Category Archives: Events

Eclipse-Mania Hits St. Charles!

sun-moon-earthIn case you’ve been living under a rock (pun intended), you’ve probably already heard that on Monday, August 21 around 1:20 p.m., Illinois will be privy to a solar eclipse viewing. Partial sighting will take place in the Chicagoland area, and if you’re lucky enough to be in the southern portion of the state (Hello Carbondale!) you’ll be able to witness the main event.

A popular question this week has involved the availability of eclipse-viewing glasses. The library will be distributing them to St. Charles Public Library cardholders (one pair per card, please have your card in hand to receive a pair) this Friday -Monday when our doors open. We will also be live-streaming it on the lower level in the Huntley meeting room, so consider yourself invited.

Staff has also compiled a list of related resources that are currently being featured at the Reader Services Desk. Feel free to check them out and take them home:

American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World
by David Baron 523.78 BAR

Documents the efforts of three scientists to observe the rare total solar eclipse of 1878, citing how the ambitions of James Craig Watson, Maria Mitchell, and Thomas Edison helped America’s early pursuits as a scientific superpower.

Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon
by F.E. Close 523.78 CLO
Looks at the science of eclipses, reveals their role in culture, and focuses on people who travel around the world chasing these events.

Sun, Moon, Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses, from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets
by Tyler Nordgren
An astronomer describes how solar eclipses were treated and interpreted by past civilizations, philosophers and Victorian scientists. 

In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses
by Anthony F. Aveni
Explores the scientific and cultural significance of solar eclipses.

Mask of the Sun: The Science, History, and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses
by John Dvorak
An astronomer explores the ways eclipses have shaped the course of human history.


April is National Poet”Tree” Month: Branch Out and Read Some

Image result for tree booksImage result for tree books

Not a poetry buff? No worries. The library has an expansive collection of anthologies and favorite authors represented to whet any appetite. Haiku or Sonnet? Limerick or Epic?  From Collins to Whitman, Shakespeare to Angelou, whatever your interests, please stop by Readers Services for some suggestions.

We currently have two displays honoring National Poetry Month: Readers Services is celebrating Poets Laureate featuring Illinois’ own Gwendolyn Brooks, while the Young Adult department’s Poet Justice is promoting books written in verse. Don’t miss these special collections! As always, items labeled as “Display” can be checked out.

Please feel free to stop in and “leaf” through some “poet-tree” in April Image result for leaf image




























Novel Ideas Book Picks

Thanks to those who attended the inaugural Novel Ideas Book Group on January 27! We had a great time chatting about titles and authors we have read, including:

Tim Gun: The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating and Making It Work! by Tim GunnTim Gunn 371.102 GUN

Tim Gunn, America’s favorite reality TV cohost,  takes us on a journey through life lessons and uses his own personal experiences, from the classroom to the therapist’s office, to illustrate larger concepts. Each chapter ends with a “life assignment, ” where Tim challenges you to apply the lessons you’ve learned in practical mentoring or teaching situations. Extra fun in audio as it is read by the author!

Rogue Lawyer by John Grishamrogue lawyer (FIC GRISHAM)

Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. He works out of a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar and a small fridge.  He believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he, Sebastian, has to cheat to secure one.

The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American’s Epic Journey to Win the Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel Brownboys in the boat 797.123 BRO

Daniel James Brown’s book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.

*patron particularly enjoyed the YA version (J 797.123 BRO), which is a bit shorter and has more pictures!

Girl At War by Sara NovicGirl at War (FIC NOVIC)

Although the primary setting of this debut novel is Croatia’s 1991 civil war, the fact that the narrator, Ana,  is a 10-year-old girl gives it an entirely different feel. Later, as Ana escapes to America and grows up, her tangled feelings about the war and the meaning of things such as family, friendship, loyalty, and where she will ever feel truly “home” make it an insightful and absorbing read.

Novel Ideas will be held on the 4th Wednesday of every other month from 10:00-11:15 a.m.  Please drop in and discover your next great read!

2016 Novel Ideas Meeting Dates:

  • March 23
  • May 25
  • July 27
  • September 28

Read the Book – See the Opera?!

Bel_CantoWe recently received promotional materials from the Lyric Opera of Chicago about an upcoming opera based on the novel Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. The Lyric is offering a variety of discounts and incentives to area book clubs, as well as programs and a discussion guide (pdf).

I am one of the many who has read and loved this story of a celebrated soprano who gets caught up in an international crisis in South America. It would be fascinating to have a discussion of the book and then see an operatic version of it!

Although geared towards book clubs, individuals may also take advantage of discounted ticket purchases. Stop by the Reader Services Desk if you’d like a bookmark with information. The opera runs December 7 – January 17.

Drop In – Discuss Books!

Just wanted to send out a friendly reminder that all patrons are invited to drop in to either/both of the two book discussions Reader Services offers every month!  To make it even easier, for June and July of this year, we’ve picked titles that we know many of you have already read:

The morning discussion starts at 10:00 am, and the evening discussion begins at 7:00 pm. Both generally last about an hour. We hope you will consider joining us whenever a title we’re discussing catches your interest – and, of course, please let us know if we can help you obtain a copy of the book!

Sweet Thoughts on Book Discussion

After Visiting FriendsA big shout out to the 2nd Tuesday Evening book group for venturing out on a very cold night to discuss After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story, by Michael C. Hainey.

Besides the delicious edible treats (cranberry and chocolate shortbread cookies from the Blue Goose!) we had the A/V treat of discussing the book with the author who joined us from New York via Skype.

Discussing universal themes of love, loss and family, Michael Hainey gave generously of his time and delved deeply with us into his story of truth-seeking and reconciliation.  All of us in attendance appreciated Mr. Hainey’s thoughtful responses and were moved by his willingness to address our questions.

After we signed off with Michael we continued to discuss the book – but having had a glimpse of the real person behind  the words on the page, our discussion seemed weightier.  Some of us changed our opinion about the author’s motivation. Some of us felt an even deeper bond to the story.  Our discussion meandered through personal histories, memories of Chicago landmarks, family relationships – all the while linking back to the memoir we had gathered on a chilly night to discuss.

Next month we will be discussing The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Morning) and The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (Evening).  I hope you will consider dropping by.  There will be treats, there will be conversation and there will be something to think about.

Sense of an Ending               affair

For more on this topic please see Marlise’s “Part 2” post.


More Sweet Thoughts on Book Discussion

Once again I find myself amazed by the monthly event known as the “2nd Tuesday Book Discussion.” This deceptively simple name does adequately describe it (we DO discuss books and – hey! – it’s always on the second Tuesday of the month) but it cannot capture the full range of what is so often experienced. One of the co-leaders, Jane, has written more about this in her  post, Sweet Thoughts on Book Discussion.

In addition to agreeing with Jane’s sentiments, I was also struck by something else. Often when the words “books” and “technology” are combined I find myself stifling some feelings of irritation or frustration. However this past week was the culmination of the very best of books and technology with the result that I’ve spent days thinking, “I love living in the future!”

It started innocently enough last June when I was reading After Visiting Friends and tweeted about it, including the author’s Twitter name. Imagine my surprise when Mr. Hainey saw I was interested in using the title for 2nd Tuesday and replied with an offer to join in!MichaelHaineyTweet3

Fast forward seven months and suddenly there were a multitude of emails with Mr. Hainey’s helpful assistant, Emily as we worked out the details.  Yes, it seemed Mr. Hainey would be available on the evening of February 11 (we had tried for the morning discussion group in January but, alas, he was traveling in Italy). Of course he would be in New York, not St. Charles, but no problem! This is the future: we can use technology to put him in the room with us — and that’s exactly what happened. For nearly 30 minutes, Mr. Hainey spoke to us via Skype and shared from the heart about his book while the group listened and asked questions.


It was an extraordinary experience (again, see Jane’s post) and a delightful reminder to me that “books and technology” is a combination of terms book groups should take advantage of as often as possible!

Our Community Reads!

Logo2013webOur Community Reads 2013 has started and everyone is invited to participate! In addition to all the great information about programs, the online book discussion, and the Our Community Reads blog, we have yet another way to explore The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier: a reading map. Created by Laura Foutch (a newly minted librarian and addition to our Library staff) it pulls together books, movies and websites related to The Brief History of the Dead, tracing the themes that make it such a fascinating read. Click below and take your exploration of the book even further!



Complimentary Books Can be Found in the Most Unexpected Places

Did you know that Cracker Barrel offers a “Books on Audio” rental collection? Here’s how it works: You purchase a copy of one of their many popular CD audiobooks, listen, then return it to another one of their many restaurant locations for a refund minus a $3.49 fee for each week you’ve had it. Readers then select another title and the process starts over again. How convenient–dinner and a good book!

A patron recently shared this tidbit with me while at our library stocking up on CD audiobooks for an extended trip. How savvy: By meeting  a basic travel need (entertainment), Cracker Barrel is also encouraging return patronage and hopefully some brand loyalty in the process.

If you prefer print, there are certain hotel chains that provide a similar service. Very recently I stayed overnight at the lovely Mark Twain Hotel in Peoria, Illinois. Not only were customers able to borrow books from their impressive library at no cost, but there’s also a DVD collection available from the front desk. My family was delighted to be able to watch the new Avengers  movie on a Blu-Ray player already provided in the room.

Where else can readers/listeners take advantage of these alternative little libraries? Let us know and we will try to pass along the goodwill.



National Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month, and this year the theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” Eighteen women honorees were chosen as extraordinary visionaries and role models in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), where women are still noticeably underrepresented.

With Women’s History Month in mind, our new booklist, American Women in Biography & Nonfiction, features stories of women from all walks of life, including artists, authors, scientists, stateswomen, and one Supreme Court Justice!

Here is a gallery of this year’s honorees.