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!


Fascinating Women of History: Amelia Earhart

Historian Leslie Goddard will present a program  on Amelia Earhart at the St. Charles Public Library on May 29 at 12:00 pm. If you would like to learn more about Amelia Earhart, try these books and DVDs:

am1Amelia Earhart: a Biography
by Doris L. Rich


Amelia Earhart the thrill of itAmelia Earhart: the Thrill of It
by Susan Weis


Amelia Earhart dvdWhere’s Amelia Earhart
 (National Geographic DVD)

Check our online catalog for more titles, or read more
about Ms. Earhart, or other aviators, right now in
Biography in Context.

As always, feel free to Ask Us!


Happy Birthday, St. Charles!

St.-Charles-3The City of St. Charles will celebrate its 180th birthday in May. Here are some fun facts about our city, also known as the Pride of the Fox!

  • Read Ferson, Ira Minard, and Evan Shelby founded the city in 1834 and named it Charleston.
  • The city was incorporated in 1874.
  • The Baker Hotel, built by Colonel Edward J. Baker, opened in 1928.
  • The Municipal Building was completed in 1940. It was built as a donation to the city  by Colonel Baker and Mr. and Mrs. Lester J. Norris.
  • St. Charles received a special recognition in 2011 from Family Circle Magazine. We were named  the number one place in the country to raise a family.
  • St. Charles has a land area of 15 square miles and 32,974 people, based on the 2010 U.S. Census.
  • The Fox River divides the city between east and west. Avenues are on the east side of the river and streets are on the west side.
  • The first bridge across the river was built in 1836.
  • There are more than 2,100 businesses in St. Charles and those businesses employ more than 34,200 people.

Want to learn more? Visit our St. Charles History page, or walk down the Avenue from the library (as we’re on the east side of the river) to the Heritage Center.

St. Charles LogoSt. Charles Baker Hotel





50 Years of Beatlemania!

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr arrived in the Beatles 1United States on February 7, 1964. They performed on the Ed Sullivan Show later that month and changed the music world. The foursome performed its last live concert on August 29, 1966 in San Francisco and the group retired from touring and live performing. The Beatles continued to release albums and made movies. The individuals in the group also had successful solo careers.

The Beatles continue to this day to be enormously popular. Whether you are an old fan or a new one, the Library has a large collection of CDs, DVDs, and books by and about the Beatles.

Click on the cover art below or check our online catalog for more titles. As always feel free to Ask Us!


Beatles 2John LennonLet it be



Hands Off Your Phone While Driving

DrivingA new state law becomes effective on January 1, 2014 that bans the use of hand-held devices while driving. Fines for violating the law will start at $75 and rise to $100 for a second offense and $125 for a third offense. Drivers can only use hands-free technology, such as speaker-phone or a Bluetooth device.

The new law expands existing law which already bans hand-held cellphone use in school and construction zones. “Your hands should be on the wheel and your eyes should be on the road,” states state Senator John Mulroe, who sponsored the bill.

For more info, check out the Illinois State Police website.




Melody Makers

If you enjoy reading about your favorite musical artists, you might try one of these new biographies.

Bio-CashJohnny Cash: the Life by Robert Hilburn (B CASH). This book covers Cash’s personal and professional lives and is written by a noted music critic who knew Cash.

Simple Dreams: a Musical Memoir by Linda Ronstadt (781.64 RON). Ronstadt writes about her early life in Tucson and her rise to stardom in the California music scene.

Wild Tales: a Rock & Roll Life by Graham Nash (B NASH). This is a candid autobiography by the founding member of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music by Ricky Skaggs (781.642 SKA). The author is a beloved American bluegrass and country singer.

For other titles check our online catalog or Ask Us!.






50 Years Later

The upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has resulted in the publication of many books about Kennedy’s life and death. Here are a few:

daykennedyThe Day Kennedy Died: 50 Years Later LIFE Remembers the Man and the Moment (OV 973.922 DAY). This book has numerous photos and includes each frame of the Zapruder film.

Dallas 1963 (973.022 MIN) by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis provides an absorbing account of what was happening in Dallas prior to Kennedy’s visit.

The Kennedy Half-Century: the Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy (973.922 SAB) by Larry Sabato describes how the assassination has affected our memory of the event and our view of his legacy.

Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House (973.922 DAL) by Robert Dallek. The author is a leading Kennedy historian and this book adds new insights to his 2003 biography of Kennedy.

For additional titles check our online catalog or Ask Us!

Dallas 1963The Kennedy Half-CenturyCamelot's Court








Book covers that make you say “aww”!

If you enjoy reading about animals, especially dogs and cats, you might try one of these books. They all have wonderful covers that make you say “aww.” And the books are “good reads.”

AWW1A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home by Sue Halpern (636.70886 HAL) is the memoir of Pransky, a Labradoodle, and her owner Sue and their encounters with the residents of  a nursing home.


AWW2A Street Cat Named Bob and How He Saved My Life by James Bowen (636.8 BOW) is the story of street musician Bowen and how his life changes when he finds an injured cat he names Bob.

AWW3Katie Up and Down the Hall by Glenn Plaskin (636.7 PLA) is the story of how cocker spaniel Katie turned five neighbors into a family.

We have many more titles like those above. Check our online catalog or Ask Us! for additional titles.