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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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.”

A day in the life at the UGL
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.

Image of Media Commons computer with editing software

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!

Sound booth on the lower level of the UGL

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?

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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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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Quick-change Acts

Have you popped in for a visit to the UGL since the semester started? If you have, you’ve probably noticed that things are a lil’ different around here. Don’t get disoriented! We’ve still got all the cool stuff you know and love, and even some new stuff. We just did some shuffling over the summer. Here’s a quick guide to some of the major changes.

New books and periodicals area

Behold: your new chill spot.

First off, the new books and magazines – which used to be on the northern side of the upper level – are now on the shelves on the southern side, near the collaboration rooms. You may notice that this is the same spot where the reference books and career cluster used to be. If you still have need of the style guides or test prep materials that used to be there, fear not! We still have them – we just moved them with the rest of the books downstairs. Ask a librarian to help you find them.

Image of media enclosure

Enter and be enter-tained (cue audience groan)

Speaking of downstairs, we also rearranged our media enclosure, so your favorite movies and audiobooks should be easier to find. The audiobooks are now against the left wall, and the VHS tapes are all huddled together like friends. It’s a much better arrangement, but if you still need a bit of help finding something, ask the nice person in the vest who should be sitting at the table pictured above.

Image of video game decorations

Come to the gaming space to feel the cosmos.

In other entertainment news, the gaming space has also been getting revamped over the summer. Why don’t you come in to check it out? We’ll still be adding things as the fall semester progresses – come see our new stuff as we get it!

Image of print release station

The place to go to find (print) release.

Printing, printing, gotta get that printing done. Printing from our public computers still works the same way it did last year – we’ve just moved the printers to new locations, so don’t panic when you don’t see them right away. Did you know that we also now offer laptop printing? Tada! You’re welcome.

While we’re on the subject of laptops, say hello to the Chromebook:

Image of Chromebook laptop

Why hello there.

The Macbooks and HP laptops that you’ve all gotten so much use out of have outgrown their warranties, and gone off to a happy retirement. These sleek new Chromebooks are now your new best friends. Check one out at the loanable tech desk!

That’s it for now. There have also been some changes to the electronic reserves system for your classes – check back next week so you can read our explanation of those. Good luck and happy studying!

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Remembering Roger Ebert

If there’s one thing we think esteemed alum Roger Ebert might’ve appreciated about the updates to the UGL, it’s the expansive film collection on the lower level. This weekend marks the 15th Annual Ebertfest Film Festival in Champaign, and it’s the first without its namesake, following Ebert’s passing on April 4.

Aside from his renowned writing style and deep love for the movies, Ebert was also dedicated to his hometown of Urbana and his alma mater, the University of Illinois. Check out the moving blog brought to you by our friends at the other end of the tunnel, the University Archives. Not only do they have a great collection of Ebert’s papers and correspondence, they also have interesting info on his life and time as a student at Illinois, including his tenure as editor of the DI.

If you’re looking for more information about this ground-breaking (and oft-controversial) film critic, devotee of the motion picture, and proud U of I journalism student, the library has plenty of his books:

Awake in the Dark book cover links to book in catalog Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert, Forty Years of Reviews, Essays, and Interviews

Scorsese By Ebert

I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie

Life Itself: A Memoir

Roger Ebert’s Four-Star Reviews: 1967-2007

An Illini Century: 100 Years of Campus Life

image of flaming film reels links to "A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length" book in library catalogThe Perfect London Walk

A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length: More Movies that Suck

For other books by Ebert, head to the online catalog. Type Ebert, Roger (the best format when searching for authors) in the search box, and change the drop-down menu from “Keyword” to “Author.” Happy reading and hats off to an admirable man and friend of the University, library and the fields of journalism and film.

 

 

 

 

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IRL @ the UGL

We at the UGL like to think of ourselves as being pretty comfortable with technology. This Web 2.0 thing? We’ve got it down. But we also understand that sometimes, even the most tech-savvy person gets a hankering for the old-fashioned. Sometimes it’s nice to see a pin-board with actual, physical pins in it. The opportunity to take a break from the seemingly endless computer screens in your life and spend time gazing at cheery paper snowmen is one you may be glad to take.

A paper snowman greets you from a glass display case.

“Well hello! Welcome to the UGL!”

To fill this occasional craving for the traditional, and to make the physical space of the library more visually interesting and informative, there are several displays in different parts of the library for you to enjoy. The themes change every month to keep things fresh and appropriate to the season – this month, the staff and student workers/elves have put together some holiday-focused displays to help boost your spirit during finals. We’ll give you a preview here on the blog, but you should really come in and check them out in person!

DVD cases surrounded by beautiful paper snowflakes.

UGL employees bust out their mad snowflake-makin’ skills, just for you.

Right when you enter the UGL from the plaza, this happy little case is ready to suggest some seasonal movies for you. If you’re interested in a title you see inside this mini-winter wonderland, just ask at the circulation desk, and we can fetch it for you! Then you can take it home and get just as cozy as you wanna.

Cookbooks with glorious pictures of baked goods await you.

We completely understand, but do try not to drool on the glass.

There are tons of food-themed ‘holidays’ in December. We’re not really sure how official ‘National Chocolate-Covered-Anything Day’ is, but that’s not going to stop us from celebrating it! To help you get in the culinary groove, we’ve got some cookbooks lined up in the display upstairs near the circulation desk, full of delicious holiday treats for you to make and share (or hoard). Come gaze upon these tasty cakes and be inspired.

Downstairs are where to find the suggestion binders.

We made a concerted effort to find books that are qualified to be suggested, and now we’ve got whole binders full of suggestions.

The food theme continues in the lower level! Just beyond the media collection, we’ve got more cookbooks picked out in our Y-shaped display. These aren’t necessarily holiday-specific; we’ve pulled together a wide range of cuisines and food types for you to choose from. Moroccan food? Totally covered. Any and every kind of soup? Right here. In addition to the cookbooks, you’ll find binders of suggested titles from a variety of different genres on top of the display. Pick ‘em up, leaf through them, carry them around to help you locate the books on the shelf – just please return them when you’re done, so someone else can find a good read after you!

Diversity Bulletin Board with information about lots of different holiday traditions.

Celebrate ALL the traditions!

The bulletin board in the lower lobby of the UGL is sponsored by the Library’s Diversity Committee, and each month it showcases diversity in a different area. For the month of December, we’ve got a festive round-up of winter holiday traditions from around the world. Curious about Wren’s Day, or Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian Lunar New Year? You can learn all about them, right here!

That’s what’s going on IRL at the UGL – we’re happy that you’re reading our blog, but we’d also be happy to see your faces in the library checking out our displays. Come on down and scope ‘em out!

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UGL 101: Self-Checkout Machines

If you’ve been studying (oh so quietly) on the lower level of the UGL recently, you may have noticed some new hardware on your way in or out.

Self-check machines are next to the lower level lobby doors.

Those shiny new machines are self-checkout machines where you can check out books or media. Long gone are the days of waiting in line to borrow season three of Lost. Now, armed with your iCard, you can easily check them out yourself.

The machines are super easy to use. Just follow a few simple steps.

1. Scan your I-Card.

Make sure your i-Card is pressed flat against the scanner bed.

Your iCard is your ticket to the UGL’s entertainment options.

2. Scan your books or media, with the spine of the item sitting in the dip of the scanning area. When you hear a “thump” your item is ready.

The bottom of the case should face towards the machine.

Make sure it’s facing this way, so the machine can desensitize your items.

3. The screen will prompt you to select whether or not you’d like a receipt.

'Print receipt' is the first option.

It doesn’t matter what you choose, but you do have to make a choice.

4. If you have DVDs or video games, finally, you’ll want to insert them into the unlocker next to the machine. Make sure you hold it with the front of the case facing up, and top of the case going into the machine first. Check to make sure the case will open once the machine gives the case back to you.

The locked side of the case should be to your right.

The unlocker will eat your dvd and spit it back out, ready for you to use!

5. You’re all done! Wasn’t that easy?

If you have problems with using the machines, or just have questions in general, look for the staff member on the lower level to help you. You can ring the bell on the cafe table near the media area for help. And you can always look for our friendly librarians, making the rounds in their “Ask a Librarian” vests.

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Read like an Olympian

The London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies officially kick off tomorrow (though soccer is already underway), and we hope you’ll cheer on as some of your fave athletes from your fave countries participate in your fave events (this blogger likes to watch track and field and diving!).

London Olympics flyer with Greek discus throwing statue in front of Big Ben

Photo from The National Archives UK via Flickr Commons

If you want to dive even deeper into the spirit of this spectacular once-every-four-years event that is the Summer Olympics, here’s some books, movies and video games from the UGL’s collection for you to sprint, jump, row, kick, swim, paddle, run, flip, volley, putt, or cycle through!*

book cover: Greek Black figure pottery with athletes wearing running shoes

The Naked Olympics: The True Story  of the Ancient Games

Dig deep into the pagan ritual that was the ancient Olympics. Yes, the modern Olympics have been around for what seems like forever (116 years), but the ancient ones were held for over a millenium: 1200 years in all! There’s lots of history, culture, athleticism, and apparently nudity, to be learned about from this great read.

This Great Symbol: Pierre de Coubertin and the Origins of the Modern Olympic Games (also available online)

Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics, was a French baron with a passion for sport. If you’re a history, anthropology, sports, and/or biography buff, pick this up at your earliest convenience. Part biography of Coubertin, part history of the founding of the games, all thrilling look into the theories and dreams behind the modern games.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

Not much needs to be said about this Nintendo DS game; it’s all in the title. Race, swim, jump, and play for the bronze, silver or gold as your fave Nintendo hero. Play it during the commercial breaks while watching the coverage of the real Olympics! (p.s. you can check out a DS from the UGL, too!)

Beijing 2008

Another awesome Olympics video game guaranteed to make you feel like you’ve trained as hard as the real-life Olympic athletes (okay, maybe not quite). Instead of doing the long jump as Yoshi, in this Playstation 3 game you play as an athlete participating as part of a national team in one of over 30 events. Sweet.

DVD cover: British athlete being carried on shoulders of fans in front of Union JackChariots of Fire

A classic in the Olympics genre! Chariots of Fire follows two men participating in track and field on the Great Britain team during the 1924 Paris Olympics. Each has his own deep-rooted, complicated reasons for giving it his all. It won four Academy Awards in its day, so besides being a tale of Olympic glory, it’s also great cinema.

* Library books don’t like to get wet, though, so be sure not to take them swimming, diving or water polo-ing with you if you get inspired. They also appreciate not being kicked, volleyed, putted, or jumped on.

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