Interim Hours

The summer term is coming to an end, and if you’re reading this, you probably survived. Congratulations! There’s a few weeks before the fall semester kicks into gear, and like you, the UGL needs time to recharge for the new school year. Our hours are changing slightly for the next few weeks, and your friendly UGL blog has all the deets.

UGL Sign welcomes you.
Here’s a breakdown of our hours during the summer interim, which begins Monday, August 5th.

  • Sunday, August 4th: Closed
  • Monday, August 5th thru Friday, August 9th: The UGL will be open daily from 8:30am to 5pm. Please note that the media collection closes at 4:30pm.
  • Saturday, August 10th and Sunday, August 11th: Closed
  • Monday, August 12th thru Thursday, August 15th: The UGL will be open daily from 8:30am to 5pm. Please note that the media collection closes at 4:30pm.
  • Friday, August 16th: The UGL will be open from 1pm to 5pm. Please note that the media collection closes at 4:30pm.
  • Saturday, August 17th and Sunday, August 18th: Closed
  • Monday, August 19th thru Friday, August 23rd: The UGL will be open daily from 8:30am to 5pm. Please note that the media collection closes at 4:30pm.
  • Saturday, August 24th and Sunday, August 25th: The UGL will be open daily from 1pm to 5pm. Please note that the media collection closes at 4:30pm.

Monday, August 26th starts the new school year, when the UGL will return to its normal 24/5 semester hours. Keep an eye on the blog once classes start again, because we’ll be bringing all sorts of goodies and tips to make this year a success. See you then!

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Go 4th and Celebrate

This coming Thursday is July the 4th, also known as Independence Day. There are lots of fun ways to observe this US national holiday – here’s a round-up of resources to help you make the most of your celebration.

Just a quick note about hours – due to the holiday, all campus libraries will be closed on Thursday, July 4th. So if you want to check out a book or movie to get in the spirit of things, make sure you do it before Thursday! We’ll be back on Friday, July 5th for our regular summer hours.

Historical and Educational Resources
July 4th is a celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the full text of which can be found online via Credo Reference. There’s also an entry in the Encyclopedia of American Studies on the Fourth of July itself. For more information about the Declaration of Independence, the people who developed it, and the American Revolutionary War in general, you can check out some of the following books:
The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89 by Edward S. Morgan
Revolutionary America, 1763-1815 : a Sourcebook edited by Francis D. Cogliano
The Invention of George Washington by Paul K. Longmore
The Women of the American Revolution by Elizabeth F. Ellet
“Strong and Brave Fellows” : New Hampshire’s Black Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution, 1775-1784 by Glenn A. Knoblock
Founding Friendship : George Washington, James Madison, and the Creation of the American Republic by Stuart Leibiger
The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood

Cookbooks
As with many holidays in the US, food is a major part of July 4th celebrations. Grilling food outside and cooking over open flames are especially appropriate for the midst of summer – check out one of these cookbooks to get fired up about your July 4th feast. Just remember to be careful and observe fire safety rules!

Kentucky BBQ book in library catalog America's Best BBQ book in library catalog Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction book in library catalog One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking book in library catalog 30-Minute Vegetarian Grilling book in library catalo Grilling Vegan Style book in library catalog Great Grillin' Cookbook book in library catalog

Films
After you’ve got your plate heaped with food, you might want to kick back with a movie, whether it be related to American history, takes place on the 4th of July, or is just about baseball, America’s pasttime. The movies below all fall into at least one of these categories. If you took advantage of any of the books above, maybe you can spot some inaccuracies in the historical films.
1776 movie in library catalogNational Treasure movie in library catalogJohn Adams movie in library catalogJaws movie in library catalogBorn on the Fourth of July movie in library catalogA League of Their Own movie in library catalogEight Men Out movie in library catalogBad News Bears movie in library catalog
And of course, don’t forget the best July 4th movie of all time: Independence Day.

Local Information
If you’re not throwing your own party, there are plenty of local events for you to attend instead. July4th.net is the online home of the Champaign County Freedom Celebration, which has information about a parade, an evening entertainment lineup, and a fireworks display. The Champaign County Park District will also have 4th of July festivities at the Sholem Aquatic Center, including face-painting and a watermelon eating contest. If you’re willing to travel a little, the Champaign County Forest Preserve is also having a Freedom Fest in Mahomet, Illinois.

Going to a public display is the best way to enjoy fireworks on the 4th of July – be safe and remember that using fireworks on your own could get you into a lot of trouble.

We hope this collection is helpful to you in your celebration! If you have any other ideas for ways to enjoy the holiday, feel free to share them in the comments, and have a wonderful Independence Day.

 

 

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Volunteer!

Hands holding jellybeans

Pretend that these are your hands, and the jellybeans are all the good things you can share with your community by volunteering. Just try it. (photo courtesy of Andrew Gray)

Even with all your summer class homework, and with all the movies that Netflix and the UGL Media Collection can provide you with, you may still find yourself with extra time on your hands this summer. Instead of watching reruns of Portlandia for the second day straight, why not give that extra time to someone in need by becoming a volunteer?

Volunteering has many benefits, not only for the person or organization you give your time to, but for you yourself. It can connect you with people you might have never met otherwise, teach you new skills (or new ways to apply skills you already have), and can help buff up that resume you’ve been working on with help from the Career Center (who are open for regular hours this summer, by the way!). The downtime that summer provides may be a good window in which to seek out a new volunteer opportunity, but don’t treat it as just a summer fling – your help is needed all year long, and the best volunteer experiences come when you really invest your time and effort. Consider picking a project or location where you can continue to lend your aid when the school year starts again.

Once you’ve decided you want to volunteer, where should you go to actually start? One great place to find a lot of different opportunities is the CU Volunteer page. Many different organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area use this site to list their volunteer opportunities, and you can sign up to help through the site as well. You can see a list of current opportunities, or you can browse by organization to see if a specific group has volunteer opportunities.

For campus-specific volunteering, you can visit the Office of Volunteer Programs inside the Illini Union. If you have a specific area of interest that you’d like to volunteer in, you can also search around for websites of organizations in that area that might need help – for instance, for those interested in sustainability and agriculture, the Sustainable Student Farm has need of student volunteers all year round. The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System also has volunteer opportunities for those wanting to become more familiar with hospital settings.

Give your time and energy, and in return get new experiences, new contacts, and the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from helping someone out.
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Soak up the summer

Summer and vacation go together like librarians and books. After all, in the summer, the weather’s nicer (sometimes) and people have more free time (maybe). Vacations don’t necessarily require you to travel far away, either. Sometimes it’s nice to take a “staycation” and find fun, new things to do close to home.

A suitcase covered in stickers implies much fulfilling travel.

The library has a lot of resources you can peruse if you’re planning a trip. There are library guides for popular destinations, like Italy and Costa Rica. You can also search for travel guides in the library’s catalog. They’re pretty easy to find once you know how to search for them.

First you want to start in the library catalog. When you search by keyword, don’t just put in your destination, which will net you too many results to sift through. Instead, tacking things like “guidebook” or “travel guide” on to the end of your search will help ensure you’re getting the types of books you want. For example, if you were traveling to New Mexico, a search for “new mexico – travel guide” will yield some great results. (You don’t have to use the quotation marks, either.)

Can you search for things closer to home this way, too? Of course! Like above, you just substitute “illinois” (so you’re searching for “Illinois – travel guide”) and you’ll see over 300 books waiting to tell you all the cool places to visit in the Prairie State. If you’re looking for something even closer to home, check out the calendar for the Champaign County Arts Council for fun events happening all summer, or the suggestions from the Champaign County Conventions and Visitors Bureau.

Safe and happy travels, #ClubUGL.

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Summer Survival

Ah, summer. The time of year when temperatures rise, and nature simultaneously asserts itself as a source of enjoyment (Sunshine! Flowers!) and a force to be reckoned with (Sunburn! Bug bites!).

If battling the heat and summer classes have got you down, take a break and enjoy something from this reading list inspired by the age-old theme of People Versus Nature. Some of them are very suspenseful, and some are not – you can choose according to how adventurous you’re feeling. And all of them, of course, are enjoyable from within the air-conditioned luxury of the library. Stop in and pick one up!
Gilligan's Island Season 2 tv show in library catalog

The characters in Gilligan’s Island may be shipwrecked, but they really don’t have it that bad. It seems there is no problem they can’t solve using bamboo and coconuts. Enjoy all three seasons of their exploits, and if their craftiness inspires you, check out  this book on Eco-Crafts; maybe you, too, can make something useful or fun from the things in your environment.

Robinson Crusoe book in library catalog

 One step up from Gilligan’s Island is the classic adventure story of Robinson Crusoe. The main character still gets clever with his surroundings, but the stakes are higher, since cannibals and wild animals are everywhere. Don’t worry about him too much, though – in the end he gets rescued. For a contemporary spin on the shipwrecked loner theme, try the film Cast Away. It has a sadder ending, but 100% more anthropomorphic volleyballs.

Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls

If you’re ready to step away from the confines of fiction, pick up this autobiography of Bear Grylls, TV survival artist extraordinaire. What will this man not do to survive? He has, for instance, “ utilised the corpse of a sheep as a sleeping bag and flotation device.” I expect big things from a person like that. If things go really wrong, however, his support crew is never too far away, so he’ll make it out alright.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed book in library catalogCheryl Strayed might not have ever done anything ingenious with a dead sheep, but she did walk the entirety of the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail, alone, with no previous backpacking experience and no TV crew to help her. The experience helped Strayed cope with the disintegration of her personal life and come out ahead of many personal challenges.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer book in library catalogSometimes those who face the forces of nature don’t come out on top. Into the Wild is the story of an American hitchhiker who disappeared from civilization and attempted to live off the Alaskan wilderness, and who was eventually found dead  in an abandoned bus. His motivations for undertaking such a dangerous expedition, and how basic preparation could have perhaps prevented his demise, have inspired much discussion, and even a movie version.

If reading these tales of humanity versus wilderness leaves you hankering for your own outdoor adventure, make sure you adequately prepare, so you can spend your time enjoying nature instead of struggling to live. Check out a book on outdoor skills, such as Hiking in Illinois or the Wilderness Survival Handbook, and get information about local destinations and regulations via Champaign Park District or the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Your favorite underground library will still be here to offer you shade and comfy chairs when you get back!

 

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Collection Developments

Most of our dear blog readers may have gone away for the summer, but some of you are still here pluggin’ away – and your faithful librarians, as always, are also here, working hard. You may have noticed large groups of us doing mysterious librarian things in the stacks (fancy librarian word for book shelves). What are we up to in our underground fortress? The answer is: we’re doing some deselecting!

Image of books with streamers attached

Streamers mark books that are being considered for deselection.

Deselection means that we’re evaluating our collection and removing the books and media that aren’t a good fit anymore. As undergrads, you’re more likely to be doing research on current events and contemporary topics. We want our collection to be current, relevant, and useful to you in what you’re working on, so materials that are very old or out-of-date need to be removed. If you do happen to be looking for historical material and are worried about not being able to find it, rest easy – you’ll still be able to find the books we remove in other libraries, or request them from our storage facilities. We’re just reshuffling things so that every book is in its most appropriate place.

Image of graduate assistant working on weeding in the stacks

A graduate assistant diligently checking book information.

The first step in the process is to identify books that fall outside our desired date range. For this project, that’s anything published in 1980 or before. These books are marked with streamers containing information about their physical condition (are they marked up or damaged?) and their representation in the campus collection as a whole (do we have lots of copies in other libraries? Or does the UGL have the only one?). After the books are marked by the first group of librarians, a second group goes through and decides what needs to go and what should stay, based on the streamer information. The less relevant, redundant or damaged books get moved to more appropriate locations, leaving lots of gappy shelves in the UGL.

Image of cleared-out shelves in the UGL

Holey shelves, Batman!

What are we gonna do with all this space? Well, obviously, these gaps mean we have more room to put newer and more relevant material – keep an eye on our Pinterest boards (like this one) to see what new stuff we’re adding right now! Or, you could always suggest a purchase. We’re also planning to remove some shelves completely in favor of more seating and tables: we know how hard it is to find a study spot during the midterm//finals rush, especially one that’s near an outlet. Some of the space will also be turned into an audio recording booth as part of our expanding media commons.

In short, lots of exciting things are happening in the lower level. Keep visiting us to see how  things are changing, and let us know what you think!

(Also, a short note on hours: the UGL and all campus libraries will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 27th. We’ll go back to our regular summer hours the following day. See you around!)

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Underground Summer

Hey, UGL-ers! Graduation is over, the Class of 2013 is on its way to becoming productive members of the “real world” and summer has arrived in Champaign-Urbana. Okay, so the last one might be a bit of a stretch, but even if it’s not beach-y outside, you can still get plenty of R-n-R at the library this summer.

The UGL is almost as relaxing as the beach.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons license

If you’re taking a little break during Summer I, don’t forget we have lots of stuff to keep you entertained: new books and movies are arriving regularly (check the New Book shelves on the upper level for our latest additions); we’ve got loads of video games; and don’t forget about our loanable tech items, too!

If you’re sticking around and taking classes during Summer I, we’ve got stuff for you, too! Our reference services will still be available for all of your research questions! This summer, we won’t have a librarian sitting at the Research Desk, but if you have a question about finding sources, using databases, locating statistics or boning up on background info, ask at the Circulation Desk, and they can get one of our “on call” librarians or graduate assistants to come out and help. Ask A Librarian chat service will also be available during Summer I.

Just as a reminder: The UGL will be open M-Th: 8:30am-6pm; F: 8:30am-5pm and Sa-Sun: 1pm-5pm. If you want to visit another library on campus this summer, check out the whole summer schedule.

 

 

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Super in the Summer

UGL basking in the summer sun

UGL basking in the summer sun

In case you’re currently cursing your summer-class-taking fate, let us reassure you that the UGL (and maybe even the whole campus) stays pretty awesome during the summer. We found at least five reasons the UGL rocks in the off-season. Can you think of more? Let us know!

1) You can always sit in your favorite spot: Okay, we can’t guarantee this because there is a small chance that someone else who is here for a summer class also likes your UGL study spot. But in general, it’s pretty quiet around the UGL and you can snag an entire table all for yourself. A little different than finals week, huh?

2) The line at Espresso is short: So short, they’ve taken down their line-forming barriers. It’s so easy to get a latte these days, maybe too easy. And you’re guaranteed a fresh sandwich.

3) The bathrooms are…well…cleaner: We realize this is an ongoing issue for you guys. We’re working on it as hard as we can! But it’s a fact that since it’s quieter in here during the summer, the bathrooms aren’t used as much and thus stay cleaner.

4) No wait time for group collaboration rooms: So, like No. 1, this isn’t a complete guarantee. There might be some massive run on group projects all of a sudden when pretty much every instructor assigns a group project the same week. But, let’s be real–that’s not too likely. So you should be able to waltz into the UGL and pick up a key for a collaboration room anytime we’re open–no lines, no waiting.

5) Finally check out a Flip camera and an iPad (and a Nook, and a Macbook Pro, and an external hard drive…): The UGL’s unique collection of rockin’ technology is here for you to use all year long, but it’s insanely popular and we can’t even keep some items in stock! This summer, get your hands on one of our new iPads, Nook Colors, and more. Plus when you’re in the UGL doing work (or just soaking up the A/C while catching up on Netflix), we can pretty much guarantee you’ll get your pick of laptops.

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