Friday, December 27, 2013

Best Books 2013

As another year ends, obliterated by time’s inexorable march to oblivion, one’s
thoughts inevitably turn to literature. “What were my local library staff’s favorite
books of 2013?” you have undoubtedly been asking yourself for the past several
days. Well, it is now time to find out…

Cecilia- "And The Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini
Theo- "Sum It Up" by Pat Summitt
Theresa- "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline
Terry- "Senshi" by Cole Gibsen
Leslee- "The house of Hades" by Rick Riordan
Jim- "Killing Jesus: a history" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
Jess- "The Engagements" by J. Courtney Sullivan
Jed- "Inferno" by Dan Brown
Alison- “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel” by Anthony Marra
Posted by Grahm Underwood, Library Clerk and Alison Donnelly, Librarian.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Recipes - Part Seven

Today it’s your faithful narrator Terry’s turn. I am just beginning to bust my chops in the kitchen so I don’t have any traditional or signature dishes yet. However I always loved the meatballs my family would serve around the holidays and aim to serve some of my own this Christmas. This recipe is actually a conglomerate of different Taste of Home magazine recipes and I am sure that in the process (struggle) of making it there may end up being a few "innovations."




2 eggs
1 envelope onion soup mix
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup chopped dried cranberries
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef

1 can (14 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup beef broth 
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons cider vinegar


1. Combine eggs, soup mix, beef, cranberries, and parsley in a bowl. 
2. Crumble bread crumbs over mixture and mix well. 
3. Shape into 1-in. balls.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown meatballs; drain.
5. Place in a 2 ½ qt baking dish. 
6. Combine the sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs. 
7. Bake uncovered at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink. 


For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Recipes - Part Six

Sometimes around the holidays you need to give in and just treat yourself to whatever your heart (or taste buds) desire. Today Diane is sharing a devilishly delectable family recipe that is sure to satisfy any seasonal craving.




1. Little Smokies (little hot dogs)
2. Bacon
3. Butter
4. Brown sugar
5. Garlic salt


1. Start with the number of smokies that you want and wrap each one in bacon. 
2. Put them in a dish and apply butter. 
3. Next sprinkle brown sugar and garlic salt on to season them to your liking. 
4. Bake in the oven until bacon is cooked and the inside of the smokie is hot. 
5. Enjoy! 


For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk and Diane Wolfe, Library Clerk

Monday, December 16, 2013

NEW Library Online Book Club

We're pleased to introduce the new MVLD Online Book Club hosted on Facebook! Join us for discussions on our selection - currently "Holidays On Ice" by David Sedaris - or start your own conversation about a book that you're reading. Like us on Facebook to see what books everyone is talking about -

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Recipes - Part Five

It’s easy to go a little overboard with snacking this time of year so it’s always nice to have a treat that you don’t have to feel bad about the next day. Today Carrie is bringing us a healthier indulgence for the holidays with her Spinach and Artichoke Dip. 




1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 - 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced (or 1/4
1/4 teaspoongarlic salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika


Stir all ingredients together.
Grease a 1 quart casserole dish and transfer ingredients to it.
Bake at 350 F for 25 min.
Or cook in a 1 quart crockpot for 2 hours on low.
Serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers or toast.


For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk and Carrie Hawkins, Library Clerk

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Recipes - Part Four

Today Alison is sharing some of her favorite (she may say favourite!) holiday memories.

As you may know, I spent many Christmases in Scotland.  We celebrate in many of the same ways you do this side of the pond, but here are a few traditions that I still like to enjoy in my celebrations in the US.

My Granny on my mother's side is from Germany, and we would all wait impatiently for a big cardboard box to arrive to her house from her brother.   He would post (somewhat illegally) German cheeses and meats which our parents really liked, but what I was looking for were the Pfeffernüsse and lebkuchen.  These little spiced cookies taste great dipped in a cup of tea, or with a glass of cold milk.  My daughter has come to enjoy these, and Aldi sells them so we are enjoying far too many of them already.

Something else we always had at Christmas was a real tree.  Granny would light real candles on hers (safety caution - maybe don't try this at home!), and she would give us children a little sprig of burning tree to hold so we could smell the aromatic fir scent.  Gorgeous!  So we always have a real tree in our house with a matching live wreath on our front door.  We typically buy a tree twelve days before Christmas and take it down twelve days after.

On our tree we placed Christmas crackers.  When it was time for Christmas dinner, there was a cracker at every place setting.  When our Mum finally sat down to eat, we would each pull a cracker with the person opposite and we would immediately put on our paper hats and read the terrible jokes inside!  We also had foil wrapped chocolates hanging on our tree.  We would eat them the day we took the tree down, as a small reward for the undecorating chore.

Like children here, we put our stockings out on Christmas Eve.  My Auntie Linda made all of the children in our family a felt stocking with their name sewn on, and although she has been gone for a few years now, we still use our stockings and make them for the new great nieces and nephews she would have adored.  Typical things to get in your stocking are an apple, an orange, chocolate coins, and small trinkets.

Advent calendars were a festive staple too.  For the twenty four days preceding Christmas, we would open a little door on our calendar to see a picture from the nativity scene. At this time, many of the calendars have chocolates inside, which my six year old enjoys greatly. Nowadays, my brother and I like to tease our mother about our hard life with no chocolates in our calendars!

These are some of the special traditions my daughter Felicity and I observe to remember our family across the ocean at this time of year.  Thanks to online shopping and stores like World Market, it is quite easy to buy international delicacies to enjoy over the holidays, abating my homesickness (for the most part)!

For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk and Alison Donnelly, Children’s Librarian

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Giving From the Heart

This holiday season the Library is collecting donations from our staff, family, and community for the St. Louis Children's Hospital. If you would like to donate and help spread a message of holiday cheer and giving, please drop your items off in the collection box on the Main Floor of the library. Some items needed include: toys for infants through teens, children’s books, puzzles, art supplies , DVDs and CDs. You can also look through the hospital's "Wish List" for more items to donate -

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Monday, December 09, 2013

Holiday Recipes - Part Three

Today Grahm brings us a recipe for hot chocolate with a cayenne kick to keep you warm through this winter storm. 




1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Stir together sugar, cocoa, cayenne pepper, salt, and water in saucepan.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
3. Add milk; stirring constantly, heat to serving temperature. Do Not Boil.
4. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and enjoy.


For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk and Grahm Underwood, Library Clerk

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Holiday Recipes - Part Two

Today Theresa is sharing the recipe for her Fiery Cajun Shrimp dish to help heat up your holidays!


Growing up my family was very traditional when it came to holiday cooking.  Thanksgiving we always had turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, veggies and pumpkin pie.  Then for Christmas it was ham, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and apple pie.  

When I married my husband and we started our family we decided we wanted a different holiday tradition to pass on to our kids.  We chose that instead of “traditional holiday foods” we would choose something different or unusual that we hadn’t tried before.  

Over the years we have made: Texas oven-roasted beef brisket with German potato salad, grilled whole salmon stuffed with fennel, lemon and onions, and even a rack of lamb with roasted asparagus, carrots Yukon gold potatoes and yams. By far one of my favorites is the dish we made this past year.  The recipe we used was given to me by a friend who used to live and work in New Orleans, and its seafood, which happens to be my favorite food. 

This recipe is for a Fiery Cajun Shrimp dish served with sliced French bread.  Hope you may enjoy it as much as me and mine did.

-Theresa Beck and Family 


2 cups (4sticks) melted butter
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons ground pepper
2 tablespoons hot sauce 
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
5 pounds unpeeled medium shrimp
2 lemons thinly sliced
French bread for dipping


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Stir together the butter, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pepper, hot sauce, garlic and salt. Pour half the mixture into a large heatproof dish.  Layer half the shrimp and half the lemon slices in the dish; then form a second layer with the remaining shrimp and lemon slices, and pour remaining sauce into the dish.  Bake covered, for 20 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink, stirring twice.  Pour off the sauce into individual serving dishes.  Serve the shrimp with plenty of French bread for dipping in the spicy butter sauce.


For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk and Theresa Beck, Head of Circulation

6th Annual "Art & Author Holiday Market"

Join us this Saturday, December 7th from 1-6pm at the Historic Blum House for the Collinsville Library's 6th annual "Art & Author Holiday Market." Just in time for holiday giving. Buy local, buy original. Meet local authors and artists. Books, art, jewelry, unique finds and more! Hosted in conjunction with the Collinsville Holiday House Tour. 414 W. Main St., Collinsville, IL 62234. Please call Jessica at 618-344-1112 for more information.

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Friday, November 29, 2013

Holiday Recipes - Part One

Season’s greetings! One of the best parts of this magical time of the year is the festive food we enjoy at family gatherings and on cold winter nights throughout the season. This December we will be sharing some of our staff’s favorite holiday recipes and encourage you to try them yourself! Of course a lot of the time these kinds of dishes are tied to a tradition or memory so the staff may also reflect on what their choice means to them or why it is their favorite. Have fun trying out the staff’s favorite recipes and for more seasonal meals and treats check out one of the library’s many holiday cookbooks!

Our first recipe is from Jessica Lawrence. Jess is sharing a traditional family recipe for Dilly Bread. The dish is very special to her and sounds delicious! 


It has been a tradition for the past 40 years in the Lawrence family to make Dilly Bread at every family gathering. It is simple, but filled with so much flavor and love. It always looks so lovely on the holiday table steaming fresh from the oven and with the scent of butter and dill unfurling in your nose. It is so well-loved that it makes other appearances throughout the year, but is an absolute necessity at every holiday meal. 

It was a prize-winning recipe in the 1960 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, but the matriarch of the Lawrence family got the recipe from a magazine and started making it in the 1970s. She has since passed it down to almost every member in the family and from there it has been shared with friends, neighbors and co-workers across the country who continue to share the recipe with their friends, neighbors and co-workers. 

I enjoyed it at the very first Christmas celebration I spent with my husband's family, and he has made it for me every year since then. This year, I tried my own hand at making it and shared it at my family's Thanksgiving feast. It turned out fabulously, and I was glad I brought copies of the recipe to hand out! 

I am thrilled to be able to spread the love and tastiness on to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as our families do.


2 to 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour 
2 tablespoons sugar 
2 to 3 teaspoons minced onion 
2 teaspoons dill seed (or to taste)
2 teaspoons dill weed (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup water 
1 tablespoon margarine or butter 
1 cup small curd cottage cheese 
1 egg 
2 teaspoons butter, melted 
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, if desired 

1. In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, onion, dill seed, 1 teaspoon salt, baking soda and yeast (mix yeast with warm water first as described in instructions); mix well.

2. In small saucepan, heat water, 1 tablespoon butter and cottage cheese until pretty warm (120°F.). Add warm liquid and egg to flour mixture; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.

3. By hand, stir in remaining 1 to 1 2/3 cups flour to form a stiff batter. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80 to 85°F.) until light and doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. 

4. Generously grease 1 1/2 or 2-quart casserole dish or loaf pan(s). Press down batter to remove all air bubbles. Turn into greased dish. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.

5. Heat oven to 350°F. Uncover dough. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped. If necessary, cover with foil to prevent over-browning. Remove from dish; place on wire rack. Brush loaf with melted butter; sprinkle with coarse salt. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm with pads of butter on each slice.


For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks.  The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays! 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk and Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Library Makes Your Holidays Merrier

It's the most wonderful time of the year, especially at the Collinsville Memorial Library Center where we like to go all out for the holiday season. Here is a list of the top ten reasons a visit to the library can make your Christmas merrier.

#10 You might spot Santa Claus watching TV in our community room.
#9 Arnold Schwarzenegger’s holiday classic "Jingle All The Way" is available for checkout.
#8 Just try and find a better deal on cross stitched Christmas ornaments. 
#7 Three words - FOOD FOR FINES!
#6 The 6th Annual Art & Author Holiday Market.
#5 Upon request Matt will perform his original rap "Crunk Christmas.”
#4 Our kitchen is open to anyone making fruitcakes.
#3 Somewhere in the library an elf is on a shelf.
#2 Eggnog really brightens up our already friendly staff.
#1 Obviously, the mistletoe.

Posted by Grahm Underwood, Library Clerk

Thursday, November 21, 2013

In Defense of Minecraft

If you have visited the Children’s Library recently you may have noticed quite the furor around the computer station over a game called Minecraft. For months now kids have been practically lining out the door to play the game – it’s not unusual to have a child at every single computer playing Minecraft. I initially was baffled by the game and couldn’t comprehend why it was the hot new thing but after some research have concluded that there are merits to it and there are certainly worse things kids could be spending their time on. While the amount of time kids often dedicate to the game, sometimes in all-day marathon bursts, is staggering, Minecraft challenges kid’s creativity and problem solving in a way few video games do.

Minecraft is a low-budget, online video game in which the player creates and builds the virtual world around them out of 3D cubes. Players can join in to each other’s worlds and play as a team online. In its simplest form, Minecraft is a bit like a virtual Lego world, in which the player stacks and arranges objects around them to construct objects. There are two modes in Minecraft: survival and creative. In survival mode players explore the world to gather resources in order to maintain their health while in creative mode players are free to craft the world around them without any limitations. Both modes offer the signature blend of exploration and constructing central to the game.

I was initially skeptical of the game more as a life-long video game enthusiast than anything else. That is to say I simply thought it looked boring and couldn’t understand why the kids loved it so much. As someone who grew up with Mario fighting through the Mushroom Kingdom and the complex, impressively in-depth worlds of Grand Theft Auto, I just didn’t see any allure in the simplistic game play and ugly, blocky textures of Minecraft. I rolled my eyes at the game while simultaneously feeling sure that I must be missing out on something.
I haven’t figured out what that something is, as I personally still have no desire to play Minecraft, but have been able to conclude that even if I don’t understand why the kids like the game it may not be such a bad thing that they do. With its basic format of exploration and construction, Minecraft is a completely family-friendly, skill based game that challenges kids to solve problems and be creative. I can speak from personal experience to say that there are countless other games on the internet that do not have comparable credentials. Most easily accessible games on the internet boil down to absurdist humor and reaction speed and don’t offer anything approaching the level of depth and challenge in Minecraft. Furthermore, while it wouldn’t be a problem in the Children’s Library where the computers are restricted to age-appropriate content, there are of course many games that are entirely inappropriate on the internet and Minecraft offers a safe, clean environment for kids to be creative in.

While we certainly all wish children today would spend half as much time reading as they do playing games, when you can’t fight against the tide it is best to swim with it. Kids are going to play video games and if they are we can at least hope they choose the ones that are most worthwhile. Minecraft may not look like much fun to you or I but it probably wouldn’t be as popular with kids if it did. The game is at least a challenging, clean, sometimes educational experience and when the next big craze comes along we may end up looking back fondly on it in comparison.

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Upcoming Friends of the Library Book Sale

Grab your reading list and join us for our Friends of the Library Book Sale, which offers books, records, videos and more all ready for you to take home!  Held every other month throughout the year, this book sale offers hundreds of items on every subject including biography, romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and cook books to name just a few! Our next sale is Tuesday November 26th from 9-8pm.

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Review - "The First Phone Call From Heaven" by Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom’s The First Phone Call From Heaven, is a story that moves the reader to consider the question of life after death. But not just whether there is an afterlife or not, but also the question of if we could communicate with those in heaven, or better, if they could talk to us, what would be the result. 

Albom is careful not to go too deep into theology and the conversations in the book speak only in very broad terms about the nature of heaven. I was reminded of the phone calls made from flight 93 on September 11th, when all on board knew that to defeat the terrorists meant that the plane was going to crash. What does one say in that last phone call? What would you say if you could speak to a deceased loved one? What would you want to hear from them? These questions and the book as a whole cause the reader to realize how fragile life is and how precious the relationships we enjoy really are. 

The story explores how the news of such miraculous phone calls might affect the recipients, their town, and in the age of the internet and 24 hour news, the whole world. As one expects form Albom, there is faith, hope, love, and in this story grief and intrigue. I enjoyed how he wove details about the invention of the telephone into the story, which were not only informative but also helped emphasize the rapid pace of change, the importance of each moment, and how small incidents can often make a big difference. 

It is a quick read, entertaining, sometimes emotional, and causes one to think about life, death and eternal life. Well worth checking out.

Posted by Jim Ritter, Library Clerk

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Infinite Wasteland - Television 50 Years After Minow's Vast Wasteland

When Newton Minow gave his now famous Television and Public Interest Speech (or "Wasteland Speech") as head of the FCC under President John Kennedy in 1961 the world and television were very different from how they are now. At the time there were only three networks in the United States, demographics were less diverse, and a conservative social culture provided a sort of unwritten code for what was acceptable on television. However much of Minnow's speech remains not just relevant but absolutely significant to this day. Unfortunately much of it could still pertain to television today almost as much as it did back then.

In his speech Minow said: "Your industry possesses the most powerful voice in America. It has an inescapable duty to make that voice ring with intelligence and with leadership." While relatively television has improved in this regard with stations like PBS, National Geographic, and the History Channel the medium is also directly responsible for the dumbing down of society with programming like The Jersey Shore and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Even in a world with hundreds of channels available on cable that air content 24/7 Minow's challenge to "sit down in front of your television set...and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you" would be a painful one to endure. If you stick to the major networks and local channels you will still have to sit through countless game, phony judge, and dysfunctional family shows that offer no educational or artistic merit.

It would seem that in the years since, television has not heeded Minow's words that "We all know that people would more often prefer to be entertained than stimulated or informed. But your obligations are not satisfied if you look only to popularity as a test of what to broadcast. You are not only in show business; you are free to communicate ideas as well as relaxation". Indeed, it seems apparent from the state of channels like MTV and TMZ that some in television seek only to exploit mind numbing entertainment for the sake of ratings. Even major news networks like CNN are guilty of running ridiculous entertainment or "fluff" pieces that aren't in the interest of anyone.

The Kennedy/Nixon debate and Edward Murrow's Harvest of Shame, both of which aired a year before Minow's address in 1960 were exemplary of the kind of content Minow hoped the networks would more often pursue. And television did improve in response to Minow's remarks. The informative, historically enlightening broadcast of the White House Tour by Jacqueline Kennedy was an example of it at the time and since then television has become home to more challenging, creatively satisfying content such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men that have broke the ceiling of what is thought to be acceptable as television entertainment. However one flip through my TV Guide convinces me that here fifty years later we have not entirely achieved the goals, ambitions, and hopes that Minow laid out for the medium.

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk


In addition to books on the metamorphosis of television over the years, the library also has an extensive T.V. series collection. Stop by and check out both classic and modern television shows and compare them for yourself. Where do you think the evolution of television is headed?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #1

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here we are at our pick for the #1 horror movie franchise for Halloween. 

1.  Frankenstein
If there is one face of horror more enduring and iconic than Dracula it is his longtime pal Frankenstein. The first film was released in 1931 and is credited with launching the entire Universal Monsters brand. If not for the overwhelming success of James Whale’s Frankenstein there may never have been a Dracula, Wolf-Man, Mummy, or any of the other immortal monsters offered by the studio. The first film remains to this day arguably the best horror movie ever made while others will contend that same point for its sequel The Bride of Frankenstein. There have been more than fifty films to feature the character since and an infinite amount of appearances in cartoons, shopping aisles, and on candy wrappers have assured the green faced goblin’s immortal standing in the horror hall of fame.

Halloween is the time for horror. Whether you like scaring yourself silly with the most intense picture you can find or sitting back with an oldie just to get your fill of shadows and cobwebs, make sure to find some time for the ghosts and ghouls this time of year! 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #2

Halloween is just a few days away! To celebrate, here is our #2 choice for top movie franchises for Halloween.

2. The Living Dead
George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in 1968 is without doubt one of the most influential and widely copied films ever made. Before Romero brought us the undead, shambling, hungry-for-brains zombies that are so popular today zombies in films had still always been associated with voodoo or witchcraft; more brain-dead servants than brain-hungry monsters. Romero continued the modern zombie revolution ten years later with 1978’s excellent Dawn of the Dead. This entry ratcheted up the violence and brought the rotting grave walkers in to color for the first time. Romero’s films are characterized by social messages and topical references and while each entry has marked a decline in quality for the series (all the way up to 2009’s abysmal Survival of the Dead) the franchise has at least retained what sets it apart and makes it significant. 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #3

In our #3 spot for top Halloween movie franchises, is one of the most legendary horror icons of all time.

3. Dracula
Dracula is one of those rare characters that are so iconic there is little that can be said about them. The first film to bear the name was Universal Studio’s 1932 Dracula starring Bela Lugosi as the Count and this incarnation has remained the most enduring image of the character. However it was the silent film Nosferatu in 1925 that first took inspiration from Bram Stoker’s novel and actor Max Schrek’s appearance as “Count Orlok” has made a bit of a comeback in recent years. Hammer Studios picked up the franchise in 1958 with Christopher Lee making his first appearance as the fanged nightmare. Lee would go on to play Dracula in six more Hammer films – a record number of appearances for an actor in the role. There have been countless other movies starring the character, most notably Francis Ford Coppola’s version in 1992 starring Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, and Keeanu Reeves as well as Wes Craven’s disappointing Dracula 2000.
Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Monday, October 28, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #4

We hope you have been enjoying some of these scary movies. Here is our #4 horror movie franchise for Halloween.

4. Halloween
John Carpenter’s original Halloween is the granddaddy of slasher horror. Preceded only by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hitchcock’s Psycho, Halloween inspired an entire genre of copycats in the 80s including Friday the 13th. The first film is widely regarded as one of the all time horror greats and the direct sequel is solid but unfortunately from there the series descends into a slew of lackluster sequels. It wasn’t until Rob Zombie’s reboot in 2007 that the franchise got back on its feet but luckily Zombie’s film is one of the best remakes ever made.

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk 

Cooking Classes at the Library

Join our delicious and fun-filled cooking classes at the library! You will learn cooking basics and quick and tasty recipes. Registration is required and is in person only. The cost of each class is $5.00 and is due at the time of registration. Please visit the Main Desk to register. All classes will be in the Community Room kitchen and will be held one Monday a month from 5:30-7:30pm. Visit our website or call 618-344-1112 for more information.

November 25  “Thanksgiving Side Dishes” – Create scrumptious and simple side dishes to compliment any Thanksgiving feast.

December 16  “Gifts from the Kitchen” – Celebrate the season with recipes that you can turn into gifts for your loved ones. 

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #5

We have made it to #5 on our list...

5. Evil Dead
Evil Dead is unique even amongst its B-movie peers. The series has run the gauntlet from outright horror to slapstick comedy and back again across only four movies. The wise cracking, chainsaw-for-a-hand Ash played by cult legend Bruce Campbell offers something not common in these types of films: a superhero. The second film perhaps best bridges the franchise’s horror and comedy with the third being nothing short of a parody and this year’s remake reversing all the way back to its grizzly, gruesome roots. The classic setting of a haunted cabin in the woods has never been captured so perfectly in any other film.

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #6

As we get closer to Halloween, here is our #6 movie franchise for Halloween season.

6. Nightmare on Elm Street
In both concepts and execution the Nightmare on Elm Street series is among the most creative and unorthodox horror ever made. The series’ dream world setting allows for just about anything to happen and filmmakers have stretched their imaginations to often silly lengths for new shocking ways for their sleepy victims to meet their demise. Lead antagonist Freddy Krueger has endured nearly thirty years as one of the most recognizable characters in horror with his scarred face, striped sweater, brown hat, and blade fingers. None of the films have been anywhere near the quality of the original 1984 masterpiece but the series has at least continued to move in interesting, unpredictable directions (except for the disastrously boring 2010 remake).  

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Monday, October 21, 2013

10 Reasons Why We Will Miss Courtney

Library Clerk Courtney Locandro will say goodbye to the MVLD on October 26th, as she embarks on a new career in the nursing field. In honor of her departure we have compiled a list of the top ten reasons our library will miss Courtney.

#10- The library will now go unrepresented in the Italian Fest 5K.
#9- Southern Accent Thursdays will never be the same.
#8- She always started every shift by saying  "Hahaha... I have destroyed the hopes and dreams of a generation of faux romantics."
#7- Our staff now has zero Christian music experts.
#6- She never got around to doing an Andrew W.K. Sleeveface.
#5- Three words, GAME OF THRONES!
#4- That's $10 less for Theo to win in our annual Oscar pool.
#3- Some people are just born to twerk.
#2- She always ended every shift by saying "C-Lo out!"
#1- Obviously, the ladies.

Posted by Grahm Underwood, Library Clerk

Friday, October 18, 2013

Affordable Care Act Presentations


Trying to understand and navigate the new healthcare law? Then join the Madison County Health Department at the Collinsville Library for two presentations on the Affordable Care Act on November 6th and December 4th at 4:00pm in the Community Room. They will answer questions about the Affordable Care Act and will have in-person counselors to assist people with enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace (Get Covered Illinois). This event is FREE and open to the public, but registration is required in order to work with a counselor to enroll. Individuals who are already insured or on Medicare are discouraged from making an appointment to enroll. Contact the library at 618-344-1112 to register. For more information please contact Kara Hughes at 618-296-6098.

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #7

We have arrived at #7 on our list...

7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre might very well be the most horrifying and scary series on this list. Starting in 1974, well before any of its mask wearing slasher peers, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has offered nothing but undiluted terror since its inception. The first film is a true masterpiece of horror and is one that even the most seasoned genre fans might still squirm at the thought of watching  in the dark. After a few wacky sequels the series came back in to its own with the 2003 remake starring Jessica Biel, a film nearly as terrifying and horrific as the original. Unfortunately this year’s less than stellar Texas Chainsaw 3D marked a significant step backwards for the series. 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #8

On to #8 on our list of the top horror movie franchises for Halloween.

8. The Mummy
The Mummy has proved one of the most enduring faces of horror for more than half a century now. First appearing in Universal Studio’s The Mummy in 1932 with the legendary Boris Karloff in the title role, the character has gone through numerous incarnations, appearances, and studios. Hammer Studios first rebooted the Mummy with their 1959 film starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and more recently Universal again rebooted the franchise in 1999 with Brendan Frasier in the lead role. The recent Mummy films have essentially been action movies but have nonetheless managed to keep the series alive and relevant. 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Library Sleeveface - October 16, 2013

This mystery woman is sweetly showing off her country style as she browses through the Main Floor of our library. This special collector’s edition sleeve includes two discs with various country favorites including “Sunny” by Floyd Cramer, “Me and Bobby McGee” by Dottie West and “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Don Gibson. Better hurry to gain this 1970’s collector’s item from Tele House Records for yourself at our next Friends of the Library Booksale on November 26 from 9:00am-8:00pm. We also have many other country artists, classic as well as new, in our CD collection on the Ground Floor of the library. In fact, you can check out any music CD with your library card for a whole week. For your browsing convenience, we have recently moved the “New” CDs to our Main Floor. We are always adding new CDs to our collection and there are a multitude of records, CDs, books and more to purchase at the bi-monthly book sale. Can you guess which of our angelic library ladies is this vision in white? 

Posted by Courtney Locandro, Library Clerk

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #9

Here is #9 on our list for the top ten horror movie franchises for Halloween.

9. Scream
While other films had flirted with it before Wes Craven’s Scream was the first to fully embrace a self aware, sometimes self deprecating humor. The franchise’s niche is messing with horror clichés as in each movie the iconic Ghostface plays upon genre tropes and taunts his victims with horror history. The movies are decent but it’s Ghostface himself who is the real draw – for more than fifteen years now his “screaming ghost” face has been a staple in every store’s Halloween section. 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Friday, October 11, 2013

Top Ten Horror Movie Franchises for Halloween - #10

The air is getting crisper, the leaves are starting to turn and Halloween is right around the corner. It is one of our favorite times of year here at the library as we prepare for our annual Halloween Walk. Countdown to Halloween with us by following our posts on the top ten horror movie franchises. They are perfect for watching this time of year. Stop in the library to check one out today. 

Today we will start with number 10 on the list.

10. Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th is the source for some of the most clichéd horror stereotypes. In nearly every film in the franchise a group of oblivious, lustful teenagers visit Camp Crystal Lake and get picked off in gruesome ways one by one by the hockey mask wearing machete wielding Jason Voorhees. The movies are often intentionally cheesy and sometimes border on outright parody. Through twelve movies Friday the 13th has cemented itself as a B-movie powerhouse with Jason making trips to Manhattan, space, and hell along the way. None of the films are particularly good but in this case that is kind of the point. 

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Friday, October 04, 2013

Film Review - Riddick

Riddick is exactly what you might expect from a Vin Diesel led action packed sci-fi romp: it’s big, crass, and relentlessly macho. Overall it is one of the weakest science fiction offerings of the year but its adult humor and mindless violence do serve to set it apart from the largely family friendly affairs that have begun to dominate the genre. For fans of the first two films, Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick delivers but in comparison to relatively highbrow fare like Elysium and Star Trek Into Darkness it’s hollow and brainless.

The things that Riddick gets right it really excels at. The action is fast paced and explosive, the visuals dark and gritty, and some of the concepts and designs are cool and innovative. As far as cheesy, over the top action movies with bodybuilders go, you could do worse than Riddick.
That said there is a lot wrong with Riddick. The nuances of the plot are heavily tied to the previous films and Riddick doesn’t do a great job of explaining them which leaves the uninitiated viewer apathetic to the story right off the bat. It almost doesn’t matter though because the narrative of Riddick is so bare bones that your experience and take-away of the movie will probably be about the same regardless of if you actually pay attention or not. Riddick is marooned on a hostile alien planet with a gang of mercenaries on his trail. The mercenaries are no match for Riddick. Riddick must escape the planet. The end.

The pacing of the film is a mess. After an exciting, attention grabbing introduction the film slows to a crawl when the mercenaries start hunting Riddick. There is far too much camera time granted to this uninteresting, stereotypical, poorly acted rag band of tough guys clichés and it nearly lulls the movie to sleep.  Literally every minute that Riddick wasn’t on screen my impression of the movie dropped. The film eventually begins to build steam again to a satisfying finale but by then it was almost a matter of too little too late.
There are some cool shots in Riddick and the shadowy, grim aesthetic of the visuals help the film tremendously. Vin Diesel is solid (but not exceptional) in the title role and the alien fight scenes are gripping and memorable. However the movie is severely flawed in many ways and in a year crammed full with so much competition Riddick just doesn’t stand up.

Grade: D
Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Book Review - Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly

As an ordained clergyman and fan of Bill O’Reilly I was eagerly anticipating his newest work, Killing Jesus. It is an entertaining and informative work of historical fiction, or at least fictionalized history. O’Reilly claims that this is not a religious book, but that is like saying his works on the assassination of President Lincoln and President Kennedy were not political books. One cannot write about the person and work of Jesus, especially about His death, without it being a religious book. Even the attempt to do so is in fact a religious decision. 

One such decision, and the greatest flaw of the book in my opinion, is that O’Reilly often favors secular historical accounts and “known” common practice over the account given in the New Testament. Also, the authors conclude that the motivation for the killing of Jesus was that He interfered with the money flow between the people and the religious and political leaders. While following the money is often a good idea in seeking out motive, it is clear that in an effort to be “non-religious” the authors have overstated their case. They missed the religious fervor behind the Pharisees, Sadducees, Chief Priests, Scribes, and elders who believed that by claiming to be the Son of God Jesus was a blasphemer and so worthy of the death penalty.

The book is filled with historical details and color that likely will add much to the television movie already in the works. It does a good job setting the events of Jesus into the historical context of the first Century and in pulling together the political and religious events that surrounded the life of Jesus. It also graphically describes the gruesome nature of crucifixion. While leaving out any of the appearances of the resurrected Jesus the authors do point to the fact that the tomb was indeed empty on Easter morning and that the body of Jesus has never been found. They also point out how many eyewitnesses gave their lives in defense of their accounts of having seen the risen Jesus and how even now, some 2000 years later more than 2 billion people believe that Jesus died for their sin, rose from the dead, has ascended to heaven and will come again. This story, His story, is history and while O’Reilly and Dugard have written another best seller, if you want to know the truth about Jesus I suggest reading the bestselling book of all time – it’s called The Holy Bible.

Posted by Jim Ritter, Library Clerk

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Film Review - 42

The story of Jackie Robinson is one of the great stories in the history of sports and in the history of this nation. The movie 42 based on this truly courageous and important development in human history does a wonderful job portraying just how difficult and how brave a decision it was to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. The era of segregation is brought to life for all of us who were not around to see it first hand in such a way as to elicit both guilt and sympathy. Branch Rickey, brilliantly portrayed by Harrison Ford, is thankful that some of the vitriol spewed at Robinson by the press and even the other players, is evoking sympathy, which he defines as suffering with someone. We suffer with Jackie and his wife as he displays the guts not to fight back. While racial epithets are used throughout the movie, as well as some other mild swear words, the language is probably milder than that which really occurred and is appropriate for the time and the intended PG-13 audience. Rickey’s own guilt for having remained silent in the past, in the face of racism, serves as the motivation for his bold decision as does his Christian faith, which is evident throughout the movie. It is an inspiring movie, one that needs to be seen not only by baseball fans, but by all of us who are blessed to live in this post-racial period and are trying to make the dream of character rather than color still come true.

Posted by Jim Ritter, Library Clerk