Staff Picks: National Library Week Edition

Happy National Library Week! To celebrate, some staff members at Brookens have worked together to compile a list of must-read books and must-watch movies from our collection! Just click on the links below to see how you can check out these items!


  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer recommended by Pamela Salela
  2. Belgravia by Julian Fellowes recommended by Sarah Sagmoen
  3. Red Rising by Pierce Brown recommended by Sally LaJoie
  4. Circe: a novel by Madeline Miller recommended by John Laubersheimer
  5. The Shining by Stephen King recommended by Erich O’ Connor
  6. Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley recommended by Evan Barber
  7. The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien recommended by Jeremy Hall
  8. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid recommended by Jo Barnard
  9. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham recommended by Jo Barnard
  10. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown recommended by Jo Barnard
  11. Furiously Happy: a funny book about horrible things by Jenny Lawson recommended by Carol Reese


  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey recommended by John Laubersheimer
  2. Mulholland Drive recommended by Erich O’Connor
  3. Gremlins recommended by Evan Barber
  4. The Princess Bride recommended by Carol Reese
  5. Howl’s Moving Castle recommended by Jamie Weber
  6. The Sound of Music recommended by Amanda Roberts
  7. Philadelphia recommended by Molly Harms
  8. Shrek recommended by Keyaria Perry

Getting Started with Animal Crossing

Relaxing is important during a hectic school year. Some people like to take baths to unwind, while others prefer exercising or taking naps. Personally, I’m a big fan of playing Animal Crossing when I need to take a break from my stressful schedule. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of video games or someone like myself who’s new to them, Animal Crossing can provide not only fun, but relaxation as well. While Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) came out months ago in March 2020, but, it still provides endless entertainment. If you’ve recently acquired ACNH or you’re thinking about getting the game and you’re wondering where to start, I have some tips for you.

  1. Don’t be intimidated
    When I first started playing New Horizons, I would watch hour-long YouTube videos where people would give tours of their islands and I would feel very inadequate in comparison. For those who may not know, when you start the game, your island is, to put it simply, a mess. If you desire urbanization on your island, you’ll eventually need to clear away weeds and chop down extra trees, but that isn’t a necessity right away. What’s most important is to relax, and not compare your game experience to anyone else’s because, at the end of the day, Animal Crossing is still just a game. 
  1. Names last forever
    One important thing to note when you start playing is that the names you choose for yourself and your island cannot be changed unless you completely reset the game. If you’re tempted to pick something as a joke and you think you might regret it later, don’t choose it. Personally, I thought about my island name for a while before finally settling on something, so don’t be afraid to take your time and think about what you want to call your island.
  1. The game has longevity
    Some critics have said ACNH is fun at first, but eventually becomes boring, and I disagree greatly. If you get bored, you can redo the decor and design of your island as many times as you want, and if you want to go back to the beginning, you can reset your island and start again. The odds of you just getting bored, however, are slim because there is so much to do. Some people focus on upgrading their island as much as possible, some try to catch every fish and bug, and others focus their time on their villagers. If you discover a new bug or fish in the game and Blathers just can’t give you enough information, you could always use the library’s databases to learn more.
  1. Enjoy your villagers
    Speaking of villagers, don’t get too hung up on which ones you do or don’t have because eventually you’ll have the option for them to move off your island and you’ll be able to look for new ones to fill their spots. Some players only like the cutest villagers, but I’ve found that there’s something to love about all of them. The villagers that moved onto my island randomly became some of my favorites, so remember that it’s okay if you don’t start with your dream villagers.
  1. Have fun
    At the risk of sounding too cheesy, the most important part of playing any game is fun. New Horizons isn’t for everyone, but I think it has a lot to offer that could get most people excited. If you want to play with others, you can have multiple islanders on one console, and you can play together. If you have friends who have the game as well, you can send each other gifts and visit one another to truly take advantage of what ACNH has to offer. Animal Crossing is an incredible amount of fun, and if you’re considering playing, I would definitely recommend it.

If you find yourself in the mood to play video games, but you unfortunately don’t have a Nintendo Switch, you can always borrow the library’s Sega Genesis. While you won’t be able to enjoy ACNH, you’ll still be able to get your video game fix. If you love the creativity aspect of the game, you can borrow our drawing tablet to get in touch with your artsy side, and if you want to make clothes like the Able sisters you can borrow our sewing machine. Relaxation is key when it comes to New Horizons, so if you’re focused on mindfulness, you can check out our HappyLight as well. For students who are stuck on campus with nothing to do, Animal Crossing may be perfect for you, but if you can’t indulge in the game, however, the library still has you covered to have a great semester!

Printing at the Library

Picture this: you’re living on campus, it’s 8:00 on a Tuesday night, you have an assignment due the next morning, and you desperately need to access a printer. If I was in this situation, I would probably panic and start worrying, but that would definitely be the wrong approach to the problem because printing at UIS is incredibly easy. Whether you need to use a black and white printer, a color one, a scanner, or a copy machine, the library has you covered.

On the main floor of the library there’s one black and white printer, one color printer, scanners and copy machines. Printing at the library is only available during study hours, however, so if the library is closed, there is also a black and white printer in the PAC lobby.

To pay for your printed materials, you simply need to swipe your i-card at the print station. Every student is allotted $25.00 in printing funds per calendar year, which will be added to your printing account the first time your i-card is swiped at a print station. Prices for printing and scanning are as follows:

  • Black and white prints: $0.10
  • Color prints: $0.25
  • Copied pages: $0.10
  • Scanning: free

Next time you need to print something, whether it’s planned or last minute, don’t panic, just head to the library! Owning and maintaining a printer can be costly and annoying as well, so take advantage of the resources at Brookens.

If you need extra information on printing, you can head to the library’s website to learn more about it!

Playing Dungeons and Dragons Remotely

In this follow-up to our previous Dungeons & Dragons blog post, we’ll be highlighting the three core D&D sourcebooks and a few different websites that can be helpful when playing D&D online and respecting social distancing guidelines. 

There is the Player’s Handbook (available to request via I-Share), the most important book for playing D&D; this gives the information for character creation that includes your character’s race, class, and background as well as the rules for combat and basic roleplaying. Then there is the Monster Manual, the book that explains many of the creatures that one can find in a campaign. Finally, there is the Dungeon Master’s Guide, the most important book for the Dungeon Master. This book gives a lot of context to the game of dungeon and dragons; despite its name, players should at least skim this book to get an understanding of some other rules of the game.

Any or all of these sourcebooks would be a great gift for anyone wanting to play some D&D, and, also don’t forget to shop local when you can to support your local game stores!

Two online sources that can be quite useful are Roll20 and Discord. Roll20 is a free site where a Dungeon Master can create their worlds and have virtual maps so that players can still see the battlefield. Roll20 is an intuitive site where players can roll virtual dice, in lieu of real dice. Roll20 also has the ability for people to talk to each other and see each other, assuming you have a microphone and a camera.

Discord, another website where a free account can be made, can also be useful if you don’t like the interface to Roll20. You can download bots that allow you to play music as well as bots that can roll dice. Discord is a service where users communicate with voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media, and files in private chats or as part of communities called “servers.” Both of these sites can be really useful to play D&D remotely. 

“Lab Girl” Book Talk hosted by Brookens Library

Brookens Library will be hosting a book talk as part of the 2021 Sangamon County Big Read. Come join us on March 26th at 6pm to discuss Hope Jahren’s “Lab Girl.” You can register for the event here:

We are pleased to be a partner in this community-wide reading experience sponsored by the Academy of Lifelong Learning at Lincoln Land Community College. The members of the Academy embrace learning as a lifelong pursuit. Along with the National Endowment for the Arts, we are excited about supporting the NEA Big Read here in Sangamon County.

For more information on the Sangamon County Big Read and a complete list of events, please visit

Additional information and up to the minute updates can be found on the Academy of Lifelong Learning Facebook page.

How to Request Articles via Interlibrary Loan

Did you know that you can request articles that the library does not own through Interlibrary Loan for free? If you’ve found an article that the library does not provide access to, you can request it from another library to be sent to you if its available.

How To Place A Request

  1. Go to the library website, and select My Account. Select My ILL from the dropdown menu, and log in with your NetID and password.

2. If this is your first time requesting an article through InterLibrary Loan, you will be asked to fill out a form with your personal information and click Submit Information.

  1. To request an article, click on Article, which is located under New Request on the left side of the webpage.
  1. Fill out the necessary fields for the article you are requesting, and click Submit Request.
  1. If the article is available via InterLibrary Loan, you will receive an email with a link to the article usually within 1 to 3 business days.

If you have any questions about submitting a request, let us know.

Movies to Watch in March

If you’re looking for a movie to watch this month, we’ve got you covered with a selection of films that celebrate Women’s History Month as well as movies that are little more on the “green” side. Play this month’s edition of Movie Roulette, and let chance decide what movies you watch!

How to Play Movie Roulette:

All you have to do is press pause to stop the video and whichever movie you land on will decide what movie or binge kit you should check out.

To request one of the movies for pick up, click the movie link, request it from UIS, and wait for an email that says it’s ready to pick up during our Grab-and-Go hours!

“Green” Movies
Soylent Green
The Green Mile
How Green Was My Valley

Big and Green
Shrek 2
Shrek the Third

Badass Women
Captain Marvel
Kill Bill

Strong Animated Woman Leads
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Princess and the Frog

Great Films by Female Directors
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
American Psycho
Boys Don’t Cry

Access Online Newspapers

Newspapers: some people view them as archaic and unnecessary, while others recognize them as an important way to spread vital information. Whether you fall in the first category and are required to use newspapers for an assignment, or if you genuinely want to explore the daily news, Brookens has you covered.

To access newspapers:

The first thing you’ll want to do is head to the library’s website and select the blue Databases icon. From there you’ll want to click A-Z Databases, filter by type, and select Newspapers.

As you’ll be able to see, we have many different options, including some popular sources like the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Once you select a source, you’ll then be able to enter your search terms and get results! The process is pretty simple, but if you have trouble finding what you need, librarians can help you through research consultations or live chat.

To access archived newspapers:

Another cool source you have access to through the library is, which allows users to explore old, archived newspapers. The website has informational videos about how to search their website, so once you’ve familiarized yourself, you can read up on some local history with the “Illinois State Register,” which has clippings from the 1800s. is an interesting way to learn about local history, and even if you aren’t from Springfield or looking for Springfield history, there are thousands of other newspapers available on the website. 

Next time you’re wondering how to supplement your research or where to find important news articles, remember that the library has plenty of options to help you out. Even if you don’t need newspapers for research, you can still access them for entertainment or if you’re wanting to diversify your knowledge of the world!

2021 Undergraduate Research Award

Brookens Library and the Friends of Brookens Library are excited to announce our Seventh Annual Undergraduate Research Award!

We here at Brookens believe that undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activities are foundational components of a complete liberal arts education. The Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award was created by Brookens Library to recognize and reward UIS undergraduate students whose academic work incorporates the use of Brookens Library’s collections and services and demonstrates exceptional information literacy skills.

In addition to recognition at UIS, the award includes a monetary prize sponsored by the Friends of Brookens Library.  This year, $1500 is up for grabs for work you have already done!

  • $500 for first place
  • $400 for second place
  • $300 for third place
  • $200 for fourth place
  • $100 for fifth place

The winners will be Announced on May 1st, 2021. 

Over the years, UIS students have submitted some truly amazing work to the Research Award. The breadth and depth of topics has been astounding and the quality of the research has been awe inspiring. As we open up submission forms for this year’s award, we look forward to seeing even more of our UIS students’ excellent work.

How to Apply

Application for the Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award is a two-step process:

Step 1) Fill out the online application form here:

Step 2) One of the Brookens Librarians will contact you to arrange for you to electronically submit your materials using Box.

Respectfully, we request that you do not send in your project materials until instructed to do so.

Judging will be conducted by a panel of diverse faculty from varying disciplines using a scoring rubric you can find on the research award site.

You can learn more about judging, the award criteria, and past winners here:   

The deadline to apply is April 24, 2021.

Want to Learn How to Draw?

Drawing has been present in our lives ever since we first knew how to hold a pencil. Remember when you were younger and you were in school drawing whatever you wanted to? Everyone knows that as kids we weren’t an expert in drawing and all we could draw were stick figures. Something similar to this:

Hopefully this brought back memories!

While beginner artists can draw simple and small pictures like stick figures, those at the intermediate level can take it up a notch – and anyone can get to the advanced level, all it takes is a little practice. After all, “practice makes perfect.” Today, you’ll be shown the simple steps in basic drawing.

Step 1: Getting ready 

When getting ready to draw, you need to have all of your materials, be patient, and be open to accept criticism. For the materials, it’s your choice! You can use any color/type of paper, any pencil, any marker, any crayon, and etc. It’s your artwork! Any artist knows that drawing takes a lot of time and patience especially if you want it to look good. Accepting criticism is important because it will help you improve and become a better artist. Yes, it may hurt a bit but it will also help you a. 

Step 2: Finding the artwork you want to draw 

Before you start drawing, you have to know specifically what you want to draw. The best places to find inspiration are Pinterest and Google. On Pinterest, you can find things to draw like buildings, objects, fictional characters or even a curated mood board to inspire you to draw something new. Browse through at their website or download the app (don’t worry it’s free!).

Step 3: Print out the picture you want

Print out the picture? Yes, print out the picture. By doing this, you can put a blank sheet of paper over the printout so you can get used to the feel of drawing. Try to keep the papers together and still so you can trace the picture perfectly. Can’t see the printed paper? Use a light source such as a lamp or your phone to see the lines on the printed paper through the paper that you are drawing on.

Step 4: Leave it how it is, color it, or draw the picture without the printed paper

BOOM! You drew your first picture! You can decide what you want to do with your first drawing. As a next step, it’s recommended to try to draw that same exact picture but without tracing the printed paper. Why? To see how well you can draw without tracing.

Here is a list of eBooks that can teach you some drawing techniques:

Search our library catalog to find more books on drawing!