No sleep ’til summer

Try not to get too stressed as the school year wraps up in the next week. With last-minute group meetings and cram sessions, you may find you need a place away from your dorm or apartment to study. If you find yourself in the unfortunate event of having to pull an all-nighter, the UGL is here for you 24/7 during finals week.

Night time photo of the UGL courtyard

We’re here for you–all night, every night during finals week.

Here are our special hours for finals week:

  • The UGL will be open continuously from now until Friday, May 10th, when we’ll close at 7 PM.
  • If you plan on hanging with us all night, read our tips to get the most out of the library services.
  • The UGL will remain closed the weekend of commencement, May 11-12.

We’ll start our summer hours on Monday, May 13th. So if you’ll be hanging with us in Chambana this summer, be sure to watch our blog, Twitter, and Facebook for hours updates.

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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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Celebrate National Library Week

It’s time to show your UGL love, dear readers. This week is National Library Week–a time to highlight the value libraries contribute to their communities. The theme for this year’s week-long library love fest is “Communities matter @ your library.”

I love the Library graphic

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It asks us to take a week out of our crazy-busy year and consider how much libraries contribute to our lives as students and as community members. Here at the UGL, we work hard to offer you the space, materials, and helpful staff you need to be successful as students and in the future.

If you want to bask in the library love this week, there are a lot of things you can do to explore different libraries on campus. Start with our library bucket list. Other things to consider?

Also consider saying thanks to the library workers you encounter on Tuesday, April 16, which is National Library Workers Day. And on Thursday, April 18, it’s Support Teen Literature Day, so stop in to the Center for Children’s Books or the Education library’s Children & Young Adult Lit Collection.

There are so many ways libraries impact our lives every day, so this week, take some time to say thanks. Let us know your favorite things about #ClubUGL in the comments or share your UGL love with us on Facebook or Twitter (#libraryweek) or visit our Library Love board on Pinterest.

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Write it, shoot it, create it

There are lot of changes happening right now. (Spring! Is it finally here to stay?) In the UGL, we’ve launched our Media Commons. As part of our mission to support collaborative research and learning through technology, the Media Commons features a brand new video production studio. (You may have already heard all about it in the Daily Illini.)

The video production studio has lots of equipment, including a green screen.

The new video production studio in the UGL

In this former classroom space, together with CITES, we’ve been hard at work acquiring professional equipment and setting up a space for all your video production needs. Take a gander at some of the equipment available to you in the awesome new space:

  • Green screen
  • Pro-level lights, like the Lowel Fluo-Tec Studio 450 Phase-Dimmable Fluorescent Fixture, a professional fluorescent light fixture (We’ve included all the bells and whistles, so you can up the intensity or trim the spill. If that sounds fancy, it’s because it is.)
  • Cameras & tripods
  • Mics, including wireless mics, desktop mics, shotgun mics, and voice-over mics
  • Speakers, like the AV 40 Active 2-Way Desktop Monitor Speakers, which are ideal for smaller spaces (like our production studio) and are shielded for use near video monitors
  • The Mackie 1202-VLZ3 12-Channel Compact Mixer, which has 12 line inputs and 4 mic preamps

This all sounds great, you say? Well, then all you need to know is how to get access to this sweet setup. It is available for anyone who wants to use it. (Yes—that means you!) You have to reserve the space ahead of time and complete an orientation on the space and all its goodies. Email the Media Commons team at to get started. Check our website or the Media Commons Facebook page for updates, and we’ll also bring you updates about the Media Commons here at your friendly neighborhood UGL blog.

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Relax, refresh, recharge

You may not be traveling somewhere exotic for Spring Break, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your week off from class to relax and refresh. If you find yourself wanting to live vicariously through some summer-loving films, the UGL has you covered.

If you want to laugh . . .

National Lampoon's European Vacation movie in library catalogAdventureland movie in library catalog

The Big Bounce movie in library catalogHeavyweights movie in library catalog

Also try: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Old School

If you want to party . . .

The Hangover movie in library catalogAmerican Pie 2 movie in library catalog


Also try: Project X, House Party, Dazed and Confused

If you’re in the mood for romance . . .

Where the Boys Are movie in library catalogGirl Happy movie in library catalog

Blue Crush movie in library catalog Grease movie in library catalog


Also try: Dirty Dancing, Dear John, (500) Days of Summer

You need time to recharge, and UGL’s media collection has some great picks to help you escape (if only for a few hours). If you are planning on hitting up a warmer and sandier locale over break, stay safe and stay smart (and consider checking out a new book for your trip)!

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Everything you ever wanted to know about…

How many movies has Samuel L. Jackson starred in? Aside from the telephone, what else did Alexander Graham Bell invent? How accurate was The Social Network in portraying Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg? With the Library’s biographical resources, you can find out just about anything about anyone.

The world's most interesting man says: I don't always look up my own life story, but when I do, I use the online reference collection.

Finding bios of people online can be super easy. Especially with websites like Wikipedia or IMDB, it may be more difficult to not find information about people online. As helpful as the world wide web can be, it’s often not the most credible of places to find information. Using the Library’s online reference collection, you have access to millions of biographies, still right at your fingertips. And you know it’s coming from Library-recommended, credible sources.

(You can use the link above, or if you start at the UGL homepage, click on Find in the upper right corner, and then select Biographies.)

There are a lot of resources to sift through, depending on your interests. These are some of our favorite multi-subject resources:

Biography Resource Center: This database covers people from all over the world, in all subject areas, from all points in history. You can search in a variety of ways, too: by name, occupation, birth or death years, and many others. Bonus: a lot of times, entries will include links to news articles, magazine articles or other references materials about the person in question.

American National Biography: If you need information about a famous American, this is a great place to get started. In addition to having bios of over 17,000 people, it also links you to other resources if you find yourself needing more info.

Credo Reference Biographies: While it may not contain its own full-text bios, it can link you out to other great resources, all by searching in one place.

In addition to the broad-coverage resources, there are also great places to start like American Men and Women of Science, Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music, and Distinguished Asian Americans, all of which cover more specific subject areas.

If you get stuck trying to find information about a specific person, come talk to us at the Research Desk, stop in during Office Hours @ the UGL, or chat us up on IM. Stay curious, #ClubUGL.

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s . . . Office Hours @ the UGL!

If you find yourself caught in the clutches of confusing research questions and don’t know where to turn, never fear! Office Hours at the UGL is here to save the day!

Office Hours @ the UGL poster - make your research super!

You’re busy. You have papers, group projects, presentations. Sometimes, it probably seems like you’re lost, wandering the dark alleys with no one to hear your cry for help. But you’re not alone! UGL librarians are here to help you wade through your research with Office Hours @ the UGL.

We’re always here for you, at our Research Desk and online with Ask a Librarian. But maybe you need some one-on-one, in-depth research help. That’s where Office Hours can swoop in to rescue you. Every Monday from 2-4 and every Tuesday from 7-9, we’re waiting in UGL room 291 to answer all your research questions. We can help you with any part of your research process, too, whether you’re just getting started, need more sources, or don’t know if the ones you have are credible.

No matter if you just have a quick question or need more in-depth help, we’ve got both covered. And, if you need help tackling your writing questions, Writers Workshop tutors will be there to answer quick writing queries. So you can come get help with your research and your writing, all in one stop! New this semester, too, is Office Hours @ the Media Commons, where you can get tech tips, troubleshooting, learn more about the UGL’s loanable tech equipment and more. No matter what your trouble, the UGL has a solution for you.

You never know when calamity will strike, so don’t worry about making an appointment. Just stop in and let us know how we can help you. To make sure you get the most out of your visit, here are a couple tips:

  • First, if you have a specific assignment you’re working on, bring any assignment details you have with you. The more we know about what you have to do, the better we can help!
  • Second, if you’ve done any work on the assignment so far, make sure to tell us, so we can start from the best possible place.

Don’t feel like you have to fight alone. Let Office Hours @ the UGL help defend you against confusion and frustration. Researchers assemble!

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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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Celebrate Black History Month

The University of Illinois works hard to foster an atmosphere of diversity and inclusiveness. And all through the month of February, many organizations are hosting events to celebrate and honor Black History month.

vingtage photograph in round frame

Portrait of Maudelle Tanner Brown Bousfield courtesy of University Housing at Illinois

One of the coolest announcements recently was the board of trustee’s decision to name a new dorm after the first black woman graduate, Maudelle Tanner Brown Bousfield. Ms. Bousfield graduated in 1906 and went on to teach high school math. She also became the first African-American principal in Chicago’s public schools in 1928. The new dorm, which will be called Bousfield Hall and open in Fall 2013, will be located on the corner of First and Peabody.

But that’s not all! Check out some of the awesome events coming up this month:

Feb 4     An Evening with Keith Boykin: A Celebration of Black LGBT History Month

Feb 9     Sweet Honey in the Rocks

Feb 23     Black and Latino Male Summit

Feb 27     Culmination Celebration (Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation)

And that doesn’t even begin to cover it. Several groups have on-going presentations and series throughout the month. The Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center has a “Food for the Soul” series featuring some great topics for the month. And Inclusive Illinois has countless events happening, too.

And don’t forget about the Library. This month, there is a display on the first floor of the Music and Performing Arts Library for Black History Month, and on the second floor, they’re exhibiting hip-hop and rap materials, including recordings. Stop by, check it out, and learn something new!

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Group study rooms get overhauled

We know you love using our Collab Rooms, and we’ve recently updated a couple of the rooms with brand new, totally awesome gear. Plus, you can now book the rooms online.

UGL 101: an introduction

For starters, rooms one and two now have new equipment. They’re tricked out with a table that has an attached TV monitor and VGA cables that allow you to connect up to 6 laptops/tablets at one time. You bring up your laptop’s display on the monitor, and click between which connected computer’s screen is displayed on the TV. Pretty sweet, huh?

(There are also three tables with the same laptop hookup/TV screen set up on the north side of the upper level—near the CITES help desk. They’re currently available on a first-come, first-serve basis.)

The other big piece of news is that you can now reserve collaboration rooms online. You’ve always been able to book rooms in advance, by coming in to the UGL or calling us. Now, using a handy online form, you can book your reservation from anywhere you can access the internet.

The process is pretty simple, too, as long as you have your I-card nearby. Start at the UGL homepage. There is a new link for “Group Rooms” in the gray bar across the middle of the screen. Clicking on that link will take you to a page with more information about room equipment and use. Then click on the orange link at the top of the page to get to the reservation form.

On the left hand side of the reservation page is the list of rooms to choose from, and hovering over each room number will show you what equipment is available in each room and the recommended capacity. Clicking on the room title will show the availability for that room. Use the calendar in the top left corner to make sure you’ve selected the correct date.

Next you select your time slots (no more than 2 hour blocks at a time), and click “Continue.” Then the form will ask for your information, including your Library number, which is on the bottom right-hand side of your I-card (the number that starts will “2011”). You also have the ability to put in a “Group Name.” This is what will appear publicly online for others to see. Once you’ve filled it all in (and be sure to use your email address), you simply click “Verify Request.” You’ll get a reservation confirmation sent to the email address you provided and bam! You’re done. In that confirmation email should also be a link for you to cancel a reservation, should you need to do so. We can’t change or cancel reservations for you, so make sure to keep that email handy.

If you like to book the media editing and reading rooms on the lower level, you can also now reserve those online. However, you will also need to swing by the Circulation Desk on the upper level and pick up a key for those rooms.

Before you start booking rooms left and right, make sure you review our policies on the use of them. And if you still have problems or questions, let us know. We want to offer you the best resources out there, and your feedback is essential to us knowing exactly what you need. We’ve been hard at work updating and renovating, so keep us bookmarked to learn about all the exciting changes happening in the near future.

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