Coming around again?

Are LPs making a comeback? For those of us with stacks of them in the basement, they never left. But statistics show that there seems to be renewed interest in the format. In 2015, revenues from vinyl sales were $416 million, the highest level since 1988. RIAA keeps these statistics and has other information about music sales on its website. And there’s a historical connection for this time of the year—Edison demonstrated the hand-cranked phonograph for the first time near the end of the year in 1877.

“The Perfect Crime”

Earlier this year, PBS aired an episode on Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb’s murder case as a part of the American Experience television series. The episode titled “The Perfect Crime” examines how Leopold and Loeb murdered a 14-year-old Chicago boy in 1924 and the significance of the trial that followed. Broader issues of morality and capital punishment were brought to light in the heated debate amongst Cook County Prosecutor Robert Crowe and defense attorney Clarence Darrow. You can now check-out this episode on DVD from our library, and further explore this case in fact and popular imagination.

This case has been an inspiration for numerous other works, including:

  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, starring James Stewart, John Dall, and Farley Granger, released in 1948.
  • Meyer Levin’s novel, Compulsion, published in 1956.
  • Richard Fleischer’s 1959 movie, Compulsion, starring Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, and Diane Varsi.
  • Swoon, a 1992 film by director Tom Kalin, starring Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester, and Ron Vawter in lead roles.

Each adaptation adds something unique to the original story, while providing a true depiction of the original “thrill-seeking” motive of the crime.

New to Collection: “First Women” by Kate Andersen Brower

firstwomenWith the close of this presidential election season coming fast and furious, there is a real possibility that Hillary Clinton will become the first female president of the United States…leaving President Bill Clinton as “what” as far as terminology goes? The “First Gentleman” or “First Husband?” Whatever way it is phrased, this will be a unique situation and will be interesting to see what his role turns out to be in the White House depending on the election outcome. In the meantime, you might want to check out the latest book by Kate Andersen Brower, First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies located here in our catalog, and for a limited time upstairs in the Library Lounge at the “New Titles” display. There are two different spreads of photographs included in the book of our former First Ladies with some interesting facts. Here’s a tease: “Laura Bush, a Republican, and Michelle Obama, a Democrat, are closer than Michelle is with Hillary Clinton. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Laura defended Michelle when she came under criticism, and the two have since praised each others work as first ladies” (Brower). It is nice to learn that friendships are made beyond party lines.

Andersen is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The theresidenceResidence, which the Today Show has reviewed as “a revealing look at life inside the White House. . .it’s ‘Downton Abbey’ for the White House staff.” You can find this book here in our catalog.

We also have these two books in eAudioBook and eBook formats, made available through eRead Illinois. Check them out whichever way suits your fancy and enjoy some political reads before the election.

First Women eAudiobook ; First Women eBook ; The Residence eAudioBook ; The Residence eBook

Brower, Kate Andersen. First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies. New York: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016. Print.



Do you think about poetry if you are not studying it for a class? Do you write poetry yourself? Do you enjoy reading poetry?

Some poetry facts:

  • You can find some poems celebrating autumn on the site
  • October 6 was National Poetry Day in England.
  • The 21st and current poet laureate of the United States is Juan Felipe Herrera, and he was poet laureate of California from 2012 to 2015. He has published more than a dozen collections of poetry and short stories and books for children and young adults.
  • Most states have or have had a poet laureate. The Library of Congress website has an interactive map to show information and history about the position in each state.
  • Kevin Stein, professor at Bradley University in Peoria, is the Illinois poet laureate. On the state’s poet laureate website, Stein says he wants to “foster an audience ranging from poetry newbies to those more seasoned devotees of the art.”

Search on poetry in the library’s catalog to find a variety of books on the subject.

The History of 9/11 and the War on Terror

Military historian Jim McIntyre, assistant professor of History, presents background from the early 1990s, the rise of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, the attacks on 9/11, and resulting War on Terror. His talk has special emphasis on the military actions following 9/11. This event is being held as part of the 15th Anniversary Commemoration of 9/11.

The History of 9/11 and the War on Terror

The audio of this discussion is available below:

The Importance of Hamilton: Examining the History (Video)

How does Hamilton the musical measure up to history? The musical won 11 Tony Awards (and a Pulitzer Prize) but how many awards does it get for historical accuracy? Who was Alexander Hamilton? How do historians view his legacy? This is part of our One Book, One College program on the musical Hamilton.

The Importance of Hamilton: Examining the History

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Chicago Labor History

Haymarket MemorialAs a result of the late-19th century labor movement, Labor Day was first declared a federal holiday in 1894, officially observing the struggles and contributions of American workers. Chicago played a key role in the fight for better working conditions and pay with incidents like the Haymarket Riot of 1886 and the Pullman Strike in 1894. In spite of some progress with New Deal legislation, workers continued rallying against unfair conditions well into the 20th century. Learn more about the Chicago labor movement through the Illinois Labor History Society’s website. The website provides information regarding historic sites and museums commemorating significant events in our labor history. You can also explore Chicago’s labor history with the following books, available from our library: Staff. (2010). Labor Day. Retrieved from
Illinois Labor History Society. Chicago. Retrieved from

New to Collection – “Race: the Incredible True Story of Gold Medal Legend, Jesse Owens”

RaceIf you are suffering from Olympic withdrawal now that the Rio Olympic games are in the history books, check out MVCC Library’s collection for materials that might be of interest.

This past August was the 80th anniversary of Jesse Owens winning Olympic gold at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. “Germany made broadcast history by being the first to televise a sports event–the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin. The quality was poor and live transmissions could only be seen in special viewing booths in Berlin and Potsdam. But the Nazi regime took the opportunity to showcase its considerable radio broadcasting capabilities at the 1936 Olympics and focus the world’s attention on Germany. Ironically, in doing so, they helped bring international attention to African-American track star Jesse Owens who won four gold medals in track and field (100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and the 4x 100-meter relay)” (Fischer 3).

New to our collection is the DVD true story of Jesse Owens titled Race. Starring Stephan James as Owens and Jason Sudekis as Owens’ coach, it depicts his rise to fame as an Olympic track runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Striking are the scenes in which the racial climate of Adolf Hitler’s Germany is depicted, especially when Hitler did not want to meet Owens after winning his race(s). “Eighty years later, Jesse Owens is still remembered, not only as an Olympic hero but for destroying Adolf Hitler’s myth of racial purity” (Fischer 3).Owens

So if you are a fan of Usain Bolt and enjoyed watching his Olympic races in Rio, check out this movie to learn about one of his most famous predecessors.

Race can be found here in our collection and for a limited time in the Library’s main floor lounge area. A nice companion to this movie is the book Nazi games : the Olympics of 1936 by David Clay Large, found here in our collection.


Fischer, Audrey. “Olympic Games: Broadcasts of the Olympic Games Bring the Event to Life for Millions of Viewers and Leave a Record Behind for Posterity.” Library of Congress Magazine July/August 2016: 3. PDF. 24 August 2016.


History of the Republican Party (podcast)

Today is the first day of the 2016 Republican Party’s Convention in Cleveland, Ohio where they will select their nominee for president and also set the course for the party for the next four years. Given this big event, today is a good day to share this episode of the Backstory podcast on the History of the Republican Party.

The GOP: A History of the Republican Party
Description: Donald Trump has clinched the Republican party presidential nomination, and some political pundits wonder if his nomination represents a watershed for the GOP. On this episode of BackStory, we unpack the origins, evolution, and reinvention of the Grand Old Party. From its birth in 1854 by anti-slavery activists in the North, to the party of small government and low taxes, we look at how the Republican party has reinvented itself at various points in its history.

In Honor of Our Presidents


Today, February 12th, is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Coming up soon, on February 22nd, is George Washington’s birthday. Although… there is some dispute about this date stemming from the switch in the 1700s from the Julian-style calendar to the Gregorian, with some placing his birth on February 11th. This coming Monday February 15th, we will celebrate around the country with a day off of work or school and big sales in all the stores on Presidents’ Day.

Why are we relaxing and shopping on this seemingly random date? What about William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan who were also born in February? And what of all the other presidents who happened to have been born in the remaining eleven months of year. Find out more about the interesting history of this holiday, including the fact that Presidents’ Day isn’t even the official name, in this article from Time magazine A Brief History of (What You Think Is) Presidents’ Day.  Even more information can be found about the history of Presidents’s Day in this entry from, including how we came to have our three day weekends and why Veteran’s Day used to always be on a Monday but now is not. For further presidential exploration check out some of these materials from our library.