Halloween Book Recommendations 2021

Halloween is getting closer, which means it is time for some Halloween themed book recommendations! Whether you are a true horror fan, or you want some lighthearted Halloween vibes that won’t give you nightmares, we have got you covered with this breakdown of some of our favorite books to get you in the Halloween spirit.

Classic Horror Novels

Let The Right One In (2004) by John Ajvide Lindqvist

The Only Good Indians (2020) by Stephen Graham Jones

For true horror fans, these are some truly scary novels that are sure to keep you up at night. Explore tales of classic horror creatures, with vampires in Let the Right One In and vengeful ghosts in The Only Good Indians.

Sci-Fi Horror

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (2014)

Under the Skin by Michael Faber (2000)

Blending horror and science fiction, these novels explore unsettling new worlds beyond your wildest imagination. Follow mysterious, extraterrestrial forces and explore the ways in which they wreak havoc on the world as we know it.

Young Adult Horror

Wilder Girls by Rory Powers (2019)

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (2021)

For those who want to enjoy a good horror novel but can’t handle maximum spookiness, these young adult picks could be exactly what you need to get into the Halloween spirit!

Wilder Girls is supernatural while The Forest of Stolen Girls is more centered in realism, but both novels explore themes of death and murder, and both contain mysteries full of twists and turns that will keep you turning pages.

Graphic Novels

Uzumaki by Junji Ito (1999)

Sensor by Junji Ito (2021)

One of my all time favorite authors, Junji Ito is an absolute master of horror writing and illustration. These graphic novels tell surreal stories partnered with disturbing images, beyond even some of the most terrifying horror films. Uzumaki is a staple of the horror genre, but Ito fans will also be excited to hear that the horror artists released a new book, Sensor, just earlier this year. For those who really want to be frightened by a book this Halloween, consider picking up one of these graphic novels.

Lighthearted Halloween Comics

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh (2020)

Beetle and the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne (2020)

Sometimes you want those good Halloween vibes, but you’re not actually looking for anything scary at all. We’ve got you covered too! 

These gorgeous graphic novels are short and sweet (and family friendly!) while following witches, ghosts and goblins on various heartwarming adventures. Plus all of these graphic novels, both lighthearted and scary, are perfect for a quick read so you can read any of them in one sitting as part of your Halloween celebration.

Happy Halloween!!

Man with pumpkin mask dancing

Written by: Darian

Posted by: Maurissa

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National Hispanic Heritage Month (Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana)

National Hispanic Heritage Month (Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana) is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15 in the United States by recognizing and celebrating the contributions and influence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. National Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was expanded to its current 30-day period under President Ronald Reagan. September 15 is significant because it also marks the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Library!

Latinx Resources at UIUC

  • Department of Latina/Latino Studies
    The Department of Latina/Latino Studies is in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois.
  • Latin American & Caribbean Studies Collection
    The Latin American and Caribbean Studies collection at Illinois has more than 993,000 volumes and close to 300 serials from Latin America in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Quechua and several other indigenous and European languages!
  • La Casa Cultural Latina
    The mission of La Casa Cultural Latina is to promote a welcoming and dynamic atmosphere through the development of educational, cultural, socio-political, and social programs that lead to greater recruitment, retention, advancement, and empowerment of Latina/o students. La Casa engages current and future leaders through mentorship, civic engagement, and the promotion of social advocacy.
  • Latinx Library Resources
    Use our Latinx Library Resources LibGuide to find articles, books, and more information!

Support Latinx Authors!

Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month by supporting Latinx writers! Take a look at some of these amazing reads available through UIUC libraries!

  • Finding Latinx: in search of the voices redefining Latinx identity
    In this travelogue, journalist and activist Paola Ramos embarks on a journey to find the communities of people defining the term, “Latinx.”
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
    After losing her sister, Julia suddenly finds herself with the burden of fulfilling her parent’s expectations. Erica L. Sanchez crafts a beautiful story about loss, finding yourself, dealing with expectations and the experience of growing up in a Mexican American home.
  • Fruit of the Drunken Tree
    Inspired by the author’s own life, Fruit of the Drunken Tree explores the lives of women growing up in Bogotá through the eyes of 7 year old Chula,  where the threat of violence captures the attention of the nation.
  • My Mexico City Kitchen
    Gabriela Camara, one of the most innovative chefs and culinary trend-setter shares 150 recipes for her delicious and simple contemporary Mexican cooking.
  • Juliet Takes a Breath
    Juliet Milagros Palante has just gotten her dream internship in Portland, Oregon with her favorite feminist writer. The night before leaving she decides to come out to her family, but her coming out goes awry and she’s not sure her mom will ever speak to her again.

Written by: Loida
Posted by: Kirsten

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Banned Books Week 2021

Censorship Divides Us Books Unite Us Banned Books Week and hands holding a book

It’s Banned Books Week! Banned Books Week is an annual event organized by the American Library Association (ALA) and other organizations to celebrate the freedom to read.

This week brings awareness to the work done by librarians, teachers, and other advocates to stop the censorship of books and encourages everyone to participate in events that promote freedom of expression. This year’s Banned Books Week theme is “Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us.” Author Jason Reynolds is the honorary chair of Banned Books Week; you can find out more about events and lectures he is hosting on the Banned Books Week website.

You can also share why the freedom to read matters to you by using #BannedBooksWeek on social media or following @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter!

Why do books get banned?

Books get banned for a wide variety of reasons. Usually, a concerned community member (a “challenger”) will suggest that a book or other resource be removed from library circulation, or be taken down from a public display. Sometimes, librarians or other figures of authority act as challengers, and refuse to buy or promote books and materials on controversial topics. All kinds of books get banned, too—including children’s books, young adult novels, nonfiction books, and adult literary fiction.

Some of the most common reasons books get challenged or banned are because they conflict with a certain religious viewpoint, they promote certain political views, they include “adult” topics that are seen as inappropriate for children or teens, or because a book doesn’t “share the values of the community.” Librarians around the world—including right here at the University of Illinois—work to stop the unnecessary censorship of books and other materials in schools and libraries, and instead work to educate communities on the power of freedom to read.

Happy Banned Books Week

What are some examples of banned books?

man opens glowing book

We’ve listed the top 10 most challenged books in the country from 2020 below, compiled by the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. Find them interesting? Click on the links to check them out from one of the university libraries!

  1. Melissa’s Story (Alex Gino): Originally published under the title “George,” this heartwarming middle grade novel follows the life of a young transgender girl as she tries out for a main role in the school play.
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds): In this nonfiction work, renowned scholars and authors Kendi and Reynolds explore the history of racist ideas in America, how racism continues to persist in American attitudes and structures of power, and include ways to advocate and fight for an antiracist future.
  3. All American Boys (Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely): Two teen boys (one who is Black, and one who is white) grapple with the aftermath of an incidence of police brutality in this young adult novel.
  4. Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson): A young woman in high school uses art to process and heal after experiencing a sexual assault in this young adult novel.
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie): A young man growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation explores his experiences at a predominantly white high school, inspired by Alexie’s own adolescence.
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story of Racial Injustice (Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, ill. By Jennifer Zivoin): This children’s book follows the paths of a Black family and a white family as they follow the aftermath of the police shooting of a Black man in their community.
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee): This classic novel explores the trial of an innocent Black man in the Great Depression through the eyes of a six year old narrator.
  8. Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck): Steinbeck’s novel follows two migrant ranch workers as they travel through California during the Great Depression.
  9. The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison): Morrison’s heartbreaking novel tells the story of Pecola, a young Black girl growing up in Ohio.
  10. The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas): This young adult novel follows Starr as she grapples with the aftermath of the police killing of her friend and begins to advocate for racial justice.

Banned Books Week banner on red book

Written by: Aine
Posted by: Maurissa

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Flower Power

As the days grow longer and the stress of finals week fades to a distant memory, you may find yourself with more time to spend outdoors appreciating the natural beauty of the Midwest. If you’re staying in Champaign-Urbana over the summer, there are plenty of places near campus to get your daily dose of nature!

The University of Illinois Arboretum, Meadowbrook Park, and Allerton Park and Retreat Center all offer accessible walking trails with dazzling views of the local flora and fauna. But no matter where you find yourself in the coming months, the UGL is here to help you become an expert on any flower that may cross your path!

Spongebob throws petals on Squidward

If you’d prefer to take a physical book on your outdoor expeditions, try checking out one of the library’s many flower identification guides. The National Wildlife Federation field guide contains wildflowers from all across North America, while the National Audubon Society has separate guides for the Eastern and Western regions. You can also search the library catalog to find a guide specific to your area.

Many flowers

Apps can be great resources for budding botanists, and luckily for us there are many free options out there! Created by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, iNaturalist can help you identify flowers, trees, and wildlife using image recognition technology and information crowdsourced from other users. PlantSnap allows you to upload pictures of a plant to instantly identify your specimen from their database of over 600,000 species. What’s That Flower works more like a traditional field guide, allowing users to search based on a flower’s color, number of petals, and region.

Girl running through rows of flowers

If you’re looking for an on-the-go option but don’t want to commit to downloading an app, websites like the University of Illinois Wildflower Directory or Wildflower Search could be perfect for you! However you choose to learn about your floral finds, we hope you find something that makes you as happy as this corgi in a field of flowers.

Corgi surrounded by poppies.

Written by: Hannah
Posted by: Maurissa

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Five Tips for Surviving Finals Week

It’s that time of year, folks. With finals upon us, here are five basic tips to keep in mind for hanging in there during finals week.

1) Know Your Schedule

gif of scrolling through a calendar
If you’re taking exams, make sure to have them marked on your calendar. Also be sure to note down all of your deadlines so you don’t miss any.

2) Have a Plan
Having a study plan is essential for making time to prepare yourself for finals, especially if you have multiple deadlines to juggle. Scheduling out designated blocks of time for each class can help ensure you aren’t forgetting to prepare for any of your finals. However, it’s a good idea to prioritize which exams or essays are the most important so that you can ensure extra time to prepare.

3) Get 8 Hours of Sleep

gif of sleeping starfish
Hear me out on this one. While we’ve all had to pull an all-nighter at least once, remember to be still getting roughly eight hours of sleep per night. Being sleep-deprived not only is bad for your health but makes it much more difficult to focus on your materials.

4) Eat Right and Drink Lots of Water
Even though it can be tempting to have Starbucks for every meal during finals week, a healthy diet and staying hydrated will give you the fuel you need to rock those exams. High protein foods, fruits, and vegetables are great sources for energy that’ll make you feel better in the long run than ten cups of coffee.

5) Don’t Forget Self-Care

gif of woman knitting a sweater on herself, text says I knit because it relaxes me
Always remember to take care of yourself and take the occasional break, especially if you’re feeling burnt out from hours of studying. Taking an hour to watch your favorite show, knit, or decorate your Animal Crossing village can give you a much-needed break and help grant you mental energy to focus on your work afterwards. Don’t forget to get some sunlight outside and take advantage of the lovely spring weather.

Good luck with finals, and remember the Undergraduate Library has study spaces available if you need a space to prepare for exams.

Written by: Will
Posted by: Maurissa

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Books for Your Zodiac

Finals are almost here!

The end of the semester is so close, and yet, it seems so far away. If you are like me, you are probably in dire need of some lighthearted content, and a book to ease your woes. I hope this post can help with both.

Thanks to Lin Manuel Miranda’s Netflix documentary Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, I have had the pleasure of connecting with a neglected part of my heritage: the legacy of the great Walter Mercado. Who is he, you ask? Walter Mercado was a visionary, a person who, by refusing to subscribe to gender normative labels, broke through the barriers of machismo to become one of the most famous celebrities in Latinx culture. When I was a kid, he had his own TV Show, where you could tune in to listen to your horoscope, delivered by Walter in a swoosh of bedazzled robes with as much flair and vivaciousness of an actor on stage. It didn’t matter if you believed in the signs or las estrellas, you couldn’t help but wait silently for him to read your horoscope. In many Latinx households, it was part of their daily routine.

Gif of man dancing

After watching the documentary, I decided to combine my love of books with this new found interest and bring to you recommendations based on your zodiac sign. I might not be Walter Mercado but I promise I will do my best. Alas I will be dressed in not quite so bedazzled robes but trust me I will be reading las estrellas with the same flair that he did.

Las estrellas:

Aries (March 21-April 20)
You are courageous, confident and enthusiastic. To complement your sense of adventure and curiosity, I recommend the Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda.

Image of a red gate with words Seven Deadly Shadows

What is it about? 
Seventeen-year-old Kira Fujikawa has never had it easy. She’s bullied by the popular girls in school. Her parents ignore her. And she’s also plagued with a secret: she can see yokai, the ghosts and demons that haunt the streets of Kyoto. But things accelerate from bad to worse when she learns that Shuten-doji, the demon king, will rise at the next blood moon to hunt down an ancient relic and bring the world to a catastrophic end.


Taurus (April 21-May 20)
You are practical and well-grounded. At times a bit stubborn, but loyal and responsible. You always rise to the challenge. I recommend They Could Have Named Her Anything by Stephanie Jimenez. 

Image of two women sleeping text says They Could Have Named Her Anything

What is it about? 
Racism, class, and betrayal collide in this poignant debut novel about restoring the broken bonds of family and friendship.


Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You are curious and enjoy tasks that are mentally engaging. You can be a bit indecisive but are quick to learn and adapt to new circumstances. I recommend a suspenseful book to keep you engaged such as When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole.

Image of a blue house and text that says When No One is Watching

What is it about? 
Finding unexpected support from a new friend while collecting stories from her rapidly vanishing Brooklyn community, Sydney uncovers sinister truths about a regional gentrification project and why her neighbors are moving away.


Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You are characterized by your tenacious and sympathetic nature. You can be a deeply intuitive and sentimental person, because of this I recommend a book that will pull on your heartstrings such as A House of Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi. 

Image with stylized words that says A House For Happy Mothers

What is it about? 
In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs; a loving husband, a career, and a home. But the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much. She and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads. But she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset, her womb, to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.


Leo (July 23-August 22)
You have all the makings of a leader: self-confident, creative and dramatic. Just remember to be conscious of those around you. Listen and care for your people. For you I recommend Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

image of mixed paint with words Untamed Glennon Doyle

What is it about? 
In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.


Virgo (August 23-September 22)
You are hardworking, practical and analytical. Usually people will characterize you as detailed oriented, often leaving nothing to chance and ensuring that you have a plan. Sometimes you can focus too much on work and you forget to take care of yourself. Rest, explore and have some fun! For this, I recommend the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

image of a woman with crossed arms text says Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine

What is it about? 
A socially awkward, routine-oriented loner teams up with a bumbling IT guy from her office to assist an elderly accident victim, forging a friendship that saves all three from lives of isolation and secret unhappiness.


Libra (September 23-October 22)
Of all the signs, Libras tend to be diplomatic, fair, and peaceful. You tend to value partnership deeply therefore you invest a lot in your relationships.  Remember not to shy away from confrontation, communicating openly with those around you can be very beneficial. For you, I recommend Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney.

image of two faces, one wears sunglasses text reads conversations with friends a novel

What is it about?
Devoting herself to an intellectual life and the self-possessed lover with whom she performs spoken-word poetry readings, a college student is drawn into the lives of a sophisticated journalist and her husband before the increasingly intimate relationship tests the boundaries of her resolve


Scorpio (October 23-November 22)
Scorpios are characterized by their resourcefulness and bravery. When you have a question or are curious about a topic, you will research until you find a satisfactory answer. For this reason, I recommend the thriller The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse.

image of a mansion in front of a mountain, text reads The Sanatorium

What is it about?
Accompanying family members to an isolated Swiss Alps hotel to recuperate from a traumatizing case, a woman detective uncovers the fates of long-ago tuberculosis patients who went missing from the property years earlier when it operated as a sanatorium.


Sagittarius (November 23-December 21)
You are known for being generous, curious, and energetic. You approach life with an open mind and would gladly engage in a philosophical conversation on the meaning of life. For your sense of adventure and philosophical nature, I recommend The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

image of portals with many items coming out text reads The Midnight Library

What is it about?
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.


Capricorn (December 22- January 19)
This sign is characterized by its responsible and disciplined nature. Your ability to learn from your mistakes, and revise your plans, makes you an asset to any team. Use your expertise to uplift others, and to lend them a hand. I recommend The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms.

image of woman walking down city street with books overlaid text reads The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

What is it about?
Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.


Aquarius (January 20- February 19) 
You are known for being an intellectual person, you can be independent but you love helping others. You enjoy your space and your alone time. It helps to recharge your battery. For your me-time, I recommend The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab.

stylized text reads The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

What is it about?
Making a Faustian bargain to live forever but never be remembered, a woman from early 18th-century France endures unacknowledged centuries before meeting a man who remembers her name.


Pisces (February 20-March 20)
You are friendly, and have no trouble connecting with different people. You are generous, compassionate and caring. All of these characteristics make you a very intuitive person. Trust your intuition when meeting new people, it will lead the way. Because connecting with people is your jam, I recommend Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela. 

stylized text reads Bird summons

What is it about?
Three active members of a Muslim Women’s group take a road trip together to the Scottish Highlands, where each confronts the contrast between their hearts and their realities.

Enjoy the books for your star sign, as well as others on this list! Many thanks to the wonderful Nicole, whose passion for all things astrological guided this blogpost. 

I hope that you finish the semester strong and in the words of Walter Mercado: “Que reciban de mi siempre paz, mucha paz pero sobre todo mucho, mucho, mucho amor”*

*Translation: I hope that you have peace and that you receive a lot of love in your life

image of a man blowing a kiss

Written by: Sylvia

Posted by: Maurissa

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National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month!

Maybe you’ve been spending more time writing this spring. If you’re running out of ideas, I highly recommend this list of journal ideas from Bernadette Mayer.

Recently I’ve been watching videos from Chax’s “Enclave” series on Youtube. This series started in March 2020, and if I had to make a bet, it would be the first Zoom reading in the surprisingly long history of video poetry (see Jubliat and Ubuweb for more). What I like about these videos is they add to the experience of reading, and give my eyes a break from words on a page.

Here are some things I’ve been requesting from the library this month:

Alive by Elizabeth Willis.Elizabeth Willis very well may be my favorite poet.  Alive is one of the best books I’ve read. She’s inquisitive and dry, sometimes a word-tangle. Videos of her reading are especially great.

Great exodus, great wall, great party  by Chessie Normile.

This is this poet’s first book. It reminds me of time travel. When I read it I had lucid dreams. It was a quick read, but stayed with me for longer than a lot of the poetry I’ve read.

Insomnia and the aunt by Tan Lin.

I read this book every chance I get. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently as the country responded to the anti-Asian racism this spring.  It’s a touching, and surreal look at family. Deeply funny, bizarre. My most recommended book ever.

Keep reading!




Written: Tath
Posted: Ryan

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Calling All Gamers!

Do you love social and board games? Are you looking for a distraction from final papers and exams? Are you free THIS Thursday at 7 PM?? If your answer to any of these questions is yes (or even if it isn’t), join us Thursday, April 29th, for an evening of fun and games!

We will be meeting on the UGL Board Games Discord server and heading over to Backyard for a few quick rounds of games like Codenames, Pictionary, and Camp Werewolf. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to play– we’ll be learning together!

For updates on this event and future UGL gaming sessions, please follow our Discord server. We’re open to your feedback and welcome suggestions for future game nights!

See you there!

Hand rolling dice, text "They see me rollin'"

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Mindfulness: Mental De-Cluttering for Spring

Ah, springtime in Urbana-Champaign… the ice is melting, we’re pulling our cutest summer outfits out of storage, and some of us may be participating in the time-honored tradition of spring cleaning. Here at the UGL, we’ve been working hard to keep our study spaces clean for you!

Snow White sweeps a dusty house with help from many small animals

We love a good, old-fashioned spring cleaning, but this year we’re approaching it a little differently. As you’re purging the fridge of long-expired condiments or tackling that pile of laundry you’ve been putting off for way too long now, why not take a moment to turn that energy inward? Just like old takeout containers or mismatched socks, anxieties and negative thoughts have a tendency to accumulate. Mindfulness can help us take stock of what’s going on in our brains so we can decide what we want to hold onto and what can be tossed out.

"I'm so excited because I love mess", by Marie Kondo

According to the Mayo Clinic, mindfulness is “a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment,” and clinical studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety. While taking care of mental health should always be a priority, it’s even more important than ever as we mark one year of living in a global pandemic. Reported rates of anxiety and depression have risen dramatically in the past year, and a recent study found that these issues particularly affect college students.

When someone asks you how your night went..... "Didn't get much sleep, but I did get a few hours of anxiety in."

With midterms coming up, we know that finding time for mindfulness might seem impossible. Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your schedule doesn’t have to be stressful, though! 

Schitts Creek reference, "Who has time amidst all this chaos?


Here’s a brief introduction to some of the (many) resources out there that can help you start the mental de-cluttering process at your own pace.

  • Apps: Smartphone apps can be an excellent way to learn more about mindfulness or to make it a daily practice! You can find guided meditations that range from just a few minutes to longer sessions, and some—like UCLA Mindful or Smiling Mind—are completely free. Other options, like Headspace or Insight Timer, offer some free content but require a subscription for full access. Liberate is a meditation app designed by people of color for people of color.
  • Books: The library has access to hundreds of books focused on mindfulness. Some helpful introductions to the topic include Wherever You Go, There You Are and The Miracle of Mindfulness.
  • Podcasts: If you’re more of an auditory learner or are sick of staring at screens, a podcast may be the way to go! When you’re looking for a quick break. Meditation Minis and The Daily Meditation Podcast offer episodes around 10 minutes each. More in-depth podcasts include the Mindfulness Meditation Podcast and The Rubin Mindfulness Meditation, which approaches mindfulness through discussions of visual artwork.
  • Counseling Center: This semester, the UIUC Counseling Center is providing some amazing virtual services for self-care. Try checking out the Daily Mindfulness Drop-Ins or the Recognition, Openness, and Insight Series!

Looking for even more resources? Head over to our Tech Wellness Guide to find more suggestions for prioritizing mental health while learning online.

Now it’s time to take a deep breath, drink a glass of water, and get started on that spring cleaning! Best of luck from all of us at the UGL.

Deep breathing

Written by: Hannah
Edited by: Ryan


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March Mania

Yay for spring! As February turns into March, we are excited about the warming of the weather, and also about March Madness. Whether or not you’re a sports watcher, it can be fun to make a bracket (even if it’s wiped out by the quarterfinals).GIF of orange text:

It will be different this year as we all know because of the pandemic, but we can still keep up the tradition. But for those of us who are not sport fans, your sports brackets can become book brackets. One way of doing a battle of the books is through March Book Madness, which was created by two teachers in Ohio. The tournament is broken into young adult and younger novels.

But March is also Women’s Month!

Five women dressed as Rosie the Riveter, flexing their arms

Below is a book battle that will help you read more female writers this month. These items are available at Champaign Public and Urbana Free Libraries and through the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library system. These items have been published in the last two to three years, although Ark Angels is a series of books, beginning in 2005, but the most recent addition to the series was published within the last two years (we included the first book in this list, rather than starting at the most recent.). This book battle has many options, spanning multiple genres, including romance, science fiction, memoirs, and LGBTQ+ topics.

Cartoon woman drinking coffee and reading at a cafe

Book cover of Hood Feminism

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues.


Book cover for Before She Disappeared

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten.



Book cover for Blink of an EyeBlink of an Eye by Iris Johansen

Delilah Winter is one of the hottest pop stars on the planet, so how in the world was she kidnapped right in the middle of a show at the famous Hollywood Bowl? If anyone can figure it out, it’s Dr. Kendra Michaels, who works with local and federal authorities on only the most impossible cases.



Book cover for The Burning GirlsThe Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake. Thirty years ago, two girls disappeared without a trace. Two months ago, the local vicar killed himself. Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a 14-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village for a fresh start and some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture.

Book cover for Start HereStart Here by Trish Doller

Willa and Taylor were supposed to spend the summer after high school sailing from Ohio to Key West with their best friend, Finley. But Finley died before graduation, leaving them a 25-foot sailboat, a list of clues leading them to destinations along the way, and a friendship that’s hanging by a thread. Now, Willa and Taylor have two months and 2000 miles to discover how life works without Finley, and to decide if their own friendship is worth saving.


Book cover for Ark Angels

Ark Angels Graphic Novel Series by Sang-Sun Park

Three young girls. The three girls, Shem, Ham and Japheth, are sisters from another world. Equipped with their magical powers, they are charged with saving all the creatures of Earth from becoming extinct.



Book cover for AlienationAlienation by Ines Estrada

This book is about Elizabeth, an exotic dancer in cyberspace, and Carlos, who was just fired from the last human-staffed oil rig, attempting to keep their romance alive.




Book cover for Upright Women WantedUpright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.


Book cover for Broken Places and Outer SpacesBroken Places and Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor was never supposed to be paralyzed. A college track star and budding entomologist, Nnedi’s lifelong battle with scoliosis was just a bump in her plan–something a simple operation would easily correct. But when Nnedi wakes from the surgery to find she can’t move her legs, her entire sense of self begins to waver.


Book cover for A Long Petal of the SeaA Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love.


Happy March Madness!

GIF of Belle from Beauty and the Beast in the library

Written by: Simone
Edited by: Nicole

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