Attend a Science Fair Workshop at CPL

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This month we're hosting events at CPL locations across the city to support students working on science fair projects. Presented by science aficionado Steve Belliveau and Mad Science of Chicago, these workshops walk fourth- through sixth-graders through the steps of the scientific method, a major part of any successful science fair project. The events are designed to prepare and inspire students to tackle experiments […]

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They’re All Lying to You

They're All Lying to You

Maybe you're the type who trusts in the basic goodness and honesty of your fellow man, who can calmly walk through life, confident in the truth of what average people and organizations have to say for themselves. As far as I'm concerned, that makes you a sap. They're all lying to you. Books told me […]

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Jon Scieszka Q & A

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor book cover

Get to know the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and September's Author of the Month, Jon Scieszka (rhymes with "Fresca"). He explains the inspiration behind the first book in his new Frank Einstein series, Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, what got him started in writing and his love of new words. Where did you get your idea […]

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Author of the Month Jon Scieszka

John Scieszka head shot

Getting geared up for science fair? Frank Einstein and his best pal, Watson, tackle some big science questions in Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, the first book in a new series by Jon Scieszka (rhymes with "Fresca"). Scientist and inventor, Frank Einstein, plans to win the Midville Science Prize, just like his Grandpa Al Einstein […]

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That Guy Knows Everything

That Guy Knows Everything

Did you ever wonder what it's like to know everything? Or at least to know enough to fake it? There are a few books out there which give you a glimpse of the world of ultimate knowledge. In The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking has apparently grown so smart he can claim on the first page […]

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It’s Electric


If you're bothering to read this, you're reading it on a computer, and if you're using a computer, you probably take electricity for granted. Unless you've come across some faulty wiring or jammed a fork into a live toaster, you probably need to be reminded how terrifying electricity can be. For centuries, it has been […]

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Government Publications Department: What’s Up, Docs?

Roadmap for the Office of Space Science Origins Theme
Source: NASA 2003

When you think about government documents, what comes to mind? Of course, students and researchers peruse the vast array of Senate and House reports or pore over the current and archived census data. The scope of Federal documents actually covers a much wider range of topics.                   […]

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Brains . . .


If you're anything like me, you've wondered what happens to your brain when an iron rod is driven through your skull. In 1848, we found out. Railroad construction foreman Phineas Gage was busy blasting rock when, in a freak explosion, a thirteen-pound iron rod shot right through his brain. Miraculously, he could still walk, talk and perform his […]

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Exhibit Spotlights Scientific Ideas and Inventions

Popular Science cover with illustration of two pilots in an airplane

Recall past scientific discoveries in the exhibit Ideas and Inventions from the Covers of Popular Science, which features covers printed in Chicago by R.R. Donnelly from 1927 to 1930. The exhibit runs through August 31 in Congress Corridor on the ground floor of the Harold Washington Library Center. Air travel, trains and skyscrapers have long fascinated the engineer and layman […]

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Make It Simple for Me: Books Explaining Stuff

Make It Simple For Me

I know it's my job as a librarian to pretend to know everything, but just between you and me, I'm kinda stupid. I need things explained to me nice and simple in an entertaining fashion before I'll bother remembering them. That's why I'm glad there are so many books that take all the knowledge of […]

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