Teen Choice Awards
Thur., March 1 – Sat., March 31
What’s your favorite movie? How about your favorite song? Visit the A/V or Reference desks in March to vote in our 5th annual Teen Choice Awards. Get a small prize just for voting, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for bigger prizes at the end of the month.  Poll results will be posted in April.

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Fair Housing Workshop
Thurs., Feb. 23  6-7:30pm
Learn what fair housing is, who it protects, and steps that can be taken if someone feels their housing rights have been violated. Includes information on what brought about the need for laws to protect people from housing discrimination as well as case examples seen today. This session is focuses on the laws around equal housing rights. Presented by Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs.  Register here.

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Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive: Urban America’s Most Beautiful Roadway 
Sun., Feb. 19 2-3:30pm 
Chicago authors Neal Samors and Bernard Judge will present an illustrated lecture on “urban America’s most beautiful roadway,” in a program to lift winter spirits.  Register here.

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by Steve Sheinkin
Benedict Arnold is the most famous traitor in American history, but once he was one of Washington’s most trusted generals. This fascinating book details his rise and fall, including the political slights and money woes that may have motivated him.

This well-researched, well-written account of Benedict Arnold’s life reads like an adventure novel. A flash-forward at the very beginning vividly describes an execution, but whose execution is it? This trickery adds a wonderful element of suspense to the narrative. Sheinkin then turns back to Arnold’s birth and lets the story flow chronologically through his life. It seemed inconceivable at first that the dedicated (albeit hotheaded) patriot who led assaults on Fort Ticonderoga and Montreal would ever turn on his country, but as slights and debts piled up I began to see how a generous offer from the British might sway him.

The cover design makes it look like a novel, which helps it stand out from the majority of YA nonfiction. Other than one portrait of Arnold at the end, the only illustrations are maps by Lazslo Kubinyi.  These are very well done, and I referred to them often as I read. The short chapters include date ranges along with the titles, making it easy to place all the events in Arnold’s life chronologically.

Sheinkin admits to an Arnold obsession, and his passion shows not just in the writing, but in the extensive source notes and quote notes that are appended. I might have a hard time swallowing the quotes that Sheinkin attributes to the players in Arnold’s drama, if he didn’t have these sources (including several firsthand accounts) to back him up. I appreciate that the sources are arranged by category and the quote notes by chapter. There’s also an index, which is handy for looking up specific people, places, battles and ships.

I knew very little about Benedict Arnold (other than he was a traitor) going into this book, and by the end Sheinkin had succeeded in making me interested in visiting the Revolutionary battlefields where he left his mark.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold received YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction on January 23, 2012. “In this illuminating biography, Sheinkin proves that spoilers don’t matter—it’s not whether or not Arnold betrayed his country, but why,” said YALSA Nonfiction Award Chair Jennifer Hubert. Although the YALSA award honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults, this is a book that adults can enjoy, as well.
Sheinkin was not able to attend the award ceremony in-person, but he supplied a heartfelt video message (now on youtube) in which he thanked YALSA for recognizing his “child.”  He described Arnold as America’s first action hero.  As a textbook writer, he had always been trying to insert Arnold into history books, and his editors had always insisted on deleting him.  “He makes people nervous,” Sheinkin said.  This book had its genesis as a work of fiction.  The longer he worked on it, the worse it got.  YA nonfiction saved him, because he was able to throw all of his “pretentious nonsense” out the window and stick to a straight-forward action story.  He hopes the book’s readers will learn a lot about U.S. history without even realizing it “until it’s too late.”

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Absentee ballots for already registered voters will be available soon from the Cook County Clerk.  Mail Ballot applications will be accepted from February 9, 2012 to March 15, 2012 for the March 20, 2012 Presidential Primary Election.

March 20, 2012 Presidential Primary Key Dates:
2/9/2012 First day absentee ballot applications are accepted

·          2/21/2012 Last day to register to vote
·         2/22/2012 First day of grace period registration and voting
·         2/27/2012 First day of Early Voting
·         3/13/2012 Last day of grace period registration and voting 
·         3/15/2012 Last day of Early Voting
·         3/15/2012 Last day to request a mail-in absentee ballot, including military and overseas voters.
           3/16/2012 In-person absentee voting begins at the Clerk’s downtown Chicago office and five suburban courthouse mini-centers
·         3/19/2012 Last day voted mail-in absentee ballots can be postmarked for acceptance by the Clerk’s office
·         Last day of in-person absentee voting at the Clerk’s downtown Chicago office and five suburban courthouse mini-centers. 
     3/20/2012 Election Day
You can register to vote at the Niles Public Library.  You can verify if you are registered at Your Voter Information,  where you can also find your polling place and see a sample ballot.

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