Thursday, December 08, 2011

Food For Fines for Christmas

Until December 16 you can pay your fines with non perishable food items. For every non perishable food item you bring in we will waive $1.00 in overdue fines and then donate that food item to the Collinsville Food Pantry. This only works for overdue fines not billing fees but it’s a win, win for all, your fines are paid for and you’re helping those in your community. For more information please call the Collinsville Library at 618-344-1112.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

4th Annual Art & Author Holiday Market

Just in time for Holiday giving! Buy local, buy original. Meet local authors and artists. Books, art, unique finds and more! Join us at the Blum House for a festive and fun-filled day at the 4th Annual Art & Author Holiday Market on Saturday, December 3rd from 12-8pm. Hosted by the Collinsville Memorial Library Center in conjunction with Christmas in Collinsville.

-Posted by Jessica Lawrence

Local Author Publishes New Book

Local Collinsville author Rev. Dr. Lloyd E. Shaw has just published his seventh book entitled Memoirs of a Retired Pastor. In honor of this achievement Shaw's daughters hosted a party/book signing on Sunday, November 20th in the Community Room here at the Collinsville Memorial Library Center. The event was an enormous success with Dr. Shaw not only signing his newest book, but actually giving away free copies! Spirits were high among the large crowd that turned out, and there was a lot of joking between the author and attendees. However, if you missed this party and the chance to get your own free book don't worry. Lloyd E. Shaw will be a guest at the Art & Author Holiday Market at the Blum House on December 3rd from 12-4pm. As well, his book Memoirs of a Retired Pastor will be available for checkout from the library along with Lloyd E. Shaw's Dreams : Doorway to Emotional Health, God in the First Person : Moving Beyond Belief to Knowledge, and Reflections of a Twentieth-Century Tom Sawyer : Growing Up in the Depression.

-Posted by Grahm Underwood

Monday, November 21, 2011

The International Fiction Book Club - November 16th, 2011

The International Fiction Book Club meeting of November 16th, 2011 delved into the novel, Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky.  First published in France in 2004, sixty-two years after the author was put to death in the gas chamber at Auschwitz, this book proves to be the first document in novel form about the German invasion and occupation of France since it was written while the events described were happening.  According to an interview published in the book, Woman of Letters: Irène Némirovsky and Suite Française,  Némirovsky’s daughter, Denise Epstein, received a valise from her father, as he was being taken away by the Nazis, and was told it contained her “mama’s notebook”.  The dramatic tale of how the “notebook” survived is fascinating in itself as the author’s two daughters barely managed to avoid capture by French collaborationists and spent time in hiding and in an orphanage and then later in a boarding school.  While in hiding, Denise kept the valise by her side but when sent off to school it was kept by a notary until she came of legal age.  For many years she could not bear to open the notebook, thinking it was her mother’s personal diary and would be too painful to read.  When she finally transcribed the minute handwriting (so to save the scarce paper supply) she realized she was dealing with the first two parts of a planned five part novel concerning the exodus from Northern France (“Storm in June”) and the occupation of a small French town by German soldiers (“Dolce”).

             From her notes, we can better understand the grand plan that Némirovsky envisioned.  The first part “Storm in June” acts as a prelude while “Dolce”, in Italian, is a musical term that means sweet and slow.  Her intent was to show the “struggle between personal destiny and collective destiny”.  As one participant in the discussion said, “this book provides an intimate look at the occupation of France…very personal and immediate…the prose is lyrical [yet] restrained”.  By describing little vignettes of those fleeing the bombing, the author gives us a telescopic view of upper-class interiors instantly submerged through panic into the domain of the exterior populace that makes up the lower classes.

             From the wealthy Pericand family, with the grandfather’s threats to leave his fortune to a home for wayward youth, to the bourgeois writer Gabriel Corte, Némirovsky nimbly uses descriptive detail but never overdoes the scene.  She manages to parcel out satire with deft awareness as in her juxtaposition of the aristocratic art collector Charles Langelet stealing petrol in order to continue his escape with the Pericand’s cat sinking his teeth into a bleeding bird.  Némirovsky deals out the mad reactions to the panic as Monsieur Corbin, the banker, chooses his mistress and her dog while leaving his middle class clerk and his wife, the Michauds, with an ultimatum to catch the train for the branch bank on threat of dismissal.  Since the tracks were bombed the Michauds begin walking and as a result are both fired.

             Another participant in the discussion remarked he was “amazed that this woman, who in occupied France had to wear the yellow star and suffer great humiliation because of it, was able to prevent bringing in that personal experience into her characters”.  This led to a discussion of some Jewish criticism that refers to Némirovsky as an anti-Semite because she published some short stories in a journal that also published anti-Semetic propaganda.  True, there are no Jewish characters in the novel, but the art collector, Charles Langelet, at one point bemoans the current conditions while being thankful he is not Jewish.  He is by no means a sympathetic character and, upon his return to Paris, after the armistice is signed, he is run down by a car and killed in the darkened street just after the stingy hiring of a maid for his apartment.  After his death in the street we are propelled back to the apartment where the maid tips over an expensive vase.  The biographers of Irène Némirovsky revealed that the Langelet character was based on a well-known right-wing journalist of the time.

             The proposed third section of the novel was to be called “Captivity” and, as the events were unfolding, she writes in capitals in her notes, “FOR CAPTIVITY FOR THE CONCENTRATION CAMP THE BLASPHEMY OF THE BAPTISED JEWS… MAY GOD FORGIVE US OUR TRESSPASSES AS WE FORGIVE YOURS”.  Mainly, for her children sake it appears, Némirovsky converted to Catholicism in 1939.  She never practiced the Jewish faith and hated her mother but hated hypocrisy even more.  She reserved the cruelest fate of any character for Father Philippe, the oldest son of the Pericand family and a priest.  He was given the duty of evacuating the group of wayward boys from the home that received the grant from the elder Pericand.  Along the way through the countryside the priest stops at intervals to pray for the strength to manage this group of boys.  He dislikes the troubled youth and they in turn take advantage to steal from a farmer’s cottage.  When he tries to stop them, they stone him to death.  He ends up stuck in the mud of a stream trying to escape their throws.

             During the German occupation of a small town, similar to the one where Némirovsky lived at the time she was writing the novel, an uneasy romance of a sort is played out between a cultured German officer and one of the occupants of the house where he is billeted.  Lucille, whose husband is a prisoner of war and who she was never in love with, strikes up an uneasy friendship with the officer.  Her mother-in-law lives in the house and despises the German but has to put up with him.  Although Lucille is friendly with the officer, she dramatically resists him when he makes advances.  She also agrees to hide an escaped French soldier who killed another German officer who he suspected of making advances to his wife.

             It is clear that Némirovsky wanted to write a book about how the German invasion and occupation of France exposed the differences in classes which led to such hypocrisy and even collaboration.  Some of the cultured class in French society felt more of a bond with the German occupying force than with their own people who were beneath them on the class scale.  Rather than feeling empathetic with the masses leaving Paris, Charles Langelet says, “All the men looked like bandits, the women like con artists”.  Her plan for “Captivity” included the wealthy author Corte becoming a collaborator only to become disillusioned.  It was obvious that everyone in attendance at our meeting agreed that Némirovsky’s novel speaks for itself.  She only published in a right-wing journal when she, as a Jew, was turned down by her usual publishers.  After publishing a short story in such a manner, she made note that she feels, “like someone who makes fine lace in the midst of savages”.

             Though most of the plot focuses on small events, a panoramic view of the French capitulation, there are enough mentions of the conflict at large to put things in perspective.  Every so often, between sketches of major character development, the author uses minor characters or un-named French voices to draw back from the personal and note the horrors of large scale war.  One example we discussed was the fate of three sons of a local blacksmith.  One was a prisoner of war, the other killed in battle and the third missing at Mers-el-Kébir.  This was a reference to the Algerian port and the sinking of the French fleet by the British.  According to her idea of the novel found in Némirovsky’s notes:

                        The most important and most interesting thing here is

                        the following:  the historical, revolutionary facts etc.

                        must be only lightly touched upon, while the daily life,

                        the emotional life and especially the comedy it provides

                        must be described in detail.

This book relies on the intensive quality of each sentence as the author probes the soul of the French populace.  It is the youngest Pericand son, Hubert age 17, who remarks, …“everywhere you look, chaos, cowardice, vanity and ignorance!  What a wonderful race we are!”

            If there are heroes to find, they are Hubert, who joins the French army though he is underage, and Jean Marie who escapes from a POW camp and is set to fall in love with Lucille in “Captivity” but when he finds out that she still has feelings for the German officer sets off once again to fight the Germans.  Némirovsky had faith in the French youth and was looking forward to a fourth section entitled, “Battles” and alas, a fifth section, “Peace”.  She would not live to see peace again but the document she left behind is an incredible testament to the search for truth in a time of crisis.

            Our next selection for the International Fiction Book Club is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.  We will be meeting the evening of December 21st at the historic Blum House next door to the Collinsville Memorial Public Library.  Copies of the book may be checked out at the front desk.

                                                                                                        Posted By: Jim Krapf 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Consider giving the gift of a library card.

This holiday season - shop small - shop local.

Consider giving the gift of a library even fits in a christmas stocking!

If you live inside the Mississippi Valley Library District and you haven't applied for your library card - you are missing out.  You are already paying for your library card, you just need to stop by and sign up.  There is no age limit.  What a wonderful gift this will be to your family as they become lifelong learners. 

Do you know someone who doesn't live in a library district? Did you know that you can give the gift of a library card? The Mississippi Valley Library District sells library cards to non-members for $85.00 for one year. Consider the possibility. What a great family gift this holiday season. Don't just pick one book or one DVD as your gift - why not pick them all!  Shop Small - Shop Local!

According to the National Small Business Association...With a little over a week until the Thanksgiving holiday, NSBA is urging small-business owners and their customers to participate in the second annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, 2011. Building on “Black Friday,” where most retailers do a significant amount of business, Small Business Saturday is a campaign to urge consumers to dedicate a portion of holiday shopping to local, independently-owned small businesses.

Small Business Saturday was originated by American Express in 2010, and NSBA—along with myriad other small-business groups—is proud to support the effort to drive customers to shop at their local small businesses.

Social media will play a central role in helping raise awareness about the importance of supporting small business and recognizing Small Business Saturday. Please visit the NSBA Facebook page: to get more information on Small Business Saturday. Here, you can also “like” a local business—even your own—to help drive local awareness to your business.

Read entire article at NSBA

Posted by Katie Heaton

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review – Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

“The man with six weeks to live is anxious.” (pg. 3)  This first sentence of Killing Lincoln draws the reader into the true story of the assassination of President Lincoln.  Even I as a Canadian know the end of this story, in fact, I was in Washington D.C. last summer and sat in Ford’s Theater and saw the pistol Booth used to shoot Lincoln, but knowing the ending does not diminish the intrigue, planning, near misses, twists and turns that lead up to this historic event and the manhunt that followed.

In the opening “Note to Readers,” O’Reilly writes, “Before historian Martin Dugard and I began writing this book, I thought I understood the facts and implications of the assassination. But even though I am a former teacher of history, I had no clue. The ferocious assassination plan itself still has elements that have not been clarified. This is a saga of courage, cowardice, and betrayal. There are layers of proven conspiracy and alleged conspiracy that will disturb you. You will learn much in these pages, and the experience, I believe, will advance your understanding of our country, and how Lincoln’s murder changed it forever.” (pg. 1)

These layers are carefully and artfully laid out in such a way that the reader is so caught up in the story that the reality and the learning that is transpiring go almost unnoticed. The ending of the Civil War, the hopes and dreams of Lincoln for reunification and reconciliation, the scope of Booths plot, and the role of pride, hatred, prejudice, jealousy, and betrayal are woven together in a way that on the one hand is inspiring and on the other frightening.

O’Reilly has written several New York Times bestsellers and his rich vocabulary, skill at crafting a sentence and at engaging his readers evident in this work is bound to earn this work a high spot on that coveted list. He has succeeded in his goal to advance the understanding of this nation and of true heroism and cowardly betrayal and in the process he gives the reader a new appreciation for those who have helped shape this nation as well as inspiring that truly American ideal that every person can and does make a difference some like Lincoln for the good of all and others like Booth and his co-conspirators to the potential destruction of the nation. Read this book – learn some ‘well known’ details of history, understand how much worse the events of April 1865 could have been, and be inspired to preserve and improve this great nation.

Submitted by Jim Ritter

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Public Library, Completely, Reimagined

You'll hear a lot of talk about the "death of the public library" these days.  It isn't simply the perpetual budget crises that many face either.  It's the move to digital literature, and the idea that once there are no more pinrt books (or rather IF there are no more print books), the library as an institution will cease to exist.

Librarians will remind you, of course, that a library is much more than a book repository...

Read the rest of this interesting article at MindShift.

Posted by Katie Heaton

Thursday, November 03, 2011

2011 Teens' Top Ten

Teen Read Week is an initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Teen Read Week started in 1998. This year's theme was Picture It @ your library®, which encourages teens to read graphic novels and other illustrated materials, seek out creative books, or imagine the world through literature, just for the fun of it. Libraries across the world celebrate Teen Read Week with a variety of special events and programs aimed at encouraging teens to read for pleasure and to visit their libraries for free reading materials.

More than 9,000 teens voted for the winners of the 2011 Teens' Top Ten.
Watch video announcements and winning author video acceptance at:   YALSA

1.   Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
2.   Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
3.   Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
4.   I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
5.   The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
6.   Matched by Ally Condie
7.   Angel:  A Maximum Ride novel by James Patterson
8.   Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
9.   Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
10.  Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Posted by Katie Heaton

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Walk 2011

Our staff had a wonderful day on Saturday in the wizarding world of Harry Potter!  We stayed after work on Friday to get the library ready for one of our most fun days of the year and everyone dressed up in style for the big day.  If you and your family came to trick or treat with us, thank you so much for visiting!  We also want to thank our great supporters in the Collinsville community for their sponsorship; without them this event would not have been as successful as it was.  If you patronize the following businesses, please be sure to thank them for helping your library.  

Ashman's Pharmacy and Gifts
Herr Funeral Home
Scott Credit Union
Leisure World
Rural King

The following organizations also sponsored our festivities:

Friends of the Collinsville Library
Collinsville Progress
Collinsville Main Street Community Association

It takes our community coming together to put on these wonderful events, and we are thrilled to be a part of your Uptown.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bill Gates announces 2012 Scholarship Program

The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program will select 1,000 talented students next year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice.  Scholars will also be provided with personal and professional development thruogh their leadership programs, along with academic support throughout their college career.

The program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Foundation, was established to provide outstanding low-income minority students with an opportuntiy to complete undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest.  To date, the program has given scholarships to more than 15,000 students.

Continuing scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas:  Education, Engineering, Library Science, Mathematics, Public Health, or Science

Deadline for submitting an application is Wed., January 11, 2012.
To apply visit

Posted by Katie Heaton

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Outwit, Outplay, Outlast

Earlier this week, four of the Fairmont City Library’s teenage patrons – Tami, Daniel, Daciy, and Robert – competed in “Survivor: Fairmont City Library,” our version of the hit reality T.V. show. The event, which was part of our Teen Read Week, pitted four of our teenage library patrons against each other in a battle of the ages. Not only did our patrons compete in Immunity Challenges, but they also visited Tribal Council to vote each other out one-by-one.

After getting to know the contestants – Tami, Daniel, Daciy, and Robert – it was time to get to the first Immunity Challenge. The first Immunity Challenge was divided into three legs, with a contestant being eliminated from the challenge (but not the entire game of “Survivor”) following each leg. For the first leg, the contestants were asked to balance a packet of oversized letters on their head while walking across the field behind the library. The first three contestants to walk across without their letters falling were Daniel, Robert, and Daciy, and they moved on to the second leg. For the second leg, the contestants used their oversized letters (A, B, and C) to answer multiple choice Trivia Questions. Daniel and Robert were the first contestants to earn five points with the questions, and therefore they moved on to the final leg of the first Immunity Challenge. For the final leg, the contestants and the audience moved inside to the Snack Bar, where it was revealed that Daniel and Robert would be facing off in a Smoothie Showdown and drinking a blend of Applesauce, Beets, and Coca-Cola. Robert talked the talk, but Daniel walked the walk and finished his drink before Robert did.

With the Immunity Idol in Daniel’s possession, the castaways headed out to Tribal Council to vote out either Tami, Daciy, or Robert. After a few questions, it was time for the contestants to cast their votes. Once the votes were tallied, it was determined that there was a tie – two votes for Daciy and two votes for Robert. It was then revealed that in the event of a tie, the deciding vote would go to the audience. And the audience voted for Daciy to stay, making Robert the first contestant ousted.

Once the Final Three – Daniel, Tami, and Daciy – were determined, it was time for their second (and final) Immunity Challenge. For this challenge, each of the final three contestants was asked to pick a member of the audience (either a friend or family member) who they trusted. Once each contestant had picked his or her teammate, the details of the challenge were announced: for this Immunity Challenge, the “Survivor” contestant would be blindfolded, and their teammate would be guiding them (by shouting at them) to three different buckets scattered across the field behind the library. Inside each bucket was a set of letters. Once contestants had brought back all of their team’s buckets, they could take off their blindfolds and begin unscrambling the letters to spell a familiar phrase. The first contestant to correctly unscramble their phrase would win Immunity and be guaranteed a one-in-two shot at becoming Fairmont City Library’s “Sole Survivor.”

When the challenge started, Daniel and Daciy had no trouble finding their buckets, but Tami struggled a bit. Daniel was the first to bring back all of his buckets of puzzle pieces, but Daciy was the first one to correctly unscramble her letters (which spelled the phrase “SOLE SURVIVOR”), making her the winner of the final Immunity Challenge. Once back at Tribal Council, it was all about Daciy. Since Daciy had the Immunity Idol, she couldn’t be voted for. Therefore, Daniel would’ve had to have voted for Tami, and Tami would’ve had to have voted for Daniel. Since their votes would’ve canceled each other out, it was pointless for them to vote, and the only vote that mattered was Daciy’s. She had the sole power of deciding who would be voted out and who would join her in the Final Two. After much deliberation, she went to the Voting Station and decided to vote out…

Daniel! Therefore, the Final Two contestants would be Daciy and Tami! Once the Final Two were settled into their final Tribal Council, it was revealed that the audience would be voting for the winner. Before the vote, however, Daciy and Tami were each given a chance to address the crowd and explain why they deserved to win more than the other finalist. Daciy went with the "I'll have your back if you ever get in a fight!" approach while Tami went with the "I'll help you with your homework!" approach. After their final statements, it was time for the audience to vote, and they decided that Fairmont City Library's "Sole Survivor" was Tami! Congratulations, Tami!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teens Only Trivia Night!

On Sunday evening, fifty of our teenage library patrons competed in our first ever “Teens Only Trivia Night.” The event, which was a kick-off for this year’s Teen Read Week, quizzed  the competitors over a wide range of topics including everything from books to movies to music from the 1980s (a decade that none of the teens were around for)! Each team was also invited to decorate the pumpkin served as their table’s centerpiece with a library-related theme. The theme for this year’s Teen Read Week is “Picture It @ Your Library,” so some of our favorite photos from the evening are posted below. Thanks to everyone who made the event a success!

Monday, October 17, 2011

October is Chili Season!

This time of year I think of all those wonderful fall treats including caramel apples, hot chocolate, breads, pies, and especially chili! I love to spend time in the kitchen with the window open letting in the cool fall breeze. The stove has chili simmering all day while the oven is busy browning up the bread. Check out the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens at the Library. They have some wonderful chili recipes for you to try starting on page 154, "Chili Season". Try one or try them all... Beef and Bean Chili, Two tomato stew chili, Hominy and Chorizo Chili, Texas Red Chili, Game day Chili, Spicy White Chili, Vegetarian Green Chili, and Harvest Chili.

Beef and Bean Chili
Prep time 30min - Cook 20 min.

2 lb. Lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped (2 cups)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (to your taste)
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 15-oz to16oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained.
1 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Corn Chips

In Dutch oven brown beef over medium heat; drain off fat. Add onions, garlic, and peppers; cook about 5 minutes, until almost ender. Add chili powder and cumin; cook 1 minute, until fragrant. Add tomato sauce and 2 cups water; bring to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Mash one of the cans of beans. Stir all beans into chili. Return to simmer; cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until melted. Stir in 1/2 tsp. Salt and the cilantro. Top with corn chips. Makes 8 servings!

Try it! And enjoy...I did!
Posted by Katie Heaton

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Teen Read Week

Be part of Teen Read Week 2011! Join us for Picture It @ your library, Oct. 16-22.

Teen Read Week is an initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Teen Read Week started in 1998. This year's theme is Picture It @ your library®, which encourages teens to read graphic novels and other illustrated materials, seek out creative books, or imagine the world through literature, just for the fun of it. Libraries across the world celebrate Teen Read Week with a variety of special events and programs aimed at encouraging teens to read for pleasure and to visit their libraries for free reading materials.

The Mississippi Valley Library District will have the following events:
Collinsville Memorial Library Center = CM
Fairmont City Library Center = FC

Sunday, Oct 16:  Trivia Night 6-8pm - CM
Tuesday, Oct 18:  Bon-Fire with Survivor Game 6pm - FC
Wed, Oct 19:  Genealogy "Picture your past" 6-7pm - CM
Thurs, Oct 20:  Hayride (PAL event) 6pm - FC
Thurs, Oct 20:  Teen Movie "Soul Surfer" 6pm - CM
Fri, Oct 21:  Teen Movie Night (registration) 8pm - FC
Fri, Oct 21:  Teen Lock-in (registration) 10pm - 7am - FC
Sat, Oct 22:  Photography Workshop (registration) 2-3pm - CM
Sat, Oct 22:  Pizza Party / Raffle 3:30pm - CM

Teens earn tickets by attending events or completing activities in the Teen  packet.  Packets can be picked up at both centers.  Use the tickets to attend special events or enter raffle for 2 cameras.

Posted by Katie Heaton

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book review: Abuse of Power by Michael Savage

In the interest of full disclosure I need to admit that I am a conservative - conservative in my views, values, religion, politics and life style. Further I have on occasion listened to Michael Savage on the radio and though he can be a bit of a conspiracy theorist and a little radical for my taste I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he has to say.

In his new book, Abuse of Power, Dr. Savage weaves a tale of a left wing global conspiracy designed to bring down the United States of America and all of western civilization. Weaving events of his own life story into the life of the main characters life Dr. Savage’s leading man Jack Hatfield stumbles onto a terrorist plot designed to make the events of September 11, 2001 look like child’s play. Hatfield, like Savage, has been banned from Britain for his outspoken views on radical Islamic terrorism, and has fallen from well known war correspondent and television journalist to an obscure freelance news producer in San Francisco.

Hatfield is on a ride along with the San Francisco Police Department when a seemingly routine carjacking turns into an international plot involving the highest levels of government both here and in the United Kingdom. The story behind the main plot is the question of just how far leaders will go to further their political agenda. Dr, Savage clearly believes that the Obama administration has been guilty of the abuse of power and strives in this book to warn his readers of the danger of allowing this practice to continue.

The story moves quickly with just enough detail to color in the background and not so much that it lulls the reader to sleep. It moves from San Francisco to London and back again with trips to Paris and Tel Aviv thrown in as well. The plot involves an offshoot of Al-Quida, the FBI, CIA, MI5 and MI6 and rings true enough to keep the pages turning and the heart pounding. Savage makes no secret about his desire that this book be turned into a movie and reading this book often has the feel of watching a spy thriller. I don’t think I would spend the $25.99 list price on the book or even spring for movie tickets if indeed Abuse of Power becomes a movie, but then again I am a conservative, but the book is certainly worth checking out from your local library.

Review by Jim Ritter

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bilingual babies discern languages

Babies living in bilingual homes get a perceptual boost by 8 months of age that may set the stage for more resilient thinking later on, scientists reported February 18.

Infants raised bilingual from birth can distinguish not only between their native tongues but between languages they've never encountered, even when they see adults speak without hearing what they say, said phychologist Janet Werker of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.  Babies in monolingual households lack these discrimination skills, Werker and her colleages have found.

Given exposure to two tongues, infants develop an ability to track closely what they hear and see to decode languages, Werker proposed.  In the visual realm, such information may include lip movements, the rhythm of the jaw opening and closing, and other facial movement.

Early perceptual strides by infants in bilingual homes may mark the beginnings of an increase ability to focus attention and think in complex ways later in life. 

Read more at : Article appearing in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC : by Bruce Bower

Posted by Katie Heaton

Monday, October 03, 2011

What to do in your garden now...

Fall is here - time to read some books about gardening...the library has several to choose from.  The Missouri Botanical Garden has some suggestions for you too...

All month
Plant spring bulbs among hostas, ferns, daylilies, or ground cover.  As these plants grow they will hide the dying bulb foliage.

Plant container-grown and balled-and-burlapped trees and shrubs now.  Loosen the soil in a area five times the diameter of the root ball before planting.  Mulch well after watering.  Continue watering if soils are dry.

Store apples in a cool basement in old plastic sacks tht have been perforated for good circulation.

Sow cover crops such as winter rye after crops are harvested.

Posted by Katie Heaton

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week Read-Out

Banned Book Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September since 1982, Banned Books Week not only encourages readers to examine challenged literary works but also highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Come and check out a book from The Collinsville Library center's banned Book display on the main floor.

 Top Ten Challenged Books in 2010:

1) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
 2) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
 3) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
 4) Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
 5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
 6) Lush, by Natasha Friend
 7) What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones;
8) Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
 9) Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
10) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Sale Next Week!

First Book Sale of a new Bi-monthly series...

The Friends of the Collinsville Library will be moving their once a year Book Sale to six times a year on the 4th Tuesday of the following months

September - November - January - March - May - July

First Sale is September 27, 2011
starting at 9:00am

the doors to the basement of the Collinsville Library will open for business
for this new sale. Books, Videos, CDs, audiobooks, LPs and all types of odds and ends will be set out for this one day only event.

Everything Must Go by the end of the day!

At 7:00pm for anyone who brings in a buck and a bag can take home as much as they can carry

until closing of the Library at 8:00pm.


     Here at the Collinsville Library Memorial Center we have a long history of proudly supporting local authors. Our shelves contain numerous works lovingly crafted right in the shadow of the Catsup Bottle.  The latest being “Hill of Great Darkness” by H.C. Beckerr.  Although the epic SCI-FI spirituality of Beckerr’s debut novel shows little concern for the pettiness of time and space, there is no denying this book's horseradish roots.  After all, that "hill" in the title is actually Cahokia Mounds. "Here I come, Collinsville. Let's find your dark little secret" declares the character Jessica Vandale.  Check out this book, and you too can find that secret.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Downloadable Audiobooks to your machines or ours!

Check out the new MP3 downloadable audiobook station across from the Main Desk at the Library. It has over 60 audiobooks on it and we are still loading... You can bring you own MP3 players in and download as many as it will hold or you can check out one of our MP3 players to take home and try out this new service

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lists for Every Reading Taste

To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee

leads the list of Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once

Other books that you might recognize on this list are
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Kite Runner by

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

International Fiction Group discusses "The Reader" by Bernard Schlink

Hogwash! This was Gabe’s comment on a review he read online about the latest selection of the International Fiction Discussion Group, The Reader by Bernard Schlink.

This review claimed that the story of Michael and his involvement with Hanna can be read as an allegory. The German people’s romance with Hitler? Hanna’s seduction of Michael? A bit far fetched was the common sentiment among discussion group members. The books that Michael read to Hanna certainly were chosen for a reason. Perhaps they were meaningful in the author’s life. Perhaps they mirror, in some respects, the struggle for control that Hanna wins in the affair. To claim allegory is going too far. In an interview with the BBC’s World Book Club host, Schlink explains that he never searches for metaphor. So, we can assume he did not intentionally devise an allegory which is an extended metaphor. To do so would have compromised his intent which was to contemplate the Second Generation’s response to the horrors committed by their fathers, professors, political leaders and, in this case, lover. Schlink leaves his book open for interpretation and refuses to answer the question of whether Hanna represents a figure from his own adolescence.

Jan posed the key question succinctly. What do you do when you discover someone you love has done a horrible thing? She calls it a great book of secrets and questions of compassion. Which begs the question of the guilt of Hanna. Was she to be exonerated because of her inability to read and write? Not according to Schlink. Although the courts were overwhelmed and unable to successfully deal with all of the aspects of the Holocaust, a measure of justice was done in this case. Justice failed overall because the horrors were simply too great and widespread but Hanna was guilty of a crime. The main secret we discover is that Michael has the ability to perhaps lessen her sentence because he knew of her illiteracy. She could not have written the report that she was accused of writing. He sees the judge in his chambers but the visit turns into a talk about the judicial life and Michael does not mention Hanna.

Phil also commented on the love story angle as thought provoking. An unusual love story that cannot gain approval on any terms. Yet, it was still love. Or was it just passion? The bicycle trip and the extended reading sessions seem to suggest more than just a passionate relationship. Once again, Hanna’a secret and her age prevents this relationship from prospering. She is of the First Generation and a former prison guard.

The Reader is an excellent exploration of the moral issues of the Holocaust and the guilt as felt by Second Generation Germans according to Mike. The author explains that during the student uprisings of 1968 many well respected professors were discovered to have been involved with the Nazi regime. He explains how it was that he found out the professor who was responsible for his love of the English language was involved with horrible things during the war.

There are hints of Schlink’s sense of guilt all throughout the book. For example, when he, as the character of author, is thinking back on why he returned to Hanna’s apartment the first time to thank her for helping him when he was sick, he thinks, “often in my life I have done things I had not decided to do. Something -- whatever that may be -- goes into action.” This sentiment falls short as does Hanna’s repeated questioning of the judge, “what would you have done?”

Dita asked the question: How do you find words for experiences that seem to resist expression? Exactly! How do you? One writes a novel that asks more questions than it answers but tries to add some perspective to the equation. As Dita remarked, however, the narrator seems to tell the whole story from a “stunned” perspective. This was Michael’s reaction in the courtroom upon realizing his Hanna was on trial. He was stunned. Here is one case where the book differs from the movie. In the movie, at one point during the court proceedings, Michael burst out in tears. In the book this never happens. Michael remains stoic. Hollywood caters to sentimentality. To better show the author’s (as narrator) intent, let’s quote from a passage at the end of Part Two after it is apparent that Hanna will be convicted:

I wanted simultaneously to understand Hanna’s crime

and condemn it. But it was too terrible for that. When

I tried to understand it, I had the feeling I was failing

to condemn it as it must be condemned. When I con-

demned it as it must be condemned, there was no room

for understanding.

Dorothy noted that this book certainly is worth a second reading. Mike mentioned that it reminded him of a judicial brief in the clear straightforward manner in which it reads. One can see various uses of the title in both a positive and a negative way. Toward the end of the discussion there were a couple of unanswered questions that the group tried to answer. Why did Hanna leave town suddenly? She left because she was being offered the job of driver and for that one must read and write. Why did she commit suicide? When she learned to read she read Holocaust literature in her cell. When faced with the light of day, she simply could not cope. Also, Michael’s reception was forced and cold leaving her no choice. As for Michael, his refusal to respond to personal letters from Hanna shows that he did not want a personal relationship with someone who committed her crimes. His reading on tape was tantamount to the author writing the book. The only way to grieve for the victims and the perpetrators is to tell the truth. Hanna learned to read by looking at the books as she was listening to the tapes. In the end, it was the ability to read that made her crime unbearable.

So, we conclude the 16th meeting of the International Fiction Discussion Group. The next meeting will be on September 21st at 6:30 p.m. in the Blum House. We will be discussing A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Anyone is welcome to attend. We always meet the evening of the third Wednesday of the month. All you do is ask for a copy of that month’s selection at the front desk of the Collinsville Public Library and check it out. Then, show up at the meeting. Next month’s selection will be available shortly. Be seeing you,

Posted by
Jim Krapf
International Book Club moderator

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Following In Famous Footsteps

As part of our ongoing efforts to have the best possible understanding of our community, the entire Mississippi Valley Library District staff (even the President of our Board of Trustees) recently visited the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower and the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site, both located in Hartford, Illinois, which is about twenty minutes north of Collinsville. At the Confluence Tower, almost all of the library’s employees took the journey up to the tower’s three observation decks – at 50 feet, 100 feet, and 150 feet above ground – and enjoyed the different views overlooking the rivers at each level. (To give some perspective, the Catsup Bottle is 170 feet high!) At the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site, our staff had the opportunity to watch a short video about the beginnings of Lewis and Clark’s historic journey, follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark by walking through a replica of their fort, and then look around at the different displays in the museum. Check out the following photographs from our trip, and if you’re interested in following in our footsteps, check out and

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Your Child's First Library Card

We are quite often asked how old a child has to be to get their first library card. The answer is for you to decide. We have babies and toddlers with cards, and we also have older kids whose parents prefer to check out everything on one library card. Some parents like to wait until their child can write their own name until they sign up for a card. Whichever way you decide, you and your little one will find a wonderful selection of books and audio visual resources at the Collinsville Library. Please remember that you, as a parent or guardian, are responsible for your child’s library use. Here are some pointers to help you along the way:

Please return borrowed items on time. Fines are currently assessed at ten cents per item per day (with exceptions for equipment and Express books). If your overdue fines exceed $5, you will be blocked from any further checkouts until your balance is paid. It is so easy to avoid having to deal with fines. Make sure you keep your check-out slip; stick it on your fridge or another place you routinely use to post reminders. If your items are due and have not been used, feel free to call us to see if they can be extended for you. We are happy to renew items in most circumstances, unless an item is on hold for another patron or has been checked out for an extended period of time.

Make sure you sign up for a PIN number to check your Library account online. From our website you can renew and order your own items. It’s like shopping, except you don’t need a credit card!

We encourage you to check out a variety of items with your child. Staff is always available to give general advice on suitability, but no-one knows your child better than you, so keep an open mind and let them help you choose items. You may stumble across an unexpected jewel.

Many of our families keep a special place in their home for Library materials. You could designate a bag or a box to keep your items in, and encourage your children to put their Library books back in the bag to ensure that you are able to easily keep track of your check-outs. This is a great way to keep organized, and eliminates the possibility of a hungry dog eating a library book, or a toddler using a DVD as a plate.

We want your family to enjoy using the Library, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact our Children’s Librarian, Alison Donnelly, at any time. You can call 618-344-1112 or email alisond(at)mvlibdist(dot)org

Friday, August 12, 2011

Little Ones in the Library

Do your children love coming to the Library? It was Karson’s last day of summer vacation today, and his mother told him he could choose anything he liked to do on his special day. Six Flags? The Zoo? Chuck E. Cheese? No! Our little bibliophile said “Let’s go to the Library, Mom.” There is something extra special about the glint in a child’s eye when he finds the perfect book about robots, ponies, detectives, racecars, bunnies, or dinosaurs, and we do our best everyday to make sure that the Children’s Library is a welcoming, comfortable, and downright fun place to share with your little ones. Worried about your baby being too noisy, or your toddler wanting all of the Thomas books? Don’t be! The staff in the Children’s Library has been chosen for their friendly, warm attitude, and will always endeavor to make your experience be everything you hoped it would. So for all of our library friends, here is a list of books all about libraries. If you’ve never visited us before, these are great titles to familiarize your child with libraries, and all of the wonderful things offered there. We look forward to seeing you soon.

The Boy Who Was Raised By Librarians by Carla Morris (Grades K-3) (J E MOR)

The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer (Grades 2-6) (J FIC COL)

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen (Grades K-2) (J E KNU)

Miss Smith and the Haunted Library by Michael Garland (Grades 1-3) (J E GAR)

Mrs. Roopy is Loopy! ( by Dan Gutman (Grades 2-5) (J PBK GUT)

That Book Woman by Heather Henson (Grades PreK-3) (J E HEN)

It’s Library Day by Janet Morgan Stoeke (Grades PreK-1) (J E STO)

Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn (Grades PreK-1) (J E MCQ)

Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra (Grades K-3) (J E SIE)

Our Library by Eve Bunting (Grades PreK-2) (J E BUN)

Read It, Don’t Eat It! by Ian Schoenherr (Grades PreK-1) (J E SCH)

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (Grades PreK-2) (J E LIE)

Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk (Grades K-2) (J E KIR)

The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter (Grades K-3) (J E WIN)

Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter (Grades K-3) (J 020.92 WIN)

My Librarian is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs. (Grades K-2) (J 027.4 RUU)

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the Children's Library, please let our Children's Librarian know.  You can call Alison Donnelly at 618 344 1112 or send an email to alisond(at)mvlibdist(dot)org

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A huge "thank you" to our community of helpers

As we get ready to send our children back to school, the Summer Reading Program at the Collinsville Library draws to an end, and Miss Alison and all of the staff of the Children's Library would like to gratefully thank our community sponsors for helping us this year with donations of excellent prizes for our readers this summer.  As it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the city of Collinsville and our friends in the St. Louis Metro area to get on board with the Library to keep our kids reading all summer to stay ahead in school and grow to become the future leaders of our city.  We are so thankful to the following businesses and organizations for their support:

AAA Swing City Music
Collinsville Area Recreation District
The Friends of the Collinsville Library
Illinois State Library - Penny Severns Grant
Saint Louis Cardinals
Saint Louis Science Center
University of Illinois Extension Services
Turning Pointe Dance Academy

Enjoy the photos of some of our winners with their prizes.  If you would like to assist the Library with program sponsorship, please get in touch with Miss Alison by calling (618) 344 1112 or through email alisond(at)mvlibdist(dot)org

Monday, August 08, 2011

Meeting The Giver of "The Giver"

Two members of the Collinsville Library Children’s Library Staff – Alison Donnelly and Jed Robbins – recently had the pleasure of meeting children’s literature author Lois Lowry at the 2011 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture at the St. Louis County Library.
The lecture, which is sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association), is given annually by somebody who has made significant contributions to the field of children’s literature, which could mean anyone from an author to a librarian to a critic.
While Lowry has written over 30 children’s books, her most notable works are Number the Stars and The Giver, which have each won the Newbery Medal (in 1990 and 1994, respectively), as well as The Anastasia Series, The Sam Krupnik Series, The Gooney Bird Books, and stand alone titles like A Summer to Die. Through her writing, Lowry has addressed a vast array of complex topics, including things like illness, racism, bullying, murder, and the Holocaust.
During her address at the St. Louis County Library, Lowry noted that she has “always felt a happy kind of hungry for writing,” which has led her to continue her writing over the years. After the lecture, Alison and Jed had the opportunity to meet Lois, and she even autographed a copy of The Giver for the Collinsville Memorial Public Library. Be sure to check out her books next time you’re in the library, or find out more information on Lois by visiting

Thursday, August 04, 2011


Local business leaders say early learning programs are key to economic recovery.

Have you heard about "America's Edge"?  They are business owners and principals, CEOs, Presidents, COOs, CFOs, Executive Directors, Vice Presidents and other key members of senior management.  America's Edge is supported by tax-deductible contributons from foundations and individuals.  America's Edge accepts no funds from federal, state or local governments.

What are America's Edge concerns?
Young people entering the workforce without skills we need.
Spending billions in remedial education on our employees.
High school students not graduating on time.
Children unprepared to succeed in school and falling behind.

What are the goals and objectives?
Create a workforce with 21st century skills.
Increase productivity to support sustained economic growth.
Develop resources to attract good workers and new business.
Ensure investments in children have high rate of return.

The Edge urges policy-makers to support program proven to:
Strengthen the economy in the short and long-term.
Build a foundation for future economic security.
Create jobs.
Ensure a skilled workforce, while getting kids on the right track.


Posted by
Katie Heaton
Branch Manager
Mississippi Valley Library District

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Annual Book Sale

The Annual Friends of the Library Book Sale is July 21 - 22 - 23

July 21      Preview Night
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
$5.00 admission per person

July 22     All Day regular prices
9:00 am to 8:00 pm

July 23     Bring your own bag day
9:00 am to 12:00pm
$1.00 per bag

Special  Silent Auction items will be offered in the Board Room on the 2nd Level

Thousands of Books...Tons of great items!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Patron of the Week!

Congratulations to Dewayne Love, who has been named our most recent Patron of the Week! Dewayne was nominated for this award in recognition of always being pleasant and kind to the library staff. He has brought in snacks for the staff, offered encouraging words, and always has a big smile on his face.

Dewayne's favorite thing to check-out at the library is a laptop from the Computer Lab (to use the Library's free Wi-Fi in various locations within the library). Dewayne graciously noted that, "The library staff is awesome. Their professionalism and customer service is the standard that all businesses in the City of Collinsville should ascribe to." We appreciate him and his great attitude. Thank you and congratulations, again, Dewayne!