UGL Gaming Expo 2015

Welcome back from Spring Break. We’re nearing the end of the semester and finals are just around the corner. To ease the pain, we will be hosting the Gaming Expo, right here at the UGL. On April 9th, from 6-9 PM (upper level, near the video gaming area), you will be able to play our vintage games from our vault, compete with your buddies with games from our collection, check out our Loanable Technology items, and enjoy a study break!

UGL Gaming Expo 2015.

UGL Gaming Expo 2015.

For those of you who are surprised, yes, we have a video game center and some great games from our collection. For all you Maria Kart fans out there, the UGL Media Collection has Double Dash, Super Circuit, Super Mario and much more. To those who are wondering, we do indeed have FIFA (2010, 2011, and so on).

Mario Kart. Photo courtesy of Mikey Lemoi via Flickr

Mario Kart. Photo courtesy of Mikey Lemoi via Flickr

Some of us aren’t daily gamers, but no worries, the UGL has something for everyone. Minecraft allows players to build and construct their own world. Final Fantasy for those of us who like role-playing games. Football season may be over, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop playing. Treat yourself to some Madden NFL.

Madden 09. Photo courtesy of Gamerscore Blog via Flickr

Madden 09. Photo courtesy of Gamerscore Blog via Flickr

We will also have some of our loanable technology out for display. If you have your own consoles and would like to play them in the comfort of your own dorm or apartment, we have what you’re looking for. Available for checkout at the UGL are the Nintendo 3DS XL handheld gaming consoles and the Wii U and PS4. The UGL isn’t all books, come by the expo to check out the items.

Nintendo 3DS XL. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Nintendo 3DS XL. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Last but not least, we will have our Nintendo 64, straight from our vault of vintage games and gaming consoles. Challenge your friends to an exciting game of Super Mario Kart. What are some of your favorite video games? Let us know in the comments below.

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UGL Study Spaces

We are halfway though the semester and midterms are here! Yes, not many people are excited about having to turn in papers, projects, and study for midterm exams. It can be very overwhelming and sometimes your dorm room or apartment is not the best place to study and get work done. Don’t you worry, the UGL has a couple of suggestions for some great study places. Not only are there a variety of spaces, but there is something for everyone’s project needs.

The group rooms on the upper level of the UGL

The group rooms on the upper level of the UGL

First, we have the study group rooms, located on the upper level of the UGL. For group projects the group rooms are a great fit. There is an enclosed space, large table, and a TV screen where you can hook up your own laptop. Here you will be able to work and interact with your classmates.

Edit video or sound on these computers!  Photo Courtesy of the Media Commons

Edit video or sound on these computers! Photo Courtesy of the Media Commons

Also on the upper level, we have the computer spaces in the Media Commons. If you need specific software, the UGL has iMacs on the upper level. These computers have a lot of programs for all your project needs. For video editing, sound editing, building databases, the Media Commons has got you covered. Visit this page of the Media Commons for a detailed list of the software and programs. All your work can be done here!

Computers on the lower level of the UGL

Computers on the lower level of the UGL

Some of us need complete silence to do our work in peace. Lucky for you, the lower level of the UGL is the quiet level of the library. You can have the convenience of a computer in a quiet zone and in a semi-private space. As you arrive in the lower level, the computers are located near the entrance, close to the Media Collection.

Lower Level Tables and Carrels. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Lower Level Tables and Carrels. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

For those who do not need a computer or already have a laptop, the lower level tables and carrels are perfect. The tables are perfect for laying out your notebooks, textbooks, gel pens, and other study necessities. You can find these tables all around the lower level of the UGL.

For more privacy, the carrels are a great place to study, They are just the perfect size for a textbook, notebooks, or laptop. This perfect space for one person allows you to fully concentrate on your work and projects. Like the tables mentioned above, the carrels are located all around the UGL on the lower level.

For study tips, be sure to check out our Pinterest board!  Where is your favorite study space? Tell us below in the comments.

 

 

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UGL 101: New Loanable Technology

We’re one week into the new semester and you’re probably surprised that your professor has assigned projects (or not, if you’re lucky). The UGL’s Loanable Technology desk has all kinds of items to help you out. Yes, at your disposable, you have digital cameras, sound recorders, tripods, and other exciting things. This semester, we have a couple of new items.

Logitech Speakers. Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Logitech Speakers. Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Logitech Speakers are a great tool for a presentation or for your own personal use. You now have the convenience to carry around these speakers in your backpack.

Portable Canon Scanner. Photo Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Portable Canon Scanner. Photo Courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Be sure to check out our portable, yes, portable Canon scanners. Now you have the convenience of a scanner at your fingertips. Guess what is also great? These scanners are compatible with both Mac and PC.

Nintendo 3DS. Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Nintendo 3DS XL. Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

The Nintendo 3DS XL handheld gaming consoles are another treat that we have. Everyone needs a little study break, so why not have fun with this cool new item?

Wii U. Photo Courtesy of The Conmunity via Flirckr Commons

Wii U. Photo Courtesy of The Conmunity via Flickr Commons

Last, but certainly not least, we have the new Wii U and PS4 for our gaming center. When you imaged libraries, this isn’t what you had in mind, was it? These consoles are great for when you’re on the go. These consoles will be located in the gaming area of the UGL (right next to the Media Commons).

If you are curious about the loanable technology available, drop by the Loanable Technology desk to ask more questions. What’s your favorite technology item and why? Tell us in the comments below!

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Welcome back UGL’ers!

It’s great to be back at UIUC, is it not? We’ve all missed our friends and our study sessions at the UGL. It’s a new year, and of course, a new semester. Most of you are familiar with the Undergraduate Library (spending those late nights working on a paper due the next day), but for those of you who are new, our library has a lot to offer you.

Undergraduate Library. Photo Courtesy of Kosheahan via Flickr Commons.

Undergraduate Library. Photo Courtesy of Kosheahan via Flickr Commons.

For research help, check out the Consultation Corner on the upper level. Here you will find a desk with librarians who will help you with your research needs. You will also find the Writers Workshop, if you need help with writing an essay and the Partners Desk.

We have a loanable technology desk, right around the corner of the circulation desk (located on the upper level). Loanable technology such as laptops, iPhone chargers, cameras, sound recorders, and much more, are available for checkout. So, if you need some equipment for a class project, or want to work on your photography skills, come to the loanable technology desk!

The Undergraduate Library has two levels, the upper level and the lower level. The upper level is where the circulation desk is located, as well as computers and the printing stations. This is also the level that has study group rooms. If you have a group project and need a space, be sure to make your reservation on DIBS.

The lower level is the quiet level, so if you need a space where you need silence, the lower level is where it’s at. This level also has our media collection. Be sure to check out our DVD selection, music, and books on CD.

We have a lot to offer, so if you have any questions, ask! We’re here to help you succeed. What are you looking forward to the most this semester? Leave a comment below.

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Your tools for finals

Finals week is officially here. Yes, it’s a stressful time, but here at the UGL, we like to make your life easier. The UGL has a lot of resources to offer. These tools can make your life so much easier. So, sit back while we share all of the cool things at the UGL.

Are you in need of a calculator or flashdrive? Forgot them at home? No worries, come by the Loanable Technology desk at the UGL. This desk is located around the corner of the circulation desk on the upper level of the UGL. We have macbook chargers, iPhone charges, Chromebook laptops, and much for students to check out.

Loanable Technology at the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Loanable Technology at the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

If you have any group projects to finish, be sure to reserve a group room, available on the upper level of the UGL. Looking to book for one person or five? Doesn’t matter, our group room reservation system, DIBS, is here to help.

Students working in a group room. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

Students working in a group room. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

If you need a bit of information on a certain topic, but don’t know where to start, subject guides are your friends. Browse the subject guides available on hundreds of topics like computer crime and hacking, student loan debt, women in the media, and much more.

If you don’t know how to…don’t worry, the UGL has the How Do I? pages. Inside this fabulous resource, we have pages on how to get started on your research, finding sources, evaluating sources, citing sources, and class pages. (CMN 101/111, ESL 112/115, and LAS 100).

Do you have a paper that’s due soon? Need someone to take a look over it? The Writers Workshop is here to help. They are located in the consultation corner on the upper level of the UGL. Be sure to go to them with all your writing needs.

The Media Commons gaming center. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

The Media Commons gaming center. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Finals are stressful and take a lot out of you. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. That can be by eating healthy, exercising, or taking breaks in between studying. The UGL Media Commons has a gaming center. Come on over and play some video games with your friends. If video games aren’t your thing, go downstairs and check out the media collection. Treat yourself after finals by binge watching Dexter or Gilmore Girls, whatever floats your boat.

Good luck with finals and as always, the UGL is rooting for you.

 

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A Day in the Life: Jake

Have you ever wondered what a librarian’s job looks like?  Or what exactly the faculty and staff members at the Undergraduate Library do during the day? We’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the UGL in our new blog series “A Day in the Life.”

Due to high student use of the Media Commons and the recent media attention of the sound booth, we thought we would introduce you to Jake, our Media Commons Technology Support Specialist.

 

Jake is responsible for connecting students, staff, and faculty at UIUC to all the technology the Media Commons has to offer. When he isn’t working at his desk, you can find him all over the UGL, teaching students how to effectively use technology to create, edit, and produce quality digital media. Whether you want to use high end media editing software, need help shooting a video project in front of the green screen in the video production studio, or want to record a podcast in the sound booth, Jake is your guy.
Jake has a fancy-ass computer.

Need help? Ask Jake.

The best part about working in the Media Commons, Jake says, is that it offers everyone–undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff– the opportunity to create their own digital media on professional-quality technology.
Recently, Jake has been working hard to move, test, and set up the equipment in the sound booth to get it up and running for you. When asked about his favorite technology in the Media Commons, Jake replied that he is pretty pumped about the sound booth set- up and is excited to collaborate with students to take their audio projects to a higher level.
Jake’s passion for audio recording carries over into his work outside of the Undergraduate Library. Check out what Jake does on the weekends by visiting UrbanaBasement.com, a web series highlighting the live music scene in the Champaign-Urbana area.

 

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UGL 101: New Sound Booth

Hey UGL-ers, it’s time we addressed the elephant in the room. And by elephant, we mean the huge metal structure that has taken over a corner of the lower level this past year. We would like to officially introduce you to the newest member of the Media Commons collection–the sound booth!

Large metal structure = professional quality sound booth.

Like the video production room on the upper level, the sound booth is a space for students, faculty, and staff to create high-quality digital media projects. Need an interview to complete a class project? Want to record your latest podcast? As a UIUC student, the sound booth is available to you! (QB looks forward to using the sound booth to record the answers to all your questions.)

In order to use the sound booth, you will need to contact the Media Commons at mediacommons@illinois.edu in advance to book a reservation. Whether you want to reserve time in the sound booth, ask advice on recording equipment, or just find out more information, the Media Commons staff is here to help! Don’t forget to check out our loanable technology page for any additional equipment you might need, from cameras to microphones or voice recorders.

Now, to answer one final question. We know all too well how difficult the doors at the UGL can be to open, not to mention fitting large pieces of unbending metal through. So, just how did the UGL manage to construct the sound booth in the lower lever?

Huge crane lowering a section of the sound booth into the UGL courtyard

The things we do for you!

That’s how.

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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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UGL 101: Choosing the right projector

Got a presentation coming up and need a projector to show off your sweet slide show or video? With the UGL’s loanable technology, part of the Media Commons, we stock what you need, whether it’s something heavy duty and super-bright or tiny enough to fit in your pocket.

Optoma ML500

optomo ml 500 projector

Nothing too fancy here, just a basic, easy-to-use portable projector. It’s bright, with a wide screen and great color display, and it comes with a remote control. At under 2.5 pounds, it can be carried anywhere, and it allows you to connect to laptops, Blu-Ray players, and game systems. Don’t have any of those? You can also present directly from a USB or SD card. It’s that easy.

Optoma DW339 3-D Multimedia Projector

optomo dw 339 3-d multimedia projector

Similar to the Optoma ML500, but with a bit more spunk. The DW339 projects a larger wide-screen image, has a bit brighter display, and allows you to connect from HDMI, VGA, S-video, composite video, audio-in, audio-out, RS-232 and USB-B. Like the ML500, it also has a remote control to make it even easier for you to look like a total pro. Now we’re getting fancy.

3M MP225 Mobile Projector

3M Mobile Projector

If you need a projector on the go and aren’t concerned about it being the brightest, largest display, this is the tool for you. It’s tiny enough to carry in your own bag, and it will connect to almost anything: iPhones, iPads, computers, gaming systems, and dvd players. (Some of these may need a special cord, and you can borrow those, too.) It also will run on a battery for up to 2 hours, so there’s no need to keep it close to a power outlet if you charge it up first.

Epson MovieMate 62

Epson movie mate projector

This baby is built for media entertainment. It’s the only projector that has a built-in dvd player, and it’s amazingly bright (about 2000 lumens). It also has built-in speakers, and comes with a remote control. It’s perfect for a movie night in.

3M 2000 Portable Overhead Projector

3M overhead projector

A little different than the other projectors available, this one kicks it old school. It will display transparencies (a black print on a clear page), and is great if you have a presentation that doesn’t need any bells and whistles.

Still not sure which one of these is for you? Visit our website for more information. Or stop in and talk with a Media Commons expert about all your technology needs.

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Tell Us What You Think!

Hey, Club UGL. You know we love to hear from you. Whether it’s answering your questions via Ask a Librarian or the research desk, getting your feedback via our suggestions box, or hearing your purchase recommendations, we’re all ears for what you have to say. This week, we’ve got a special survey to solicit your opinions about our loanable technology program.

The tech desk is on the upper level of the UGL near the circ desk.

This is where the magic happens. The magic that you will influence, via this survey.

We are constantly seeking to expand and improve what’s available in our loanable technology pool, and we want to hear from you about how we can best do that. That’s why we’ve created this survey to ask what you think about various topics – iPads and iPad apps, Chromebooks, potential new items, and any other ideas or thoughts you want to share with us. The survey opens today (Monday, October 14th) and runs all the way through next Sunday, October 20th. That’s almost a whole week, so you’ve got plenty of time to mull it over and be thoughtful – but don’t forget! If you’d rather take the survey on paper, that’s an option, too – there will be paper forms attached to the whiteboard near the entrance on the upper level. You can turn completed paper surveys in at the circulation desk (and you might get something nice if you do…).

This week we’re asking for you opinions, but coming up in the next week we’ll have some suggestions for *you* – about events on campus, resources you can use, and a project we’ve been working on. We’re looking forward to hearing from you, and we hope you’ll stick around to hear from us.

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