Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 Nobel Prize for Literature

Belarusan journalist Svetlana Alexievich was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature for work that the Swedish Academy described as “a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”  It is uncommon for nonfiction writers to earn the Nobel Prize.  Alexievich's book Voices From Chernobyl, which is available for requests through our online catalog, follows survivors of the 1986 Ukrainian nuclear disaster.

Monday, October 26, 2015

2016 Carnegie Awards Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Awards for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction have been announced!  There are three finalists in each category.  Check them out!


The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s cross-grained protagonist exposes the hidden costs in both countries of America’s tragic Asian misadventure. Nguyen’s probing literary art illuminates how Americans failed in their political and military attempt to remake Vietnam—but then succeeded spectacularly in shrouding their failure in Hollywood distortions. Compelling—and profoundly unsettling.

The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
Jim Shepard, a writer of extraordinary historical vision, psychological acuity, and searing irony, presents a profoundly moving portrait of its young narrator Aron; explores, with awe, our instinct to adapt and survive; and through the evolving consciousness of his phenomenally commanding young narrator, exposes the catastrophic impact of war and genocide on children.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
This long, claustrophobically written novel follows the lives of four college men from their early post-graduation days in New York through much of their accomplished adult lives, and backward to their childhoods. This profoundly disturbing book is about pain and compulsion, secrets and betrayals, sexuality and loss—but, finally, about friendship.


H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Transfixed by books and birds of prey as a girl, Macdonald became a historian, writer, and professional falconer involved in avian research and conversation. After the sudden death of her father, Macdonald trains for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her personal recovery. In this profoundly inquiring and wholly enrapturing memoir, Macdonald exquisitely and unforgettably entwines misery and astonishment, elegy and natural history, human and hawk.

Hold Still by Sally Mann
Mann reveals the deep wellsprings of her most poetic and disconcerting images. She shares, for the first time, the dark side of her notoriety, as well as the daring adventures behind more recent photographic series. Mann shares staggering family secrets, including her in-laws’ deceptive lives and violent deaths, her Mayflower-blue-blood mother’s scandalously unconventional childhood, and her self-sacrificing country-doctor father’s complicated legacy of slave ownership, wealth, and philanthropy.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf
Andrea Wulf, a historian with an invaluable environmental perspective, presents with zest and eloquence the full story of German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt’s adventurous life and extraordinary achievements, from making science “accessible and popular” to his early warnings about how deforestation, monoculture agriculture, and industrialization would engender disastrous climate change.

Posted by Kyla Waltermire, Branch Manger--Collinsville

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bram Stoker Awards

The spooky scenes of Halloween are right around the corner!  This is the time of year for chills and thrills and reading is no exception.  Check out the newest recipients of the Horror Writers Association's Bram Stoker Awards for hair-raising, spine-tingling fun.

Blood Kin by Steve Rasnic Tem (Novel)

Mr. Wicker by Maria Alexander (First Novel)

Phoenix Island by John Dixon (Young Adult Novel)

Bad Blood by Jonathan Maberry (Graphic Novel)

The Babadook by Jennifer Kent (Screenplay)

Fearful Symmetries edited by Ellen Datlow (Anthology)

Soft Apocalypses by Lucy A. Snyder (Fiction Collection)

Shooting Yourself in the Head for Fun and Profit: A Writer's Survival Guide by Lucy A Snyder (Nonfiction)

Forgiving Judas by Tom Piccirilli (Poetry Collection)

Posted by Kyla Waltermire, Branch Manager-Collinsville

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

100 Years of the Collinsville Library

Very few things - especially nowadays - last one hundred years.

The Collinsville Library was founded by a group of women from the Collinsville Study Club (which is now the Collinsville Woman's Club) on October 15th, 1915. Before the Library found its current home (which it has had since 1937), it had a number of temporary homes: City Hall, the Henry Stumpf House and the Miner's Institute. Before the Library's temporary homes, the ladies from the Collinsville Study Club pulled books around Collinsville in wagons. Patrons are always amazed when we mention that, and - quite frankly - we're still amazed and inspired by the very dedication and determination of those women.

Of course, the times have changed since 1915. We don't have to pull books around town in wagons anymore (thank goodness!); you can pull up an eBook on your phone in a matter of a thirty seconds or so. Likewise, we're not scribbling this note down on paper tonight; we're typing this message in "The Cloud" on a contraption that wouldn’t have even been thought of in 1915.

However, on this eve of the Collinsville Library's 100th Birthday, there are a few things that haven't changed.

First and foremost, our Staff members, Board members and volunteers are awesome. They work tirelessly behind-the-counter and behind-the-scenes to make the Library a positive environment for everybody. Many of them put in countless hours beyond the building's day-to-day operations to ensure that our programs, collections, equipment and procedures are top-notch.

Another aspect that hasn't changed is our patrons. Sure, their needs may be different than they were one hundred years ago, but they are still the biggest factor in why we do what we do. I think it's safe to say that nothing that Staff members and volunteers do would be worth it if it weren't for the hundreds of patrons (literally) that come in the doors each and every day. From the bottom of our hearts: "Thank you" for helping us make it last.

We don’t know what the key to longevity is, but if we had to come up with a magic formula for it, it’d include a long list of hard-working individuals (such as 'Mabelle' and 'Myrtis' and 'Irving' and 'Florence' and 'Barb' among others) who have had a lot of heart, creativity, passion and foresight.

Very few things - especially nowadays - last one hundred years (really, how many things are even around for ten years anymore?!), but we are both blessed and proud to be one of them.

Here’s to the next one hundred.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Centennial Celebration

To celebrate the Collinsville Library's 100th Birthday, patrons of all ages enjoyed a Centennial Carnival! While patrons played games, won prizes, jumped around in bounce houses and stood in awe of awesome balloon creations at the Library, there was also a special "Invitation Only" 100th Year Reception held at the Blum House. In all, we estimate that around 300 patrons participated in the festivities. Thank you SO MUCH to all of the volunteers and staff members that made these events possible; we couldn't have done it without you! Here's to the next 100 years.

Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk