Into Great SilenceInto Great Silence is a compelling film that chronicles the lives of the ascetic monks of the Grande Chartreuse in the picturesque French Alps. This is a unique movie in that there is no voice over and few subtitles. The tolling of the immense church bells calling the monks to prayer provides us with a rare glimpse of the rhythm of daily life for the men who live outside of the hustle and bustle of our modern time. This stark yet beautiful documentary introduces viewers to the symbols, rituals, and traditions that the Carthusian monks have followed since the founding of this hermit order in the eleventh century.

PrairieCatWe have always been progressive here in the Quad-Cities because of our extremely cooperative, cross-border library system. For decades, citizens of Davenport could go to Rock Island , for instance, and check out their materials. Moline residents could check out materials in Bettendorf, return them in Eldridge, and so on and so on till your head spins.

In the past few years our catalog has grown from the Quad-City area to include northern Illinois – from the outskirts of Chicago to LaSalle, Ottawa and Kankakee to the Wisconsin border. PrairieCat, as it is now called, has more than 8 million items and includes more than 100 libraries (public, college, hospitals, schools, etc.).

Now we have access to more variety – MP3s, books on cd, as well as books that we may not own. This also means that more libraries with more copies of bestsellers are able to fill holds quicker.

As we all learned on the first day of Kindergarten, it’s all about sharing.

Uncommon ReaderA very quick read (120 pages) about the Queen of England who discovers a love of reading when she wanders into a bookmobile. She reads widely and indiscriminately with the help of a young palace employee. She finds that she is changed by what she reads, as well as by the process of reading.

The Queen as a character is immensely likeable and honest, yet the author gives insight into the very real class and status differences she has always had to live with. One (as the Queen refers to herself) gives an insider view of what life as a monarch may be like.

The act of reading as subversive and suspect is also explored – very interesting for those who love reading, books and libraries. Though the style is light and funny, there are many poignant moments, and a surprise ending as well. Highly recommended.