Fascinating Women of History: Bette Davis

The Library and the St. Charles Heritage Center are co-sponsoring a program about Bette Davis on Tuesday, March 17, at noon in the Huntley Meeting Room (register). Known for her larger-than-life persona on and off the silver screen, Bette Davis was a movie star for almost 60 years and  appeared in about 100 films. The program features Leslie Goddard in the role of Bette Davis.

If you’d like to know more about Bette Davis, try one of these books:

The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Girl who walked home aloneChandler

More than a Woman: an Intimate Biography of Bette Davis by James Spada

bette davis speaksBette Davis Speaks by Boze Hadleigh



Believe it or not, Bette Davis has a website that includes biographical information, quotations, and even a television schedule of her movies. If you can’t wait for a TV airing, the Library owns lots of her movies. Here are a few to try: Dark VictoryAll About Eve,  Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and Deception.

Dark VictoryAll about Evewhatever happened to baby jane







Black History Month

Black history monthIn 1926 historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History chose the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.”  Woodson felt that black Americans and their achievements were not part of the general educational curricula and he was dedicated to change that.

Woodson specifically chose the second week in February to honor the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14).

The week-long observance became Black History Month in 1976 and it was officially recognized by the U.S. Government as part of the nation’s Bicentennial.  Black History Month is also referred to as African American History Month.

For more information search the library’s online catalog, see our Trending Topics site, or Ask Us!.




How to give wisely

There are thousands of charities that spend time and money soliciting donations.  How do you make informed decisions on which organizations to support?

A good place to start your investigation is with Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities on their finances, accountability and transparency.  The home page states that Charity Navigator is “your guide to intelligent giving.”

Givewell.org looks for well-run but underfunded charities.  Its tag line is “real change for your dollar.”  Their top-rated charities are “evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, and underfunded.”

Give.org is run by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.   Give.org “seeks to assist donors in making informed judgments about those that solicit their support.”

GuideStar.org’s  mission is to gather and disseminate information about every IRS-registered 501 (c)(3).  GuideStar does not evaluate charities but rather it provides as much information as it can find so you can make the best decision possible.

For more info on wise donating look here.




“Paws” for Holiday Pet Safety

Pets in hatsNow that the holiday season is here,  pet owners should pause and consider how decorations and changes in the home environment might pose safety issues for their pets. The ASPCA and petMD remind us of some important safety tips to keep our furry family members safe and avoid trips to the animal ER.

Be sure to hang tinsel out of your pet’s reach. Kittens love tinsel and will put it in their mouths. Ingesting tinsel can potentially block an animal’s intestines.

If you put up a live Christmas tree, be sure to keep pine needles away from your pets because the needles can puncture the animal’s intestines.

Mistletoe, poinsettia and holly plants are poisonous to dogs and cats.

Edible tree decorations such as popcorn strings will attract your pets and could lead to them tugging at the decorations and possibly knocking down your tree.

Keep gift wrapping supplies (paper, string, ribbon, etc.) away from your pets so they don’t try to eat them.

Keep wires out of the reach of your pets to avoid the risks of shock and electrocution.

Remember that dogs often tear their toys apart and swallow the pieces, which can cause internal problems. The answer is to give your dog chew toys and treats designed to be safely digested.

Safe toys for your cat would be a new ball that is too big to swallow or a catnip toy.

Enjoy decorating for the holidays but do it in a way that keeps your pets safe.

Pets in hats 2









The Realities of War

There is news coverage  of battles, air strikes and skirmishes  in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other faraway places. However, often the stories of the soldiers who fought  in these conflicts is not told. Some recently published books highlight some of these stories.

One Million StepsOne Million Steps: a Marine Platoon at War by Francis J. West is the story of one platoon that suffered extraordinarily high casualties in Afghanistan.

Level Zero Heroes: the Story of U.S. Marine Special Operations in Bala Murgab, Afghanistan by Michael Golembesky follows a Marine Special Ops team on assignment in a remote Taliban stronghold.Level Zero Heroes

My Life as a Foreign Country by Brian Turner covers the author’s war experiences in Iraq and his life back home.

The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War by Yocki Dreazen is the tragic story of a family having to cope with the loss of two sons, one in combat and one from suicide.

For other titles check our online catalog or Ask Us!

My life as a foreign country

Invisible Front










Voting Begins for Illinois Residents

voteThe 2014 General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 4.  Early voting began on Monday, October 20 and ends on Sunday, November 2.

If you are not registered to vote you may still register at one of the five Kane County locations set up for grace period registration.

The Kane County Elections website provides detailed information on polling places, sample ballots, registration status and much more. If you need instructions on how to use the eSlate voting maching, there is a  link on the website for a demo of the eSlate.

You will find information on the various candidates in the print newspapers located in the library’s Magazine/Newspaper area or by reading the electronic versions available through the library’s website.

Questions?  Ask Us!


Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week

What do these books have in common?

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

They are all on the  list of the Top Ten Challenged Books for 2013.  The American Library Association publishes this list each year, in conjunction with Banned Books Week.

“The ALA promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them.”

To learn more about this topic visit the ALA’s website.  Protect your right to READ.




Interesting Reads about Interesting People

If you enjoy reading biographies, here are a few suggestions that you might like.

Alvin YorkAlvin York: a New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne by Douglas Mastriano is the life story  of one of our most famous soldiers.  York was a reluctant hero of WWI.

Jack London: an American Life is written jack londonby  Earle Labor,  the official biographer of London and the curator of the Jack London Museum in Shreveport, LA.   Labor had access to London’s letters and diaries.

Jim HensonJim Henson by Brian Jay Jones covers the life of the creative genius who brought us the Muppets.

Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space Sally Rideis authored by Lynn Sherr, the ABC reporter who covered NASA for many years.  Sherr covers Ride’s life from her early years as a childhood tennis star all the way to her rise in the male-dominated space program.

For other titles check our online catalog or Ask Us!




The Great War

World War I began 100 years ago on July 28, 1914. Until the start of World War II, this war was known as The Great War or The World War.

madcatThe war began in the Balkans, a part of the world with a long history of conflict, but it soon spread throughout Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The United States was officially neutral until it entered the war in 1917.

About nine million soldiers died, far more than in any previous conflict.  There were also countless civilian deaths and injuries as well as extensive property damage.

madcat1Trench warfare was widely used and  a system of trenches zigzagged along the Western Front. Horse cavalries were also used, and Germany’s initial invasion of France and Belgium included eight cavalry divisions (more than 40,000 horses).

World War I saw the first use of the airplane as a weapon of combat. The British invented the tank, and a young George Patton saw action in the newly formed U.S. Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Force.

The SleepwalkersThe war ended November 11, 1918, with the victory of the Allied Powers over the Central Powers. The Paris Peace Conference in January, 1919, drafted the Treaty of Versailles. The end of the war saw the collapse of old empires (Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empire) and the creation of new countries. The maps of Europe and Southwest Asia were redrawn.

For more information try one one of the books shown here; check our online catalog;  or Ask Us! 


Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Act

Freedom Summer was a campaign launched by several civil rights groups in June 1964 to register as many Mississippi African-American voters as possible.  The state of Mississippi had historically excluded most blacks from voting.

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer and the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

For more information, try one of  these titles.

Freedom Summer: the Savage Season that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy by Bruce Watson

An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Todd Purdum









The Bill of the Century: the Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act by Clay Risen

We Are Not Afraid: the Story of Goodman, Schwerner & Chaney and the Civil Rights Campaign for Misissippi by Seth Cagin

Bill of the CenturyWe are not afraid








For more information Ask Us!