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

Monday, September 23, 2013

Collinsville Library Tour - Children's Floor

Welcome to the final installment of the Collinsville Library Tour! This time we will take you through our wonderful Children’s Floor. As on all of our floors, we have a handy elevator that will take you to any of the floors you need to get to in the library. To access the Children’s Floor via the elevator you want to travel to the 2nd floor. If you would rather take the stairs you will notice the entire stairwell has a beautifully painted mural of many different storybook characters. Once you open that door you and your child will be able to explore the wonderful array of books, movies, kits, puppets, big books, small books, parenting books and more that are available to you in our Children’s Library! 

The first section you will encounter is our Children’s movie collection - we even have VHS tapes to check out. Most of the movies up here are rated PG and under. Here you will find series such as Dora the Explorer and many classic Disney movies as well. On the other side of the elevator is our non-fiction collection where you and your child can check DVDs about learning different languages, safety and more. We also have furniture created especially for the little ones to sit and read in this area. This area also is the place to get great tunes from our collection of children’s CDs. For those coming off the elevator first you will notice straight in front of you we have small bulletin board where we post events or juvenile related information you might want to know about. Below that we also have baskets for you to help carry your items around while you look around. As an added bonus, most of these baskets are available for check out so you can easily carry all your items home after you check them out. 

Just past the movies and music you will find the graphic novel section with favorites such as Charlie Brown, Pokeman and more! Also along this wall are our restrooms. As you make your way toward the main room we will enter the JE fiction section. This section is mostly comprised of picture books including smaller sections for beginner readers and preschool readers. Here you can find special collections including Dr. Seuss, Disney, Winnie the Pooh and more. In this large section, we have a set of tables where you can read, play a game or get help with homework during school months. Once your little one has picked out all their books they can also enjoy our train set or a magazine from this section. This section also has a parenting/teaching collection. 

Along with our many exciting decorations and bulletin boards, one special bulletin board is reserved for Flat Alison to display her adventures. Flat Alison is modeled after our beautiful Children’s Librarian, Miss Alison. The idea for Flat Alison comes from the well-loved book series Flat Stanley. Flat Alison loves to go on adventures and trips with patrons to places all over the world! She has already traveled to India, Africa, Scotland and Vienna. Next time you go on vacation, feel free to ask Miss Alison if you can take Flat Alison with you and we will post your vacation pictures with her for everyone to enjoy!

In the center of the Children’s Library is our New Arrival and audio books section. You will also see a collection of kits across from the restrooms. These kits can include books, audio tapes, finger puppets, and activity sheets to go along with the books. Directly behind these are paperback chapter books, including several series such as Goosebumps and The Boxcar Children. In the center area we also have 6 filtered internet computers for children. 

As you make your way toward the back of the Children’s Library you will notice another shelf by itself with libros en espaƱol, and a large collection or biographies and autobiographies. The back section is mostly comprised of our non-fiction collection, including science fair books, sport teams, crafting and more. Along the back wall is our J Fiction section, which is comprised of our collection of chapter books. We also have a few children’s fishing poles for check out if fishing is something you or your child enjoys. One of the favorite spaces for the younger ones is our playroom, complete with dress up costumes, building block, stuffed animals and Legos. 

At the Children’s Library circulation desk, you can return or check out any items, not just children’s items. Here at the desk we also have a myriad of games to choose from including Chutes and Ladder and Monopoly. We would love to answer any questions you have, help you find items, and provide information about children’s programs such story time, which is every Tuesday at 10:00am. Near the book drop at the desk you may notice a little dinosaur bank. This dinosaur likes to be fed coins, which in turn go towards buying more books for the Children’s Library. 

With all the things to do, play with, and check out in the Children’s Library it is sometimes hard to contain all your excitement, but please remember to use your best manners and inside voices. Thank you for supporting the Collinsville Library and all we offer. We hope you enjoyed this virtual tour!

Posted by Courtney Locandro, Library Clerk

Friday, September 20, 2013

Film Review - Elysium

2013 has been a crowded year for science fiction. In the months before heavyweights like Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel the genre had already put on a good showing and in the summer season of blockbusters there has been a consistent slew of quality sci-fi fare. In terms of grand genre concepts and fast paced explosive action, Elysium keeps pace with its simpler, popcorn-movie peers of the year such as Pacific Rim and After Earth. What sets Elysium apart is its palpable heart and topical conscious. 

Elysium is director Neil Blomkamp’s sophomore effort. His first film, District 9, is by any account one of the most successful science fiction films ever made. District 9 netted nearly five times its meager production budget at the box office and was nominated for Best Picture, a nearly unprecedented accomplishment for the genre. While it may not quite live up to the pedigree set by District 9, Elysium is a worthy follow up and a solid film in its own right. 

There are some noteworthy similarities between the two films. Like District 9, Elysium is set in a dystopian future full of muddy colors and rough textures. There is a definite visual theme shared by the films that I imagine will become as much of a trademark look for Blomkamp as overly saturated colors are for Tim Burton. The films also share the inclusion of not so subtle (some may say overtly political) social messages. District 9 was obviously about immigration and Elysium is just as clearly about wealth inequality and healthcare. 

Elysium is more of a standard action film than District 9. Bone crunching brawls and speedy chases are staples from the outset in the 109-minute running time. As Elysium is set far in the future it features much more sci-fi eye candy wonder than District 9. Elysium itself, a technological utopia on which the privileged live in a paradise of indulgence, is especially spectacular. 

In Elysium it is the year 2154 and social standing has broken down into two extremes: the haves, who live glamorous lives on the magnificent space station Elysium, and the have-nots, who live in squalor, filth, and poverty on the ravaged Earth. Disease and oppression are part of everyday life on Earth while Elysium is essentially the Hamptons in space. After undergoing a potentially fatal accident, Matt Damon’s character Max Da Costa concocts a plan to infiltrate Elysium in order to save his life. Along the way he will learn that he is destined to play a bigger role in the timeless class conflict. 

It has been six years since The Bourne Ultimatum and since Matt Damon has led an action movie on this scale and budget. Luckily he hasn’t missed a beat. In a year crammed full of personality driven genre films (World War Z with Brad Pitt and Oblivion with Tom Cruise just to name a few), Matt Damon puts forth what might be the action-star performance of the year so far. 

Unfortunately the rest of the lifeless cast doesn’t live up to Damon’s lead. Jodie Foster in particular is disappointing and lackluster. Maybe she just nailed the cold, emotionless bureaucrat  role a little too well but her performance is boring, uninspired, and all around snooze worthy. Nobody else in the cast is especially memorable either. 

Elysium’s real problem is its third act in which the plot becomes bumpy and disjointed. A little more than halfway through the film the antagonists suddenly switch from the wealthy, powerful elite to a band of radical extremist terrorists. It almost works, as it puts Matt Damon and those suffering on Earth in a moderate role (a clear political parallel) and thus stresses the danger of the extremes on either side of them. However instead of being an explosive twist the change is muddled and incoherent. Consequentially I was left feeling confused and apathetic at precisely the time I should have been most engaged and invested. It’s a textbook mistake and while it doesn’t ruin the entire film it certainly significantly drags it down. 

Elysium was probably never going to live up to the critical success of District 9. That kind of official recognition and broad acceptance is always lightning in a bottle and for Blomkamp to be able to repeat it in the science fiction genre always seemed like a bit of a stretch. Elysium is bigger, louder, and a little stupider than District 9 and while it doesn’t quite match up to its predecessor it is a terrific follow up for the young Mr. Blomkamp.  Science fiction could only be so lucky to have this bright, promising talent stay within its tent poles for a few more films. 

Grade: B

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk/Page

Friday, September 13, 2013

Library Sleeveface - September 13, 2013

This little lady is keeping it cuddly here in the library with her sweet little kitty. Although real pets are not allowed in the library for safety reasons, we welcome you to any of our cuddly puppets or stuffed animal friends in our extensive puppet collection.  You can hear for yourself the symphonic and tender sounds of the Boston Pops led by the legendary Arthur Fielder on this album or order another through our card catalog.  Did you know that you can manage your library account through our online card catalog?  You can renew items, place holds and manage your reading history all from the convenience of home. This Boston Pops album and many more can be found at our Friends of the Library Booksale or checked out from our vinyl record collection here at the library. Can you guess which of our staff members is portraying this classy animal lover?

Posted by Courtney Locandro, Library Clerk

Italian Fest Exhibit and Film

A special exhibition "ITALIAN FEST: A Salute to 30 Years” kicks off the 2013 Italian Fest at the Library. This display will feature photos, souvenirs, past exhibit pieces, stories and other unique memorabilia spanning thirty years of the festival’s fascinating history.  The exhibit is open through October 12th so be sure to stop by the Library and check it out!

We will also be hosting another Italian Fest Film Night on September 19th at 6:00pm. This year's film features Medusa Films' Welcome to the North, a funny, zany sequel to last year's Welcome to the South. Samples of Italian gelato ice cream will be available, compliments of Spiritos! Join us for this festive and fun celebration of all things Italian!

Posted by Jessica Lawrence, Librarian

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Collinsville Library Tour - Main Floor

Welcome to the Collinsville Memorial Library Center Tour! Founded in 1915, we are open 349 days per year and 64 hours per week. Now that you have seen what we have to offer on our Ground Floor, let us show you around the Main Floor. This floor houses the majority of our book and audio-visual collection, including our extensive DVD/Bluray and audio book collection. 

After passing our beloved Pan fountain in front of the library and entering through our front doors you may not know where to begin with all the wonderful options of books, movies and more beckoning to you! Luckily, we have card catalogs and a wonderful staff to help find what you are looking for. The card catalog computers are directly on your left after you walk up the short flight of front stairs. If technology isn’t your strong point or you are not sure how to use our card catalogs, feel free to talk with any of our staff members at the Front Desk with any questions you have. Nearby the card catalogs is our graphic novel and reference section. If you are adventurous and want to check out something new, you can browse our displays at the top of the front stairs. We change these displays periodically based on season, special event or topic.   

The Front Desk is also a good place to start if you are new to our Library District and need to get a library card. There are three types of library cards that we offer including adult (16 and older), juvenile and teen library cards for anyone living in the Mississippi Valley Library District or attending a Unit 10 School. Other items you can inquire about at the front desk include mp3 players, Kindles, and a even a projector. You can return and check out items at the Front Desk as well as fax documents, request items, sign up for one of our many events and programs, as well as get answers to any questions you may have about the library in general. If you have any ideas on how to improve our library, we always welcome them in our Suggestion Box!

Across from  the Front Desk and next to the East Wing is our extensive collection of DVDs and Blu-rays. This section has many of your favorite classic movies as well as documentaries, how-to videos, television series and foreign language films. You will also find our our new DVDs, Blurays and music CDs displayed in front of the collection for easy browsing. You will notice a wooden eagle statue on top of an octagonal set of shelves. Here you will find our New Arrival audio books and Playaways, which are convenient pre-loaded audio books. 

After you have browsed through the DVDs, you can head towards the West Wing and look through our New Arrival section to find brand new releases that include best-sellers as well as unique finds. The New Arrival section is broken down into non-fiction, fiction, young adult (Y.A), paperbacks, graphic novels and a small section called Express Books. Our Express books include popular and best-selling fiction and non-fiction titles that we make available to you for a one-week. These items cannot be renewed or placed on hold, and this allows you access to some of the newest releases that would otherwise have very long wait-lists.

Next to our New Arrival book section, is our large collection of magazines to check out. We subscribe to over 130 different magazines so you can enjoy a wide variety of magazines without paying those hefty subscription prices. You can check out as many magazines as you can carry, but remember they only have a one-week check out. We are excited to offer a brand new feature called Zinio for enjoying magazines digitally on your home computer, phone or other mobile device. Zinio features dozens of magazines that are available for you to download and enjoy with no return date! Visit our website and click on the Zinio link or ask a librarian for more information about this exciting new addition to our magazine collection.

One of the largest collections in our library is our non-fiction book collection, which includes almost 24,000 non-fiction books. With such a large collection, it is split between our East and West Wings of the Main Floor, with the books with call numbers between 000-799 in the West Wing and the 800-900’s in the East Wing. Our extensive Biography collection has its own section located in the East Wing near the 900s and labeled with the 92 Dewey Decimal number. Throughout the non-fiction sections we have various local and national newspapers conveniently placed for you to enjoy in one of our comfortable reading chairs. Did you know we have a private study area and typewriter room for you to use in the West Wing? Do you have an awesome collection but no one to share it with? We’d love to display your interesting collection in our display cases in our non-fiction section of the library! The tables and chairs in these areas are great for reading, studying or using your laptop or mobile device with our free Wi-Fi, which is accessible throughout the entire building. 

As you make your way to the back of the building you come across a door and stairs leading up to our Children’s Library on the 2nd floor and a self-serve copy machine. Rounding the corner past the copier, are the Main Floor restrooms, elevator and our Science Fiction collection. Don’t despair if you don’t see your favorite Star Wars or J.R.R. Tolkien novel in this area, because this section continues on towards the back of the library. Our entire adult fiction collection is housed in this area of the library including our Large Print, General Fiction, Aduio Book, Science Fiction, Mystery, Paperback and Western books. 

Heading through the Fiction section, you will find our Young Adult (Y.A.) collection in the back corner next to the Westerns. In the small room directly off of this section are the Y.A. non-fiction, audio books and paperbacks. In this cozy back area of the library patrons of any age, not just young adults, can hang out with a good book on the couches or study at the table in the Teen Room. A special feature of the Teen Zone is our Careers section to help young students discover their potential and explore their passions. 

This concludes the Main Floor tour! Come check us out any day of the week or visit our website at!  You can see what’s new at the library through  our Event Calendar at If you are into social networking, follow us on Facebook, we can’t wait to connect with you!

Posted by Courtney Locandro, Library Clerk