Willie Dixon- Chicago Blues Great

Blues legend Willie Dixon was born on this day in 1915 and was one of the most prolific artists of all time. If you have never heard of him, he is known for being one of the main songwriters at the world famous (and local) Chess Records in Chicago. His songs have been performed by Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers, Aerosmith, the Yardbirds, Cream, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Everly Brothers, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elvis, and countless others. He is buried at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip.

Here is a  link to his album, “Willie’s Blues” in our database, Naxos Jazz Library. Stream it for free with your Moraine Valley Library account.

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”

On June 26 1948, Shirley Jackson’s horrifying short story was released in The New Yorker. The backlash was instant and massive. To this day it remains the most negative response the magazine has ever experienced. More than sixty years later, “The Lottery” remains one of the most shocking short stories ever written. Read or listen to one of the most controversial stories ever printed by clicking here for our print copy, or here for Hoopla audio book edition. Then watch the equally horrifying Encyclopaedia Britannica video production that was shown in schools throughout the US.

Analysis of ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson

11 Facts About Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”



50 Years Ago This Happened

Abbey Moraine- Keleher & Arellano

Abbey Road turns 50 years old this year and the Moraine Valley Library is your source for all things Beatles! In honor of the classic album’s birthday, the Beatles released the entire officially licensed album on YouTube for free. Click this link to hear the playlist of all 17 tracks and click here to see our entire Beatles catalog.

Apollo Moon Landing

“We choose to go the moon.” U.S. President John Kennedy stated in 1962. On July 20, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong left his footprints on the surface of the moon. Kennedy’s quixotic vision became reality.

This July, America is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Why not check out the MVCC catalog and become familiar with one of the greatest events in the 20th century? Also, you may want to view the MVCC historical newspaper databases to read the actual articles that appeared in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times on that historic date.

View this silent film, A Trip to the Moon (1902). “This movie was made before we even thought it was possible to land on the moon. For its time, this is absolutely brilliant.”

Forget Annabelle and Chucky. Meet the REAL Robert the Doll.

Haunted dolls is the theme this box office weekend.  Two horror films starring Chucky and Annabelle open this Friday. If you enjoy movies like Annabelle Comes Home, or Child’s Play, then you really should know Robert the Doll.

Robert, is the most haunted doll in the world.

Locked in a museum in Key West, Florida, Robert the doll is known to allegedly curse visitors who don’t show him the proper respect.

Want to learn more?

Click the links to read articles from  from the Sioux City Journal, Atlas Obscura, or watch this PBS segment.

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.

The Most Intense Chicago Crosstown Classic was the 1906 World Series

Crowd outside South Side Park, 1906 World Series

Can you imagine how intense a World Series would be if the Cubs played the White Sox? Chicago and its surrounding suburbs might rip itself apart. Well in 1906, the Cubs played the White Sox in a legendary six-game series. Back when there was no Wrigley Field, the Cubs hosted three games at West Side Park (located at the current site of the University of Illinois Medical Center) and the White Sox held three games at South Side Park (currently the Wentworth Gardens Community). Sound interesting?  Read the story about the most intense Chicago Crosstown Classic ever in Bernard A. Weisberger’s “When Chicago Ruled Baseball” available here on Hoopla.