Women’s History Month 2015

March is the official month for celebrating Women’s History Month. Like Black History Month, Women’s History Month was originally a week long. In 1987, congress gave the President authorization to proclaim March as the month to celebrate women’s history. For more information, visit the official government website for Women’s History Month. You will find exhibits and collections, videos of women who have shaped our country, and other information. For resources on campus, be sure to check out the Women’s Resource Center. This center has information on programs and events going on around campus.

The UGL has compiled a mix of a reader’s advisory. While this month is celebrated in the United States, March 8th is International Women’s Day. The following books or mini-biographies will showcase the writings and contributions of women, near or far. We hope you enjoy it!

“Dorothy Parker” by Dorothy Parker


“Dorothy Parker”

Dorothy Parker was a writer of short stories, poems, plays, and film screens. She was known for her wit and provocative humor. While she had many great writings, her stories expressed the discomfort that some women felt on their dependency on men. With her poems and stories, Ms. Parker was able to transform the role of the woman in society. In 1967, Ms. Parker died and left her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Princess Kasune Zulu

Princess Kasune Zulu. Photo courtesy of A and U Magazine

Princess Kasune Zulu. Photo courtesy of A and U Magazine

Princess Kasune Zulu is an AIDS activist from Zambia. While she has “Princess” in her name, she is not a member of Zambian royalty, but her roots can be traced to the royal lineage. Her family was also affected by this disease and she was left orphaned. Having first hand experience and having HIV herself, Ms. Zulu became an activist. She became a spokesperson for the Hope Initiative and has met several world leaders, including George W. Bush. For more information, be sure to check out the reference and biography resources offered through the UIUC library.

“What I Know for Sure” by Oprah Winfrey

“What I know for Sure” by Oprah Winfrey

Arguably one of the most influential women in the United States, Oprah Winfrey is the former host of the show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” In this book, Winfrey shares the journey of being host of her own show, being the nation’s only black billionaire, and having her own television network. She has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor and has received an honorary degree from Harvard. Her influence, struggles, and accomplishments have made her an amazing woman. For more works on Oprah Winfrey, be sure to check out the books in our catalog.

“The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt” by Eleanor Roosevelt

“The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt” by Eleanor Roosevelt

Mrs. Roosevelt was the wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the First Lady of the United States. Before becoming the First Lady, she joined her husband on the campaign trail and began working with the Women’s Trade Union League. As First Lady, she gave her vocal support to the African-American Civil Rights Movement. After her husband died, she continued as a delegate for the United Nations. This autobiography entails the good and the bad of being a First Lady.

Judy Baar Topinka

Judy Baar Topinka. Former State Comptroller

Judy Baar Topinka. Former State Comptroller. Photo courtesy of Illinois News Network

Ms. Baar Topinka, a native of Illinois, was born to immigrant parents. She graduated from the school of journalism at Northwestern University. She became a journalist for the Cook County suburbs and was elected State Treasurer in 1994. Ms. Baar Topinka became the first woman to hold such position and was nominated for Illinois Governor by the Grand Old Party (GOP). Being the first woman as State Treasurer of Illinois, she has paved the way for other women and their role in Illinois politics. She died December of 2014 and she is remembered for her political style and her ability to poke fun at herself. For more information about Ms. Baar Topinka, be sure to check out her website

For more, check out our Pinterest board for Women’s History Month! Who are the influential women in your life? Share with us in the comments!




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The UGL Celebrates Black History Month

“I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is all powerful and will prevail.” —Sojourner Truth

In 1976, Former President Gerald Ford made February the official month to celebrate Black history. President Ford urged American citizens to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Here at the UGL, we have compiled some books and movies that celebrate Black Americans and their struggles and accomplishments. For more information on Black History Month, be sure to visit the official government website.

“Staring at Zero” by Jimi Hendrix

“Starting at Zero” by Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix became an international icon after 4 years. He is known as one of the greatest guitars players there ever was. Hendrix was also known as a private person, but in this book, he is able to tell his own story.

“12 Years a Slave”

12 years a Slave. Directed by Steve McQueen

12 years a Slave. Directed by Steve McQueen

Based on true accounts, this film recalls the story of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. He is invited to a violin performance in Washington D.C, where he is kidnapped and sold as a slave. Northup suffers years of violence, abuse, and injustice. He was held captive for nearly 12 years and was soon reunited with his family. For the complete account by Solomon Northup, be sure to check out his book.

“Army of God: Joseph Kony’s War in Central Africa” by David Axe and Tim Hamilton

“Army of God” by David Axe and Tim Hamilton

The Kony2012 campaign was one that got a lot of national attention. This raised awareness, but also controversy. War correspondent, David Axe teamed up with Tim Hamilton to publish a graphic novel that explains who Kony is and the conflict that caught the attention of people all over the country.

“Song of Soloman” by Toni Morrison

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison, writer and winner of multiple awards brings us “Song of Solomon.” This story is about 4 generations of of black life in the United States. This story begins with Macon “Milkman” Dead III. The reader follows him from birth to adulthood. “Song of Soloman” raises questions on African-American identity and relationships with black and white members of the community.

“Zami, a new spelling of my name” by Audre Lorde

"Zami: A New Spelling of My Name" by Audre Lorde. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“Zami: A New Spelling of My Name” by Audre Lorde. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

This is the 1982 autobiography of writer and poet, Audre Lorde. She is the daughter of Black West Indian parents. Growing up in Harlem, she is legally blind, but learns to read before starting school. This book details Lorde’s experiences with racism, lesbianism, and political issues.

“Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” by Barack Obama

“Dreams from my Father” written by current President, Barack Obama.

In 2009, Barack Obama made history by becoming the first black President of the United States. Before the presidency, Obama was a civil rights lawyer, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and a community organizer. This book was published in 1995, right before Barack Obama was preparing for his campaign for the Illinois Senate. This book details his life in Hawaii, Indonesia, and his time at Harvard Law School.

Be sure to also check out our “A-Z Black Biography” on the UGL’s Pinterest Page.

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The UGL celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th-October 15th. This month is celebrated all throughout the country and also in our very own community. The UGL is excited to let you all know about the events and happenings going right here at UIUC.

Mexican Folkloric

Mexican Folkloric Dance. Photo Courtesy of Leslie Kirkland

Before we get into all the  events happening, what exactly is Hispanic Heritage Month? Hispanic Heritage month used to be Hispanic Heritage Week. That is, until 1988, when Former President Ronald Regan enacted the Hispanic Heritage Month into a public law. This holiday celebrates the culture, accomplishments, history and contributions of Hispanic cultures from countries and regions such as Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

If you are interested in learning more about this celebration and how it is being celebrated on a national level, be sure to check out the official government website of Hispanic Heritage Month.

UIUC has many organizations and resources if you are interested in learning more about Hispanic Culture or language.

La Casa at UIUC is a cultural house here on campus. The mission of La Casa 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”. They hold events and speakers all throughout the year. For more information, be sure to go to La Casa’s website for more information and to check what events are going on.

Mi Pueblo at UIUC is a a place where you can practice your Spanish conversational skills. This group is comprised of students who volunteer one hour of their time to lead conversational sessions in Spanish. To take a look at their calender, be sure to check out their website for more updates.

Take the opportunity to check out these organizations, maybe brush up on your Spanish, or check out what activities are on their schedule.

Such activities include:

On October 9th at 12:00 PM, there is a lunch at La Casa. This lunch will feature a lecture “La Musica Romantica and other Queer Latino/a pedagogies.” This lecture will be led by Richard Vallegas.

On October 10th. there will be a movie screening and a discussion on “Unfreedom”, produced by Jose Toledo.

For a complete schedule, check out all the events for Hispanic Heritage Month. Be sure to check out the full schedule.

If you’re in the mood for some Latino/a writers, be sure to check out authors such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Pablo Neruda, Sandra Cisneros, Carlos Fuentes, and Isabel Allende, just to name a few.

Be sure to search through our catalog for any authors or books you might be interested in. As always, the UGL wishes you a happy celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.






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Got Pride? LGBT Pride Month at the UGL

The Stonewall Inn Riots, a series of protests following police raids on a queer bar in New York City that are widely considered the igniting spark for the modern LGBT rights movement, took place on June 28-29, 1969. Ever since then, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer folks in the United States have taken the month of June as a symbolic time to demonstrate pride in their sexual and gender minority identities.

A rainbow-colored robot invites you to LGBT pride month.

Original image by Quinn Dombrowski.

This year, 45 years later, President Barack Obama has again declared June LGBT Pride Month, recognizing the importance for LGBTQ people to celebrate themselves and the political struggles their communities have been involved in. In order to show off our own pride, the UGL would like to recommend some items from our collection that display some LGBTQ pride and history.


by Martin Duberman

If you’re interested in going back to the beginning, Martin Duberman’s Stonewall is an important look—even 20 years on—at the watershed nature of the events at Stonewall through the eyes of six very different people. His history captures the conflicting and varied responses to the Stonewall events and draws a messy picture of the events leading up to Stonewall that made the riots such a historic event.

Smash the Church, Smash the State book cover with vintage photos of activists

Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation

edited by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Smash the Church, Smash the State takes a look at the political climate immediately following Stonewall by investigating the early years of the Gay Liberation Front, a anti-assimilationist activist group—the first to use the word “gay” in its name—that worked alongside (and sometimes against) other radical movements of the 1970s. Written by former GLF members, this book provides insight into a turbulent and fabulous movement whose work laid the foundation for contemporary LGBTQ politics.

Body Counts boko cover with image of couple kissing

Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival

by Sean Strub

Moving forward in time, another historically significant event in the history of queer people in the United States was the AIDS crisis of the late 80s and early 90s. Sean Strub’s memoir, Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival, documents one slice of that time and what it meant for the gay community. As the founder of POZ magazine and the first openly HIV-positive candidate for the US legislature, Strub’s insight into the critical need for AIDS-related protections and research and his work with ACT UP paints an important picture of this era.

Redefining Realness book cover with image of Janet Mock looking incredibly regal

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More

by Janet Mock

For a contemporary look at one aspect of LGBTQ pride, check out Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More. Mock was born to Black and Native Hawaiian parents in a working class neighborhood of Honolulu, and is now a respected writer and advocate for trans rights, creating #girlslikeus, an online movement for transwomen living visibly. Mock’s memoir traces her life from a childhood in Hawai‘i through her career in New York City, and it highlights the need for mainstream LGBTQ movements to center the experiences of trans women of color to continue to fight oppression both within and outside of LGBTQ communities.

There’s lots more Pride to be found in the stacks of the UGL and in Champaign-Urbana more widely. If you’re looking to celebrate this month, check out the UP Center’s Reel It UP! LGBT film festival, with showings every Tuesday in June at the Champaign Art Theater. Or, if you won’t be back on campus until school starts, Champaign-Urbana Pride  will be on Saturday, September 6 in downtown Champaign. We encourage you to celebrate along with us by checking out some of these resources and events…Happy Pride!

Special thanks to guest blogger Tad Andracki!

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An Evening of Carnatic Violin Music

Happy Spring ya’ll! We know that finals are almost here and you are rushing to turn in last minute papers and projects. Why not take some time to relax from all the craziness? Come  to the International and Area Studies Library (located on the third floor of the Main Library building) for an evening of relaxing Carnatic violin music, along with some yummy Indian snacks and pastries!

An Evening of Carnatic Violin, April 27th, 5-7 PM, in 321 Library

An Evening of Carnatic Violin. Photo courtesy of the International and Area Studies Library

For the event, performers include veena player Saraswathi Ranganathan, mridangam player Patri Satish Kumar and Ganapathi Ranganathan on the kanjira.

So, what exactly is carnatic violin music? It is defined as the “system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent” and “It is one of two main sub-genres of Indian classical music that evolved from ancient Hindu traditions.” Want to learn more? Well, lucky for us, there is a subject guide about that! (you see, there are helpful subject guides for everything!). Be sure to take a study break and check it out!

If you would like to hear more about carnatic violin, here are some more resources like books and audio recordings from the library catalog. Be sure to arrive to the event early! It’s sure to be a full house.

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Inclusive Illinois Week

By this time of the academic year, you’ve probably heard about Inclusive Illinois on campus. Inclusivity is a pretty big deal around the University of Illinois. It’s so central to the University as an institution that campus events are scheduled each semester to demonstrate the University’s commitment, celebrate its achievements, and educate the campus and community about diversity and inclusivity.

Sticky notes describing how students are committed to an Inclusive Illinois

Inclusive Illinois Day installment in September at the School of Social Work

If you missed Inclusive Illinois Day last semester, you can check out our blog post explaining exactly what Inclusive Illinois is all about. Also, take a look at photos of Inclusive Illinois Day events across campus.

This week, there are a lot of great events to raise awareness and celebrate inclusivity and diversity here at University of Illinois. From the FashionAble Fundraiser at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to the Celebration of Women art exhibit or the Illini baseball tailgate and game, there is an Inclusive Illinois event for everyone! Be sure to check out the next installment of the Chancellor’s Lecture Series on Diversity and Cultural Understanding given by best-selling author and activist Zach Wahls.

Today, you’re invited to join the first #ManyVoices Conversation at locations across campus and share what an inclusive community means to you. The #ManyVoices organizers will be waiting to hear your story at the following locations and times:

  • 9am-11am: Business Instructional Facility
  • 11am-2pm: Henry Administration Quad Side
  • 11am-1pm: Beckman Cafe
  • 3pm-5pm: Activities Recreation Center

For more information and a full calendar of events, go to the Inclusive Illinois website. You can also sign the online pledge to make your commitment to an Inclusive Illinois.

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Celebrating Women’s History Month!

March is here and midterms are almost over, but March is also Women’s History month! Be prepared to learn about some amazing and inspirational women and some resources available from the library.

Sally Ride

Sally Ride. The First American woman in space

First, we have Sally Ride. Sally was a former astronaut and a physicist. She became the first American woman in space. Her accomplishments have paved the way for women in NASA and have inspired people around the world. Sally died in 2012 at the age of 61, but her legacy will forever live on. To find out more about her life and accomplishments, check out some books about her life available in our catalog.

Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun is former representative of the Illinois senate. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate. Ms. Braun was also nominated by former President Bill Clinton to be U.S. ambassador to New Zealand. She currently resides in Chicago. For more information on Ms. Braun, be sure to check out her page on the congress website.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is a Mexican artist from the surrealist movement in the 1930’s. She had a difficult but  exciting life, and most importantly, she was a creative person and painter who celebrated her Mexican culture and heritage. If you would like to know more about Frida and her life, Credo reference has more information.

Alice Paul

Alice Paul. American Suffragist

Alice Paul was an American suffragist who fought for a woman’s right to vote. Along with the help of other suffragists, Alice Paul’s activism led to the passage of the 19th amendment. Because of the 19th amendment, women were finally able to have the right to vote in this country.  To learn more about Alice Paul, be sure to check out the  Women and Social Movements in the United States database available through the UIUC catalog!

These are just a few of the many incredible women out there. For more information be sure to check out some subject guides on the topic such as women in politics or the official government website for Women’s History Month.

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Black History Month Resources

February, as you may know, is Black History Month. It’s a month-long celebration of African-American history in the United States. The UIUC libraries have lots of resources to help you learn about African-American history during this national observance, as well as the other 11 months of the year.

John Sharper, African-American soldier in the Union Army. Image courtesy of National Archives.

A good place to start for all things Black History Month is the official government site for the holiday. There you can find online exhibits and collections from the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and other national institutions. If you’d like to keep things closer to home, the University Archives also have research guides about African-American history on campus. The archives blog also has a post about Black Power movements at UIUC in the 1960s, and the Student Life and Culture Program has guides to integration and civil rights.

Research on African-American history in the library at large can be accomplished with help from the African American Research Center, an extensive collection of books and other sources about ” the Black experience in the Americas and worldwide outside of Africa.” There are also lots of research guides about Black history topics, including African-American literature and political activism.

The UGL has a Pinterest board featuring biographies of African-Americans from A-Z, if you’re looking for books about inspiring individuals. The National Archives also have a Pinterest board for Black History Month, so if you’re on Pinterest all day anyway, you can stay there and still learn about African-American History.

How have you celebrated Black history? Are there great book, movies, or online resources you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

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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 advertising 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, very academic

 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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Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Happy November Club UGL! Fall break is just around the corner, but did you also know that November is Native American Heritage month? And what exactly is Native American Heritage Month? It’s a month that provides a platform for Native Americans to share various aspects of their culture, including dances, foods, crafts, and other facets of their way of life.

Portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa-Mandan

Portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa–Mandan, Attribution by Paul Mellon Collection. Image © 2006 Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

In 1990, Former President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution to make November Native American Heritage Month. Many museums and organizations have contributed their efforts and formed exhibitions related to this month. The Library of Congress, National Archives, The National Gallery of Art, and many more institutes have gathered materials and exhibitions commemorating Native American history and future in this country. For more information about these exhibitions or archives, visit the official website for Native American Heritage Month.

It is a nationwide holiday, but celebrations for this month are closer to home than you might think. The University of Illinois takes pride in having a diverse student body, and also a diversity of student organizations and houses. The Native American House on campus opened on Nevada Street in 2002. Its purpose is to increase knowledge and understanding for Native American culture in the past, present and future by providing students and staff with various resources. Such resources include the Native American House Library, help finding information regarding American Indian Studies, and much more.

The Native American House here on campus will be doing various activities and celebrations throughout the month. The first one, “Maori Approaches to Research and Methodology Workshop” features Dr. Nepia Mahuika, who is the current chair of New Zealand Māori History Collective. Among the other events will be dance and singing performances and film screenings. For a complete calendar of events visit their events page.

Learning about Native American history isn’t just for this month! if you’re interested in learning about Native American history or are doing a school project and just don’t know where to begin, the subject guide for American Indian Studies is very helpful. It provides many resources to point you in the right direction. The UGL also has a Pinterest board with suggestions for works by Native American authors.

Anasazi Pottery

Anasazi Pottery. Attribution: Photograph by P. Hollembeak. ©American Museum of Natural History, New York

We encourage you to participate in the events going on on campus and learn more about Native American peoples and their heritage, no matter what month it is.

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