Ideas for Improvement

You may have noticed that there’s a survey going on in the library – there are table tents, flyers, and images on the digital displays (those TVs that hang from the walls everywhere) telling you to take the survey and share your opinions with us. Why should you?

A puppy implores you to win a $50 gift card.

The puppy wants you to share, and the puppy wants you to win.

Improving Library Services

One reason you should take the library survey is so that we know what’s working for you and what isn’t. If the answers we receive on the survey tell us that something we’re doing is helpful to most people, we can make sure we keep providing that service successfully. If the answers we receive tell us that something needs to be fixed or improved, we can work on making it better based on what you tell us. There are lots of other ways you can share your opinions with us – like this feedback form, or messaging us on Twitter – but if you use this survey, we can have everyone’s answers to standardized questions in one place, and that makes it easier to make decisions!

Union Bookstore Gift Card

The other reason you should take the survey is that your participation puts you in the running for a $50 Union Bookstore gift card. Fifty whole dollars! What can you buy with $50? That will get you:

Or anything else you can think of that’s available in the Union Bookstore (maybe a textbook for next semester?).

All your library and sweatpants dreams can come true, but you have to take the survey to get there. We appreciate everyone who takes the time to share their opinions and we look forward to seeing what you have to say.

 

 

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Spotlight On…CQ Researcher

You’ve got a paper coming up, and you don’t have a topic yet. The paper has to be about a current issue that’s controversial, or maybe you have to debate the pros and cons of something – but there are so many issues in the world! How do you know what to choose and where to start? If you come to the UGL’s website, we have a resource that can help you solve all these problems. It’s called CQ Researcher.

What and where is CQ Researcher?

CQ Researcher is one of the many databases that the library provides for you to use. It’s a little different from other databases you may have used, because it’s designed to make it easy for you to browse articles by topic. The topics that articles in CQ Researcher cover range from education issues (like homeschooling) to disputes over international law (like the ethics of war), but all have been topics of intense discussion and debate in the recent past or present.

To get to CQ Researcher, start at the UGL homepage and click the Find Articles button that you see under the Easy Search box. That will take you to the Find Articles guide, where we list some of our databases by type. CQ Researcher is a general database, so you can find a link to it in the first section that’s labelled “Starting Points (Multi-Subject Databases).”

CQ Researcher should be the third database listed under Starting Points.

What can I find in CQ Researcher?

Every topic covered in CQ Researcher will be explained in a report – a long article that provides an overview of the topic,  including background information, current controversies or problems, and potential outcomes. An editorial piece from each side of the argument – a “pro” and a “con” position – are also provided by an expert on the topic. Other helpful features include timelines of major events, and lists of suggested sources for further research. This information could be used to help you figure out what specific aspects of a general topic you’re most interested in, where you should look for more information, or how a specific issue fits into a larger issue or trend.

You can navigate through the different kinds of information provided using the menu on the left side, or explore related issues using the Issue Tracker menu on the right.

How can I use CQ Researcher?

If you already have an idea of what you’re interested in, the main page of CQ Researcher has a search feature in the upper-right hand corner of the screen. If you don’t have an idea yet, don’t worry – it also has options to browse through information by what’s been added most recently, or by general area of interest (like the ‘education’ and ‘international law’ areas we mentioned above). As you browse or search, CQ Researcher will offer suggestions for related topic in a menu on the right-hand side of the screen.

The search box is in the top-right corner, and the Browse options are in the main navigation menu under the heading.

So, if you’re trying to find an interesting, contemporary debate to explore for an assignment, or you’ve already got one and need ideas for how to approach it, find your way to the UGL homepage and try CQ Researcher. There’s also that helpful Ask-A-Librarian chat box on the UGL page, so if you should get stuck, a librarian is only a click away! We’ll be happy to help you use this or any other library resource.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Warm up for Spring Break at the UGL

Hey UGL-ers! Here in Chambana, it’s finally starting to warm up. Which means there’s only one thing on our minds—spring break! Whether you’re staying in town to catch up on sleep or packing for an exotic adventure, the UGL has all the resources you need to make this spring break the best yet.

Cover of Foder's Los Cabos guidebook

Where can you snorkel in Los Cabos? Find out here!

If you’re heading out of town for spring break this year, check out the UGL’s collection of travel guides to read up on your favorite destination. Where is the best place to hike in Wisconsin? Which towns in Spain are must-sees? Where can you snorkel in Los Cabos? All your travel questions can be answered in these handy guidebooks.

Traveling out of the country? Learn a few phrases or brush up on your conversation skills in hundreds of languages for FREE using our Tell Me More language software. Take a look at our previous blog post to learn how to use this great resource.

Cover of The Globetrotter Diaries

Get inspired for an adventure of your own.

If your spring break plans look a lot like your pillow, the UGL can bring out your inner hitchhiker while you catch some Z’s right here at home. Check out our Pinterest board that highlights a few of our favorite books about travel writing and photography, as well as the guidebooks we mentioned above.

The Hobbit DVD cover

“Not all who wander are lost.”

As always, the UGL’s collection of movies, TV shows, and audio books are ready to cure your travel bug from the comfort of your couch. Need a European adventure? Live vicariously through every James Bond film. Feeling wanderlust? Trek through Middle-earth with a Lord of the Rings marathon. Or, get pumped for the release of the next Captain America film with your Avenger pals. Stock up on all your favorites before break!

If you’re looking for a thrilling page-turner to pass some time over break, be on the lookout for our up-coming display “Road Trip with a Book.” We’ll surprise you with a great new read!

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Spotlight On…Film Resources

The 2014 Oscars have now been awarded, and whether you agree with the winners or not, the library has resources you can use to learn more about film history and theory, as well as find more movies to watch.

Researching Film History and Theory

  • Film Study Reference Guide – This research guide, put together by the Literature and Languages Library, is a one-stop shop for all film theory research needs. It has resources for finding film reviews, if you want to find out what critics said about those Oscar winners before they were winners, as well as lists of books that can serve as your introduction to the history and study of film.
  • Finding Article about Film in Databases – The Communications Library has put together a list of databases that contain articles pertaining to film history and criticism. Once you gotten a good introduction using the reference guide above, you can use these databases to find more specific articles about whatever film topic interests you.

Findings Movies to Watch

  • Finding Movies in the Library – Reading about movies is great, but reading reviews and articles won’t be helpful if you haven’t seen the movies themselves! The Undergraduate Library has a guide to help you find the movies you need in the library catalog.
  • Ideas for What to Watch – If you don’t know where to start, the UGL has Pinterest boards that collect our favorite horror movies, science fiction features, summer films, and movies based on books. Browsing the entire media collection by genre is tough, because it’s just not arranged that way, but here’s a tip: on the catalog search screen, change the first dropdown menu from “Keyword” to “Subject,” then try typing in what you’re looking for. You could try a genre, like “Horror films,” or a topic followed by the kind of  movie you want, like “High school students – Comedy.” It takes some practice, but soon you’ll be a master at finding great new movies.

What do you think about when you decide whether a movie is good or not? Let us know in the comments!

Need ideas for other great library resources? Find more in our Spotlight on… series here.

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Reader’s Advisory: Spring Reads!

Happy Spring UGL’ers! (let’s ignore the fact that it is still freezing). Spring time is not only time for blooming flowers, but also a time for a new reader’s advisory post. We have gathered the favorite books from the UGL graduate assistants just for you.

 

The Secret Garden

Christina recommends…
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tiny British orphans living in a dreary manor discover a secret garden on the premises and bring its plants and animals (and themselves) back to life. Perfect for reading as the world theoretically thaws and things start growing again. There’s also a movie ver??

 

 

 

How to live safely in a science fictional universe

Zoe recommends...

How to Safely live in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Want to escape into a new world but never leave your couch? Meet a fellow lazy man in Charles Yu’s fantastic novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe. Bringing the love of machines before Her became famous, this novel follows the story of a young man who loves his operating system, fixes time machines, and lives in a very small universe indeed. Travel the universe, begin to understand paradoxes, and never leave your bed.

 

 

 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Lily recommends…Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of food and life by Barbara Kingsolver.

A newer work by a beloved writer, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle details the author’s journey with her family into a lifestyle of gardening, local produce, and organic ingredients. Far more than a how-to book, this work combines journalism, food culture insight, narrative, humor, and recipes into an extremely readable exploration, written collaboratively by several members of the Kingsolver clan. It’s liable to make you want to spend some time outside, assuming things warm up around here (or inside cooking if they don’t). Check out “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” for an instant taste!

 

The Art of Fielding Book

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Ira recommends…The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Spring means the return of baseball. Get ready for the season with this fantastic debut novel about a slick-fielding college shortstop named Henry Skrimshander, as he strives for perfection on the field. Littered with allusions to Melville, this novel is doubly recommended for those who like both Moby Dick and the national pastime.

 

 

 

Claude Monet; Springs in the Field

Claude Monet: Springs in the Field

Quetzalli recommends…Claude Monet: Springs in the Field by, Claude Monet

Spring is almost nearing (well, at least, it’s supposed to). Although there might be snow and ice on the ground, that doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare for the spring. Let this book take you into the world of impressionist painter, Clause Monet. With paintings of beautiful spring scenery, this book is sure to leave you wanting for Spring!

 

Watership down Book

Watership Down

Linsy recommmends….Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down is a tale of an epic adventure undertaken by rabbits.  After surviving a mass genocide of their warren, rabbits Fiver, Hazel and Bigwig must set out on their own to establish a new home.  Their adventure contains many near-death experiences as this band of survivors tries to “make it” in this unknown world (South-central England).  Richard Adams has anthropomorphized these animals, giving them their own language, proverbs, poetry and mythology.  Reading about these rabbits adventures will transport you to warmer weather until Illinois is able to catch up.

Chasign Spring book

Chasing Spring

Other recommendations:Chasing Spring: An American Journey Through a Changing Season by Bruce Stutz

Join author Bruce Stutz as he journeys through the United States in the changing season of Spring. A good read for those wanting to have a good book and some black coffee. The author will journey through the dry desert, Alaskan Arctic, and other places throughout the country. In this book, you will find a wonderful story that will eagerly leave you waiting for Spring.

 

 

Well, there you have it folks! All of these books are available through the library catalog. Happy book hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arch-I’ve Got Some Sources for You

Hey, do you know about the University Archives? Well, you should, because they can help you meet all your campus-related primary source needs, as well as give you a fascinating glimpse into what life as a student at UIUC has been like over the years.

black and white vintage image of students walking down main quad

The quad in ye olden days. (Photo courtesy of University Archives)

An archive is a collection of historical documents that documents the life or developments of a person or organization. The University Archives, as the name suggests, collects documents that contain information about the history and functions of UIUC, and people who have been associated with it in some way. A lot of them are primary sources – interviews, letters, and things like that. If you’re working on an assignment that requires primary sources, why not visit the archives website or contact an archivist to see what they can help you with? The archives also have a guide to primary sources in general, if you need to start with the basics.

A lot of the things kept in the archives relate to the running of the University and its general history, but a lot of it is also about students just like you! The Student Life and Culture Program is one part of the University Archives that highlights the student experience at UIUC (and the United States in general), and how it has changed over time (and how it’s stayed the same). Some of your assignments might require you to investigate an issue on campus; the SLC has research guides that can help you find information about the history of hot-button topics on campus. Maybe you’re interested in Greek life on campus, or the experiences of African-American students. Those are just a few things you can learn about using archival materials!

If this brief introduction has you curious about archives, feel free to search their website for things that you’re interested in. You can get a sampling of their collection on the UGL’s Facebook and Twitter pages – we’re highlighting fun and interesting things we find in the archives in weekly Throwback Thursday posts.

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On Being Inclusive

We’re guessing that you’re just as sick of the snow this season as we are. One of the nicest things that can happen when it’s cold, wet, and windy, though, is the possibility of a snow day. A week or so ago, when Chancellor Phyllis Wise announced that inclement weather wouldn’t mean the University was closing, some members of our community turned to Twitter to announce their displeasure with unfortunate racist and sexist remarks.

In response, many units of our campus, including our very own University Library, have planned an event, #ONECAMPUS: Moving Beyond Digital Hate, in order to promote an open dialogue about maintaining an inclusive atmosphere on campus. It takes place this evening, Thursday, February 6, at 7:30 pm in the Krannert Great Hall.

As Club UGL-ers, we hope that you’re interested in keeping our hoppin’ underground spot as safe and welcoming for all kinds of people as we possibly can. In addition to letting you know about that event, we’d like to feature some resources, available right here at the UGL, that will help you extend your knowledge beyond this one-time conversation, and which we hope help make the UGL an inclusive place to be.

Book cover: Static TVs to represent the media

Race/Gender/Class/Media 3.0 by Rebecca Ann Lind

Lind’s newly updated anthology is jam-packed with all kinds of fascinating essays about race, gender, class, and sexuality in the media. She looks at an enormous array of media, from TV to magazines and from radio to social media, digging into important issues to help us understand how racism and sexism can play out in media spaces, especially those online.

book cover: hand-made signs in windows of houses for parties

 House Signs and Collegiate Fun: Sex, Race, and Faith in a College Town by Chaise LaDousa

Club UGL-ers know how to have a good time, right? In this book, LaDousa looks at the experience of “just havin’ fun” in universities and analyzes the cultural meanings put into signage produced by partying college students . LaDousa shows how the ways that we understand race, gender, sexuality, and religion show up in things that we often don’t even think twice about, making this an especially timely book on this topic.

book cover: plain white text on blue background

 Why Aren’t We There Yet?: Taking Personal Responsibility for Creating an Inclusive Campus edited by Jan Arminio, Vasti Torres, and Raechele L. Pope

In Why Aren’t We There Yet?, the editors ask why, despite years of talk about increasing diversity and making campuses inclusive, events of racism and sexism like SnowDayTweetGate still happen. Their answers aren’t easy, but the book is a guide to helping us continue to have difficult conversations about power and justice and asks us to step up in ending discrimination on our campus.

The UGL thinks this is an important conversation and wants to make sure that you know that we’ve got the resources to help you with all kinds of problems, from the big ones like our campus climate, to the little ones. We hope that you’ll join us as we try to make sure that the library—and the university—are safer spaces for people of all races, genders, orientations, and abilities. The Media Collection will still be waiting when you get back.

Special thanks to guest blogger Tad Andracki.

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It’s Almost Game Day!

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or haven’t watched a game all season, Super Bowl Sunday is a great excuse to get together with friends, take a break from homework, and, let’s be honest, eat. A lot. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, here are some tips and fun facts from the UGL to get you ready for this year’s game.

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will face off this Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. If you follow the NFL, you may have strong feelings on the match-up, as the league’s best teams go head to head. What you may not know is our own Big Ten Conference will be well-represented on Super Bowl Sunday. Thirteen former student-athletes and nine coaches with conference ties will vie for the title, including Bronco’s running back Montee Ball and Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson, both former Wisconsin Badgers.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks QB and former Wisconsin Badger. Photo courtesy of Football Schedule via Flickr

For many, the football game simply interrupts the true entertainment featured on Super Bowl Sunday: the commercials. Between mouthfuls of nacho dip, watch out for Illini alumnus Jim Coates (AM ’73), who is featured in “Time Machine”, one of the top 5 commercials competing in the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” Contest.

Mmm…nachos. Photo courtesy of jeffreyw via Flickr

If Super Bowl Sunday is simply an excuse to hang out and eat, join the club. The UGL has your back with tons of cookbooks to help you prep the perfect appetizer, like Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. Are you vegan, gluten-free, or just on a budget? We’ve got you covered. Check out our Pinterest page for more staff suggestions and get cooking!

Whip up a delicious app with the Cheesy Vegan!

Now that the football season almost over, check out more gridiron greats in the UGL collection to keep you entertained until kick-off next season.

We already can’t wait until next season.

 

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Holiday Books for Holiday Breaks

Did you happen to notice all the snow on the ground? Of course you did. We can no longer deny that it is winter. Our noses and toes may be frozen, and our socks may be soggy, but let’s take the freezing temperatures and huge white drifts as a cheerful sign that soon, the semester will be over, and the winter break will be upon us. Before you jet off to distant lands – or, if you’re staying in town for the break, before you get too cozy on your couch – why not pick up a little something from the library to help you pass the time?

If you’re looking for a holiday-themed read, the UGL’s Holiday Reads Pinterest board should be your first stop. You can find Christmas classics there, such as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas; books about Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and other winter celebrations; and holiday-themed romance and mystery. If you find a book you like on one of our Pinterest boards, clicking on the pin should take you straight to the catalog where you can request it and check it out. Give it a shot!

Those on the hunt for a seasonally appropriate movie can also check out our holiday viewer’s advisory blog post from this time last year – it’s got a lot of snowy favorites for you to watch while you’re all snuggled up with your warm beverage of choice.

Those should give you plenty to work from, but just in case you need more, here are a few more winter break options for you to choose from.

History of the Snowman coverThe History of the Snowman: From the Ice Age to Flea Market by Bob Eckstein

Twelve Clues of Christmas CoverThe Twelve Clues of Christmas: a Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen

A Gift From Tiffany's coverA Gift From Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill

Spending the holidays with people I want to punch in the throat book coverSpending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen (of “People I Want to Punch in the Throat”)

When Elves Attack book coverWhen Elves Attack: a Joyous Christmas Greeting from the Criminal Nutbars of the Sunshine State by Tim Dorsey

The Book of (Holiday) Awesome coverThe Book of (Holiday) Awesome by Neil Pasricha

These should get you started. You can find more in the library catalog by searching for whatever aspect of the holiday season is your favorite! For instance, try doing a subject search for “Christmas – Humor” if you want to have a Christmas-themed laugh.

We hope you have a great finals week and a great break – stay tuned for updates about library hours over the break, and stay warm!

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Know Your Tech: Camera Round-Up

Flip video cameras and Sony Bloggies – they’re the most popular cameras in the UGL’s loanable technology collection, so you’ve probably used them at least once. Our Lumix digital cameras also get a lot of love. If you’re really adventurous, or in need of slightly more profesh video work, you may have even checked out one of our camcorders. But have you truly, fully explored the UGL’s camera offerings? Here’s a roundup of our more specialized cameras that you may not be aware of.

image of webcam

The tiny webcam sees all.

Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p HD Webcam

Sure, a lot of laptops come with their own webcams these days. The UGL’s Chromebooks certainly do. They’re not always of the greatest quality, however. When you Skype with your family, do they complain that you look pixelated? Do they have trouble distinguishing your hair from your wall? This webcam might be able to fix that for you. It’s got high-quality video as well as high-fidelity sound, and adjusts for low light situations, such as your dorm room late at night. The fact that it’s not built into your computer means you have more flexibility in the way you use it – why not try these alternative webcam uses? You can keep an eye on your pets from wherever you are!

image of go pro camera

It wants to know if you’re going somewhere exciting!

GoPro Hero 3 Video Camera

Other cameras are fine for home or classroom use, but what if you’re an adventurer? What if you want to have a pet cam, but your pet likes to go rock climbing? The GoPro Hero is here for you. It’s very small – and therefore portable! – and comes with a rugged plastic case that will protect it from all the hard knocks of travel. It’s also waterproof, and has wind-cancelling filters on its audio, and you can attach it to stuff. Seriously, you can take it anywhere. Grab a GPS unit as well, go somewhere crazy, and record all of it.

glorious image of nikon DSLR camera

Who’s the boss? This camera is the shiny, red boss.

Nikon D5200 Digital Camera (DSLR)

Here it is. The big one. The fanciest camera we have. A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera gives you the convenience and in-camera editing capabilities of a digital camera, with all the manual control of focus, shutter speed, and other photography concerns that you’d get from a film camera. It does video as well! It’s also without a doubt the shiniest camera we have. If you’re just starting out on the DSLR path, the library has plenty of books to help you figure out fancy digital photography.

With all this wonderful equipment at your fingertips, what are YOU going to capture?

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