Treebeard: Origins

It was the dawn of the Fourth Age of Middle Earth. In the long and horrific war for the Ring, the forests of Middle Earth suffered great losses at the hands of Saruman and the orcs of Sauron. Treebeard and his fellow Ents slowly rebuilt the forests, though their work was long and arduous. Under the blessing of Aragorn, the forests regained their strength and the tower of Saruman was overrun with new forests: the Watchwood. Treebeard was proud of his kinsmen and was pleased to see peace being restored to Middle Earth. The other Ents were quite pleased as well, and most buried their roots to return to life as it was before the war.


Courtyard Tree, now also known by its nickname, Treebeard. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Courtyard Tree, now also known by its nickname, Treebeard. Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Treebeard, however, found that he was not ready to plant his roots in one place. He knew that the gift of wisdom would be wasted if he stayed. Although he regretted parting from his fellow Ents, Treebeard set out on an adventure of his own, in search of people to aid and forests to rebuild. He traveled long and far from the Watchwood and with each day he encountered fewer of his kin. He grew lonely in these strange lands, and at times he considered returning to Watchwood. But he traveled on towards the northern most parts of Arnor, into a land that, to his knowledge, had not yet been traveled or mapped. He was utterly alone. Accompanied only by his desires to spread his wisdom.


For many years, Treebeard wandered through and beyond the Northern Waste. The beard on his face grew long and unkempt. The limbs of his branches began to bow as he grew weary. Just as he began to worry he would never find what he was seeking, he came upon a vast forest at the end of Middle Earth. He was overcome with happiness as the forest resembled the old home he left long ago. As he entered the forest, he was entranced by the familiar smells and sights of it. The soil beneath his roots felt rich and healthy. He saw tall, strong trees with vibrant colors and thick bark. The creatures of the forest lived happily within the dense branches and leaves. He was reminded of days long ago, when he had watched over the forests of Middle Earth. He was reminded, too, of the many travelers who sought wisdom and guidance among the Ents. Here, in this forest, although it was rich and healthy, he would find no travelers and his wisdom was not needed. The forest reminded him of his purpose and lifted his spirits. Although it is hard to say exactly what route he traveled along, for even he cannot recall, Treebeard found his way from Middle Earth to a strange land that natives called Illinois.

There in Illinois, he happened upon a building that was constructed underground like a hobbit hole. He saw a sign with strange letters which read “Undergraduate Library.” He was told that an Undergraduate Library was a place where knowledge was sought and gained. He was overjoyed to have discovered a place whose whole purpose was to store and dispense wisdom. Treebeard knew he had arrived at his destination, and so he planted his roots right in the middle of the courtyard. Here, the natives, which called themselves “undergrads”, could come to him for advice and guidance.

For more information on Treebeard, the Ents, or the rest of Tolkein’s Middle Earth look no further than the UGL. For Tolkein’s books about Middle Earth follow the link here. Don’t forget the resources in the UGL’s media collection. For the movies inspired by the books, check out our catalog.
Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings

Come visit Treebeard in all his glory. He is located in the courtyard on the lower level of the UGL.
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It’s that time of year again, Therapy Dogs!

Studying for finals is in full swing and we’re all stressed out about having all of our projects due at the same time. Have no fear, the UGL (and a couple of other libraries) are here for you. That’s right folks, it’s time for our famous therapy dogs. Therapy dogs will be at the UGL, Grainger and ACES. The schedule is below:

Thursday, December 11th at the UGL: 2-4 PM. Lilly, Atlas, and Dot will be ready for all your cuddling needs.

Friday, December 12th at Grainger: 2-4 PM. Lilly and Atlas will be there to have their tummies rubbed.

Tuesday, December 16th at ACES: 2-4 PM. Raven, Jeannie, Fitz, Hercules, and Dot will be  ready to have everyone pet them.

Now, let’s meet some of the cuties who will be at the libraries.

First, we have Jeannie.  She is a Bichon Frise who is only 3 years old. Jeannie is a great companion dog and her cottony hair is perfect for petting. Her likes include looking for squirrels, napping under the bed, and visiting nursing homes, libraries, and hospital patients.



Next, we have Lilly. She’s an adorable 5 year old Goldendoodle. Her many talents include being a registered therapy dog and a certified Reading Education Assistance Dog (READ). Her likes include caring for people of all ages, snuggling, and listening to a good book.


We also have 3 and a half year old Hercules and  4 year old Fitz. Fitz is a visla/chocolate lab mix, while Hercules is a boxer/Boston terrier/American Staffordshire terrier (try saying that 5 times). Their hobbies include wrestling, chasing each other, and taking naps on the couch. They are here to help you get through finals week, so come say hi!

Hercules and Fitz

Last, but certainly not least, we have Dot. She is a 6 year old Brittany. Like most dogs, she enjoys doing agility obstacles and watching the birds, while relaxing in the backyard. Dot is gentle and her tail is always wagging. Here’s a tip, when you see Dot, ask about her favorite tricks, she’ll show you.


We’ll have more therapy dogs at the different libraries, so be sure to get there early! Do you have a pet? Share with us in the comments below!

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Spotlight on: The Green Screen Room at the UGL

There are many cool services and resources offered here at the UGL. You have the writer’s workshop, the research desk (which operates Monday-Thursday from 1-5) and the cool DVD’s and books located on the lower level of the UGL. As you can tell, you have a lot of options, but did you also that the UGL has a video studio room? (a.k.a “green screen room”) The room is part of the UGL’s media commons and offers students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to use professional equipment in a video production studio.

Video Production Room. Photo Courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Video Production Room. Photo Courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

For those who are curious and who want to know more about this room, we will take you inside this high tech room. The video studio has much of the professional equipment needed for hi-tech projects. Among the equipment includes:

Six Lowell Fluorescent Lights, 2 Nikon DSLR cameras (D7100 and  D600) with several lenses, Wireless Lavalier Microphones, a green screen, iMac, other equipment, and coming soon, a Global Truss Lighting Grid.

How does one get to use this room?  The room is only available by appointment, so the student, staff, or faculty must fill out a reservation form. This form can be found at the Media Commons’ website, here.

Once you make a reservation, you will come into the UGL and go to the circulation desk and let them know you have a reservation.

video production studio

There is a limit of 4 people, but the new coming lighting grid will allow for 8-10 people total.

A staff member from the Media Commons will explain the basics on how to use the camera and lights. If you need more assistance on editing, you can make an appointment with the Media Commons staff member.

The only thing that students are asked to bring is an external hard drive and a their own SD cards. Not bad, right? Everything else is provided for you.

Be sure to be on the lookout for more blogs featuring the great resources that the UGL has to offer. What projects could you do using the Video Production room? Comment below!

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Spotlight On…CQ Researcher

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

What and where is CQ Researcher?

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

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

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

What can I find in CQ Researcher?

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

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

How can I use CQ Researcher?

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

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

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

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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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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Spotlight on…Gale Virtual Reference Library

Long gone are the days when you have to sift through a heavy encyclopedia to find background information (not to mention figuring out which one is best for your topic). Using the Gale Virtual Reference Library, you can find information about almost any topic, searching multiple resources at once, all from the comfort of your own computer.

Home page of Gale Virtual reference library with a search box at the top, subjects listed down the left column, and images of resources in the center

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is like librarian-approved Wikipedia. It has encyclopedias and other online reference books that cover a wide variety of subject areas, all in one place, so you can do one-stop-searching. You can also select to search in a specific subject area, choosing from subjects like art, biography, history, law, science, and many more.

To get there, start from the UGL’s homepage. In the dark blue bar that goes across the top of your screen, there will be a link for “Find.” Clicking on that link will take you to a page with tips and resources for finding all types of information. To get to GVRL, you’ll need to select “Background Information,” which will take you to the Library’s Online Reference Collection. You should see GVRL listed under the heading for “Starting Points” on this page.

Once you’re in GVRL, you’ll be able to see how many resources are available in this one place. (Hint: lots). To do a simple search, all you have to do is type your keyword(s) into the search box at the top of the screen. This will search all the resources available to you in GVRL.

image of easy search box on the top of the home page

Find this box at the top of your screen. It’s your gateway to thousands of resources!

You also have the option to search in a specific subject area. All you have to do is select the subject you want from the menu on the left on the homepage. You’ll be taken to a screen that lists the resources available in that subject area. There will be a box near the right-hand corner where you can search across all the sources for your chosen subject area.

image of the history subject page, highlighting the box to search within history in the right-hand corner

Once you’ve searched for your topic, whether you did a simple search or chose a specific subject area, you’ll see a screen listing the different resources you can access. If your search found too many resources, you can narrow what you’re seeing by using the options on the left on your results screen. You can choose a subject area, a type of resource (like a biography or topic overview), or a specific encyclopedia.

image of a search results screen, highlighting the options to limit results available in the left column

Don’t need 1800 results about yoga? Narrow it down using the options on your left.

GVRL is a great place to get started if your topic is related to multiple subject areas. With hundreds of encyclopedias at your fingertips, we’ll be surprised if you can’t find what you’re looking for. If that happens, though, you can always try another resource in the Online Reference Collection, or Ask a Librarian for help. That’s why we’re here.

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

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Spotlight on…Pop Culture Universe

Can you believe we’re already six weeks into the semester? It’s almost time for midterms, and with those come papers and projects that require research. You know the UGL is here for all your research needs. And if you need research pop culture, we’ve got just the thing for you: Pop Culture Universe.

Many different aspects and eras of pop culture are covered.

More than you ever wanted to know about Madonna (and other pop culture icons!)

Pop Culture Universe is a database containing articles about fads and trends in pop culture throughout history. Starting largely with the 1900s, it allows you to find articles and resources in a variety of ways. To get to Pop Culture Universe, start at the UGL homepage, and click on that handy “Find Articles” link under the Easy Search box. Once you’re on our Find Articles guide, you’ll find Pop Culture Universe under “Starting Points,” with other general subject databases recommended for your research.

You can get started searching using the Quick Search function, located in the top right corner of the database’s homepage. Just type in your keyword or phrase, click the search icon, and you’re well on your way delving into the depths of popular culture.

The database also has ways you can browse for information. One of those is to see major trends by decade. You can see a basic introduction of each decade from the 1900s to the 2000s, as well as articles that highlight popular movements, like baseball in the 1920s or MTV in the 1980s.

Each decade has a dedicated section.

Find quick, easy resources to learn about the Roaring 20s or the dotcom era.

Another way to find information in Pop Culture Universe is to use the “Idea Exchange” where the database poses a question, and offers articles featuring divergent opinions and responses. This is great for understanding how pop culture fits into the larger context of history.

Articles are presented as possible resources for answering common questions.

See multiple perspectives on a topic, all in one convenient place.

One final way Pop Culture Universe makes it way too easy to expand your knowledge is to use their Advanced Search option, which allows you input multiple pieces of information in one search. Selecting the Advance Search option lets you input keywords, select a decade, and narrow to a particular topic area, all at the same time. For example, a search for “grunge” in the decade of the 1990s, and the topic area of “fashion” nets article relating to how grunge music influenced fashions in the 90s.

See? We want to make it easy for you to find everything you need. If you have problems using Pop Culture Universe (or any library resource!) come visit us during Office Hours @ the UGL or chat us up online. We’re waiting.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Spotlight on…American Fact Finder

In these final frantic weeks of the school year, you may find yourself needing some stats for final projects and papers. If you’re not sure where to get started, we have a lot of resources to help, but if you know you need stats about American people, businesses, industries, or markets, then try American Fact Finder’s Guided Search tool to get exactly what you need.

Screen shot of American Fact Finder homepage shows many options for finding informaiton.
American Fact Finder is hosted by the U.S. Census and is a good source for data about agriculture, education, employment, health, law, etc. Their website features valuable links to other official statistical resources, both domestic and international. Using the Guided Search tool enables you to tell the database exactly what you’re looking for, in an easy, step-by-step format.

To get to American Fact Finder, you simply start at the UGL homepage, and click on “How do I?” in the top right corner:

screenshot: How Do I link is in top-most navigational menu on UGL homepage

From there, you’ll look for the heading for “Find Sources” and then click on “Statistics”:

screenshot: Statistics are listed under 'find other types of sources'

Finally, you’ll see a selection of databases designed for statistics, and you’ll click on “American Fact Finder”:

screenshot: on statistics page, American FactFinder is listed under 'starting points'

Once you’re in the database, you’ll see an option on the left side of your screen for “Guided Search.” Just select that option, and follow the link to get started.

screenshot: Guided Search is a good search option to start with if you're unfamiliar with the resource.

The guided search tool will now walk you through several steps to help you narrow  the information you can access. You start with selecting what kind of information you want (like people, industries, housing, or a specific table or dataset). Next you’ll choose topic areas (like age, education, race, etc.), then location (or geography), and on until you can see results that match your criteria. You can add as many topics, geographies, etc., as you like.

screenshot: the guided search gives you many options to refine your search.

Then the database will give you tables and stats based on your criteria, and you can also easily see what census the information has pulled from, so you know how recent it is. Pretty nifty, huh? This is only one librarian-approved source for statistics. If you find yourself needing other types of stats, check out the UGL’s statistics guide for more great sources of information.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Spotlight On…

You learn a lot of stuff in your classes, but sometimes there’s still more stuff you just gotta know. Maybe your professor gives an assignment that involves making a video, but you’ve never worked with video before–and the editing software wasn’t discussed in class. Or maybe you really need to know how to use a certain program for the jobs you’ll hopefully be getting, but you don’t have room in your schedule to take the class that would teach it to you. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re an insatiable learner with a hungry brain constantly on the lookout for new things to explore and master.

Learn. Grow. Do. - photography, audio, 3D, design, business and more.

If any of these is the case for you, you’re in luck. As a student at the University of Illinois, you have access to the complete online training library at Lynda provides helpful video tutorials for just about any program or application you could ever need–there are 1,642 topics and growing! Popular technology suites like the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office are well covered, as well as several programming languages, video and audio editing tools, and even a subsection for useful business skills. If you need to learn how to use a program as part of one of your courses, chances are you can find a tutorial for it on Lynda.

Accessing it is easy–just navigate to and put in your NetID and password as prompted. You should be directed to the main page, all signed in a ready to start learning! You can browse by subject area or the name of the products, or you can use the search bar in the upper right-hand corner to find topics related to your interests; whichever works best for your situation.

Navigation options include browsing by subject, software, or author, or searching.

Finding your way to what you need.

Once you’ve found something you want to learn about, click on the title of the tutorial, and you’ll be taken to a listing of all the videos within that tutorial. Large topics are broken up into shorter videos, meaning you can start and stop more easily without losing track of where you are in the tutorial overall. It’ll keep track of which ones you’ve already watched by displaying a little eye icon next to them:

Video tutorials are organized by chapter, and each chapter is either watched or unwatched, with a duration listed as well.

Keeping track of what you’ve watched

While you’re watching each video, there are some controls other than the basic start, stop and volume that can make your viewing experience more useful. To the right of the play button is the ‘autoplay’ feature–click on this to automatically load the next section as each section ends, saving yourself the trouble of clicking on a new link every time. To the left of the play button is a speech bubble with ‘CC’ in it–click this to turn on captioning, and read what is being said in the tutorial in addition to having sound. If you use certain programs to display the videos (which you can choose by adjusting the ‘player prefs’ in the right-hand corner), you’ll be given the option to speed up the video to twice its normal speed. This will cut down on the amount of time you have to spend watching videos, with the added benefit of making the narrators sound ever so slightly like chipmunks. I think we can all agree that this is the most valuable feature of Lynda overall.

Video Player controls let you adjust playback speed, captions, autoplay, and media player preference.

Getting the most out of playback.

If you need more details on how to navigate the site, Lynda actually provides a tutorial for using their tutorials! You can find it in the upper right-hand ‘support’ menu above the search bar; it’s listed as ‘how to use’. If you’re having trouble signing in, CITES has a FAQto help you figure out what’s going on (you can also contact them with any questions or feedback). Good luck, and happy learning!

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Spotlight On… Tell Me More

Planning to study abroad? Going to spend Spring Break somewhere south of the border? Just want to impress your pals with your stellar language skills? Then you need the Tell Me More language software.

Getting started learning a new language is muy fácil with Tell Me More. Follow these simple steps:

Image of tiny man standing on top of the world.

1. Start on the Library’s homepage. In the center column, look for the link to the Online Journals & Databases tool.

2. Search for “Tell Me More”.

3. When you see your results, you’ll want to select the second result on the page, labeled “Databases DATABASES”. Click on the “Databases” link.

4. You may then be prompted for your NetID and password. Enter that, and you’ll be taken to the Tell Me More homepage.

5. On the homepage, click on the message near the center: “New user, click here.” You will enter your name, email address and set up a username and password.

6. A screen may pop up asking you to to allow the system to access your camera and microphone.  Once you check the appropriate boxes, you should be able to start learning your language of choice!

Select 'allow,' select 'remember,' close the Adobe window, then click continue.

Click to enter the world of the multi-lingual! Wunderbar!

Some great features about Tell Me More:

  • You can do reading, writing, speaking, and listening workshops. Learn how to sprechen sie Deutsch the best way for you!
  • It’s got 37 different types of learning activities/interactions. Impressionante!
  • It utilizes Spoken Error Tracking System (SETS®) technology, which automatically detects and corrects your pronunciation errors. Work on your acento!
  • Anytime, anywhere accessibility. Voila! You can learn a language on the go.

Whether you want to learn a new language for business or pleasure, Tell Me More is convenient, easy, and free to you. (And really, who doesn’t love free?)

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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