Bees and Honey

Stephenie Preseller The three bee hives on campus, in the nature study area, produced honey the first year. No production was expected but the bees had a different plan.

September being National Honey Month makes it a great time to talk about bees. Bees are vital to life on Earth for many species. Sure bees produce honey, but bees are also pollinators. Of the 396,000 types of flowering plants on Earth, 90% require pollination. A typical colony of bees can pollinate 250 million flowers in a day. Bees contribute $577 billion to global crop production and are also an important part of food and habitat production for many, many species.

But bee populations are in trouble, which means we are all in trouble. Bee populations are declining due to things like habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change. One in four wild bee species are at risk of extinction and beekeepers are seeing annual hive losses of 30%. Efforts to save bee populations are vital. Moraine Valley Community College is trying to be a part of the solution with the recent addition of beehives to the prairie on campus. The MVCC bees are helping plants to thrive and have already produced some honey, as seen in the photo above. 

To find out even more about bees, check out these books from the library collection.

The Intelligence on A.I.

“NAO” by Erik Arlen is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Have you seen the upcoming events for our One Book program? Over the next couple months the program will explore the expanding world of artificial intelligence. Get ahead of the robot invasion with the following books and videos from our collection.

Looking for fiction?

Machines Like Me: And People Like You

Set in an alternate 1980’s London, two people work together to create a personality for a synthetic human. A love triangle ensues and leads to questions about what makes us human. 

Looking for non-fiction? 

A Human’s Guide to Machine Intelligence : How Algorithms are Shaping our Lives and How We Can Stay in Control

“Kartik Hosanagar surveys the brave new world of algorithmic decision making and reveals the potentially dangerous biases to which they can give rise to as they increasingly run our lives.” (From the book jacket)

Interested in medicine?

Deep Medicine : How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again

“’Deep Medicine’ shows us how the awesome power of AI can make medicine better, and reveals the paradox that machines can make humans healthier–and more human.” (From the book jacket)

Looking for a thriller?

Ex Machina (Streaming Video)

“A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking humanoid A.I.” (IMDb.com)

Looking for a romance? 

Her (Streaming Video or DVD)

“In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.” (IMDb.com)

Want to binge watch? 

Westworld: Season One (DVD)

“’Westworld’ is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin–exploring a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.” (From the publisher)


Robot umpires and I, Robot

Robots will become a familiar word on the MVCC campus this school year. The One Book One College is I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. There will be numerous faculty panels, guest speakers, classroom discussions, and podcasts that will center on the implications of A. I. in our world.

These two links show the pros and cons of Robot Umps calling balls and strikes on baseball players at the plate. You may be able to use this topic in one of your classes next semester. Robots…they are everywhere.

Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers

A new addition to the MVCC catalog is a six-disc collection that features silent films directed/written by women. This DVD collection Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers honors “the women who were instrumental in shaping the very core of cinema as we know it.”

You may to want to view our catalog to see what else the MVCC library has on this subject. Also, don’t forget to view the MVCC databases and read newspaper articles about silent era movies and early Hollywood directors and stars from the Chicago Tribune Historical Newspaper and the New York Times Historical Newspaper.

101 Free Silent Films

Information on Silent Films

Millennials and Silent Movies

50th Anniversary of Woodstock

This August will be the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, a rock concert that some historians believe “defined an entire generation and its effects on music and American culture can still be felt today.”

Check out the Chicago Tribune Historical newspaper and the New York Times Historical newspaper to get a 1969 perspective of the concert.

Joy Harjo–First Native American Poet Laureate

Joy Harjo was named the first Native American Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress on June 19th, by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

Our library has three (3) of her books in our collection, two books of poetry and her memoir.

  • How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems by Joy Harjo – “This collection offers a selection of Joy Harjo’s body of work, including poems from She Had Some Horses and Mad Love and War. Known for her signature blend of storytelling, prayer, and song, her work draws from the American tradition of praising the land and the spirit. She began writing in 1973 in the age marked by the takeover at Wounded Knee and the rejuvenation of world indigenous cultures through poetry and music. Recognized today as one of our foremost American poets, Harjo has created a necessary volume that explores how we became human in poems of sustaining grace.”–Back cover.
  • Conflict Resolution For Holy Beings: Poems by Joy Harjo – “A long-awaited poetry collection by one of our most essential Native American voices. In these poems, the joys and struggles of the everyday are played against the grinding politics of being human. Beginning in a hotel room in the dark of a distant city, we travel through history and follow the memory of the Trail of Tears from the bend in the Tallapoosa River to a place near the Arkansas River. Stomp dance songs, blues, and jazz ballads echo throughout. Lost ancestors are recalled. Resilient songs are born, even as they grieve the loss of their country.”–Publisher description.
  • Crazy Brave: a Memoir by Joy Harjo – “In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a haunting, visionary memoir about family and breaking apart necessary in finding a voice.”–Back cover.

So what is a “poet laureate?” The Poet Laureate of the United States is a person appointed annually by the Library of Congress and, “during his or her term, the[y] seek to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. The Library keeps to a minimum the specific duties required of the Poet Laureate, who opens the literary season in the fall and closes it in the spring. In recent years, Laureates have initiated poetry projects that broaden the audiences for poetry.” (loc.gov)

To learn more about Joy Harjo, visit her Poet Laureate page at the Library of Congress.

Flag Day – June 14, 2019

Celebrate Flag Day by checking out some of our resources! We have:

  • Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers: eBook Clint Eastwood film based on book “In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima–and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire that left the beaches strewn with comrades, they battled to the island’s highest peak. And after climbing through a landscape of hell itself, they raised a flag. Now the son of one of the flagraisers has written a powerful account of six very different young men who came together in a moment that will live forever. To his family, John Bradley never spoke of the photograph or the war. But after his death at age seventy, his family discovered closed boxes of letters and photos. In Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley draws on those documents to retrace the lives of his father and the men of Easy Company. Following these men’s paths to Iwo Jima, James Bradley has written a classic story of the heroic battle for the Pacific’s most crucial island–an island riddled with Japanese tunnels and 22,000 fanatic defenders who would fight to the last man. But perhaps the most interesting part of the story is what happened after the victory. The men in the photo–three were killed during the battle–were proclaimed heroes and flown home, to become reluctant symbols. For two of them, the adulation was shattering. Only James Bradley’s father truly survived, displaying no copy of the famous photograph in his home, telling his son only: ‘The real heroes of Iwo Jima were the guys who didn’t come back.’ Few books ever have captured the complexity and furor of war and its aftermath as well as Flags of Our Fathers. A penetrating, epic look at a generation at war, this is history told with keen insight, enormous honesty, and the passion of a son paying homage to his father. It is the story of the difference between truth and myth, the meaning of being a hero, and the essence of the human experience of war.”–Publisher description.
  • A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols by Tim Marshall: “A nation’s flag fluttering in the wind is a sign of power, hope, history, and often war. However, we rarely stop to consider the complex meaning and strong sentiments flags evoke and embody today. From the renewed nationalism of China, to political conflicts in Europe and America, to the terrifying rise of ISIS, the world is a confusing place place right now, and we need to understand the symbols, old and new, that people are rallying around and fighting over. Forthousands of years flags have stood for our identities and ideals. We wave them, burn them, and march under their colors. And still, in the twenty-first century, we die for them. Flags fly at the UN, on the Arab street, from front porches in Texas. They represent the politics of high power as well as the passions of the mob. In ‘A Flag Worth Dying For,’ Tim Marshall–author of the New York Times bestseller ‘Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World’, called ‘quite simply, one of the best books about geopoliticies you could imagine’ (London Evening Standard)–returns to the arena of global affairs, combining keen analysis of current events with world history to reveal the power and politics of the symbols that both unite and divide us. In nine chapters covering America, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, international banners, and flags of terror, Marshall offers insights into the flags of more than eighty-five countries, among them key global superpowers as well as dozens of smaller nations, and shows how their hidden histories figure in the diplomatic relations and political movements of today’s urgent headlines.”–Book jacket

We also have some nice resources for kids in our Juvenile Collection:

  • Exploring our nation. American symbols of freedom – DVD “What’s the story behind some of America’s symbols of liberty? Some of the icons discussed include: the American Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Great Seal of the United States, and the origins of ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ Students also learn the story of the Statue of Liberty and the importance of Independence Hall in Philadelphia in establishing the country. A new symbol of American freedom is Freedom Tower in New York which was built after the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001. Part of the series Exploring Our Nation.”–Publisher description
  • Why are there stripes on the American flag? by Martha E. H. Rustad – eBook “Children learn about the American flag, discussing the history of the flag, what the stars, stripes, and colors represent and what the pledge of allegiance means.”–eReadIllinois.
  • We love our flag by Jean Feldman and Holly Karapetkova – eBook “Introduces the American flag and what it stands for through a song sung to the tune of ‘The Farmer in the Dell.'”–eReadIllinois.

June Is Audiobook Appreciation Month

If you have never tried an audiobook format, June is the perfect month. Besides the fact that June is “Audiobook Appreciation Month,” it is also the start of summer vacations. If you are looking for something to listen to while traveling, try out an audiobook. If a hardcover format of a book is on a L-O-N-G library holds list, try out the audiobook version.

During the month of June, we will highlight some audiobook choices that may be of interest to you. This week, it is Hamilton: The Revolution, read by Mariska Hargitay, Lin-Manuel Miranda, & Jeremy McCarter.

This audiobook “gives listeners an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter… traces [the show’s] development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later.”

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Hamilton closes here in Chicago on January 5th, 2020, so if you have gone to see it, or are going before the close, check out this audiobook about the famous musical play.

New to Collection: The Life of Frederick Douglass Graphic Novel

New to the collection is a graphic novel biography, The Life of Frederick Douglass, written by David F. Walker with art by Damon Smyth. It tells the story of Douglass’s life through beautiful illustrations. He lived during the 19th century, was born into slavery in Maryland, learned to read even though it was forbidden to slaves, and ended up becoming one of America’s greatest writers. He worked to abolish slavery and believed in the equality of all. He also was one of the most photographed Americans of the 19th century, even more so than Abraham Lincoln! “Frederick Douglass was acutely aware of the fact that photographs could be used to help define his image in the public eye and, as a result, also influence how white people viewed blacks. In many pictures, his eyes are cast directly at the camera, an uncommon practice at the time, which resulted in a seemingly defiant expression” (Walker, p. 99). His photos were taken without him smiling because he didn’t want to portray “the racist caricature of a ‘happy slave’” (Wikipedia).

If you are not a fan of the graphic novel medium, a biography is a good way to try it out because the illustrations really bring the person’s story to life, which is helpful when learning about historical subjects. It’s not unlike how “Hamilton the Musical” resonated with people and presented a different way of re-telling history, so, too can a graphic novel achieve the same.

Frederick Douglass in MVCC’s collection: