READ.WATCH.PLAY: Be Library Famous!

Ever look at your dorm room or apartment walls and wonder, “My decorations are alright, but a poster of myself would really spice this place up”? Well, it’s your lucky day! The UGL is excited to announce the second annual READ.WATCH.PLAY. Poster Contest. All you have to do is tell us about your favorite library resource and you could be featured on a poster in the UGL! Not only will you get to keep a copy of the poster, but all of your hard work during those late-night study sessions will pay off when you become Library Famous.

READ.WATCH.PLAY. Poster Contest READ.WATCH.PLAY. Poster Contest

Here’s how it works:
1. You must be a current undergraduate student at the University of Illinois.

2. You must follow us on at least one of our social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

3. You will then pick a book, movie, or video game that you want to pose with. Explain to us (just 2 or 3 sentences) why you chose that book, movie, or video game and why you think other undergrads would be interested in it.

4. Tell us about your favorite service or space at the Undergraduate Library.

A print application will be available at the Circulation Desk on the Upper Level of the UGL. Too excited to wait? Click here for an online application!

Winners will be chosen on November 9 and a “photo shoot” will take place at the video production studio in the UGL. Be prepared to reveal your inner supermodel. Once the photos are done, your poster will be printed out and displayed in our wonderful library through spring. An extra poster will be printed out for you to keep!

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UGL 101: The Unexpected Joys of the Undergraduate Library

Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Photo courtesy of UGL Media Commons

Have you ever wanted to learn about all of the unique services the UGL has to offer in one video? Lucky for you, the UGL has created a new tour video! Group rooms, video production studio, loanable technology – we’ve got it all. Check it out below to learn more!

For more information on UGL services, check out some of the following links:

Reserve a Group Study Room

Office Hours

Video Studio Reservation

Audio Studio Reservation

Loanable Technology

Like the video? Let us know by tweeting at us (@askundergrad) or writing on our Facebook wall (Undergraduate Library @ UIUC).

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Reader’s Advisory: Book to Film

Well it appears that the summer is over and school is back to dominate your life. With school comes endless amounts of homework and social events that could really slow down your progress on that constantly growing “to-read” list. Unfortunately for you, your time to read these books before they are inevitably adapted into movies could be coming to an end. From Sci-Fi to young adult dystopians, no genre is safe from the entertainment machine that is the movie industry! You better put your reading hat on, you do not want the movie to ruin the book!

Here at the UGL, we understand your plight, so this week’s reader’s advisory is focusing on books that will be adapted into movies during the Fall semester.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

First on the list is James Dashner’s The Scorch Trials. If you were a fan of the first book in the series, then you will be quite pleased to read The Scorch Trials. Centered on the Gladers after their adventures and hardships in the maze, the story sees the group from the first story face even more tragic situations and encounter new friends. From start to finish, this book is full of excitement and with the adaptation, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, coming out September 18th, you better get off your butt and do some reading.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Have you ever wondered if you would be able to survive in the wilderness with just your wit and your smarts? Well stop wondering, you would definitely not make it. But Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian, depicts someone who is attempting to survive on Mars with just those tools (and a couple degrees in botany and engineering). In Weir’s groundbreaking novel, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after a freak accident. Now, against all odds Mark must survive long enough for NASA to save him. Humorous, dark, and amazingly hopeful, Weir’s novel is the go-to read of the fall. With the adaptation coming out October 2nd, you have a couple weeks to read this page turner.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Next on your young adult list is the final chapter of the popular Hunger Games trilogy: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. After the last hunger games, which saw the launch of a revolution, Mockingjay sees Katniss’ story end with a violent revolution, secrets, and love. With the success of the previous films and pending release of Mockingjay Pt. 2 in theaters on November 20, you have some time to read this one, but why wait?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Let’s be completely honest, you probably skipped Frankenstein in your high school class. So what better time to read Mary Shelley’s magnum opus than now? Frankenstein tells the classic story of a doctor attempting to create life. Frankenstein has been spoofed and adapted into a number of different movies, novels, and plays, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying again. Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliffe) is starring in an adaptation that tells the story from Igor’s perspective titled Victor Frankenstein. With this coming out November 25th, you better start scheduling some “me time” with Mary Shelley.

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Guys and gals, Moby Dick was real! In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex tells the real life story of man’s encounter with nature and giant whales. The novel, by Nathaniel Philbrick, tells the story of the survivors of the Essex, a whaleship that was attacked by a sperm whale in November 1820. Tragedy after tragedy befalls the survivors of the attack who were eventually saved in February of 1821. This is a must read for non-fiction aficionados and it is also a great way to mentally prepare to see Chris Hemsworth (yes, that is indeed Thor) on the big screen once again. In the Heart of Sea comes out December 11th which sounds like a thrilling way to kick start your Christmas vacation.

Which of these fine books are you most looking forward to read? Let us know by tweeting @AskUndergrad. All of these and more can be found at the Undergraduate Library or online using the library catalog.

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August Events

Photo Courtesy of Liz West via Flickr Media Commons

Photo Courtesy of Liz West via Flickr Media Commons

The summer is coming to an end, but there are still plenty of fun events to ring out the end of the season. August is the month for the gormandizers, the film buffs, and the music connoisseurs as CU hosts a variety of festivals, screenings, and concerts. Dive into our list of some of these events and share any others we may have missed that you’re looking forward to.

Photo Courtesy of Mike N Molly's

Photo Courtesy of Mike N Molly’s

Grateful Dead Tribute at Mike N Molly’s – August 8 at 6
The Grateful Dead played their final shows together last month as part of their Fare Thee Well concert series, but Deadheads of CU can rejoice as Sunshine Daydream will be gracing the outdoor stage at the Mike N Molly’s beergarden in Downtown Champaign. Also joining the dead-wannabes are local acts Mike and Olivia, The Wetsons, and Brian Hilderbrand.

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Theater

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Theater

Pens to Lens Student Screenwriting Competition at the Virginia Theatre – August 15 at 2 and 4
There’s a lot of talented people around our area, and some of them haven’t even left high school yet. Pens to Lens gives K-12 students from the East Central Illinois area the opportunity to write and submit original screenplays and see them made into short films by local artists. Maybe we’ll find the next Tarantino over at Urbana High! Tickets are only $8 and youth 18 and under are admitted free.

Photo Courtesy of Champaign Park District

Photo Courtesy of Champaign Park District

Taste of CU – August 21 from 5-11 and August 22 from 11-11
Taste of CU is one of the best events in the area for its variety of activities. Whether you want to eat some of the most delicious food our area has to offer, hear some great music from local and national acts (Gin Blossoms is playing!), or if you just want to try and win a car, Taste of CU has everything you need. If the previous reasons weren’t enough to convince you, the proceeds to go to help local youth do a number of various activities, so you can feel good while you indulge and rock out. Did we mention Gin Blossoms is playing? They did that song “Hey Jealousy”! That song rules. Go to this.

Photo Courtesy of Champaign Public Library

Photo Courtesy of Champaign Public Library

In Concert at CPL: Emily Otnes– July 24 – August 1
The Champaign Public Library hosts monthly concerts and is bringing Tara Terra’s Emily Otnes to the stacks to play some of her own tunes. Otnes’ voice is sure to give you the feels and you can hear it on her band’s debut album “Daughter”, released in 2014. While you’re there, you may want to stop by the Friendshop Bookstore to pick up some inexpensive books to enjoy after the concert.

Photo Courtesy of The Art Theater

Photo Courtesy of The Art Theater

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at the Art Theater – August 27 at 10
The Art Theater has amazing movies as part of their late-night series all the time, but you absolutely can’t miss Pee Wee Herman in his big screen debut. Tim Burton makes his directing debut with this zany film that’s truly an experience to behold; it’s been called his “strangest” film, which is a lot to say for the guy behind Ed Wood, Batman Returns, and Alice in Wonderland.

Photo Courtesy of Urbana Sweetcorn Festival

Photo Courtesy of Urbana Sweetcorn Festival

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival – August 28 from 5-11 and August 29 from 11-11
Everybody loves a good ear of corn, and the best way to bring in the new semester is by going to the Sweetcorn Festival and having some there! If you’re not a fan of corn, there’s always lots of other food and fun available at the festival, with local vendors selling various goods and plenty of activities for people of all ages. One of the main draws for the festival is the music, and this year’s lineup surely won’t disappoint with acts like The Psychadelic Furs, The Church, and Berlin (the band that did “Take My Breath Away” in Top Gun. That’s right. Top Gun.).

Did we miss any events that you’re excited about? Let us know in the comments!

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June Events

The Illini may not be flying down the field or storming up the court, but CU is still a great place to be during the summer months. Here are just a few events happening in the area for the month of June that will keep you full, festive, and having fun.

Hot Rod Power TourJune 7
Sponsored by Hot Rod Magazine, the 21st Annual Hot Rod Power Tour is rolling into Parkland College on June 7 and will feature some of the nicest vehicles this country has to offer. If cruisin’ down the highway and putting the top down is your idea of a good time, this is the event for you.

Photo Courtesy of Follow the Farmstead

Follow the FarmsteadJune 12-13 from 8am-2pm
Have you ever wondered how Champaign County farmers get it all done? Then you can join Visit Champaign County the Champaign County Farm Bureau on the first ever Follow the Farmstead to get an in-depth look into the agricultural industry in and around Champaign County. This event is family-oriented and will give participants the opportunity to do a range of things including learning about the newest farming technology or meeting farm animals!

Photo Courtesy of Uncork Urbana Wine Festival

Uncork Urbana Wine FestivalJune 13 from 1pm-9pm
For those of you of drinking age, Uncork Urbana Wine Festival looks to showcase some of the incredible wines the state of Illinois has to offer in the serenity of downtown Urbana. Admission is $10 for individuals 21 & over and includes a souvenir wine glass and five tasting tickets. There will also be live music from local favorites such as Emily Otnes (Tara Terra), Ryan Groff (Elsinore), and The Diva & The Dude as well as food trucks to balance out some of the delicious wine.

Photo Courtesy of urbanalove

urbanalove Summer Movie NightsJune 13 at sunset
urbanalove is a local group dedicated to showcasing the wonders of downtown Urbana. One of their premier events is a monthly film screening shown outside for free. The June movie is The Royal Tenenbaums, a modern classic by the extremely talented and focused Wes Anderson. The movies screen at sunset and give viewers the opportunity to see classic films while also connecting with their local community and neighbors.

Photo Courtesy of Blues, Brews, and BBQ Festival

Blues, Brews, and BBQ FestivalJune 26 & 27
This festival brings together some essential summer staples: music, drink, and food. Though a $5 donation is suggested, the event is free and open to the public and will feature performances by blues players from across the country, BBQ from the finest local establishments, and various forms of drinks. Also happening during the festival is a motorcycle show so you can check out some fancy rides. All this is going down in downtown Champaign behind the News Gazette Office.

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Summer in the UGL

You did it! Finals are over and summertime (well, almost)  in the UGL has started. For those of you who in town or who are taking classes, the UGL will be open. Come on in and check out some DVD’s or video games. If you need a space to study, you’re in luck, the UGL has various spots where you can relax or do homework.

Summertime in the UGL. Photo courtesy of Alain via Flickr Media Commons

Summertime in the UGL. Photo courtesy of Alain via Flickr Media Commons

The hours will be the following:

Monday-Thursday: 8:30 AM- 6:00 PM

Friday: 8:30 AM- 5:00 PM

Saturday: 1-5 PM

Sunday: Closed

We will be closed May 24th and 25th. There are a couple of days where the UGL is closed, so if you have any questions, feel free to check the hours on the library gateway page. Have a great summer and be on the lookout for our summertime reader’s advisory blogs and other fun stuff!

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Secret Societies: Revealed!

Secret societies have flourished for many centuries in many different cultures. Though some, like the Shriners, perform semi-public activities, not much is known about what goes on within them – that’s why they’re called ‘secret.’ This lack of knowledge has led the mysterious groups to captivate our cultural imagination, as unexplained coincidences and nefarious plots are attributed to them.

If you’ve watched The Good Shepherd, National Treasure, or read about the V.F.D in A Series of Unfortunate Events, then you’ve already been exposed to how fun and engrossing the idea of a sinister secret society can be. To help you find more things to enjoy in that vein, here’s a round-up of books that feature shadowy groups, conspiracy theories, and men in fezzes.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, conspiracy-wise, start with the Illuminatus! trilogy. Every weirdo theory out there is covered, and connected to the most secretest secret society of all – the Illuminati. There are lots of symbolic eyeballs, and you’ll be eyeballing your surroundings after reading it, especially that buck – what’s the deal with that spooky staring pyramid, anyway?

 The New Avengers: Illuminati by Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed, and Jim Cheung

This is a kinder, gentler Illuminati. Sort of. A gathering of well-known powerful Marvel comics characters are revealed as having manipulated several important events from behind the scenes. Their intentions are mostly good, but as with many tales of good versus evil, things get muddy, and what Professor Xavier, Tony Stark, and Doctor Strange (among others) resort to meet their goals may not always be so nice.

 The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin

Can you have a good secret society/conspiracy theory reading list without Nazis? No, you cannot. Nazis are the fallback conspiracy of literature at large. So, here is a book about secret Nazis hiding in South America and plotting to kill six aging men. Why do they want to kill these six men in particular? What are the connections between them and the exiled SS members? The writing has been described as ‘cinematic,’ which explains why there is a movie version.

The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White

The members of the secret society in this group want to save the world and make it a better place – but very slowly, over hundreds of years and multiple reincarnations. One could say they want to do so in increments. The plan seems to be progressing well, if at a glacial place, but then something goes wrong with the lovebirds who star in the story, and they go wrong rather quickly, as they often do.

Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society, a Visual Guide by Adam Parfrey

Most of the secret societies on this list are fictional, but as we mentioned before, there have been real ones throughout history. This book takes a comprehensive look at the secret fraternal societies of America in particular, describing their history, traditions, and influence. As indicated by the ‘visual guide’ part of the title, almost every page features reproductions of fraternal memorabilia, including many snapshots of men in aprons and silly hats.

Alright, we’re done conspiring to bring you fun things to read – for now. We’ll duck back behind our librarian curtain and let you take over – what are your favorite books or movies about secret societies? Let us know in the comments. Bonus points if you write it in code.


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Valentine’s Day Hangover: Reader’s Advisory

You made it through Valentine’s Day and 3 bags of chocolate later, you are done. Whether  you had a date with your sweetheart or with your favorites, Ben and Jerry, you can rest assured that everyone is worn out and stress free. Let’s focus on the important things now, here at the UGL, we have a couple of recommendations to cure that Valentine’s Day hangover. From our great selection of movies, we have exactly what you need.

Austenland. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Austenland. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

One can never go wrong with a Jane Austen inspired movie like “Austenland.” Ms. Jane Hayes’ obsession with Jane Austen is, well, taking over her life and complicating her love life. She decides to journey to a Jane Austen inspired resort, where she meets interesting characters and two fine gentlemen. Will Ms. Hayes get her Mr. Darcy?

“Warm Bodies” for your zombie needs

For the zombie lover, “Warm Bodies” is a great combination of blood, guts, and romance. Set in a zombie epidemic, R and Julie form a relationship as chaos surrounds them. As R begins to become more human, he is the hope that the world needs.

Five-Year Engagement. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Five-Year Engagement. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Five Year Engagement” is a story of a happy couple who get engaged. Emily Blunt and funny man, Jason Segel are the happy couple of this story. Like all romantic comedies, they are happy with their quirky partners, but life happens. Five years engaged, but now who knows if they will make it down the aisle.

Dan in Real Life picture

Dan in Real Life

“Dan in Real Life” is a story of when boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy finds out that girl is dating his brother. Chaos happens and hilarity ensues. No matter what happens, it’s guaranteed to give you a good laugh. Starting Steve Carell and Dane Cook.

The Break Up image

The Break Up

Actress Jennifer Aniston brings us a classic, “The Break-Up.” Brooke and Gary’s relationship has taken a toll. After Brooke breaks up with Gary, none of them are willing to move out of their condo. Between the fighting and the screaming, Brooke and Gary do not know if their relationships is worth saving.

The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy

The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy

“The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy” depicts a group of friends who gather at the the Jack’s Broken Heart Restaurant. They can lean on each other as they live through gay life. As tragedy strikes, their friendships are tested.

What other movies do you plan on watching? Tell us in the comments below!


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Read.Watch.Play: The winners

Don’t let the cold weather get you down – February is an awesome time to curl up with a nice warm book, watch a movie with friends, or play a fun video game from the UGL collection.  And who better to recommend one than the winners of our READ.WATCH.PLAY contest from last Fall.

We promised to make then library-famous, and now we have. Please join us in congratulating the first three of our six winners – Grant Wilson, Liz Armstrong, and Maggie Wolfe, who can’t wait to share some of their favorites with you.  Check out their amazing choices below, photographed in our highly literary video production studio, and look for their posters on the upper level of the UGL.

First up, we have Liz Armstrong, who chose Pride and Prejudice, the movie (the Keira Knightley version).  With Valentine’s Day coming up, take a break to remind yourself how love can overcome any obstacle

Watch! with Liz Armstrong. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

Watch! with Liz Armstrong. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

Next, we have Grant Wilson who recommends “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman.  Set in a dystopian future, this science fiction novel brings you action, excitement, and plot twists framing a thoughtful discussion of a hugely-relevant social issue.


Read! with Grant Wilson. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library

Read! with Grant Wilson. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library


And third, we have Ms. Maggie Wolfe, who shares a favorite of hers, “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare. Find inspiration in the words of the immortal bard, which still feel connect to the lives of college students today.  When things feel out of your hands, Maggie encourages us to think of Prospero, entreating “let your indulgences set me free.”

Read! with Maggie Wolfe. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

Read! with Maggie Wolfe. Photo courtesy of the Undergraduate Library.

A photo shoot and your very own poster sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Be on the lookout for our next Read.Watch.Play contest, and start planning your own poster now.

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Things to Do: June

Maybe you’re taking summer classes and need to destress in the evening. Maybe you’re working your summer job and need some social time. Maybe you don’t have anything to do this summer and have a lot of time to fill up. Don’t worry – there’s plenty to do in CU over the summer.

Sunny photo of UGL from outside

It’s very sunny out. Don’t let that deter you.

We promise that none of the suggestion on this list are “stay with in the UGL all day every day,” though of course you’re always welcome here during our summer hours and we’re always happy to see you.

On the Big Screen

Summer is the perfect time to sit in a cool, dark room and watch a fine film. If you get tired of doing that in your apartment (with DVDs from the media collection, obviously), you can always take a trip over to Champaign’s very own Art Theater Co-op and watch something there. Every Tuesday in June, the Art Theater is screening films for the 5th Annual Reel It Up Festival, presented by the UP Center of Champaign County. All films in the festival are in the spirit of LGBTQ Pride Month. If you miss the festival, you can always catch one of their regular movies – show your student ID to get a discount!

Arts and Performances

If you’re looking for entertainment that’s a little more immediate, there’s also plenty of live entertainment. You can visit the Krannert Center for Performing Arts to catch some theater – for June both a musical drama and a short play festival are lined up. For live music, Smile Politely has a weekly column called The Overture that highlights upcoming shows in downtown Champaign and Urbana.

Go Outside!

Remember that thing called outside? The one you used to explore when you weren’t in a classroom all day every day? Well, it’s still there and ready for you to explore. You can learn how to fish in Urbana parks, if you’d like, or take that fondness for live music outside with outdoor concerts in Champaign parks. You’re also free to do your own thing and run around with your friends, of course – just be care and make sure you know how to cope with the heat.

In the Library

We said you don’t have to stay in the UGL all day…but if you happen to be in the library this month, we have some pretty neat exhibits up. You can learn about the history of Western witchcraft, or what CU’s music scene was like in the 1980s.

These are just a few suggestions – there are tons of other ways to entertain yourself this summer. What are you doing in the name of fun?

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