In honor of Halloween, all this month I’m going to be reviewing books that have scared over the years, in a new series I call “‘Round Midnight”.

John Bellairs, I guess you could say, was the thinking man’s R.L. Stine. He, like Stine, made a career churning out a panoply of childrens’ horror books, but while Stine’s work (which isn’t without its merit, mind you) is full of grotesque images, and often aspires to be kiddie Stephen King, ends up being blackly comic self-parody often reminiscent of the Evil Dead series. Read more »

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International Observe the Moon Night takes place Saturday, October 12. Look up and take notice of earth’s nearest celestial neighbor. There’s a lot to see with binoculars, a telescope or even just your naked eye.

For even more fun and potential prizes, snap a picture of it and post to Instagram with the hashtag #npldteens for week two of our month-long scavenger hunt. We’ll scroll through everyone’s moon shots and select the best one to re-post in our feed. The winner will also earn a small prize!

Moonrise happens in the Chicago-area right around 2:30 pm, so keep an eye out for it during the day! It sets at 7:45, so be sure to get out to see it in the early evening.

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sculpture1 sculpture2 sculpture3The new Niles Public Library sculpture, now located in the renovated Commons area on the first floor, was designed and created by well known Chicago artist Terry Karpowicz. Paid for by the Friends of the Niles Public Library, the artwork stands 15 feet high and is constructed from red cedar wood. Located in the stairway atrium, the sculpture is best viewed close up. Visitors to both the lower and upper levels of the Niles Public Library will have views of the artwork from a variety of angles.

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In honor of Halloween, all this month I’m going to be reviewing books that have scared over the years, in a new series I call “‘Round Midnight”. 

For a notorious shut-in and misanthrope, H.P. Lovecraft sure knew how to scare a person. His “Cthulhu Mythos” stories are known for their quaint New England settings, their unique cosmology, and overwhelming sense of cosmic dread. He was one of the first horror authors to stray away from your typical witches-ghosts-undead triumvirate, and was met with middling success during his life, but after his death was revered as one of the greatest writers in the genre, and highly influential on authors from Stephen King to Neil Gaiman. He was also a racist in the “grouchy old man” mode, but we’ll get to that later.

His 1927 novella, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is strange among the works in his oeuvre, in that it grafts his “mind-breaking abominations from beyond the void are slowly taking over the universe” ideas onto a traditional English-style detective thriller. This actually works surprisingly well. It concerns a young man named (you guessed it) Charles Dexter Ward. He’s a pretty normal WASP-y New Englander who develops a strange obsession with his long dead ancestor Joseph Curwen, who was known for his eccentric habits. Not to ruin much, but things go pear shaped, and his doctor, Marinus Willett, is sent in to investigate.

The beginning of the book is a little slow. Lovecraft enjoys building atmosphere gradually over time, but all that eventually culminates to some of the scariest horror writing ever. I was reading this on the train, one of the least immersive places to read, and I was afraid. This is made even more impressive when you see that Lovecraft doesn’t rely on cheap shocks, or overly gruesome/sick description to make you jump. The mystery elements ground it, so it doesn’t float too far off into Lovecraft’s twisted, whimsical head, like some of his other novellas (e.g. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath), and provide a welcome relief and comfort from the stark horror taking place elsewhere. There even is a little comedy at one point, although it’s easy to miss.

I have two main issues with it, though. It takes a long time for Charles Dexter Ward to get going, and it often spends pages digressing into the villainous Curwen’s backstory, which drags a bit. The aforementioned racism is also at play here, but only in the occasional descriptive passage. Lovecraft didn’t get out much (and kind of hated all people), so he ended up with a skewed perception of humankind, that most often manifested in prejudice. This doesn’t forgive his racist biases by a long stretch, but doesn’t diminish the mostly great writing here, and Lovecraft’s impact on the genre of horror. In total, this is a flawed, but singularly frightening work from one of America’s premier masters of spooky.

Grade:
B+

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cafe friends

Here’s a look at the new vending café and our Friends book sale corner. Both are located in the newly renovated Commons area (temporary home to Circulation).

Make sure to grab a cup of Starbucks coffee or a gently used item for purchase on your next visit to the Niles Library!

Stay tuned for a special announcement about a new artistic addition to the Niles Library coming soon.

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Celebrate reading with art! Your original 2D art could decorate the Library’s new teen space and website. Art may be done in any media, such as paint, pencil, ink, photography and digital. Finalists will be displayed in the library and online.First place will win a $50 gift card.

Deadline for submissions is Thurs., Oct. 31 @ 9pm

Grades 7-12 are eligible

Entries may be submitted in person, on a flash drive or CD, or as email attachments. For digital art, please send us your highest resolution. Submitting entries for the contest constitutes permission to display your name and art should your entry win.

Submit your art in person at the adult service desks, snail mail to Donna Block c/o Niles Public Library District, 6960 W. Oakton St., Niles, IL 60714; or by email to teen@nileslibrary.org.

Submit this information with your art:
Name
Address:
School
Grade
Phone
Email

Questions? Contact librarian Donna Block at 847-663-6434.

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temp entranceYesterday, the temporary main entrance was relocated to the north side of the building, facing Oakton Court.

The book drops are now located to the right of the temporary entrance.

The temporary entrance and book drops will be located on the north side of the building until December.

If you have any questions, please leave us a comment below. Thank you!

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On Tuesday, September 17, the main entrance to the Library will be temporarily relocated to the north side of the Library building facing Oakton Court.

The book return drops will also be relocated on that side of the building. There will be an interim Circulation area in the newly renovated Commons area where the DVDs and CDs were previously located.  A large section of the KidSpace children’s department is also under construction at this time. All children’s materials are still available and children may use computers on the 3rd floor for homework until the area reopens in October.

The remodeled main entrance, complete with automatic check in and self check out stations, will reopen by the end of the year. The 2nd and 3rd floor renovations are nearly complete and the Library remains open throughout the process.

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Summer Reading 1

Thanks to a generous grant from Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Niles Public Library District was able to hire two summer interns to assist with our summer reading program for youth. Over 1,750 children from preschool through 7th grade participated in the program this summer. Our two interns, Jenny Hau and Christina Alexandru worked behind the scenes and directly with patrons for a total of 121 hours. This was a first job experience for both of them. Librarian Debbie Graham said, “ I do believe these two wonderful young women really benefited from the experience.”

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The main entrance to KidSpace, formerly known as the Youth Services department, is temporarily closed. You can now reach the remaining sections of KidSpace through a door in the new Commons area, formerly known as the Audiovisual department. Restrooms in KidSpace are temporarily closed. Please use the restrooms in the Commons area by the Large Meeting Room or on the 3rd Floor.

The Commons area is almost complete and will be the temporary home to Circulation within the next couple of weeks. More information coming soon!

We’re more than half way done with the renovation project. Please let us know if you have any questions.

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