Tag Archives: Shelf Understanding

22 – The Illinois Shakespeare Festival

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), we talk with John Stark and Deanne Jent from the Illinois Shakespeare Festival!  Now we all know that Danny is a theatre nerd, but this episode is really fun even if you aren’t!

Then, we talk to John Sabine from The Improvised Shakespeare Company about how it’s even possible to improvise Shakespeare.

Finally, Danny has a very big and very bittersweet announcement to make…

Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

21 – Special Needs Theatre

This month on Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), we take a closer look at Bloomington-Normal’s incredible special needs theatre scene.

First, host Danny Rice and occasional host Rhonda Massie visit Jackie Gunderson, Barb Wells, and several of the performers from the Penguin Projects musical Madagascar Jr., a Musical Adventure and learn all about the Penguin Project’s stellar first 10 years.

Then, we learn about some new programs and resources that the Bloomington Library has recently implemented to better serve our patrons with special needs.

Next, host Danny and Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob sit down with Donna Anhalt, director of Seedling Theatre (and Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob’s Mother-in-Law) to talk about how theatre can change the lives of those involved.

Lastly, Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob offers some read alike titles (because apparently we’re letting him talk now…) if you want to know more about this month’s topic.

The Penguin Project’s Website

The Penguin Project’s Facebook

Seedling Theatre’s Website

Seedling Theatre’s Facebook

20 – Local Breweries

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), our host Danny talks with two (out of four) microbreweries local to Bloomington-Normal: White Oak Brewing and Destihl.

First, Bryan Ballard, co-founder of White Oak and co-host of the Craft Beer Digest podcast (link below), talks with Danny about the process of starting a brewery, and then Katy Tilley from Destihl talks about Destihl’s expansion efforts and distribution on a national scale.

We also talk briefly with Rachel Park, Adult Services Librarian, about our monthly “Books on Tap” book club which meets the first Monday of each month at the upper level of Lucca Grill.

Be sure to checkout the links below for extra information, and always remember to enjoy White Oak and Destihl responsibly.


Destihl’s webiste

White Oak’s website

Destihl Brewery Facebook

White Oak Facebook

Craft Beer Digest Podcast

Drunken Lullabies Podcast

19 – RGW Candy Company

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can REALLY learn to understand yourshelf), Danny, Rhonda, and Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob go on a tour of a local gem: the small batch, family owned and operated RGW Candy Company.  We talk with Amy Wertheim while she makes a large batch of traditional toffee, teaches us that the art of candy making all boils down to chemistry and math, and introduces us to the snack bowl!



18 – The Challenger Learning Center

This month on Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), occasional host Rhonda Massie and unofficial sound engineer Rob (and NOT host Danny…) go on a mission to Mars via Heartland Community College’s Challenger Learning Center!  These simulated space missions are available for a variety of age groups, and the Challenger Learning Center also has many special events throughout the year.

Then, Rhonda and Rob talk with their mission’s flight director Libby Torbeck about the history and vision of the Challenger Learning Center, their stellar activities, and the future of space travel (plus Libby shares some funny stories about things children have said during missions!).

Challenger Learning Center Website

10 – Cyber Security

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), host/librarian Danny Rice talks with cyber security guru Craig Yarbrough about the primary types of malware, how you can protect yourself from “Bad Guys”, and how emerging technologies will also lead to additional vulnerabilities.  But fear not!  Because we will also help you arm yourself against those trying to compromise your information.

07 – Erik Larson Interview

Bloomington (IL) Public Library is bringing New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson to Bloomington on April 12, 2017, to discuss his book, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed Americaduring a free author presentation at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

This month on Shelf Understanding, host Danny Rice and Larson go over Larson’s methods and his inspiration via telephone. We learn that a stumbled-upon footnote noting the debut of Juicy Fruit Gum during the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 inspired Larson to write The Devil in the White City which highlights the true tales of two men at the time of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Interwoven in the book’s pages is the story of Daniel Burnham, the architect who is charged with constructing the fairgrounds and all its buildings, as well as the story of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who used the backdrop of the fair to lure people to their deaths.

And though he’s not a fan of heights, Larson assures us that he would have found a way to ride the very first Ferris Wheel which debuted at the 1893 Fair as “competition” to the Eiffel Tower which was unveiled at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. One must understand that this is not today’s Ferris Wheel; this Ferris Wheel could carry 2,160 people per rotation.