Ryan S.'s blog

Facts Matter: Vote Smart Midwest Tour

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Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.

George Bernard Shaw

Don't miss the opportunity to learn about reliable voter information when Richard Kimball, President of Vote Smart, presents Facts Matter at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 20 at the Main Library, at a partnership program by The League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County and the Library.

First-Ever Virtual Reality Camp an Adventure for Tech Fans

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When the Library introduced a virtual reality console to its Digital Creativity Center last year, Jeannette Lehr wanted to do more than just demonstrate its entertainment value.

“We didn’t want people to think of VR as something to passively consume, or just some tech novelty,” said Jeannette, who coordinates programming for Level Up at the Main Library. “We wanted them to think creatively and practically about the possibilities of virtual reality, and incorporate it into their own projects and ideas.”

Library Award: Voters Are the Winners

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When the Library hosted our Power of Words author event with Congressman John Lewis back in the fall of 2015, we were honored to present an American Civil Rights icon and the co-authors of March, Lewis's National Book Award-winning graphic novel chronicling his life and struggle for justice. Along with our partners the Friends of the Library and Indiana University, we felt Lewis's appearance was a powerful and timely inspiration—not to mention a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—for ordinary people wishing to make a difference.

Review: Universal Harvester

This is the second novel from Bloomington-born author John Darnielle, known also for the past twenty-five years as the songwriter in his band the Mountain Goats. While Universal Harvester’s trailer video [YouTube] suggests a horror story, the only slight chills come from the unexpected shifts between third and first person narration. And the eeriness is almost comforting, providing a profound depth and hopefulness to lives that may outwardly appear unremarkable.

Music: Hottest Titles, No Wait Required

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PHOTO: AMY CLARKE

Borrowing your favorite music from the Library’s huge CD collection is great, but what happens when something’s checked out—or is a digital-only release? Not to worry: with Freegal and Hoopla, our free online music services, you can still enjoy the current Billboard hits, even if they’re not available in physical form. Stream or download these chart-toppers from the Library today:

Dropkick Murphys: Kiss Them, They’re Irish

Well, maybe not quite.

Listening to the Dropkick Murphys, I’m swept into their Irish-Catholic South Boston neighborhood. The sense of place in their rough-and-tumble songs is simply that strong—and not just on account of the accent coming through in the vocals.

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The Murphys are a curious blend of genres: they’re described as both hardcore punk and Celtic folk, and you can definitely hear both in their music. I’d add unapologetically, jubilantly brash. And raucous. Irreverent. Throbbing with life, vitality, emotion, even a little death. Not above making fun of themselves.

And prolific. This year’s 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory, peaking at number eight on the U.S. Billboard charts, follows a dozen releases by the Murphys since 1998. You may

You're Registered to Vote... Right?

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PHOTO: TONI BLAY

Sure, with Midterm Elections not coming up until 2018, it's a bit early to be thinking about heading to the polls. But don't take your rights and duties as a citizen for granted—a few minutes of "vote prep" now can head off needless obstacles to making your voice heard on Election Day.

Even if you're registered to vote, there are some things you need to think about:

Don't Miss These "Best of 2016" Book Lists

The wave of best-of-2016 lists on the internet has subsided, leaving recommendations for book lovers of all reading interests to wade through and enjoy. You’ve probably seen a number of this year’s must-read lists in the usual places (Recommended Reads for 2016 by Library Staff, anyone?); here’s a “list of lists” from sources you may not have considered.

The Best Music of 2016, According to 100+ Websites

solange-300.jpegYou appreciate a good "albums of the year" list, but what if a particular list leaves off something really great? How reliable is just one reviewer's opinion, anyhow?

You could look for picks that made several reviewers' lists—if the same album hit a bunch of radars, maybe it's worth a listen, right? Review site Album of the Year takes this idea to the extreme, by compiling the "best albums of 2016" lists from 114 web sources and ranking them accordingly.

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