the largest aviaries in the world

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (The St. Louis Cathedral)

       • The mother church of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the seat of the archbishop
       • Completed in 1914
       • 227 ft. Max capacity of 5000
       • The cathedral’s crypt is the resting place of three Catholic Cardinals
       • With 41.5 million glass tesserae pieces, it has one of the largest mosaic collections in the world
       • Neo-Byzantine Romanesque Revival
Fox Theatre

       • “The Fabulous Fox Theatre” was designed as a movie palace
       • Completed in 1929. Restored in 1982
       • Now serves as a performing arts center 
       • Siamese Byzantine style
       • National Register of Historic Places
       • The Fox Theatre of Detroit is its architectural twin

St. Louis Arena

       • The city’s primary venue for large events for nearly seventy years.
       • 1929-1999
       • Originally built for Dairy Shows
       • At the time of its construction, it was the second largest indoor entertainment space in the country (behind only Madison Square Garden)
       • Home of the St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Steamers, St. Louis Hawks, and many more
       • Concerts by Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, and ZZ Top

Civil Courts Building

       • Replaced The Old Courthouse as the city’s court building
       • Part of the City Beautiful movement in the 1920s
       • Completed in 1930
       • 386 ft.
       • The pyramid on top was designed to resemble the Mausoleum of Maussollos. There are thirty-two columns which each measure nearly 42 ft. high
       • Two sphinx like creatures crown the structure


       • Missouri Botanical Garden
       • First air-conditioned greenhouse dome
       • Named one of the top 100 most significant architectural achievements by the AIA

Gateway Arch

       • A monument to the westward expansion of the United States
       • The tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere
       • Completed in 1965
       • 630 ft.
       • Eero Saarinen won a design contest for a monument in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the St. Louis riverfront but died before work on the Arch began.
       • Cost $13 million ($180 million in 2013)
       • National Historic Landmark
       • Structural expressionism style


Visit the library to check out these great books (and many more) on St. Louis architecture. 

"American City: St. Louis Architecture: Three Centuries of Design" - Robert Sharoff

"St. Louis in Watercolor: The Architecture of a City" - Marilynne Bradley 

"Historic Photos of the Gateway Arch" - NiNi Harris

The Collinsville Library's "Know Your City: St. Louis History Club" meets monthly to discuss various aspects of St. Louis culture and history. The next meeting, "Famous St. Louisans", is July 6th. 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Programming Technician

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Know Your City: St. Louis History Club - Inaugural Meeting

Tomorrow is the first meeting of our “Know Your City: St. Louis History Club”, a monthly gathering where the civic and historically minded can learn, teach, share, and discuss St. Louis history with others who hold the same passions. The event is free and no advance registration is required. We will begin at 6pm at the Blum House - hope to see you there!

Below is a very brief sample of the prepared lesson. After the presentation, the floor will be opened to Q&As and storytelling.

The Gateway Arch is only the start. St. Louis is home to more than one magnificent monument - The Eads Bridge, The Old Courthouse, Busch Stadium, The Cathedral Basilica, and The Wainwright Building are just a few examples of the marvels of engineering and beauty present in St. Louis architecture.

The Old Courthouse

• Originally served as a federal and state courthouse, now operates as a museum.
• First completed in 1828. Renovations continued until 1864.
• The Old Courthouse was the tallest building in St. Louis and Missouri until Union Station was built in 1896.
• 192 ft.
• Architects: Henry Singleton, Robert Mitchell, and William Rumbold.
• Greek Revival style.

Eads Bridge

• Named for designer and builder James Eads.
• At a length of 6,442 ft. the Eads Bridge was the longest arch bridge in the world when it was completed in 1874.
• Road and railway bridge.
• The first true use of steel in a major bridge.
• Encountered intense resistance from steamboat interests.
• National Historic Landmark (1964).

Posted by Terry Pierson, Programming Technician 

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Brief History of Fighting Games

     Fighting games are exactly what they sound like but there is a surprisingly deep history and complexity to the genre. Typically, these games feature one-on-one combat, either between a player and computer or two human players, although there are titles that feature team battles. Fights take place in 2D or 3D arenas, are usually divided into rounds (best of three is common), and end when one player’s life bar is depleted. The genre is known for having complex mechanics in which players must learn how to attack, block, counter, deliver special moves, and perform combos (a chain of attacks) through mastery of the game’s controls and precise timing.

     Much of the skill involved in fighting games requires an intimate knowledge of the player’s chosen character and the specific mechanics of the individual title. Because of this steep learning curve, fighting games have transformed into a niche genre, with a dedicated following of talented enthusiasts. Often, players specialize in one specific franchise and the competitive play, whether it be in official tournaments, the local arcade, or on someone’s couch, is arguably the most intense in any multiplayer field.

     The underlying fundamentals of fighting games evolved from boxing and karate games in the late 1970s and early 1980s, such as Heavyweight Champ and Karate Champ. Such titles have since spun-off into the sports genre, with an emphasis on realism and simulation in contrast to the fighting genre’s often over-the-top and exaggerated presentation. It was Capcom’s Street Fighter in 1987 that popularized the style as it is known today. Street Fighter pitted animated characters of different martial arts backgrounds against each other and innovated several standards of fighting games, such as blocking, pressure controls, and special “hidden” moves.

     Street Fighter II is what really brought the genre into its own in 1991. Capcom’s sequel ignited the arcade boom of the 1990s and turned the gaming world on its head with its introduction of competitive multiplayer. Street Fighter II remains one of the best selling and most influential games of all time and impacted the direction of the genre like no other title.

     Perhaps the best of the games to follow in Street Fighter’s footsteps was Mortal Kombat. In terms of mechanics and gameplay Mortal Kombat was very similar to its predecessor but its presentation was much more adult and overtly violent. Mortal Kombat quickly gained fame and infamy for its over-the-top gore and grotesque “Fatalities”, in which the victor of a fight could brutally finish (see:kill) their dazed opponent. The game was the subject of several court cases, has been banned in multiple countries, and is credited with spurring the creation of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating system. As a franchise, Mortal Kombat has continued with regular game installments, multiple movies, comic books, action figures, and more.

     Once just a student of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat ended up having nearly as profound of an affect on the industry as Capcom’s title. A wave of copycat games cloned MK’s style, each working to up the ante on the blood and brutality of the other. Most of these titles have faded into the annals of gaming history but a select few, such as Killer Instinct and Primal Rage standout. Mortal Kombat continues to be revered and exalted by game critics and holds numerous records with Guinness World Records.

     Until this point, fighting games had been contained to a 2D graphical and gameplay style. With technological advancements, 3D gameplay opened a new frontier and games such as Tekken and Virtua Fighter pioneered the new possibilities. Tekken quickly grew to be arguably the most competitive franchise in the fighting genre, with an emphasis on balanced gameplay and a serious presentation. Through seven sequels and a couple spin-offs, Tekken has held on to this crown in arcades ever since.

     3D fighting games took over at the turn of the millennium with franchises such as Soul and Dead or Alive innovating the genre with features like weapon based combat and destructible environments. Even Mortal Kombat had to evolve, introducing 3D arenas and alternate fighting styles. Around this time, fighting games started to focus more on home console releases as the glory days of arcades began to wane.

     In recent years, fighting games have undergone a renaissance after the long awaited release of Street Fighter IV. Street Fighter IV utilized 3D character models in a traditional 2D fighting arena, marked the debut of online play to the series, and received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. The success of SF IV has already led to the revitalization of its peers, Mortal Kombat and Tekken.

     Another popular modern trend in modern fighting games is the crossover, in which the roster is compiled from all-star sources. The roots of this can be traced to Marvel vs Capcom, in which characters from Capcom’s games such as Street Fighter and Resident Evil squared-off against Marvel comic characters like Spider-Man and Iron Man. In 2008, Midway and DC Comics flipped the coin on this formula with Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. assembles all of their beloved characters, like Mario, Kirby, and Donkey Kong, and throws them into an all out rumble with frantic results. Sony tried to copy this recipe in 2012 with their Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale with their own pantheon of characters.

     It is unclear what the next horizon of fighting games has in store for gamers but it is such a timeless genre that there is no doubt there will be plenty of button-mashing and controller flipping going for a long time to come. Blockbuster franchises like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Super Smash Bros. have received a new jolt from online play and could only be getting warmed up. Until then, there are plenty of classics and contemporary titles to keep us busy. 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Programming Technician

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Brief History of Role-Playing Games


     A role-playing game, commonly referred to as an RPG, is a deep and complicated experience in which players explore a vast world and slowly develop their character. Most RPGs can be expected to run a minimum of thirty hours and it is not uncommon for them to be much longer. When considering side-quests and the freedom of exploration, RPGs often offer more than 100 hours of gameplay.

     Outside of progressing the story, the onus of RPGs is to level-up and advance the playable character(s) so that they become more powerful and capable of confronting the increasingly challenging enemies in the game. Stats such as attack and defense usually increase automatically with experience that is gained from winning battles or completing tasks but there are often much more advanced attributes to consider and mold and every game has a unique system of presenting such extracurriculars. Almost universally all RPGs use what is known as a level system in which the numerical value directly corresponds with the character’s strengths and achievements. For instance, a character at level fifty is guaranteed to be much more advanced than a level five character. Items and equipment are other significant factors, with the reward of powerful new armor and weapons routinely being an incentive for tasks and battles.

     Thematically, video game RPGs are typically akin to their tabletop counterparts (such as Dungeons & Dragons). While there are exceptions, most RPGs are of the fantasy or science-fiction genres and deal with epic tales of adventure and war. In theory, franchises like Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings would be most suited to being RPGs if they were made into video games (and indeed, they have been).

     There is a variety of sub-genres in the RPG realm but almost all share some basic elements, including a heavy emphasis on exploration, grand storytelling, and the character customization aspects previously discussed. Action RPGs differ slightly from Turn-Based RPGs which are in turn a step away from Tactical RPGs. Recently, a division between Eastern and Western RPGs has come to represent these distinctions and other cultural differences.

     The roots of RPGs in video games can be traced as far back as the 1970s when PC gaming began to try and emulate tabletop games but the gameplay style as it is known today began in earnest with 1986’s Dragon Quest on the Nintendo Entertainment System. A tsunami of similar titles was soon to follow, including The Legend of Zelda, Phantasy Star, and Final Fantasy. These now historic and beloved franchises continued at a steady pace through the 1990s, with each entry advancing and evolving the formula of the previous. Near the end of this generation of RPGs, Nintendo’s Pokemon captivated gamers like few other titles in history have; the Pokemon franchise remains the best-selling RPG of all time.

     In 1997, everything changed with the release of Final Fantasy VII on the Playstation. The fifth-generation of consoles was the first to use discs instead of cartridges and it is fair to say that perhaps no genre was more affected by this than the RPG. The new format allowed for much longer and deeper games than before and this is when the trademark depth and complexity of the genre really took hold. The storytelling was also greatly impacted as the new technology allowed for beautiful computer generated “cutscenes” that played out like episodic mini-movies throughout the adventure. Final Fantasy VII is regarded as one of the most important and influential games of all time and continues to be revived and renowned year after year.
     The next big step for RPGs came in 1999 with the online PC game Everquest. While online RPGs had existed for some time, it was Everquest that really pushed them into the mainstream and established the subgenre as its own cultural phenomenon. The Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, known as an MMORPG, allows players from across the globe to connect in the same enormous magical world and progress through the adventure together. Everquest and Diablo II put MMORPGs on the map in a big way and the trend continues today with titles such as World of Warcraft.

     In the current era of gaming, Western RPGs (WRPGs) have eclipsed their Japanese counterparts. Titles such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Mass Effect have redefined the genre to mainstream audiences with darker themes, more mature characters, and faster-paced more action heavy combat systems. While traditional RPGs (JRPGs) persevere, and blockbuster franchises such as Final Fantasy and Pokemon persist, their influence has indisputably waned.

     RPGs of all stripes remain among the most critically acclaimed every year and developers keep finding new ways to reintroduce elements and evolve the style. Like with anything, the power of direction is ultimately left to the consumer and commercial viability. It is likely that gamers will continue to see a hybrid of traditional styles as well as new growth in the genre as the technology advances. We can only wait in breathless anticipation to see what the game makers of tomorrow have in store for role-playing games of the future.

  Posted by Terry Pierson, Programming Technician