“Martin Seay and Peter Ferry to Go Mano A Mano at Frugal Muse Books” by S.M. O’Connor

Frugal Muse Books, Music & Video in west suburban Darien, Illinois presents novelists Martin Seay and Peter Ferry going “Mano A Mano” on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  These authors are the winners of the Chicago Writers Association Novel of the Year Award.  This is a free event at which books will be for sale.

In 2017, Mr. Seay won the 2016 Book of the Year Award for Traditionally Published Fiction for The Mirror Thief, published by Melville House in 2016.  Originally from Texas, he now lives in Illinois with his wife Kathleen Rooney, a novelist and poetess.  He works for the Village of Wheeling and she teaches at DePaul University.

In 2016, Mr. Ferry won the 2015 Book of the Year Award for Traditionally Published Fiction Old Heart, published by Unbridled Books in 2015.  His first novel, Travel Writings, was published in English in the U.S.A. and U.K. and in Portuguese in Brazil.  Castle Rock purchased the movie rights.  Ferry taught at Lake Forest High School for twenty-seven years and wrote and edited textbooks published by Rand McNally & Company in the 1970s.  He is married and has three children.  His family resides in Evanston, Illinois and Palisades Park, Michigan.

Seay and Ferry will discuss everything from the idea phase of writing to the writing process to “publishing adventures.”  An audience Q&A and book-signing will follow.  Free refreshments will be provided.

Frugal Muse is located in Chestnut Grove, at the southeastern corner of the intersection of 75th Street and Lemont Road.  The address is 7511 Lemont Road, Suite 146, Darien, Illinois 60561.  The phone number is (630) 427-1140.

“Extreme Ice at the Museum of Science and Industry” by S.M. O’Connor

Extreme Ice, a temporary exhibit that documents global warming via imagery of shrinking glaciers, opened at the Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) on March 23, 2017, and it will run through early 2019.  According to a press release from the M.S.I., the exhibit illustrates “the immediacy of climate change and how it is altering our world.”

American photographer James Balog captured thought-provoking images over a multi-year period that showcase the dramatic extent of melting glaciers around the world. Through stunning photographic documentation and time-lapse videography of these glaciers, Extreme Ice provides guests an emotionally visual representation of climate change. This exhibit encourages and educates guests on how they can make a difference in their daily lives.

Mr. Balog is the Founder and Director of the Earth Vision Institute (E.V.I.) and Extreme Ice Survey (E.I.S.).  Balog is the author of ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers.  He and the E.I.S. team were profiled in the P.B.S. NOVA special Extreme Ice and the Emmy®-winning documentary Chasing Ice.

In a press release, the M.S.I. stated the Extreme Ice Survey was “the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers.  Extreme Ice features the EIS team’s global documentation of glacier melt—alongside other hands-on interactive and informative elements—to illustrate what is happening around the world at a rapid rate.”

“MSI has a responsibility to our guests, schools and communities to showcase exhibits that present complex scientific concepts in an accessible way,” stated Dr. Patricia Ward, Director of Science and Technology at the Museum of Science and Industry. “Extreme Ice showcases James Balog’s beautifully powerful photography to illustrate the real and alarming speed at which glaciers are melting around the world. The exhibit presents a unique and emotional way to educate guests about climate change.”

An international team comprised of scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder and Trent University in Ontario, Canada has stated that almost 200,000 glaciers have been mapped and catalogued.  According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, most of these glaciers have been retreating (shrinking) since the early 20th Century due to global warming.

Balog’s E.I.S. team has used time-lapse photography to document the shrinkage of twenty-four glaciers, as visitors can see in the exhibit.  The M.S.I. stated, “His team’s compelling and high-resolution footage places guests directly into settings such as Glacier National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Alps, giving everyone a chance to see the real and alarming speed at which glaciers are melting around the world.”

“It is a privilege to showcase the Extreme Ice Survey at the Museum of Science and Industry, as it is vital to engage with new audiences about climate change,” Balog stated. “Photography is one of the most powerful mediums of communication we have; visual evidence illuminates our world in a way that nothing else can.”

Artifacts on display in Extreme Ice include equipment the E.I.S. team used on expeditions, such as insulated clothing, helmets, climbing gear, and a customized camera.  These illustrate for guests the physical demands the E.I.S. team members endured in remote locations and technological advances they made to take compelling pictures.

In the exhibit, visitors can also touch a seven-foot-tall ice wall.  This provides a tangible connection to the footage in Extreme Ice.  The M.S.I. stated the exhibit includes “maps showcasing the potential impact of coastal flooding around the world from New York to Shanghai, Copenhagen to London.”  Part of the exhibit is supposed to show museum visitors “how rising temperatures will affect Chicago.”  The Museum of Science and Industry promised visiting the exhibit was a chance to “Discover how bold individuals are single-handedly making radical impacts,” and “Understand the part they can play in mitigating the effects of climate change.”

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Figure 1 Photo Credit: James Balog, Earth Vision Institute Caption: The fast-moving Khumbu Icefall, possibly the most dangerous route to the summit of Mount Everest, flows several feet downhill every day.

Birthday Canyon, Greenland ice sheetFigure 2 Photo Credit: James Balog, Earth Vision Institute Caption: This photo displays a river of meltwater formed by glacier melt in Greenland.

GL-7-08-003137_editedFigure 3 Photo Credit: Michael Brown Caption: James Balog poses in a hole called a “moulin” that formed when meltwater flowed into a crack in the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Greenland, July 2008Figure 4 Photo Credit: James Balog, Earth Vision Institute Caption: This is a close-up picture of a moulin.

Bridge Glacier, British Columbia, September 1, 2009Figure 3 Photo Credit: James Balog, Earth Vision Institute Caption: Bridge Glacier’s shrinkage contributes to the loss of over 5,800,000,000 gallons of water from British Columbia’s glaciers every year. This photo was taken in 2009.

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Figure 4 Photo Credit: James Balog, Earth Vision Institute Caption: Over the past forty years, the Bridge Glacier has retreated more than two miles, with somewhere between 75% and 90% of its ice lost due to warming temperatures causing the surface to melt. This photo was taken in 2012.

Meltwater on surface of Columbia Glacier, Columbia Bay, Alaska, June 20, 2008

Figure 5 Photo Credit: James Balog, Earth Vision Institute Caption: As warmer temperatures heat Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, brilliant blue ponds of meltwater form on the glacier’s surface.

170324-PR-ExtremeIce-PressOpening-KC-75Figure 6 Photo Credit: Kasumi Chow, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry’s exhibit Extreme Ice can see dazzling photographs of glaciers melting.

170324-PR-ExtremeIce-PressOpening-KC-53Figure 7 Photo Credit: Kasumi Chow, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: James Balog greets a young visitor at the opening event for the exhibit Extreme Ice at the Museum of Science and Industry.

170324-PR-ExtremeIce-PressOpening-KC-43Figure 8 Photo Credit: Kasumi Chow, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Visitors can learn more about James Balog’s work and how they can make a difference with interactive stations.

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Figure 9 Photo Credit: Kasumi Chow, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Museum of Science and Industry exhibit Extreme Ice features dozens of amazing photos of global glacier melt, shot by American photographer James Balog.

170324-PR-ExtremeIce-PressOpening-KC-14Figure 10 Photo Credit: Kasumi Chow, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Visitors of all ages to the Museum of Science and Industry’s exhibit Extreme Ice are able to touch a real seven-foot-tall ice wall.

170324-PR-ExtremeIce-PressOpening-KC-7Figure 11 Photo Credit: Kasumi Chow, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Extreme Ice features a seven-foot-tall ice wall that visitors can touch.

The Aunt Marlene Foundation is presenting Extreme Ice.  Major financial support also comes from the Marlott Family Foundation.  The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Buchanan Family Foundation, Connie and Dennis Keller, and The Wareham/Elfman Family also provided funds for the exhibit.

Extreme Ice is included in Museum Entry (general admission) tickets, which are $18 for adults and teenagers and $11 for children ages three-to-eleven.  One can buy tickets online in advance at https://www.msichicago.org/visit/tickets.

This time of year, the Museum of Science and Industry is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  The Museum of Science and Industry is located in the northeast corner of Jackson Park in the neighborhood of Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago.  It stands on 57th Street at the intersection with Lake Shore Drive.  The address is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60637.

“The Brick by Brick Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry to Close Soon” by S.M. O’Connor

Adam Reed Tucker, the LEGO® Certified Professional featured in the Museum of Science and Industry’s temporary exhibit Brick by Brick, will sign special edition copies of Bricks Culture magazine on Saturday, August 26, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  This event is free with Museum Entry (General Admission) tickets. It is taking place in front of the Brick by Brick entrance on the Main Floor.  The 7,000-square-foot exhibit Brick by Brick opened at the Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) on Thursday, March 10, 2016 and was supposed to be open through February of 2017 but was extended until April, and then until Monday, September 4, 2017.  To enter Brick by Brick, one must have an additional, timed-entry ticket, included in Explorer ticket packages.

This is a fun exhibit that is about more than fathers, uncles, and elder brothers bonding with sons, nephews, and little brothers over a common love of building with LEGO® bricks.  It presents an opportunity to teach children about architecture and civil engineering.  The temporary exhibit Brick by Brick on the Main Floor pairs nicely with the permanent exhibit Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle on the Ground Floor, as well as the Thorne Miniature Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Brick by Brick features a collection of giant LEGO®-built structures of engineering marvels, including a sixty-foot-long Golden Gate Bridge, the International Space Station, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Hoover Dam, and the Roman Colosseum and more, all constructed by LEGO® Certified Professional and Chicago native Adam Reed Tucker.  “At the essence of innovation, science and engineering is creativity, and the simple act of ‘play’ is its catalyst,” stated Kurt Haunfelner, Vice President of Exhibits and Collections at the Museum of Science and Industry (and the boss of this writer’s former boss). “This exhibit explores that close relationship, using a very relatable and much-loved toy, the LEGO® brick. We want both kids and adults to come in this exhibit and leave motivated by the idea that play is a powerful thing, and that a new world can come from a single brick.”

Structures designed and built by Mr. Tucker contain up to 64,000 bricks.  They take hundreds of hours to design and build through trial and error.   “As I design and build, I gain a greater appreciation for the structure I am working on and try to capture the essence of the building in its sculptural form,” said Tucker. “My hope is that people looking at my work will also appreciate and learn about each architectural wonder and the creativity and imagination that’s possible with the LEGO brick.”

In a press release, the M.S.I. stated, “As guests view Tucker’s work, kids and adults can engage in various hands-on building challenges that reinforce key principles of engineering, construction and architecture—and encourage creativity. Guests learn how architects and engineers push the limits of design, materials and location to make the seemingly impossible, possible; witness how form follows function; and learn how building beautifully uplifts us all.”

When he was five years old, Tucker visited the Museum of Science and Industry where his aunt, a civil engineer, bought him one of his first LEGO® sets at the Museum Store.  His love of the LEGO® brick continued far into boyhood.  He studied architecture at Kansas State University, from which he graduated in 1996. He then went on to practice as a professional architect in Chicagoland for ten years. In 2002, he returned to his love of LEGO®.  One day, he filled multiple shopping carts with various sets and then experimented with them as a medium for architect’s art.  His work attracted the attention of The LEGO Group.  In 2007, he became a LEGO® Certified Professional, of which there are currently only fourteen in the world.   The next year, he worked with The LEGO Group to conceive and design the LEGO Architecture Series.  Each set contains the pieces and instructions to build a model of a famous architectural building in LEGO® Microscale. On average, every person on Earth has eighty-six LEGO® bricks.  In 2012, The LEGO Group manufactured 45,700,000,000 LEGO® bricks at a rate of 5,200,000 per hour. Laid end to end, the number of LEGO® bricks sold in 2012 would stretch around the world over eighteen times.  To reach the Moon, one would have to build a column of about 40,000,000,000 LEGO® bricks.  Two eight-stud LEGO® bricks (2×4) can be combined in twenty-four different ways and three eight-stud LEGO® bricks can be combined in 1,060 ways.  Six eight-stud LEGO® bricks can be combined in 915,103,765 different ways.  The LEGO® Architecture theme has fourteen kits: LEGO® House (Set #21037), Arc Di Triomphe (Set #21036), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum® (Set #21035), Sydney (Set 21032), Chicago (Set #21033), London (Set #21034), United States Capitol Building (Set #21030), Buckingham Palace (Set #21029), Burj Khalifa (Set #21031), Venice (Set #21026), Berlin (Set #21027), New York (Set #21028), The Eiffel Tower (Set #21019), and Studio (Set #21050).  Discontinued kits in the series include The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Flatiron Building, the Seattle Space Needle, Villa Savoye, Lincoln Memorial, Imperial Hotel, the United Nations Headquarters, the Brandenburg Gate, Trevi Fountain, and the Louvre.

The larger-scale models that Tucker creates for public display contain tens of thousands of LEGO® pieces and take hundreds of hours to complete. He has had his work displayed at many museums and organizations around the world, including the National Building Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, The Henry Ford (also known as the Henry Field Museum and Greenfield Village), and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West.  In a press release, the Museum of Science and Industry stated, “Tucker begins the design and build process of each structure by examining photos, elevations and artist renderings. As an artist and architect, he considers design principles such as proportion, scale, form and aesthetic. His next step is to identify the LEGO bricks and colors best suited to create study models, which are mock-ups or prototypes of sections of structures. His pieces are ‘scratch-built,’ meaning that Tucker doesn’t use computer modeling, pencil and paper or written directions in his work. Tucker has built and rebuilt certain sections of buildings five or six times until he feels they are right.”

The simplicity and nostalgic quality of the LEGO affords a new, detailed look at the familiar buildings and structures that Tucker builds. Guests can lean in close to see the complexity of a building’s intricate design and engineering—or take a step back to appreciate its sculptural form in full.

“As an architectural artist, I want to capture the essence of a particular architectural landmark into its pure sculptural form,” said Tucker. “I don’t view my models as literal replicas, but rather artistic interpretations through the use of LEGO bricks.  As I explore how to capture these buildings with the basic shapes of the bricks and plates, I find the challenge in the endless possibilities.”

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Figure 1 Figure 1 Photo Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Adam Reed Tucker built a LEGO® model of the Palace of Fine Arts (the building that houses the Museum of Science and Industry) in 2013.  This is Micoscale (or Miniscale) model.  The LEGO® Group uses Micoscale models for extremely large structures.  Note that the Palace of Fine Arts did not gain the Henry Crown Space Center until the 1980s. This model depicted the building in its original symmetry.

(Multiple values)Figure 2 Photo Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: LEGO® Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker building a LEGO® brick model of the Palace of Fine Arts (the building that houses the Museum of Science and Industry) for the exhibit Brick by Brick.

BrickByBrick_LegoMSI_wideFigure 3 Photo Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Adam Reed Tucker’s model of the Palace of Fine Arts, which was built for the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893) and now houses M.S.I., is 8’ wide, 2’ tall, took 41 hours to design, took 187 hours to build, and is comprised of 18,500 bricks.

csm_Vertical_Hero_0b97fc14ec (1)Figure 4 Credit: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Caption: This promotional image for the Museum of Science and Industry’s exhibit Brick by Brick exhibit highlights LEGO® Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker’s model of the Golden Gate Bridge, which, at sixty feet long, is the largest model in the exhibit.

Brick By Brick Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 5 Photo Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: LEGO® Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker’s model of the Golden Gate Bridge is 60’ long, took 215 hours to design, 260 hours to build, and is comprised of 64,500 bricks.

Brick By Brick Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 6 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: LEGO® Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker builds a LEGO® model of the Burj Khalifa for the exhibit Brick by Brick at the Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) in Jackson Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

csm_Bricks@ART_130_d6c37e3013Figure 7 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Adam Reed Tucker builds a LEGO® model of the Burj Khalifa for the exhibit Brick by Brick at the Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) in Chicago. It is 12’ tall, took 45 hours to design, took 60 hours to build, and is comprised of 16,500 bricks.

Brick By Brick Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 8 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Caption: LEGO® Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker’s model of the Great Pyramid of Giza is nearly 12’ long, took 50 hours to design, took 45 hours to build, and is comprised of 24,000 bricks.

Brick By Brick Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, ChicagoFigure 9 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Caption: LEGO® Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker’s model of the Roman Colosseum is over 6’ feet long, took 120 hours to design, took 75 hours to build, and is comprised of 22,500 bricks.

At exhibit stations, guests can build and test structures to determine if they can withstand earthquakes at the tremor table and heavy winds at the wind tunnel. Guests can walk on an I-beam to get an inkling of its strength.

One can us simple machines and engineering to lift one’s friends or one’s self; build one’s own LEGO® creations in an open build area; view time-lapse footage of the construction of real and LEGO® structures; and see futuristic LEGO® structures built by global architecture firms anticipating predicted challenges cities will face in the future, such as rising populations, climate change, and water scarcity.  The architectural firms include SOM of Chicago, Adjaye Associates of London, Kengo Kuma and Associates of Tokyo.

Adam Reed Tucker’s model of the One World Trade Center is ten feet tall, took fifteen hours to design, took forty-five hours to build, and is comprised of 25,500 bricks.  This model is hollow, lacking any internal structure or supports.

The real One World Trade Center in New York City opened on November 3, 2014.  The architects and engineers paid homage to the original World Trade Center, as well as to convey resilience and inspire hope. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, it is 1,776 feet tall, a tribute to the year the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence.

Tucker’s model of Burj Khalifa is twelve feet tall, took forty-five hours to design, took sixty hours to build, and is comprised of 16,500 bricks.

The real Burj Khalifa is in downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  The tallest building in the world is double the size of the Sears Tower at 163 stories, contains over 24,000 windows, and has the longest elevator shaft in the world.  According to the Museum of Science and Industry, “It was built by bundling structures of smaller size for strength, and a Y-shaped buttressed core prevents twisting in the wind.”

Tucker’s model of the Golden Gate Bridge is sixty feet long, took 215 hours to design, 260 hours to build, and is comprised of 64,500 bricks.  It is so long, it could not be fully completed until installed within the Museum of Science and Industry.

The real Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 4,200 feet when it opened in 1937.  It was built to withstand both high winds and earthquakes.  Each cable is comprised of hundreds of wires.  A deck truss prevents the bridge from swaying too much, but even so the cables can move twenty-seven feet to accommodate winds.

Tucker’s model of Ping An Finance Center is six feet tall, took twenty-five hours to design, took sixty hours to build, and is comprised of 20,250 bricks.  To simulate rebars (steel rods in concrete), Tucker used silver-colored antennas from LEGO® Star Wars™ sets.

Completed in 2017 in Shenzhen, Guagdong, China (immediately north of Hong Kong), the real Ping An Finance Center is the third-tallest Chinese skyscraper and the fourth tallest in the world as a whole at 115 stories and 600 meters or 1,969 feet (above ground with another four floors below ground).  In thirty-five years, the population of Shenzhen has grown from 300,000 people to 10,000,000 people.  Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (K.P.F.) in New York City for Ping An Insurance, the megatall skyscraper houses the headquarters of the Ping An Insurance Group Company of China, as well as a hotel, a shopping mall, and a convention center.

Tucker’s model of The Gateway Arch is eight feet tall, took twenty-five hours to design, took thirty hours to build, and is comprised of 7,500 bricks.  This model is self-supporting like the real structure.

The real Gateway Arch (the “Gateway to the West”) in St. Louis is the tallest memorial in the U.S.A.  It has a catenary curve, with its height and width equal at 630 feet.  Finnish architect Eero Saarinen (1910-1961), the son of famed architect Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen (1873-1950), designed the Gateway Arch, which was completed in 1965.  Via an elevator system, visitors can reach the top of the Gateway Arch.

Tucker’s model of the International Space Station is four feet wide, took thirty hours to design, took twenty-five hours to build, and is comprised of 2,500 bricks.  He made the solar panels by culling 2,500 gold bars from LEGO® Harry Potter™ sets.

The real International Space Station (I.S.S.) houses a team of international astronauts while it orbits the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour.  It is modular, like the LEGO® model.  The Russian Federation launched the first I.S.S. module in 1998.  Adding additional modules has been a challenge in part because rockets have to be launched in a window of minutes each day to reach the I.S.S. at the right time.

Tucker’s model of the Great Pyramid of Giza is nearly twelve feet long, took fifty hours to design, took forty-five hours to build, and is comprised of 24,000 bricks.  The pieces Tucker used to form the corners are very rare and are no longer being produced.

The real Great Pyramid of Giza was the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and today it is the most intact.  [Five of the structures have been completely destroyed.  These were the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and the Statue of Zeus in the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.]  Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops) built the Great Pyramid and other buildings as mausoleum-temples for himself and his family.  It was completed in 2560 B.C.  The Great Pyramid of Giza remained the tallest manmade structure for almost 4,000 years.  It is comprised of 2,300,000 stones.

Tucker’s model of the American Eagle Roller Coaster is twelve feet long.  It took fifty-five hours to design, took seventy hours to build, and is comprised of 14,500 bricks.

At 127 feet tall, the real American Eagle Roller Coaster was the world’s tallest wooden roller coaster when it opened at Six Flags Great America in 1981.  It has 8,300 feet of track.  Construction entailed 20,000 man-hours, 9,000 gallons of paint, and over 1,000,000 feet of lumber.

Tucker’s model of the Palace of Fine Arts – the building erected to house a temporary art museum for the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), that subsequently housed The Field Museum until 1920, and has housed the Museum of Science and Industry since 1933 – is eight feet wide, two feet tall, took forty-one hours to design, took 187 hours to build, and is comprised of 18,500 bricks.  This was the first model Tucker made entirely of white bricks.

Memory of the Great Fire of 1871 made foreign governments hesitant to place artworks on display in Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition.  To assuage their fears, the Palace of Fine Arts had a fireproof brick substructure whereas most of the other exhibit halls in the White City were simply railroad sheds with neoclassical façades painted white with new spray-paint technology.  Fires consumed most of the other buildings.

Tucker’s Cinderella’s Castle model is five feet tall, took 145 hours to design, took 230 hours to build, and is comprised of 36,000 bricks.  Tucker had to use almost every technique in his repertoire to build this model castle.  Note that this is a different castle from the one he exhibited in D23: The Official Disney Fan Club’s traveling exhibit Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, which the Museum of Science and Industry hosted from Wednesday, October 16, 2013 to Sunday, January 4, 2015.  Tucker redesigned and rebuilt the castle for Brick by Brick.  Visitors who appreciate Tucker’s model of Cinderella’s Castle in particular should make a stop at the exhibit Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, the centerpiece of which is an enormous dollhouse built by Hollywood craftsmen for the silent film star and businesswoman Colleen Moore (1899-1988).

In 1953, artist Herbert Dickens Ryman (1910-1989), a former Wald Disney Company employee, drew the initial designs of Disneyland at the personal request of Walt Disney (1901-1966), which led to him rejoining the company and designing the Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street, and New Orleans Square.  Ryman later designed the Cinderella Castle at the Walt Disney World Resort.  He also contributed to the Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise rides.  In retirement, he contributed to Epcot.  A Disney Imagineer, he was posthumously inducted into the Disney Legends Hall of Fame.  Ryman used forced perspective to make the fairytale castles seem larger than they really are, to appear to be the size of real castles.  The windows and bricks on the upper levels are smaller so they seem farther away.  Steel framed construction and a ten-inch-thick concrete wall lie beneath the façade of the Cinderella Castle in Disney World.  It can withstand 100 mile-per-hour gusts of wind.

Tucker’s model of the Roman Colosseum is over six feet tall, took 120 hours to design, took seventy-five hours to build, and is comprised of 22,500 bricks.  To get the oval shape, Tucker re-designed his Colosseum model more than a dozen times.

Emperor Vespasian built the Colosseum between 70 and 80 A.D. in honor of his son, Titus.  The largest amphitheater ever built, it was a gift to the Roman people.  They gathered there to watch gladiatorial games, wild animal shows, and battle re-enactments.  The building could accommodate between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, and yet they could quickly depart thanks to eighty entrance/exit arches, corridors, and staircases.

Tucker’s model of Hoover Dam is five feet long, took 215 hours to design, took 160 hours to build, and is comprised of 42,800 bricks.  He experimented with over half a dozen ways to build the model.

Completed in 1935 as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the real Hoover Dam is one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders.  Meant to distribute Colorado River water to the American Southwest and generate hydroelectric power.  It is an arch-gravity dam.  An arch dam works best in blocking a narrow passage between sheer rock walls, while the massive weight of a gravity dam holds back water.

Tucker’s model of Fallingwater is five feet long, took 170 hours to design, took 130 hours to build, and comprised of 21,100 bricks.  This model is capable of being taken apart like a puzzle.

The American Institute of Architects considers the real Fallingwater, the National Historic Landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), the “best all-time work of American architecture.”  Completed in 1938, it was built in southwest Pennsylvania as a private residence for Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr. (1885-1955), President of Kaufmann’s Department Store in Pittsburgh, and his wife, Liliane.  Their son, Edgar J. Kaufmann, Jr. (1910-1989), was a former student of Wright’s.  Wright designed Fallingwater to incorporate and compliment the surrounding waterfall and woodland.

ArcelorMittal, the sponsor of the exhibit, is a Luxembourg-based conglomerate.  It exists as the result of mergers between Indian, European, and American steel producers.  The world’s largest steel and mining company, ArcelorMittal has a presence in sixty countries and an industrial footprint in nineteen countries. Lakshmi Mittal, the largest shareholder, Chairman, and C.E.O., is an Indian business magnate who resides in London.  His company stated, “ArcelorMittal believes in creating a talented pipeline of scientists and engineers for tomorrow. These individuals are key to both its business and industry. The company also recognizes the importance of scientists and engineers in our communities. Yet, creating this pipeline is challenging when students in the United States are falling behind in the sciences. ArcelorMittal wants to be a part of the solution. To do so, all children must have access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) experiences.”

ArcelorMittal and MSI stated, “ArcelorMittal invests in STEM education across the country. In the Chicagoland region, the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is a dedicated partner. MSI is the largest science center in the Western Hemisphere. The Museum hosts nearly 1.5 million visitors each year, including approximately 350,000 children on field trips. Since 2012, ArcelorMittal has invested $375,000 in programming with MSI. This partnership has funded the museum’s Institute for Quality Science Teaching.  This helps more than 200 teachers from Chicago and Northwest Indiana train each year in STEM disciplines. In 2016, ArcelorMittal has expanded its work with MSI by sponsoring the Brick by Brick exhibit.”

STEM education is at the core of Brick by Brick. Museum guests practice the skills scientists and engineers use, including asking questions, developing models and designing solutions. Brick by Brick supports the type of thinking that all children need in an increasingly STEM-focused world.

“We are proud to expand our STEM partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry,” said Marcy Twete, Division Manager, Corporate Responsibility, ArcelorMittal Americas. “Through the exhibit, guests will have the opportunity to experience firsthand how architecture and materials shape our modern world. This partnership complements ArcelorMittal’s focus on STEM by facilitating hands-on educational experiences for thousands of museum guests. We are also excited to see the exhibit showcase many notable structures around the world that were made with ArcelorMittal or legacy company steel.”

As mentioned above, exhibit admission requires an additional, time-entry ticket, included in Explorer ticket packages.  [Museum Entry (general admission) tickets are $18 for adults and teenagers and $11 for children (ages three-to-eleven).]  Museum Members can enter Brick by Brick with $6 tickets for adults and children (ages three-to-seventeen). One can buy tickets online in advance at https://www.msichicago.org/visit/tickets.  This time of year, the Museum of Science and Industry is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Museum of Science and Industry gratefully acknowledges the support it receives from the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District, as well as sponsors, donors, and visitors.  For more information, one can visit www.msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.

The Museum of Science and Industry is located at the northeast corner of Jackson Park in the neighborhood of Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago, at the intersection of 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. The address is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60637.

“The Return of Robot Revolution to the Museum of Science and Industry” by S.M. O’Connor

 

The Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.) in Chicago brought back its national touring exhibit Robot Revolution, which re-opened on Thursday, May 11, 2017, and run through Sunday, February 4, 2018.  Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, supports the exhibit, which also receives major support from The Boeing Company.  The M.S.I. previously displayed Robot Revolution from Thursday, May 21, 2015 through Sunday, January 3, 2016.  In a press release, the M.S.I. stated, “Robot Revolution explores how robots, created by human ingenuity, will ultimately be our companions and colleagues, changing how we play, live and work together. The exhibit returns to Chicago, where it had its world premiere in 2015 at MSI, after exhibit runs at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.”

For its return to the M.S.I., Robot Revolution includes a mixture of robots that were on display before and robots that are new to the exhibit.  The M.S.I. stated, “The exhibit comes to life with a collection of cutting-edge robots secured from some of the most innovative global robotics companies and universities.”  Yume Robo from Muscle Corporation of Japan is a sixty-pound climbing robot that can ascend and descend a ladder.  It demonstrates its climbing abilities in the Museum of Science and Industry’s Entry Hall (formerly called the Great Hall).  A soldier or policeman can literally throw the micro-robot Recon Scout® Throwbot® XT from Recon Robotics in Edina, Minnesota into a dangerous building and it will send back audio and video feeds to determine the location or presence of armed subjects and hostages. RoboThespian from Engineered Arts Ltd. of England is a humanoid robot that greets guests as they enter the exhibit. [Thespis of Icarius was the first actor and the first playwright.  A thespian is a dramatic actor, as opposed to a comedic actor.  Specifically, he is a tragedian.]  The Cube Solver works out a Rubik’s Cube in a flash.  A gripper holds the cube up to a color camera, which contains a vision system run on a Windows PC.  Smart image-processing software solves the puzzle nearly as fast as the gripper turns the cube. Daisy from HEBI Robotics in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a hexapod (six-legged walking robot) that traverses rough terrain.  Omron LD Mobile from Omron Adept Technologies, Inc. in San Ramon, California (a subsidiary of the OMRON Corporation of Japan) is an Autonomous Intelligent Vehicle that needs neither magnets nor navigational beacons to make its way through a warehouse, factory, or laboratory.

“Robotics is one of the most fascinating areas of science today because scientists and engineers are constantly pushing the boundaries of possibility,” stated David Mosena, President and C.E.O. of the Museum of Science and Industry. “We are thrilled to bring our original groundbreaking exhibit back to the Museum. We hope that the opportunity to interact with such a wide range of robots will help people understand how robots become an integral part in helping to improve our world and inspire the next generation of innovators.”

The exhibit development team consulted Dr. Henrik I. Christensen, Qualcomm Chancellor’s Chair of Robot Systems and Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, and Director of for Contextual Robotics; and Dr. Dennis Hong, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and founding Director of RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory)  of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department at University of California, Los Angeles; amongst others.  Robot Revolution has four exhibit areas that focused on different facets of robotics: “Cooperation,” “Smarts,” “Skills,” and “Locomotion.”  These exhibit areas have a mixture of robot artifacts, activities, and videos.

The visitor to “Cooperation” will see EMYS from Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland mimic his or her own facial expressions with its advanced facial-coding technology. It employs a Facial Action Coding System.  PARO®, from Dr. Takanori Shibata of Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, is a furry baby seal therapy robot.  It has sensors that can respond to one’s touch. A robot exoskeleton is on display that augments physical strength and can be used by those who are paralyzed. [This is a real-world version of something that is a mainstay of science fiction: the powered exoskeleton as seen in Aliens (1986), Exosquad (1993-94), M.A.N.T.I.S. (1994-95), The Matrix Revolutions (2003), Elysium (2013), and Edge of Tomorrow (2014).]  This is the Ekso GT Robotic Skeleton from Ekso Bionics in Richmond, California.  It is a force multiplier that lends supplemental strength and endurance to the wearer.  Civilian applications of this technology include helping people who have trouble walking or are actually paralyzed.  A surgical training simulation allows one to see what it is like to perform a robotic surgery.  One can watch Soccer Robots from the ZJUNlict Team of Zhejiang University in China cooperate with each other as they compete in a game.

In “Smarts,” one can learn how thinking machines sense their surroundings, develop plans, and carry them out.  Utilizing its visual tracking software, ROBOTIS-OP is able to follow one’s face and make “eye contact.” Instead of writing code to control the UR5 robot arm from Universal Robots in Denmark, it learns to repeat movements made by the user.

In “Skills,” one can learn about the capacity robots have to mimic—and often surpass—human skills. The visitor can experience selecting and lifting objects with robot grippers.  Observe the Fanuc delta robot expediently and precisely select and sort items. A dual-arm robot of Yaskwawa/Motoman Robotics of Japan can challenge the visitor to a game of 21.  Baxter, an industrial robot from Rethink Robotics, Inc in Boston, can play two people simultaneously in games of tic-tac-toe.

In “Locomotion,” one can learn about the variety of ways that robots can move.  There are robots that can access places where humans cannot venture.  One can test ROBOTIS-MINI’s ability to maintain its balance as it places one foot before the other.  Notice how TOPY OSCAR can use its long rubber treads to ascend and descend stairs.  Emergency responders can use it to investigate unstable buildings.  See demonstrations of the six-legged RHex from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as well as the aforementioned spider-like Daisy.  CHARLI (Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence) was developed by Terrestrial Robotics Engineering & Controls (T.R.E.C.) Laboratory and RoMeLa (Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory) at Virginia Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering in Blacksburg, Virginia.

 

Robot Revolution exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 1 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Kathleen McCarthy, M.S.I. Director of Collections, looks on as visitors watch the Cube Solver from Rixan Associates and DENSO in Dayton, Ohio solve a Rubik’s Cube.

Robot Revolution exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 2 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Daisy is a hexapod (six-legged walking robot).  Potential uses include urban search and rescue and archaeological exploration.

Robot Revolution exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Robot Revolution exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 3 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: RoboThespian, which greets visitors as they enter the exhibit Robot Revolution, can speak and move in customizable ways.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 4 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The 1.3-meter-tall CHARLI, developed to move and be shaped like humans, can walk in all directions, turn, and kick.

Robot Revolution exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Figure 5 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: In Robot Revolution, the Omron LD robot helps the Robot Specialist by roaming the exhibit, speaking with guests.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 6 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: In the exhibit Robot Revolution, museum visitors can watch Soccer Robots from the ZJUNlict Team of Zhejiang University in China chase the ball, pass it, and defend the “net.”

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 7 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: In the exhibit Robot Revolution, museum visitors can challenge this industrial robot to a game of blackjack.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 8 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Yume Robo is a sixty-pound robot from Muscle Corporation of Japan with arms and legs, coordinated by smart motors, which allow it to climb a ladder.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

Figure 9 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Baxter from Rethink Robotics, Inc. in Boston is a collaborative robot, easily programmed to perform simple, repetitive tasks people may find mind-numbing.  Due to its capacity to be remotely programmed, small companies can make use of Baxter, as well as large companies.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 10 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Baxter, an industrial robot, can play two people simultaneously in games of tic-tac-toe.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 11 Figure 12 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: PARO®, from Dr. Takanori Shibata of Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, is a therapeutic baby seal robot that responds to the touch of human hands.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 13 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: In the Museum of Science and Industry’s exhibit Robot Revolution, visitors can build robots with Cubelets from Modular Robotics in Boulder, Colorado.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 14 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: One can interact with over forty robots in Robot Revolution.

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 15 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: With its face-tracking software, ROBOTIS-OP from ROBOTIS in South Korea is a humanoid robot that senses when a person is looking at it.  ROBOTIS-OP can align its camera-eyes with that of a visitor to the Museum of Science and Industry’s exhibit Robot Revolution.

 

Robot Revolution Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

Figure 16 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The ROBOTIS-MINI from ROBOTIS in South Korea does karate, dance, or perform a head-stand on command.  This is a miniaturized version of ROBOTIS-OP.

A ten-minute-long Drone Show takes place several times per hour.  This features a Parrot MiniDrone, an ultra-compact drone unmanned autonomous vehicle (U.A.V.) that operators can control from a smartphone or computer tablet.

In the exhibit, guests also get to see regular maintenance of robots in the RoboGarage.  To keep the exhibit full of functioning robots, robot specialists check sensors, troubleshoot programming, and make repairs.

“We believe it is vital to inspire the next generation of engineers and tech entrepreneurs so that we can continue to see technology change the world,” stated Jim Lecinski, head of Google’s Chicago office. “Google is happy to support MSI’s Robot Revolution exhibit to make complex concepts accessible to kids of all ages and to get them excited about science, technology, engineering and math.”

In addition to financial support from Google.org and The Boeing Company, funding for Robot Revolution comes from RACO Industrial, The David Bohnett Foundation, The Kaplan Foundation, and United Airlines.  The M.S.I. has expressed gratitude to the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers– Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) and ITA, Inc. for their assistance with the development of this exhibit.

Robot Revolution is not included in Museum Entry (general admission) tickets, which are $18 for adults and teenagers and $11 for children ages three-to-eleven.  It requires an additional timed-entry ticket, $12 for adults and $9 for children.  One can buy tickets online in advance at https://www.msichicago.org/visit/tickets.  This time of year, the Museum of Science and Industry is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Museum of Science and Industry is located in the northeast corner of Jackson Park in the neighborhood of Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago.  It stands on 57th Street at the intersection with Lake Shore Drive.  The address is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60637.  The phone number is (773) 684-1414.

“New Exhibits and Movies at the Museum of Science and Industry” by S.M. O’Connor

The waning days of summer are a good time to visit the Museum of Science and Industry (M.S.I.), as well as Chicago’s other great science and art museums.  Adam Reed Tucker, the LEGO® Certified Professional featured in the temporary exhibit Brick by Brick, will sign special edition copies of Bricks Culture magazine on Saturday, August 26, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  This event is free with Museum Entry (General Admission) tickets.  Brick by Brick opened on Thursday, March 10, 2016 and was supposed to be open through February of 2017 but was extended until Monday, September 4, 2017.

In addition to the previously-profiled Imagining the Museum exhibit, there are two other new temporary exhibits at the M.S.I., Turn Back the Clock and Extreme Ice.  Further, the M.S.I. also brought back its national touring exhibit Robot RevolutionExtreme Ice opened on Thursday, March 23, 2017 and runs through early 2019.  Turn Back the Clock opened on Friday, May 26, 2017 and runs through early 2018.  Robot Revolution re-opened on Thursday, May 11, 2017.  It will run through Sunday, February 4, 2018.

Amazon Adventure debuted on Memorial Day (May 29, 2017) inside the M.S.I.’s five-story Giant Dome Theater (formerly Omnimax® Theater).  It will be screened through the spring of 2018.  Titans of the Ice Age, narrated by Christopher Plummer, will be screened through Sunday, September 10, 2017.  Tiny Giants, narrated by Stephen Fry, will be screened through Sunday, September 10, 2017.  Dream Big will debut in the Giant Dome Theater on Monday, September 11, 2017.

Brick By Brick Exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry ChicagoFigure 1 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: Adam Reed Tucker poses with his LEGO® model of the Burj Khalifa in the exhibit Brick by Brick.

Turn Back the Clock Exhibit @ The Museum of Science and Industry, ChicagoFigure 2 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: As visitors explore Turn Back the Clockthey will learn about the significance of the Doomsday Clock maintained by the Journal of Atomic Scientists and how it has evolved over the last seventy years.

170324-PR-ExtremeIce-PressOpening-KC-35Figure 3 Credit: Kasumi Chow, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: The Museum of Science and Industry exhibit Extreme Ice features dozens of amazing photos of global glacier melt, shot by American photographer James Balog.

 

Robot Revolution exhibit @ the Museum of Science and Industry, ChicagoFigure 4 Credit: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry Caption: RoboThespian, which greets visitors as they enter the exhibit Robot Revolution, can speak and move in customizable ways.

One can buy tickets online in advance at https://www.msichicago.org/visit/tickets.  This time of year, the Museum of Science and Industry is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Museum of Science and Industry is located in the northeast corner of Jackson Park in the neighborhood of Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago.  It stands on 57th Street at the intersection with Lake Shore Drive.  The address is 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60637.

“The Downers Grove Public Library” by S.M. O’Connor

Introduction[1]

For over 125 years, there has been a library in Downers Grove, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago in DuPage County.  The Downers Grove Public Library (D.G.P.L.) is located at 1050 Curtiss Street in downtown Downers Grove. The Downers Grove Public Library’s motto is “The place to go when you need to know.”  One can read the Downers Grove Public Library Bylaws, Policies, and Guidelines online here.

Located twenty-one miles west of the Chicago Loop, Downers Grove is a large suburb with certain elements of a (small) city.  It has a real downtown, three Metra stops, two high schools, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, and The Avery Coonley School (A.C.S.) for gifted students.  It began as a farm town and is only a few decades younger than Chicago, if one counts from when the first settlers arrived rather than from incorporation.

Downers Grove is probably best known outside Chicagoland as the hometown of model-turned actress-turned “reality” TV star Denise Richards.  It should be better known as the hometown of three hockey players: Tony and Cammi Granato (former N.H.L. player and Colorado Avalanche head coach Tony Granato and his younger sister, Cammi Granato, who was captain of the American women’s hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics) and current N.H.L. player Matt S. Jones. It is also the hometown of comedian Emo Philips.

The most historically significant resident of Downers Grove is unquestionably Major-General Arthur Charles Ducat, Sr. (1830-1896).  A Scotch-Irish immigrant, he helped professionalize the Chicago Fire Department, served as Inspector General of the Army of the Cumberland during the American Civil War, and was the first commander of the Illinois National Guard.  Born in Dublin County, Ireland, he arrived in Illinois in 1852 and supported himself before the Civil War as a civil engineer and insurance agent.  In February of 1864, Ducat resigned to recover his health and returned to Chicago, where he resumed his antebellum roles in insurance and fire-fighting.  He represented the Home Insurance Company of New York.  It was Ducat who called for William Le Baron Jenney (1832-1907) to design the ten-story Home Insurance Building in downtown Chicago, a brick-clad building with a steel skeleton that became the first skyscraper.  The two men had met during the war, while Jenney was designing a fort at Cairo Point, Illinois, as Jenney recounted in a letter in 1897.  Ducat was one of the founders of the Illinois National Guard.  On April 7, 1875, Governor John Lourie Beveridge appointed Ducat commander of the Illinois Militia with the rank of brigadier general.  On May 18, 1877, Governor Shelby M. Cullom appointed him first commander of the newly-created Illinois National Guard with the rank of major-general, a position he resigned in 1879.  Ducat, who owned vacation homes in the resort community of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, founded the yacht club there.  He was a member of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland and the Grand Army of the Republic.  Ducat created the Lindenwald estate in western Downers Grove.  [Presumably, he named it after President Martin Van Buren’s Lindenwald estate.][2]  This began with an investment with a group of friends in the Linden Heights Association, which purchased 800 acres of farmland and woodland, but he ultimately bought out his partners and turned the property into an estate.

Bret Easton Ellis adapted Michael Hornburg’s 1999 Bildungsroman (coming-of-age novel)-cum-horror novel Downers Grove as a screenplay. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker reported on November 9, 2012 that the town would not directly benefit from the production, which would star Hayden Panettiere (from Heroes) and Nikki Reed (from Twilight), because it was going to be filmed in Louisiana in 2013.  Ultimately, The Curse of Downers Grove (2015) starred Australian actresses Bella Heathcote, who had starred as Victoria Winters and Josette du Pres in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows (2015), and Penelope Mitchell, who had a starring role in Season 1 of the Netflix series Hemlock Grove and a supporting role in Season 6 of The Vampire DiariesThe Curse of Downers Grove was filmed in Ponoma, California.  It had a limited theatrical release before it was released on D.V.D. and Blu-ray.  The choice to shoot the film somewhere else shows the filmmakers knew nothing about Downers Grove because it has a thriving downtown and several neighborhoods with picturesque homes in sylvan landscapes.  As lovely as Ponoma, California is, it does not resemble Downers Grove.

The Village of Downers Grove and Pierce Downer Elementary School preserve the name of the community’s first landowner, Vermont native Pierce Downer.  His son Stephen Downer was a mason working on Chicago’s first lighthouse.  Stephen Downer had informed his father about rich lands to the west of Chicago.  Pierce Downer acquired 160 acres of woodland and prairie for $1.25 per acre.  The site to which he laid claim was at the fork of two American Indian trails.  Downer was not threatened during the Black Hawk War (1832).  He counted the Potawatomi Chief Waubonsee amongst his friends.  More settlers arrived after the conclusion of the Black Hawk War.

In 1835, Edwin Bush, an eighteen-year-old New York native, laid claim to 122 acres near the site of what is now Metra’s Belmont Station.  That same year, Dexter and Nancy Stanley moved into a log cabin with their nine children, one of whom, Nancy, wed Bush.  Many families who have resided in Downers Grove for generations can trace their ancestry back to Dexter and Nancy Stanley.

Israel Blodgett left a homestead he had already established in the Naper Settlement (now Naperville) to create a new homestead that would consist of a blacksmith workshop as well as a farm to the south of what is now Maple Avenue.  He purchased the new homestead from Joel Wells, whom Pierce Downer had once run off with a hickory rod when he found Wells and another man hacking at trees on his property.  Blodgett’s first customers included Indians who needed their firearms repaired.  Subsequently, Samuel Curtiss established a homestead north of the Blodgett homestead.

Blodgett and Curtiss hitched a log to six oxen to flatten and widen a trail between their properties that connected to the trail between Chicago and Naper Settlement.  They planed maple trees along the route.  This is the origin of Maple Avenue.

Blodgett was an abolitionist.  His house was a stop along the “Underground Railway” for runaway slaves.  He hid them in his basement before they moved on to the next stop on their way to Canada.

Settlement of the area was stimulated by construction of the Illinois-Michigan Canal, which began in 1836.  Henry Carpenter opened the first store and post office in 1842.  It was on Maple Avenue west of what is now Main Street.  In that decade, Downers Grove had two blacksmith workshops in operation.  Carpenter subdivided his land to draw new residents to the area near his store.  By the end of the decade, European immigrants from England, Ireland, German states, and Alsace-Lorraine (then part of France) had settled in the area.  Some of them had helped build the Illinois-Michigan Canal.

The Bush Hill committee that petitioned the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad to build a railroad from Chicago to Aurora included representation of Downers Grove.  The first train arrived in Downers Grove in 1864.  Originally, one train in each direction arrived in Downers Grove per day.  The growing hamlet was platted for the first time.  Union Street (now Main Street) opened north of the railroad tracks.

Meanwhile, in 1860, DuPage County Sherriff Theodore S. Rogers, a Downers Grove resident, led the “Plow Boys” who campaigned for Abraham Lincoln in resplendent red-and-white uniforms, as related by Virginia A. Stehney.  They campaigned with a large American flag on a flagpole in a wagon pulled by eight black horses.  A blue silk banner the hamlet’s ladies produced for the Plow Boys is now in the Smithsonian Institution.

Sherriff Rogers received a commission as the captain of the first company of Union Army soldiers contributed by DuPage County.  Captain Walter Blanchard, who commanded another company of men from Illinois, died in the war.  He and a number of other Union Army veterans are buried in Main Street Cemetery.

The Main Street Cemetery started out in 1856 as part of a sheep pasture owned by Samuel Curtiss.  Two children were already buried there when Henry Carpenter suggested that the site be designated a cemetery so the children would not be there alone.  In 1866, Curtiss received compensation in the form of $15 when a burial association formed.  Family plots went for $5.  In 1902, the burial of Sergeant Israel Blackburn, a freedman, Civil War veteran, and village blacksmith, was a cause of contention, as the Chicago Tribune’s Brian Slodysko recounted.  His friends wanted Sgt. Blackburn buried in Main Street Cemetery, but others opposed the idea because he would be the first Black African-American to be buried in a cemetery where all the other decedents were White.  As a compromise, he was buried in a corner, as Jim Dohren, a Downers Grove Historical Society member and former middle school teacher, explained to Slodysko.  The last burial in the Main Street Cemetery took place in 1938, after which it fell into disrepair.  In 1982, the Downers Grove Historical Society began to restore the Main Street Cemetery.  Some marble headstones had deteriorated because of exposure to acid rain.  Others had been vandalized.  The Downers Grove Historical Society replaced these weathered or damaged marble headstones with granite headstones.  They also drove out a vagrant camp.  One unidentified body was discovered outside the cemetery walls.

The Oak Hill and Oak Crest cemeteries are situated between Maple Avenue and Howard Street in unincorporated Downers Grove and Lisle Township.  Oak Hill Cemetery was originally called Westside Cemetery.  In 1835, Dexter Stanley purchased a large property and later set aside part of it as a cemetery because the flooding of the St. Joseph Creek made it difficult to bury the dead in Main Street Cemetery.  His neighbors had appealed him for help because his land included heights.  Family names of prominent early settlers represented in the Oak Hill Cemetery include Downer, Stanley, Dixon, Carpenter, and Rogers.  The Oak Crest Cemetery was originally called Blodgett Cemetery and was privately owned.  It is located between Howard Street and Elmore Avenue in unincorporated Downers Grove.  Part of it is in Lisle Township.  This is confusing, but during his lifetime, William Blodgett sold lots in his cemetery, but he never actually owned the land.  In August of 1936. Florence L. Kester and her husband Reg. Ekstrom, Jr., owned the land and on December 5, 1936, they conveyed the property to Edith G. Blodgett.  William Blodgett died on February 8, 1933.  Edith Blodgett conveyed part of the land to Olive M. Carlson, and she conveyed it to William and Harriet Prince Parrish on May 15, 1945.  On July 17, 1945, Edith Blodgett conveyed the rest of the property to William and Harriet Parish.  Before he died in 1960, William Parish sold the land to Fred and Mae Marvin for $10.  They already owned the Oak Hill Cemetery.  Since 1985, the Township of Downers Grove has been steward of the two cemeteries.  The Township of Downers Grove began a headstone restoration project in 2016.  One can donate by making a check out to the Oak Hill and Oak Crest Foundation and mailing it to 4340 Prince Street, Downers Grove, Illinois 60515.

Pierce Downer and his wife Lucy Ann died one day apart in March of 1863.  They are buried in a grove on a knoll on their property on what is now Linscott Avenue.  Pierce and Lucy Ann Downer had intended to be buried in the Main Street Cemetery with the Blodgetts and other neighbors, but rains had caused the St. Joseph Creek to flood, which made the Main Street Cemetery inaccessible.   Several of their relatives are buried on the site of the Downer homestead.  The last member of the family to be buried there was Earl Downer in 1978.  A few years ago, Chris Salman of Stature Custom Homes, who was in the process of building a new home on the adjacent property, arranged with the customers to transfer land that fronted on the grave site to the Downers Grove Park District.

In 1873, hamlet residents voted 49-38 to incorporate.  Theodore S. Rogers became the first village board president, and served in office for sixteen years.   By 1885, Downers Grove was truly a village, with 500 residents.  Three years later, the Village of Downers Grove built sewers.

In 1892, Charles Blodgett. Israel Blodgett’s son, erected a house at 831 Maple Avenue. This became the Downers Grove Historical Museum.

Marshall Field I and other Chicago businessmen built the first purpose-built nine-hole golf course west of the Appalachian Mountains just west of Downers Grove in 1892.  The Chicago businessmen backed C.B. Macdonald, who had studied at Saint Andrews University in the 1870s, as Andy Johnson recounted.  They purchased the farm of Haddow Smith to convert into a golf course.  The farm was located in what was then Belmont, Illinois, an unincorporated community in Lisle Township.  This became the Links at Belmont.  The Chicago Golf Club formed and soon decided the golf course should be expanded to eighteen holes.  The Chicago Golf Club purchased land in Wheaton and moved in 1895.  The Golf Club of Illinois took over the old golf course in Belmont.  After that organization struggled financially, Howard Tweedie, who had helped Macdonald build the golf course, acquired it and formed the Belmont Golf Club.  In 1968, the Downers Grove Park District purchased the Belmont Golf Course from the Belmont Golf Club.  It was the Downers Grove Park District that removed nine of the holes.  This is now the Downers Grove Park District’s Downers Grove Golf Club.

Meanwhile, Polish families had begun to settle north of the East Grove train station.  These homeowners were from Gotsyn, Poland.[3]  This was the village’s first ethnically homogenous neighborhood.  Polish priests from Chicago would come out to Downers Grove to perform Masses in private homes.  In 1891, they petitioned the Archbishop of Chicago for permission to build a Polish National Church.  Concerned there were not enough Polish families to support an all-Polish parish, he declined.  There were no Roman Catholic parishes then between LaGrange and Naperville.  After a local resident donated land for a parish church, rectory, and convent, the Archbishop of Chicago gave permission for the establishment of Saint Mary of Gostyn Parish, the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Downers Grove, with the provision it welcome non-Polish Catholics.  It opened with thirteen pews to seats to accommodate twenty-five families.  The first rectory was erected on Douglas Street in 1895.  Two years later, the parish built a one-room wooden schoolhouse.  It was the first parochial school in Downers Grove, and the only one between LaGrange and Naperville.  In 1916, two Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Help arrived in the parish.  They were followed, two years later, by two Felician sisters.  In 1920, the parish built a mixed-use parochial school and convent at the southeast corner of Douglas and Prairie.  Dedicated in 1948, a brick church that could accommodate 220 people was built at the northeast corner of Douglas Street and Wilson Street.  The next year, St. Mary of Gostyn moved to the new Diocese of Joliet.  At that time, there were 400 parishioners from 130 families.  In 1953, it became a territorial parish for Catholics from surrounding communities.  The next year, a three-story school was built at the northeast corner of Prairie and Douglas.  That same year, in 1954, a new rectory, house for the parish priest(s), was built.  In 1957, a new convent was built across the street from the school to house the sisters who taught at the school.  This is now the Parish Center.  In 1962, the parish church migrated from Wilson and Douglas to the southeast corner of Prairie and Douglas, the site of the present church.  The new church was built between 1963 and ’64.  The first Mass was celebrated there on December 20, 1964, but it was not dedicated by Bishop Martin McNamara until March of 1966.  It was underwent renovations in 2002.

In 1889, German immigrant Casper Dicke started the Dicke Tool Company to manufacture tools electrical linemen needed to raise telegraph poles.  In 1889, he moved his company from Chicago to Downers Grove.  That same year, his products received a prize at the World’s Fair in Paris, the Exposition Universelle.

In 1898, a volunteer fire department formed.  In 1906, the Dicke Tool Company factory was destroyed in a fire.  The family rebuilt the factory and all seven of Casper Dicke’s son became involved in the volunteer fire department.  Two of them served as fire chiefs. Grant Dicke, served as Fire Chief for thirty-six years.  A third brother, Elmer Dicke, served as Assistant Chief.

Between 1908 and 1940, Chicago-based Sears, Roebuck & Company sold 70,000 Sears Modern Homes in North America, as many as 200 of which were built in Downers Grove. This is one of the largest concentrations of Sears Modern Homes in North America.  It was close proximity of Downers Grove to Chicago and the village’s large railroad siding that allowed so many residents to build Sears Modern Homes.  Typically, the new homeowner would order the homebuilding kit through the Sears catalog (although later it was also possible to order it at a Sears department store) and it would arrive in town on a railroad boxcar with most of the materials he would need. He would then build the home and his friends and relatives would help him build it, much like the way Amish families continue to gather for a barn-raising.  Other homeowners brought in carpenters and other contractors to build their homes.[4]  The Downers Grove Historical Society has a map of the identified Sears Catalog Homes in Downers Grove.

The Spanish Flu pandemic hit Downers Grove hard.  Lucile Bush, the daughter of a former state legislator and great-granddaughter of Edwin Bush, was lucky to merely be bedridden for several months.

With three train stations, perhaps it was inevitable that Downers Grove would be the site of a train accident.  At 10:41 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, 1947, a Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Zephyr train, Train of the Goddesses, one of two Twin Cities Zephyr trains, en route from Minneapolis to Chicago, partially derailed and damaged what is now the Main Street Metra Station because it struck a fourteen-ton International Harvester caterpillar tractor that had fallen off of a westbound freight train.[5]  The flaming diesel locomotive wrenched free of the passenger cars and slid past the train station on its side.  It alone splintered railroad ties, ripped up rails, wrecked an iron fence between the middle track and north track, and damaged 300 yards of right-of-way.  The seven cars continued to move forward on the tracks, adding further damage to the right-of-way.  The first two cars jackknifed into the north side of the train station.  This event occurred on Maundy Thursday.  Many of the passengers were college students headed home to celebrate Easter Sunday (April 6, 1947) with their families or were tourists who had intended to spend their Easter weekend vacations in Chicago.  The station was partially demolished by the wreck.  Station Agent Charles Draper and his wife said they may only have lived because they closed the station one hour early “for no reason at all.”  Normally, they would have kept the Burlington Depot open until 11:00 p.m., but they had decided to close at 10:00 p.m.  Two passengers died immediately and over thirty were injured, while the engineer, Clarence Thurston, received mortal injuries that resulted in his death three days later at 12:30 a.m. on Easter Monday (April 7, 1947) at Copley Hospital (now RUSH Copley Medical Center) in Aurora.  Lloyd W. Wright of Oak Park, Illinois died right away.  Both feet of Mrs. Edith Helland of South Minneapolis were pinned and Dr. Glenn G. Ehrler had to perform an emergency amputation of her left foot, but she died at a hospital in Hinsdale. Dr. Ehrler also treated eleven people at his office at 1111 Burlington Avenue while sixty-five others registered their survival were given first aid, if necessary, in the lobby of the Tivoli Theater.  Two police officers, Elmer Hogrefe and Russell Tholin, were amongst the first rescuers to arrive on the scene.  The Downers Grove Fire Department extinguished the locomotive fire.  The firemen then proceeded to search the passenger cars for survivors.  The Illinois State Highway Maintenance Police, DuPage County Sherriff’s deputies, and municipal police from Naperville, Hinsdale, Westmont, Glen Ellyn, Maywood, Forest Park, Western Springs, LaGrange, and Elmhurst arrived on the scene to offer aid.  Chicago Police Commissioner John C. Prendergast called Downers Grove Police Chief James Dwyer to offer the help of police and nurses.  The Downers Grove Village Council later passed resolutions to thank Prendergast and the Chicago Police Department, as well as the other police agencies that rendered assistance.  Mrs. Robert Carpenter, who resided at Lindenwald and was the local Red Cross chairman, rallied Red Cross volunteers to help the injured. Several boys from Explorer Post 80 rushed to the scene to render first aid.  Jack Kidwell, an employee of G.M.’s Electro-Motive Division in LaGrange, which made the Zephyr diesel-electric engines, was in the Masonic temple in downtown Downers Grove, where he saw the flash of fire, expediently drove to the train station, and turned off the train’s electric motor.  Paul O. Bentley, a resident of Downers Grove and student of St. Mary’s College in Winona, Wisconsin, got off the train at the Aurora station and drove home.  He was relieved when he arrived in Downers Grove that friends who had remained on the train were amongst the survivors and he was able to drive them into Chicago.  Kidwell, the Boy Scouts, and Fire Chief Grant Dicke and the Downers Grove Fire Department received certificates of merit at a ceremony in July of 1947. Former Police Chief Dwyer was asked to accept the certificate on behalf of the Downers Grove Police Department because he was chief at the time of the disaster.  Loyal Order of the Moose Chapter 1535 received a certificate for having thrown open its lodge doors for two days so policemen and reporters could gather there and having provided gallons of coffee and hundreds of sandwiches for free.  Home Lite received a certificate for having installed flood lights on top of the train station to enable nighttime operations.

The expressway system built in World War II stimulated the development of Downers Grove in the second half of the 20th Century and early 21st Century, much as the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad had done back in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, as Mark S. Harmon observed in The Encyclopedia of Chicago.  The construction of the East-West Tollway (later renamed the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway), which connects the inner-ring suburbs to the Fox Valley city of Aurora and beyond to Dixon, Illinois as part of the longer Interstate 88, made Downers Grove a relatively short car ride from Chicago and the inner suburbs.[6]

Downers Grove also benefitted from the construction of the Argonne National Laboratory in southern DuPage County in the 1940s.  It brought an influx of middle-class and upper-middle-class homeowners with scientific educations and technical skills.  In 1966, George Williams College moved from Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago to a twenty-acre campus in Downers Grove.  It later became affiliated with Aurora University and moved to a new campus on the shores of Geneva Lake in Wisconsin.

The Village of Downers Grove annexed adjacent unincorporated lands.  By the end of the century, Downers Grove had a population of 48,724 people and encompassed thirteen square miles.

The Downers Grove Public Library building is just off Main Street in downtown Downers Grove.  Main Street is lined by restaurants, shops, and banks, some of them representative of big national chains, and others smaller local chains, but many of them small mom-and-pop operations.  The library lot is bounded by Burlington Avenue on the north, an alley on the east, Curtiss Street on the south, and Forest Avenue on the west.  Burlington and Curtiss are both one-way streets, Burlington being west-bound and Curtiss being east-bound.  There are a tea shop, a bookshop, two banks, a coffee shop, a pet shop, a bakery, and other small businesses on a strip east of the alley that wraps along Burlington Avenue, Main Street, and Curtiss Street.  Pinecone Cottage Tea House & Catering is on Burlington Avenue west of Main Street.  Peet’s Coffee & Tea shop is at the corner of Main Street and Burlington Avenue, where there was formerly a popular Caribou Coffee.  When I visited the place on Thursday, July 27, 2017, there were two people sitting in the café writing on laptops scattered amongst a few other customers on a quiet evening while a couple of mothers with small children in strollers visited to pick up drinks whilst out for a walk. There is a U.S. Bank on Main Street near the corner with Burlington.  Taking advantage of the alley east of the library, there is a U.S. Bank drive-through between U.S. Bank and Anderson’s Bookshop Downers Grove.[7]  Anderson’s Bookshop Downers Grove has a large entrance on Main Street (the east side of the building) and a small entrance on the alley (the west side of the building) that faces the library parking lot as well as the alley.  At the corner of Main Street and Curtiss Street is a Citibank.  Between Anderson’s Bookshop Downers Grove and Citibank are a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Jeans & a Cute Top shop, Happy Dog Barkery, KW (Keller Williams) Realty Downers Grove / Hinsdale, Dream Interiors, Francia Bridal & Formalwear Boutique, Wells Street Popcorn, Ingram’s Busy Bee Bakery, Babylon Technology, and Paradise Café.   Smokey Tomato Café & Catering is on Curtiss Street between Citibank and the alley.  RTT Cycle Shop faces the alley and the library parking lot.  It is separated from the west entrance of Anderson’s Bookshop Downers Grove by the courtyard of a building that seems to have second-floor office or apartments.

Other points of interest along Main Street include Gatto’s Italian Restaurant & Bar, My Specialty Toy Store, Ballydoyle Irish Pub & Restaurant, and Alfredo’s Taqueria on the east side of the street.  Cellar Door Wine Shop & Bistro;[8] Emmett’s Brewing Company; Music Masters Worldwide; Timberline Train Shop, Ltd., and Main Street Barber Shop are on the west side of the street.  Unfortunately, the Lemon Tree café and grocery store closed last year to undergo remodeling and reorganization, as Annemarie Mannion reported in the Chicago Tribune.

Tivoli Theatre is an old 1,012-seat movie palace at the northeast corner of Warren Avenue and Highland Avenue that is visible from the Downers Grove Metra Station.  The Chicago-based architectural firm of Van Gunten and Van Gunten designed the movie palace, and Downers Grove-based construction firm J.T. Schless Company built it.  The auditorium had 1,390 seats when it opened in 1928, but has had 1,012 since the 1950s.  In 1978, it became the first cinema in the Johnson family’s Classic Cinemas chain of fourteen theaters and it remains the flagship theater.  In 2003, Classic Cinemas celebrated the 75th anniversary of Tivoli Theatre.  Nine years later, Classic Cinemas updated the Tivoli Theater (and all the other theaters in the chain) with Enhanced 4K Digital Projection and Datasat Sound Processors.  The Tivoli Building is also home to Tivoli Bowl.

The Downers Grove Public Library is within walking distance of Downers Grove North High School, Herrick Middle School, and St. Joseph’s School, all of which are north of the railroad tracks and south of Ogden Avenue, as well as Downers Grove Christian School on Maple Avenue.  Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church are all clustered near Main Street north of the tracks and south of Ogden, while First Congregational Church, First United Methodist Church, and Immanuel Lutheran Church are clustered around Main Street south of the tracks and north of Maple Avenue.  New Manna Community Church and First Baptist Church of Downers Grove are also nearby on Maple, east of Main Street.

The Downers Grove Public Library, Part I: 1891-1934

The antecedents of the current Downers Grove Public Library were a private library operated by local women for public benefit like the Riverside Public Library and the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, and a building paid for by Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) like the Highland Park Public Library.  In 1891, a group of women in the village who desired a circulating library founded the Ladies’ Library Association (also identified as the Women’s Library Association) at a meeting hosted by Mrs. Charles Caldwell and Mrs. Alice Heckman.  The meeting had been called by Mrs. Brookins and Mrs. L.P. Narramore.  The latter served as secretary of the organization for years.  Her husband, L.P. Narramore of the Farmers’ & Merchants’ Bank, offered to provide a Library Room in his new bank building at the corner of Main Street and Curtiss Street.  The ladies charged individual library patrons a quarterly use fee of 25 cents, and accepted donations of books.  The first librarian was Mable Blanchard Carnahan.

In 1893, the ladies obtained a state charter for their organization.  They would continue to operate the library for twenty-one years. In 1895, the Ladies’ Library Association opened a new library building on West Curtiss Street erected by John Stanley.  In Downers Grove, 1832-1982, authors Montrew Goetz Dunham and Pauline Wendell Wandschneider quote a contemporary description of that first library building as “cozy, convenient, and finely furnished.”  The library then had somewhere between 600 and 700 volumes.  The President of the Library Association was Mrs. Emma J. Miller, who served in office for seven years.  Thanks to her efforts, landlord John Stanley did not charge rent.  Women other than those above-named who served in the organization included Stanley’s own wife, Miss Gertrude Gibbs, and Mesdames Downer, Curtiss, Blanchard, Miller, Marsh, Clifford, Cole, Thomas, Burns, Daniels, Atwood, Cross, Bunge, S.C. Stanley, Hughes, Dietz, Northrup, Sacksetter, Lancaster, Huling, and Stanger.

In March of 1904, an editorial ran in the Reporter that called on residents to vote in favor of the establishment of a free (tax-supported) public library.  “The Ladies’ Library Association has fought bravely to maintain a public library and by their own unaided efforts have secured a collection of books which will be the nucleus of an excellent library…The association stands ready and willing to turn over the $2000 bequest of the late John Oldfield to the village for the purpose of a library building site, and this, with the authorization of a tax for maintenance, will be all that is necessary to secure an adequate donation of funds from Andrew Carnegie to erect a building.”

After John Oldfield made his $2,000 bequest to acquire land for a public library and the ladies ascertained that the Trustees of the Carnegie Fund would be willing to fund the construction of a library building provided there was tax support for its maintenance, Mrs. L.B. Wells and Mrs. Mary Stewart Burns pushed for a referendum to approve a library tax.  Unfortunately, the first two times it came up for referendum, the voters rejected the proposed tax.

Finally, on the third attempt, the library tax referendum passed in June of 1911.  That year, a small frame library building was erected on a site at the southwest corner of Curtiss Street and Forest Avenue purchased with money from Oldfield.  By November of 1912, circulation had reached 1,520.  That was nearly twice the size of the collection.

In 1915, a new library building was erected with money from Carnegie on the site of the original frame building.  It cost $11,250.  This brick building was designed by Chicago architect Frederick Lundquist.  A subscription raised $900 for the acquisition of furnishings and fixtures.  The main entrance was on Curtiss Street and the entrance for the lecture hall was on Forest Avenue.  On the main floor, book stacks with more than 3,000 volumes lined three walls of one room.  Visitors would sit in this room and read at six fumed oak tables.  The Downers Grove Artists’ Guild decorated the children’s room.

The Downers Grove Public Library opened on October 14, 1915, six months after ground was broken.  At the time, Downers Grove had a village form of government, under which residents voted directly for members of the library board.  L.B. Wells, whose wife had pushed for the library tax referendum, was the first President of the Downers Grove Library Board.  It was he who completed the negotiations with the Carnegie Foundation.  The other original members of the Library Board were John Graves, Henry E. Tank, Arthur Bordwell, William B. Towsley, and Howard P. Jones.

Two years later, in May of 1917, the village form of government was replaced with the commission form of government, under which the mayor would appoint the members of the Downers Grove Public Library Board, and his appointments would be confirmed by the Village of Downers Grove Board of Commissioners.[9]  Mayor J.F. Kidwell appointed I.B. Wells, F. G. Lancaster, W.B. Towsley, Stanley J. Brown, T.H. Slusser, and Mrs. Nelson Perron.

The first librarians were Miss Madeline Hughes and Miss Ruth Lancaster.  Miss Hughes served as head librarian for seven years and was succeeded by her assistant, Jessie Bryce, who retired in 1942.

Dr. James Breasted of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute showed his film The Human Adventure at the Methodist Church and donated copies of all his books to the Downers Grove Public Library in 1934.  Although Dr. Breasted had been born in Rockford, he had spent part of his childhood in Downers Grove.

The Downers Grove Public Library, Part II (1942-1983)

In 1942, Jessie Bryce retired and was succeeded by her assistant, Frieda Rawcliff Humphris (1907-2001), who led the library until 1971.  It was obvious in the early 1950s that the library required more space.  However, since the growing village’s tax rate was already rising to meet the greater needs of the village’s schools, government, library, and other taxing bodies, it was far from a sure thing that voters would approve library building referendum.   A coordinated public relations effort by the Village of Downers Grove, Downers Grove Library staff, and the Friends of the Library, which had been founded in 1953, persuaded voters to pass a $165,000 bond referendum in December of 1954.  Consequently, local architect George Steckmesser, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), designed an addition to the small Carnegie library building called the “wraparound.”  The new rooms were supposed to be integrated with the old structure in what Mesdames Dunham and Wandschneider described as an “ingenious expansion.”  However, if the photo “Wrap-around” by Robert Dunham in their book is any indication, the expansion was hideous.  In any case, the expanded building reopened to the public on July 1, 1956.

The reopening was sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the Downers Grove Artists Guild.  Mayor Ben Groves and former Mayor Clyde Absher cut ribbons for the reopening ceremony.  Library Board President Emerson Pugh delivered opening remarks.  The Downers Grove Garden Club decorated the building with flowers.  The Chicago Tribune noted that when the Downers Grove Public Library opened in 1915, Downers Grove had a population of 3,100 people, of whom 740 were library cardholders, and in 1954, when the referendum passed, Downers Grove had a population of 15,000 people, of whom 8,500 were library cardholders.  The head librarian, Mrs. Frieda Humphris, told the Chicago Tribune the D.G.P.L. then had a collection of 27,000 volumes.

In the 1970s, a new public library building was erected on the site of the former library, which was razed while the Village Hall was renovated and a new Police Department was In the 1970s, a new public library building was erected on the site of the former also erected.  There were two turnovers of the post of head librarian in the 1970s.  Frieda Rawcliff Humphris was succeeded in 1971 by Joseph Quaidy, who resigned on June 1, 1979.  His successor was Kathleen Meahhey Balcom.  The new 40,000-square-foot-library was designed by Loebl, Schlossman, Dart & Hackl-John Wilson Associated Architects.  It opened in the autumn of 1977.  Library Board members Philip Rinaldo, John Clark, Roger Tea, and John Mochel, Jr. were involved in the early stages of planning the construction of a new library building. At the time the final stages of planning were undertaken, a referendum was passed, and the building was actually constructed, the Library Board was comprised of Mochel, Carol Doty, Jean Dale, Rebecca Mays, and James Wadsworth.  The passage of the referendum was thanks in no small part to the work of the Friends of the Library, the president of which was Robert Konikow.  In 1983, the second floor underwent a redesign and the reference department moved upstairs.

The Downers Grove Public Library, Part III (1984-2016)

Christopher Bowen had joined the staff of the Downers Grove Public Library in 1984 as Assistant Director and subsequently served as Library Director from 1989 until his retirement in 2011. He oversaw the remodeling of the Downers Grove Public Library in 1999 and the creation of the Downers Grove Public Library Foundation in 2002.  The Downers Grove Public Library received, in January of 2002, a check for $153,703.52 as its share in the estate of Lillian Culbertson.  The trustees voted to have Bowen give the money to the Library Community Foundation to be deposited in the D.G.P.L.’s foundation fund.  The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to create “a foundation to benefit the Downers Grove Public Library.”

In 1996, Downers Grove residents approved an $8,200,000 referendum to construct a new 67,738-square-foot library building.  This was achieved not by tearing down the existent building and replacing it with something bigger, but by reconstructing and expanding the existent library building.  It re-opened in February of 1999.  The architectural firm Phillips Swager Associates designed the 1999 renovation and expansion of the library building.  The general contractor was Walsh Construction Company of Downers Grove.  This project was funded by the citizens of Downers Grove and an Illinois Library Construction Grant from the Secretary of State and State Librarian.

In 2010, the D.G.P.L. had 237,672 volumes, and circulated 931,971 items per year.  It served a population of 48,724 residents, of whom about 30,000 were library cardholders.  Elaine Johnston reported on October 4, 2010 on Downers Grove Patch (then AOL’s DownersGrovePatch) that Stephen Daniels resigned as President of the Downers Grove Public Library Board of Trustees effective August 31, 2010. Daniels had served on the board for twenty-four years.[10]  Daniels was known to sit in the library vestibule on Saturday mornings to greet visitors.  Board Secretary Kathy DiCola, was elected interim president.  According to Library Director Christopher Bowen’s blog, she was also President of the Downers Grove Public Library Foundation.   On the 6th of October, Ms. Johnson reported that on the previous day Mayor Ron Sandack appointed Dan Loftus to the Board of Trustees to fill the vacancy left by Daniels. Loftus is a former Chairman of the Downers Grove Downtown Management Corp. and President of the District 99 Educational Foundation.  At the same board meeting, Mayor Sandack reappointed the appropriately-named Tom Read, former headmaster of the Avery Coonley School.

When Bowen retired, Dan Bradbury of Kansas City, Missouri-based Bradbury Associates/Gossage Sager Associates met with the Library Board to help the trustees choose a new director, as Wendy Foster reported for Downers Grove Patch in February of 2011. Bowen had the aid of Jolene Carlson, who was Assistant Library Director from 2004 to 2012.

In a remarkable turn of events, Rick Ashton, who had been City Librarian at the Denver Public Library from 1985 to 2006, succeeded Christopher Bowen as Library Director in 2011.[11]  Ashton came to Illinois to become Chief Operating Officer of the Chicago-based Urban Libraries Council and teach at Dominican University as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Library and Information Science.  Library Board President Kathy DiCola explained that Ashton wanted to “get back in the game” but “for his next public library experience he was not interested in dealing with the bureaucracy of a large library system, but wanted a smaller library where he could have a more immediate impact,” as Elaine Johnston reported for Downers Grove Patch in July of 2011. Ashton’s tenure as Library Director of the Downers Grove Public Library started on Wednesday, September 6, 2011 and lasted until his retirement on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

By 2012, the D.G.P.L. reported to the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services  it had a collection of 279,569 volumes.  It served a population of 47,833 people, and had an annual circulation of 902,512 transactions.  The D.G.P.L. expended $3,862,197, of which it expended $293,370 on books and another $170,796 on eBooks, as Marshall Breeding reported.  It had twenty-five full-time employees and ninety part-time employees.

The 2014 renovation of the 67,738-square-foot library was a $2,400,000 project that included the creation of small-group meeting spaces and small-group study rooms; a teen center; a new science, technology, engineering, and math (S.T.E.M.) center; renovated restrooms; a remodeled café; a remodeled story-hour room; better Wi-Fi; the installation of new lights; the installation of new carpets; and new paint.  Product Architecture + Design was the project architect.  Elgin, Illinois-based Shales McNutt Construction was the construction management firm and reported that the interior renovation project cost $2,170,000.  The firm stated, “This project included a complete interior renovation including new finishes and casework.”  Northbrook, Illinois-based Library Furniture International, Inc. made a photo gallery and a video in which it used the Downers Grove Public Library as a showplace to promote the chairs, sofas, tables, and shelving units it sold to the D.G.P.L.  Ashton’s proudest achievement (at the Downers Grove Public Library) was oversight of the aforementioned $2,600,000 construction project completed in October of 2014, as Ms. Mannion reported on November 15, 2015.    Ashton said one of the reasons he wanted to retire was so a new director could develop a new plan for the library.

The Downers Grove Public Library, Part IV: The Physical Plant

The present building is the fourth iteration of the Downers Grove Public Library on the same site.  A two-story red-brick-and-black-glass structure, it does not resemble a temple or palace like the Chicago Public Library building (now the Chicago Cultural Center) or the Harold Washington Library Center or The Newberry Library.  Nor does it look like a manor house like the Riverside Public Library or the Geneva Public Library.  Looking at it either from the north façade or the south façade, the front and back, it appears to be comprised of four contiguous pavilions oriented along a north-south axis, each with a different shape, as if the architect was inspired by the way a child working with LEGO® bricks or other construction toys might mix the pieces in highly unconventional ways.  Instead of a roof line, it has four roof lines.  The jumble of shapes may suggest a creative and multifaceted organization is housed within to some onlookers.

The north façade of the Downers Grove Public Library faces the parking lot.  There are two plazas on the north façade.  A ramp with a gentle downward slope runs from the sidewalk along the west façade of the Downers Grove Public Library (bounded by Forest Avenue) to the main entrance, which is at the center of the north façade.  The ramp leads to the small, lower plaza, which is beneath the grade of the parking lot.  The ramp runs perpendicular to the hallway that projects out from the north façade to the main entrance. [A second gently sloping ramp leads diagonally from the sidewalk on the west side of the building into the southwest corner of the parking lot.]  The lower plaza has two return boxes, one for books and the other for audio-visual materials, and two benches.  There is a sliding glass door with an electric eye that opens from the lower plaza onto a ground floor hallway.  Exterior stairs lead up from the lower plaza to the upper plaza, west of the main entrance, which is at the grade of the parking lot.  There are trees in both the upper and lower plazas.  A person walking through the main entrance at the grade of the parking lot would enter a hallway lobby, descend stairs, passing two meeting rooms (Meeting Room North and Meeting Room South) on the east side of the hallway.  Each one can accommodate fifty people.  Combined, they can accommodate 100 people.  Renting one costs $20 and renting both rooms costs $40.  One would also pass on the right the side entrance (and the lower plaza beyond) on the west side of the hallway.

Formerly, when one entered the library lobby from the parking lot, as one descended the stairs, one passed beneath an abstract artwork mounted on the wall above the stairs.  This colorful 4’x7’ painted wooden sculpture by Jonas Gerard[12]  is called Earth Dance, and is an example of Gerard’s “wall relief constructions of bent wood.”  The Library Foundation acquired Earth Dance in 2002 for $9,500 and donated it to the Downers Grove Public Library.  In early April of 2014, it was placed in storage with the D.G.P.L.’s other artworks while a $2,400,000 renovation project got underway.  On April 29, 2014, the staff noticed Earth Dance was missing, as Ed McMenamin reported in Suburban Life.  They notified the police, consolidated all the remaining artworks in one place until the construction project ended, and changed the locks.  The Library Foundation raised money for security cameras to be installed at the library entrances.

DSCN1130Figure 1 This 4’x7’ painted wooden sculpture by Jonas Gerard is called Earth Dance.  The Library Foundation acquired Earth Dance in 2002 for $9,500 and donated it to the Downers Grove Public Library (D.G.P.L.).  In early April of 2014, it was placed in storage with the D.G.P.L.’s other artworks while a renovation project got underway.  On April 29, 2014, the staff noticed Earth Dance was missing.

There are three display cases in the hallway on the east side of the hallway, north of the North Meeting Room’s door.  The artworks adorning the walls on the south end of the hall changes during the course of the year.  Washrooms are to the left after the hallway leads into the main building.  To the right are the Info Desk, stairs, and elevator.  To the left are the Holds and Return area, the Circulation office, and then three self-checkout kiosks.  The Holds and Returns area includes two automated return slots where returned items are scanned before traveling on conveyor belts into the Circulation office.  Two Y-shaped bookcases with new books are between the Service Desk to the left (on the east side of the building) and the Kid’s Room (on the west side of the building).  Bookshelves also line the west wall between the stairs and the Kid’s Room.  The Café is in the southeast corner of the building.  This is not a full-service sandwich shop like at the Schaumburg Township District Library’s Central Library.  Rather, the Café has two vending machines for snack food, a dollar-operated Keurig machine, and seven tables. Administrative staff offices are behind (east of) the Service Desk and Café.  The Tech Service Workroom and Staff Lounge take up adjacent spaces north of the Kid’s Room and west of the stairs.

There are display cases along the southern wall outside the Kid’s Room.  The name of the Kid’s Room is an understatement.  It is a full-service children’s library that takes up a substantial share of space on the ground floor.  The Kid’s Room includes Picture Books, Nonfiction, Fiction, audio-visual materials, a Storytime room, the Activity Area, the Mouse Café play area, and the S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) Room.  The S.T.E.M. Room is a circular space tucked in the front of the children’s library, along the eastern wall.  Upon entering the larger Kid’s Room, one would have to turn left and walk back about ten feet to enter it.  If one walked past the S.T.E.M. Room, one would encounter several tables before one reached the Comics area is in the southeast corner, along the southern wall.  The Checkout/children’s reference desk is front and center.  Beyond, Nonfiction, Movies, and Music are in the central area, with the audio-visual shelves north of the Checkout Desk. Study Rooms are tucked into the eastern wall (like the S.T.E.M. Room), but they are in the northeast corner of the children’s library, so one would have to turn right upon entering the children’s library to reach them.  Fiction shelves are grouped between the Checkout Desk and the southern wall.  The Storytime program room is along the southern wall, west of Fiction.  The Activity Area is a large open space in the southwest corner of the children’s library (and the building as a whole).  There are a couple of dollhouses in the Activity Area, along the southern wall that might interest very young girls.  The Mouse Café playhouse, which attracts wee tots of both sexes, is in the southwest corner of the building, within the Activity Area.  It is well-stocked with toy food.  Toddlers and their mommies enjoy playing with the speaking tubes that extend from one corner of the Mouse Café to the other.  There are several tables and adult-size chairs for parents and other caregivers to sit in along the western wall, within the Activity Area.  Picture Books are on shelves in the northwest corner of the children’s library, north of the Activity Area.  They have an east-west alignment, like the audio-visual shelves, whereas the Fiction and Nonfiction shelves have a north-south alignment.  This arrangement lends variety and visual interest to the display of books and helps the visitor comprehend from a distance that these are different collections.

IMG3244A

Figure 5 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: The cone hanging from the ceiling in the South Atrium of the Downers Grove Public Library is part of Walter Gordinier’s sculpture Journey to Janus.

The central hallway axis of the building terminates in the two-story South Atrium.  Portland, Oregon-based sculptor Walter Gordinier produced the sculpture Journey to Janus, which hangs in the South Atrium.  Acquired in 2000, it is a work of abstract art that is named after the Roman god Janus and makes two allusions to the journey of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey.   The cone and tubes represent a boat while the sphere and articulated line represent a compass.  A chalkboard on the west side of the South Atrium lets visitors know what’s new.  There are internal windows on the second floor on the north and east sides of the South Atrium.

The southwest corner of the building has a cloister.  Past the building, the southwest corner of the block – the northeast corner of Curtiss Street and Forest Avenue – has a plaza that is across from the street from First Congregational United Church of Christ.  The plaza is home to the garden Walk, a copy of the bronze statue Children of Peace by Gary Lee Price;[13] four benches, and some trees, bushes, and flowering plants.  The Garden Walk has one brick dedicated to the Avery Coonley School, but most of the bricks are memorials or dedications to loved ones.  A $100 donation is good for a 4” x 8” Garden Walk brick inscribed with someone’s name, favorite saying, or message; and a $250 donation is good for an 8” x 8” Garden Walk brick.  One can pay by cash or check in the Administration Office or online here.  Checks can be made out to the Downers Grove Public Library Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Figure 2 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: The Garden Walk outside the Downers Grove Public Library takes one past a copy of Gary Lee Price’s bronze sculpture Children of Peace.

IMG3242AFigure 3 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: A copy of American sculptor Gary Lee Price’s Children of Peace graces the plaza southwest of the Downers Grove Public Library.

 

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Figure 4 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: On his Web site, sculptor Gary Lee Price stated, “I really enjoyed creating this piece because of its message.  Children are the hope of the future and if anything represents peace it is children releasing doves into the air.”

 

 

Returning to the center of the building, one can ascend stairs or via elevator to the second floor, which has the open stacks and Reference Desk.

IMG3248A

Figure 6 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: Dallas Cole’s The Story of Gilgamesh adorns the lower landing of the (interior) stairs at the Downers Grove Public Library.

 

IMG3249AFigure 7 Credit: Sean M. O’Connor Caption: Dallas Cole’s The Story of Gilgamesh was a gift from the Friends of the Library in honor of Frieda Humphris, who worked at the Downers Grove Public Library from 1925 to 1972.

On the lower landing of the stairs leading up the second floor is a base-relief sculpture that depicts what the sculptor considers to be the highlights from The Epic of Gilgamesh.   [The Second Floor can also be accessed via elevator.]  The artist was Dallas Cole and the artwork is entitled The Story of Gilgamesh.  It was a gift from the Friends of the Library in honor of Frieda Humphris in 1977.  According to the statement inscribed there, she worked at the Downers Grove Public Library from 1925 to 1972.  On the upper landing, one will find My Memory, Travel Europe by the Zhou Brothers, acquired in 2001.  The Board of Trustees spent $7,000 from the Art Fund to purchase the two giclee prints.

On the Second Floor, one will find Literature, Reference, Nonfiction, Biographies, Movies & Music, Magazines, the Computer Room, photocopiers, the teen area, and the Quiet Study Room.  Ascending the stairs, one will face the Adult & Teen Services reference desk, which is called the Ask Us Desk.  There are two check-out kiosks facing the Ask Us Desk with their backs to the windows that overlook the stairs.  The elevator is to the right (west of the desk).  There is a set of three Burmese Teaching Panels on the second floor near the elevator.  Acquired in 1999, these dioramas were made in the Burmese city of Mandalay on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River (also called the Ayeyarwady River in English) in central Upper Burma in the 19th Century.  Nearby, one will find two paintings.  F.G.’s Bridge, acquired in 2001, is by local artist Pamela J. Hart.  Renee’s Landscape, acquired in 2006, is an oil painting dedicated to Russian artist Sergey Cherep’s wife, Renee.

Restrooms are in this area.  One will also find four tables, a Quiet Study Room with seven tables, Romance, and Spanish.  Near Reference, one will now find the Downers Grove Legacy Seed Library, which was previously housed at the Downers Grove Museum.  First-time seed borrowers need to fill out a Membership Record Form at the Ask Us Desk.  Learn how to save seeds.  “Borrow” some seeds, plant them, grow them, and then collect new seeds to return to the Downers Grove Legacy Seed Library.  The D.G.P.L. accepts open-pollinated seeds and heirloom seeds, but not genetically-modified seeds or hybrid seeds.

Nonfiction, Local History, Local Documents, and Poetry run from the north wall to a sitting area in the southwest corner.  Newspapers and Magazines are in the far corner.  Microfilm cabinets with Downers Grove Reporter, Chicago Tribune, and Sun-Downers Grove, as well as census documents and maps, and two microfilm readers are located along the south wall.  Fiction lines the south wall.

The Second Floor Fiction Area is adorned by four artworks by local artist Robin Faulkner that depict four buildings that housed the Downers Grove Public Library.  Executed in gouache, pencil, and watercolors, they represent the Carnegie library building that housed the D.G.P.L. from 1915 to 1956, the larger Wrap-around building that housed the D.G.P.L. from 1956 to 1976, the current building as it looked in 1977, as well as the remodeled and expanded building as it looked in 1999.  The first three images were commissioned by the Friends of the Library in the 1980s, while the fourth was a gift from Owner Services, Inc. when the building was dedicated in 1999.

The windows that look out on the South Atrium are part of the open Teen Center area in the southeast corner of the Second Floor.  Compact discs are on display north of Teen Central.

Computers are in the northeast corner with a Computer Help Desk along a west wall.  The Media Lab is in the northeast corner.  The desktop computers are outside it in groups of six.  The Media Lab equipment available for on-site use include a Funai VHS to DVD Converter, a Sprint Mobile Hotspot, cameras, a keyboard, guitars, and a microphone.  The Media Lab can be booked two days in advance for up to four hours at a time.  Its Video Room can accommodate six people and Audio Room can accommodate two people.  The Media Lab does have a table, chairs, and a Mac computer.  If one wants to use one of the 3D printers, one needs to submit one’s plan on a flash drive in .STL format at the Computer Held Desk.

Bruce Heinrich, a local artist, took the picture Navy Pier Aerial View, by hanging out a helicopter.  Acquired in 1999, the photograph hangs in the second floor computer area.  There are three other photographs in this area.  Acquired in 1999, Harold Washington Library is a black-and-white photograph of the Winter Garden and one of the owls from the roof of the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center.  DeBuffet Sculpture, acquired in 1999, is a black-and-white photograph that depicts the curves of Jean Dubuffet’s sculpture Monument with Standing Beast in front of a skyscraper, the top of which seems to disappear in clouds.  It is an eerie image, all the more so because in real life the sculpture stands in front of the James R. Thompson Center, a famous office building that resembles a spaceship which Helmut Jahn designed for the State of Illinois, not the skyscraper from the photograph. Franklin Street Bridge, acquired in 1999, is a black-and-white photograph that depicts the drawbridge over the Chicago River at Franklin Street during wintertime. There is a stark beauty to the photograph Frozen Orchard no. 2 by Patricia McGrady.  She lives in Evanston, but as she grew up she spent her summers on her grandparents’ farm in West Virginia and is drawn to rural landscapes.  She donated Frozen Orchard no. 2 in 2001.  It depicts an orchard in Suttons Bay, Michigan in wintertime.

Conference Room A is on the north wall.  It has both northern and western views of the main entrance overhang as well as the parking lot.  Conference rooms can be booked twice per month for up to four hours per day.  There are printers outside Conference Room A that are parallel with the Computer Help Desk.

The Downers Grove Public Library, Part V: The Downers Grove Public Library Today

In 2016, the Downers Grove Public Library celebrated its 125th anniversary, as the Chicago Tribune’s Annemarie Mannion reported.  Celebrations were held all year-long, but a “birthday” party was held on Sunday, October 16, 2016.  The gate count that day was 1,628, so the D.G.P.L. received more than twice as many visitors that day as it would normally receive on a Sunday in October.

That year, 1,036,494 items were borrowed, a 4.6% increase over the previous year.  There were 542,008 visitors, or, rather, people visited 542,009 times.  In 2016, the D.G.P.L. had 321,709 items, which included books, C.D.s, D.V.D.s, e-readers, e-magazines, and video games.  The D.G.P.L. had $5,172,364 in income, 93% of which came from taxes, 2% of which came from fines, 1% of which came from state grants, 1% of which came from gifts, and 3% of which came from other sources.  It spent $4,985,771, 70% on personnel, 14% on materials, 3% on building maintenance, and 13% on other expenses.  The D.G.P.L. served a population of 49,213 people.

Sharon Hrycewicz, Children’s Reference and Technology Coordinator at the Downers Grove Public Library, won the 2016 Davis Cup Award from the Illinois Library Association Youth Services Forum.  She had been nominated by former children’s services department manager Sara Pemberton.  Ms. Hrycewicz joined the D.G.P.L. staff in January of 1997 and previously worked at the Helen M. Plum Memorial Library in Lombard from September of 1995 to January of ‘97.  She earned her M.L.I.S. degree at the Rosary College of Library and Information Science (now Dominican University’s School of Information Studies).

Melissa Doornbos Fischer, the Public Relations Manager since 2010, told Suburban Life’s Shonda Dudlicek about the many changes she had seen at the D.G.P.L. between 2010 and 2016. “We’ve introduced Blu-Ray, videogames, e-books and e-magazines and even so many more items and equipment. You can use a laptop and bring it around the library instead of looking up information on our database on our computers. We have cameras to check out; we provide training on how to use them. Since 2015 we’ve added VHS-to-DVD recorders that you can check out and take home and convert your tapes to DVD. More music equipment, like software, for your computer. You can also check out a keyboard or guitar. That might be expensive for one person to buy, but when you can check it out at the library – and lots of people can do this – it’s a great value.”

After a national search, at the meeting of the D.G.P.L. Board of Trustees on May 5, 2016, Library Board President Wendee Greene and the other trustees voted unanimously to have Dan Bradbury offer the position of Library Director of the D.G.P.L. to Julie M. Milavec, the Library Director of the Plainfield Public Library.  Ms. Milavec had earned a Master of Science in Library and Information Science degree at Florida State University in 1992.  She served as Head of Adult Services at the Lemont Public Library District in Lemont, Illinois, from November of 1992 to August of 1995; Library Director of the Worth Public Library District in Worth, Illinois, from August of 1995 to January of 1998; Library Director of the West Chicago Public Library District in West Chicago, Illinois, from January of 1998 to October of 2000; and Library Director of the Plainfield Public Library District in Plainfield, Illinois, from November of 2000 to July of 2016.  Ms. Milavec is a third-generation librarian, as Morgan Searles reported for Downers Grove Patch in August of 2016.  Inspired by her father and grandfather’s careers, she became a library volunteer as a youngster, Ms. Searlies explained.  In an interview with Suburban Life Magazine’s Shonda Dudlicek published in August of 2016, Ms. Mikavec’s father was director of the Joliet Public Library and her grandfather was director of the Illinois State Library.

“As director, Milavec is responsible for creating and carrying out a plan that provides 21st century library services, replenishes capital funds, and maintains the physical building,” Ms. Searles noted.  “My first responsibility will be creating this plan.  I’ll help the Board of Trustees, residents, and staff determine what their vision is.  And then I will help make this vison a reality,” Ms. Searles quoted Ms. Milavec as saying.

Julie M. Milavec is the Downers Grove Public Library’s Freedom of Information Act Officer as well as being the Library Director and has a base annual salary of $125,000.  She has two assistant directors, each of whom has a base annual salary is $99,358.45.

Bonnie Reid is the Assistant Director of Public Services.  She has worked at the D.G.P.L. for more than thirty years.  Ms. Reid has been Reference Librarian and Manager of the Reference Department.

Susan O’Brien is the Assistant Director for Support Services and A.D.A. Coordinator.  She has been Reference Librarian, Literature and Audio Services Librarian, and was a department head before she became an assistant director.

Jen Fredericks, who joined the staff in December of 2013, is the Technical Services Manager.  She previously worked at the Lisle Library, as head cataloger and Assistant Director of Reference Services.  She has a base annual salary is $74,252.10.

Christine Lees is the Circulation Services Manager.  Her base annual salary is $70,000.

Nicole Wilhelms is the Adult & Teen Services Manager.  Her base annual salary is $72,621.90.

Allyson Renell, who joined the staff in 2015, is the Children’s Services Manager.  Her base annual salary is $68,953.95.

The aforementioned Melissa Doornbos Fischer is the Public Relations Manager and Adult Program Coordinator.  As mentioned above, she joined the staff in 2010.  Her base annual salary is $68,673.15.

Paul Regis is the Information Technology Manager.  He has held various I.T. positions since he joined the staff in 2006 and was Assistant Information Technology Manager before he was promoted to the top I.T. position in 2016.  His base annual salary is $62,000.

Library Board President Wendee Greene has a term that expires on Thursday, August 31, 2017.  There are five other trustees. Ed Earl has a term that expires on Monday, August 31, 2020.  Susan Eblen has a term that expires on Friday, August 31, 2018.  David Humphreys has a term that expires on Saturday, August 31, 2019.  Arthur Jasros has a term that expires on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

In addition to donating money by sponsoring a Garden Walk Brick, one can also donate money to the D.G.P.L. through the Downers Grove Public Library Foundation by way of sponsoring an honor book.  One can also donate books, D.V.D.s, and C.D.s that will be sold in the lobby.

The Friends of the Library (F.O.L.) raises money to purchase items and operate programs at the Downers Grove Public Library like books-on-CD and operate the Junior Room’s summer reading clubs.  To join, make out a check for $15 (or more) to the Downers Grove Friends of the Library and mail it to the Administration Office, 1050 Curtiss Street, Downers Grove, Illinois 60515 or join online here.  For more information, call Joni Hansen at (630) 969-5477 or Kevin Deany at (630) 515-0230.

The library is open 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.  The phone number there is (630) 960-1200 and the fax number is (630) 960-9374.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] This is an extensive revision of an article I posted on Examiner.com Chicago on November 12, 2010 and updated on May 9, 2012.

[2] A supporter of Fire Department Chief Silas McBride, he advocated the replacement of the volunteer fire brigades with a professional force and the acquisition of new steam fire engines, which was an unpopular idea until the Great Chicago Fire of 1857, as David A. Powell recounted. He joined the Highland Guards, a ceremonial militia group comprised entirely of Scotsmen, and followed its leader, John McArthur, into the 12th Illinois Infantry Regiment.  Ducat rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before the Battle of Shiloh.  Shortly after the Union Army’s victory in the Battle of Corinth (1862), Col. Ducat came to the attention of Brigadier General E.O.C. Ord.  Within a month, he was a staff officer for Major-General William Stark Rosencrans (1819-1898), who shared a background as a civil engineer.  Ducat became Chief of Staff and subsequently Inspector-General of the Army of the Ohio after Rosencrans assumed command.  It later became the Army of the Cumberland.  During the Battle of Chickamauga, when the Confederates broke through Union lines, Ducat and most of the other staff officers were separated from Rosencrans, who fell back to Chattanooga.   Ducat accompanied Sheridan’s army to Rossville.  Major-General (and later President) U.S. Grant (1822-1885) sacked Rosencrans and Ducat remained in the Army of the Cumberland when it came under the command of Major-George H. Thomas (1816-1870).  Ducat purchased land on a hill in San Diego where other rich men had built villas and planned to build one for his family but died at Lindenwald before he could achieve that objective.  His son, Colonel Arthur C. Ducat, Jr. (1858-1913), is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

[3] Within the Kingdom of Poland and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, this city was in the province of Greater Poland.  After the Russians, Austrians, and Prussians conquered and annexed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Kingdom of Prussia turned this province into the Grand Duchy of Posen and after the Uprising of 1848 the Province of Posen.

[4] There were also builders (real estate developers) who would purchase Sears Modern Homes to use as model homes or to build homes on speculation (“on spec”). Further, there were companies that purchased Sears Modern Homes to build as employee housing.

[5] The two Twin Cities Zephyr trainsets were the second and third of the CB&Q’s famed Zephyr trains, similar to the CB&Q’s first Zephyr train, the Pioneer Zephyr, which is now at the Museum of Science and Industry.  All the cars on the Train of the Goddesses were named after Roman goddesses: Ceres, Diana, Juno, Minerva, Psyche, Venus, and Vesta.  Also known as the Nebraska Zephyr, the Train of the Goddesses has been at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois since 1968.

[6] The Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway passes Tampico, Illinois, the birthplace of President Reagan, and connects with Dixon, Illinois, which has his boyhood home.

[7] Anderson’s Bookshops is an independent bookstore chain with three locations – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville, Anderson’s Bookshop Downers Grove, and Anderson’s Bookshop LaGrange – as well as Anderson’s Toyshop.

[8] I would be highly surprised if this restaurant’s name was not an allusion to J.R.R. Tolkien, who felt the phrase “cellar door” was the most beautiful in the English language.

[9] The decision to replace one form of municipal government with another had been decided in a referendum held in September of 1915.

[10] A Senior Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation and an adjunct political science professor and adjunct professor of law at Northwestern University, Daniels had accepted an offer from the University of Denver to become Director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and an adjunct teaching position at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.

[11] Mr. Ashton had shocked the library world in 2005 when he announced he would retire early, effective Tuesday, February 28, 2006.  Library Journal interviewed him at that time.

[12] The artist, who has a gallery in Ashville, North Carolina was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1941, and is of French and Brazilian ancestry.

[13] Twelve of Gary Lee Price’s sculptures adorn the Hong Kong Central Library.

“Joel Hahn Joins SirsiDynix, Merrimack Valley Library Consortium Rejoins” by S.M. O’Connor

Lehi, Utah-based SirsiDynix made announcements in late July and early August that Joel Hahn had joined the company and Merrimack Valley Library Consortium in Massachusetts had become a customer again.  SirsiDynix announced on Friday, July 28, 2017 that Joel Hahn had joined its Professional Services Department.  “Joel is a librarian and long-time SirsiDynix user. Joining an already well-seasoned department, the Professional Services Team will be enhanced with Joel’s extensive experience. He joins the team as a Consultant, offering his unique skills to help libraries accomplish specialized customizations with their SirsiDynix solutions.”

“We are delighted to have Joel join the SirsiDynix team,” stated SirsiDynix VP of Professional Services Tim Hyde. “Joel brings years of specialized experience working with our solutions as a customer. He joins an already outstanding team. The SirsiDynix Consulting team is a unique leader in our industry for their superb skill and customer care. The addition of Joel’s expertise gives libraries a further resource to turn to for their customization needs and enriches our team with a highly experienced customer perspective.”

Mr. Hahn has worked in libraries for twenty-four years, working with SirsiDynix systems for the last sixteen years. He earned his M.L.I.S. through Dominican University (formerly Rosary College) in west suburban River Forest, Illinois while working as a cataloger at the Niles-Maine District Library in northwest suburban Niles, Illinois from September of 1994 to January of 2014. Over time, Hahn moved from cataloging to database management. SirsiDynix stated, “As Joel grew interested in software, he became a self-taught programmer, eventually becoming one of the top contributors on SirsiDynix Listservs with a reputation as a go-to problem solver.”  He was Database Manager at Cooperative Computer Services from February of 2014 to June of 2017.

“Given my unique background, working for SirsiDynix is very interesting for me,” said Hahn. “My new position will enable me to keep doing the custom work I’ve been doing, but on a grander scale. I’ll be able to help more than just the local group I was serving; with SirsiDynix Consulting I’ll now be serving a global customer base.”

SirsiDynix stated, “Joel is known among the SirsiDynix community for his expertise in APIs and web services. The SirsiDynix Consulting Team is a perfect fit for Joel, as he will be helping BLUEcloud libraries take full advantage of SirsiDynix’s robust APIs and web services.”

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, SirsiDynix announced that the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (M.V.L.C.) had become a customer again.  “Formerly a Horizon library, MVLC spent the last few years as an Open Source customer. However, in early 2017 they chose to rejoin the SirsiDynix family and become a Symphony library on the Enterprise discovery system. Merrimack Valley Library Consortium went live with Enterprise earlier this year.”

“Enterprise is a modern discovery tool, providing libraries with a fresh interface and configurable search experience. Enterprise provides the discovery of both physical and electronic content in a single solution, for a better end-user experience.

Along with using Enterprise as their new online catalog, MVLC has selected Syndetics Unbound for their catalog enrichment service.

Syndetics Unbound, a ProQuest enrichment solution, works with Enterprise to give the user an enhanced and modern browsing experience. Unbound integrates well with SirsiDynix technology because of robust API and web services, which allow for smooth integration of third party tools.”

Eric Graham, Executive Director of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, stated, “The beauty of bringing this new product live is the amount of attention we’ve gotten from our partners at SirsiDynix and ProQuest. They have provided MVLC with outstanding service and have made our transition easy. Whenever we encountered roadblocks or we had questions, they were there for us.”

The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium went live with both Enterprise and the Syndetics Unbound enhancement on Thursday, May 18, 2017.  “We want our customers to know that when they work with us, they are family,” stated SirsiDynix CEO Bill Davison. “Here at SirsiDynix, each customer is important to us, and we work to make their transition to us easy and stress-free. We are also dedicated to producing Best-of-Breed software that works well with third party software and enhancement systems so that our customers can truly create the best user experience for their library.”

The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium is a member-driven, patron-focused library network serving thirty-six public libraries in the greater Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts.[1]  The library networks of Massachusetts are analogous to the Illinois Regional Library Systems, but the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium only serves public libraries.  M.V.L.C. libraries circulated over 5,000,000 items in 2016.  The M.V.L.C. is a member-governed support organization that enables librarians in the public libraries of the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts to serve their towns.  These public libraries serve a total of 766,883 residents of Massachusetts.

The origins of SirsiDynix lie with Northwestern University’s effort to automate its library card catalogs in the 1960s.  Today, the company provides over 23,000 library facilities in seventy countries with library automation goods and services.  In 2005, SirsiDynix acquired Docutek, a vendor that provides academic libraries and school libraries with e-learning solutions.  Two years later, Vista Equity Partners acquired SirsiDynix.  In 2013, SirsiDynix acquired EOS International, a vendor that provides special libraries with cloud-based software.  In December of 2014, ICV Partners had acquired majority stake ownership in SirsiDynix from Vista Equity Partners, but Vista would retain minority ownership, as SirsiDynix and ICV Partners announced on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.  ICV Partners stated, “SirsiDynix is a global leading provider of integrated library system (“ILS”) software to over 23,000 libraries and is a leading player in the public library segment.  ILS software is a specialized enterprise resource planning software for libraries, used to track books and collateral owned, patron borrowings, track orders and bills, and provide the front-end user interface for library patrons.” Marshall Breeding included the mergers and acquisitions that led to the creation SirsiDynix in a graphic that depicted mergers and acquisitions in library automation between 1976 and 2015.

 

[1] The Merrimack Valley is a river valley that stretches along two states: south-central New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts.  The Merrimack River is hook-shaped.  It flows southward from the confluence of the Pemigewasset River and the Winnipesaukee River in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, to a point west of Lowell, Massachusetts, where it turns northeastward and flows to the Atlantic Ocean.  Mills in the industrial towns that sprang up along the Merrimack River harnessed waterpower in the production of textiles and hosiery between the 1850s and 1930s.

“Children’s Book Release Party at Frugal Muse” by S.M. O’Connor

Frugal Muse Books, Music & Video in west suburban Darien, Illinois will host a children’s book release party for A.H. Hrubes & T.J.C. Hrubes, who wrote and illustrated the children’s book Cat with a Blue Checkered Kite, on the afternoon Saturday, August 12, 2017.  They will be signing copies of the book at the event, which will also include free face-painting, balloons, and cupcakes.  The release party will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Frugal Muse Books is located in Darien, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago in DuPage County.   The address is 7511 Lemont Road, Darien, Illinois.  Frugal Muse Books is located in Chestnut Court, a large strip mall at the southeastern corner of 75th Street and Lemont Road.  Frugal Muse Books is open from 11:00 a.m. on Sundays and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every other day of the week. The phone number is (630) 427-1140.

“Brews on Blvd and Other Upcoming Events at Hollywood Blvd. Cinema” by S.M. O’Connor

 

Hollywood Blvd. Cinema: A Cinema, Bar & Eatery in west suburban Woodridge, Illinois, has a number of special events coming up in the next few months, including screenings in the Classic Film Series in August and September, Movie Trivia Nights from August to December, appearances by John Franklin and Diane Franklin in July, a Murder Mystery Night in August, and “Brews on Blvd” in September.  There are four movies left to be screened this year in the Classic Film Series.  Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) will be screened on Wednesday, August 2, 2017.  Jumanji (1995) will be screened Saturday, August 19, 2017.  Enter the Dragon (1973) will be screened on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.  Twister (1996) will be screened on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

80Trivia PRESHOW copy_lrgHollywood Blvd. Cinema has five remaining Movie Trivia Nights this year, each with its own theme.  The first one is “80s Movie Trivia” is on Tuesday, August 8, 2017.  The event begins at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $3 and benefit Variety Children’s Charity of Illinois.  One can purchase tickets online here.

Carmelo Chimera of Chimera’s Comics will host.  Teams answer forty trivia questions.  Each team needs to consist of four-to-six people and must have a name.  If a film buff comes without a team, Carmelo will assign him (or her) to an existing team.  The top three teams win movie swag, movie passes, and other prizes.

The second Trivia Night theme is “All Movies.”  It will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.  Tickets will become available on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at the box-office and on Sunday, August 13, 2017 online.

The third Trivia Night theme is “Horror Movies.”  It will held on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.  Tickets will become available on Sunday, September 10, 2017 at the box-office and on Monday, September 11, 2017 online.

The fourth Trivia Night theme is “Star Wars Movies.”  It will be held on Monday, November 20, 2017.  Tickets will become available on Friday, October 20, 2017 at the box-office and on Saturday, October 21, 2017 online.

The fifth and last Trivia Night theme is “Christmas Movies.”  It will be held on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.  Tickets will become available on Monday, November 20, 2017 at the box-office and on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 online.

Teams that would like to sign up for all five Trivia Nights can look up rules online here for the Ultimate Trivia Night Battle.  Each trivia game night has a total of forty points.  For teams that choose to participate in the Ultimate Trivia Night Battle, their scores will be cumulative.  After the last game on December 5th, the top team will win “an extra-special, double-secret prize.”

John Hennigan image1 copy_lrgProfessional wrestler, traceur (practitioner of parkour), and actor John Hennigan, known in W.W.E. as John Morrison and Johnny Nitro, will appear at Hollywood Blvd. Cinema to promote his film Boone: The Bounty Hunter (2017) from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 13, 2017.  Hennigan has wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation (W.W.F)/World Wrestling Entertainment (W.W.E.), on the independent circuit, Lucha Underground, and Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.  For the WWE, he was an ECW World Heavyweight Champion, a three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, and was part of teams who won the WWE World Tag Team Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship.  He was also a former Lucha Underground Triple Crown Champion.   Currently, he is the AAA Mega Champion, AAA Latin American Champion, and the AAA World Cruiserweight Champion under the name Johnny Mundo.  As an actor, he has appeared for Weird Al’s Broadway Style Cabaret Review.  He starred as Hercules in Hercules Reborn (2014).  Hennigan had supporting roles in Season 7 of the Showtime series Shameless, Season 6 of the Freeform (formerly ABC Family) series Baby Daddy (2012-2017), and the first two episodes of the new Netflix series GLOW.  Hennigan co-writer, producer, and star of Boone: The Bounty Hunter.  Next year, he will appear in Minutes to Midnight (2018).  There will be a live Q&A before the screening of Boone: The Bounty Hunter.  Prior to the screening, there will be photograph and autograph opportunities in the lobby, as well.  One can purchase tickets online here.

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Actress and producer Diane Franklin will appear at Hollywood Blvd. Cinema on Saturday, August 26, 2017, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Best known as the French exchange student Monique Junot in the hilarious, surreal high school comedy Better Off Dead (1985) and as Princess Joanna in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), she has thirty-seven film and television credits.  She is married to screenwriter Ray De Laurentis, with whom she has two children: Olivia and Nicholas.  Ms. Franklin (or Mrs. De Laurentis) has written two memoirs: Diane Franklin: The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French Exchange-Babe of the 80s, published in 2012, and Diane Franklin: The Excellent Curls of the Last American, French Exchange Babe of the 80s (Volume 2), published in 2017. She will be available for photographs, autographs, and a live Q&A for a screening of Better Off Dead.  One can purchase tickets online here.

MurderWEBSTE1EXPRESS copy_lrgBefore watching the new all-star adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express (2017), directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, one can attend a Murder Mystery Dinner at Hollywood Blvd. Cinema on Thursday, August 31, 2017.  This is an opportunity to watch an earlier all-star adaptation and experience a live “Murder on the Orient Express Themed Murder Mystery.” The event begins at 6:00 p.m.  Tickets are $35 and do not include dinner but do cover the “Murder on the Orient Express Themed Murder Mystery” and a screening of Murder on the Orient Express (1974).  Directed by Sidney Lumet (1924-2011), the film had an all-star cast included Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, Lauren Bacall (1924-2014), Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982), Sean Connery (now Sir Sean Connery), Sir John Gielgud (1904-2000), Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Jacqueline Bisset, Anthony Perkins (1932-1992), and Wendy Hiller (1912-2003) (later Dame Wendy Hiller).  It was the first theatrical film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express, published in 1934, which was one of her finest mysteries.[1] One can purchase tickets online here.  The previous two murder mystery events have sold out.

Over fifteen brewers will be presenting their beers and ciders at the BREWS ON BLVD event is on September 16, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Beer, cinder, and appetizers will be available along the length of Hollywood Blvd. Cinema’s “boulevard,” the long hallway off of which the auditorium theaters, washrooms, and kitchen branch.  Beer-themed entertainment will be on the screens in the auditorium theaters throughout the event.  The event will culminate at 2:00 p.m. with the screening of Beerfest (2006). One must be a legal adult (age twenty-one or over) to attend.  Early bird tickets were $40 until yesterday, Thursday, July 20, 2017 and are now $50.  The event sold out last year.  A ticket covers “beer themed entertainment” being screened on four or more screens; beer and cider tastings from over fifteen brewers; a commemorative glass and brew guide; appetizers; and a voucher for the screening of Beerfest.  This is Hollywood Blvd. Cinema’s 3rd Annual Craft Beer Festival.

The address of Hollywood Blvd. Cinema is 1001 75th Street, Woodridge, Illinois 60517.  It is located in the Woodgrove Festival shopping mall at the southwest corner of the intersection of 75th Street and Lemont Road.  The phone number is (630) 427-1880.

[1] Of course, every fan of Agatha Christie’s first and greatest detective, Hercule Poirot, must watch Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989-2013), which starred David Suchet.  The series producers saved the adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express for the twelfth (second-to-last) season, which aired in 2010.

“An Afternoon of Sacred Singing and Signing” by S.M. O’Connor

Frugal Muse Books, Music & Video in Darien, Illinois is presenting An Afternoon of Sacred Singing and Signing on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Local composer and author Richard C. Jeffrey will conduct a choir with flute accompaniment.  They will perform hymns from his book From Grace to Verse, From Verse to Song: The Hymns of Richard C. Jeffrey.  The new book, published by Trafford on April 29, 2017, is a collection of 100 original hymns.  Following the performance, Jeffrey will sign copies of his book.  Free refreshments will be provided.

Today, Tuesday, July 18, 2017 and Sunday, July 23, 2017 are member-only sales at Frugal Muse Books.  Members get a 15% off discount on second-hand (“gently used”) items.  On these special sale days, they get an additional 10% off on gently used items, for a total of 25% off.

Frugal Muse Books is in the midst of a fundraising campaign through the crowd-funding Web site Go Fund Me.  Donate $10 at the E.L. James level, and get three items from the bargain area; donate $20 at the Grisham level and get a Frugal Muse cup; donate $50 at the Bradbury level and get a Frugal Muse t-shirt and mug; donate $100 at the Austen level and get a Frugal Muse t-shirt, a Frugal Muse mug, and a $20 gift certificate; donate $200 at the Twain level and get a Frugal Muse t-shirt, a Frugal Muse mug, and a $30 gift certificate; donate at the $500 Shakespeare level and get a Frugal Muse t-shirt, a Frugal Muse mug, a $50 gift certificate and get 20% off all gently used items for one year.  The goal is to raise $15,000.

The address is 7511 Lemont Road, Darien, Illinois 60561.  The phone number is (630) 427-1140.

Frugal Muse Books is located in Chestnut Court, across the street from Hollywood Blvd Cinema in the Woodgrove Festival shopping mall.  Chestnut Court is at the southeastern corner of 75th Street and Lemont Road.  Frugal Muse Books is open from 11:00 a.m. on Sundays and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every other day of the week.