Tag Archives: Shelf Understanding

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.