Technology that Changed Chicago: the Trunnion Bascule Bridge

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By 1900 Chicago had 1,698,575 people. Almost everybody lived and worked along the Chicago River. Getting across was a big problem. There weren’t enough bridges, and those bridges that existed were more suited for a small town than the country’s second largest city. Most of them were swing bridges. Swing bridges balanced on a large […]

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Remembering Those Wilder Years on the Tube

a small cabin on a green prairie

I was reading The Wilder Life by Chicagoan Wendy McClure the other day and discovered McClure’s book is one of many attempts to relate how those tales have affected us. One of the observations that McClure makes is that there are essentially two cultures who relate to the stories: those who read the books and those […]

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Elinor Lipman’s Wit and Wisdom in 2 New Books

Elinor Lipman is the writer Julia Glass described as “one of the last urbane romantics." She's written 10 novels about loving relationships of one kind or another, mostly set in New York City, where she lives part time. Her characters are city smart.  Their situations can make you grin because you've been there.  I loved  The Family Man and  The […]

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What Is Dark Energy?

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The Dark Energy Camera began taking pictures late last month from an observatory in Chile, and its coming online was big news here in Illinois. The project is based at Fermilab in Batavia, and the data produced will be analyzed at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

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A Spooky Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Ambrose Bierce

It was fifth-period English III and I opened up the class textbook. The type of book that can double as a 20-pound weight and ruins all the great stories in it by finishing each one with questions that served as homework. I was desperate for something to read, as the substitute seemingly had fallen asleep. […]

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It’s a Virtual Outlet Mall for Archives

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Search the ArchiveGrid  to find the personal and professional papers of the famous and not-so-famous stored in archives at institutions around the country.  ArchiveGrid provides links to finding aids and websites for each archive indexed. Some of the results might be surprising. You will find ArchiveGrid on Online Resources A-Z. Here are some simple, Chicago-related examples to show how […]

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“Aaargh! My Kid Procrastinated on Her Science HomeworkAgain!”…

Elementary school students use hands-on exploration to study scientific concepts.

If your child needs resources for a science fair project but waited until after the library closed to tell you about it, don’t despair. Articles and eBooks to flesh out that bibliography are just a few clicks away. Science Online is great for finding definitions, diagrams and in-depth descriptions of scientific concepts written at an upper-elementary to […]

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Mad About Words

Image of open dictionary

There had to be a reason I kept seeing this book on “best of" lists.  After reading the first chapter, I figured out why.  The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester is not just the story of how the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) came to be, it is also the story of a very violent crime. […]

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Peel the Ears and Get It: Books about Slang

I like to think that I am both hip and with it. I know all about you youngsters with your raccoon coats and Eton crops. I've seen your flickers, even the gun operas. I can certainly assure you I ain't no schnookle. You'll never find me krumping out in some nodbox. I know the slang, and […]

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A New Season Brings New Beginnings

Fall crept up on me this year as it tends to do, and when a new season begins, I always think of starting anew. The following teen fiction titles explore new beginnings in a variety of circumstances.

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