Library Workshop Series in Spring 2021

Your librarians are hosting a series of workshops this spring to help you build up your research skills and get to know the library a bit better. Whether you need help getting started with your research or want to upgrade your search skills to the next level, we have a little something for everyone!

Workshops will be offered multiple times throughout the spring semester. Click on the date next to the workshop title for the workshop description and to register.

You can also view all the Spring 2021 Workshops and register at this link.

Research Starter Series

Library Resources for Online StudentsFeb 10 | Feb 16 | Feb 18 | Feb 24
Finding Stuff in the Library CatalogFeb 25 | Mar 10 | Mar 16 | Mar 18
Finding Articles in Library DatabasesMar 9 | Mar 11 | Mar 17

Databases and Search Tools

InterLibrary Loan: Getting What You NeedFeb 9 | Mar 24 | Apr 27 | Apr 29
Advanced Database SearchingMar 23 | Mar 25 | Mar 31
Getting the Most Out of Google ScholarMar 30 | Apr 1 | Apr 7
Citation MagicApr 14 | Apr 20 | Apr 22

Special Research Topics

Spotting Fake NewsFeb 11 | Feb 17 | Feb 23
Statistics & Government InformationApr 6 | Apr 8 | Apr 28
Getting Started with ZoteroApr 13 | Apr 15 | Apr 21

Faculty Workshops

Open Educational Resources and Course ReservesJan 26 | Jan 28 | Feb 3 | May 4
What Brookens Library Can Do For You!Jan 27 | Feb 2 | Feb 4 | May 5

Winter Break Building Closures and Grab-and-Go

With the semester ending, the library will be switching to winter break hours.  

Monday, December 14 – Friday, December 18
During this week, library building services will include Grab-and-Go only from 12pm-4pm Monday through Friday. If you need to print or use a computer, please visit the UHB 200 computer lab. 

After Friday, December 18
After December 18, the library building, Grab-and-Go, I-Share and InterLibrary Loan services will be closed through the end of the year. During this time, online assistance will still be available. Visit our website for chat assistance, or check our FAQ page for often asked questions. And as always, library databases are available 24/7.

We anticipate that I-Share and InterLibrary Loan request services will begin on January 11th and Grab-and-Go services will start again on January 13th. These plans are subject to change due to delivery services and public health and university guidelines.

For the most up to date info on building and service hours, visit our Library Hours page.

Library Resources You Can Access From Home

Winter break is approaching, and if you’re planning on staying at home, it’s important to know how the library can continue to support you. Whether you need to access online research help for remote classes or want to stream a movie at no cost, the library can help you! You don’t have to be on campus to take advantage of everything the library has to offer, so read on to learn about the unique opportunities offered by Brookens Library.

Research Help

If you’re taking remote classes this winter, we can help you with all of your research needs. Using the Chat With a Librarian feature on the library’s website, you can have a conversation with our librarians and ask all your pertinent library questions.

Also located on the library website is the option to book a virtual appointment with a librarian. Different librarians are available that specialize in certain subjects, so you will have no problem finding help for the classes you’re taking.

You can also check out our research guides and numerous databases, and, if you’re interested, there are recommended databases for specific subjects as well.

eBooks, eAudiobooks and Streaming Movies

If the boredom of living at home is starting to drive you crazy and entertainment is what you’re looking for, the library has you covered in that regard as well. If ebooks and audiobooks are what you desire, cloudLibrary has hundreds of titles for you to choose from. Check out the UIS collection and pick a book (or two) to occupy your time.

Since reading can be slightly taxing depending on your mood, movies may be some people’s preferred mode of entertainment. Luckily, Brookens Library has taken care of that as well, and has many movies for you to stream. Even luckier, these movies are available for free on our Streaming Media Guide!

We’re Here to Help!

If your winter break is looking either busy or boring, Brookens Library is here to help! For whatever you need, the library is here for you, so make sure you utilize all of our resources to your benefit. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at the library and we’ll help you with whatever you need.

Enjoy your winter break!

Take a Break with Stress Relief Activities

Finals are finally here! You might feel overwhelmed with all types of papers, projects, studying and so much more. Don’t worry! You are not alone. Everyone needs a break every one in a while. Why not check out these FREE online stress relief activities for a stress-free study break?

Soothing and Calming:

For those of you who find looking at the stars calming, you build your own galaxy!

Here, you can create your own white noise or calming sound. This is ideal if you need to focus, but it’s also a fun place to play around.

This is just a fun “follow the mouse” visual with pretty mini lights that move with your clicks and mouse movements.


Here you can watch a ton of different livestreams, mostly of animals!

The Oddly Satisfying subreddit, which provides pictures that make you feel like at least some things are right in the world.

Artsy Distractions:

You just create sand art, and it’s intensely visually satisfying.

Turn your keyboard into a piano and make a song! You can also collaborate with others.

A lot of times, you just want to doodle.

This is another site where you can create slow-moving art just through your mouse alone.

Time Wasters:

Pop some bubble wrap!

Remember tetris? Try it! There’s something so soothing and satisfying about shapes fitting into precisely the right place.

This is just 20 questions with a computer. But the computer is REALLY smart. It’s a fun distraction to try stumping it!

This is a lot like StumbleUpon, but even more random. It brings you to super random, useless websites, but it’s a good time waster.

This is a fun little game where you basically create your own A Capella group/song.

It’s kind of like a simplified GarageBand, and it’s super intuitive.

December Movie Binge Kits

As winter break approaches, you most likely have much more free time on your hands, making it the perfect time to curl up and watch a good movie. If you’re overwhelmed with choices and tired of scrolling through Netflix, we have the solution for you. Play this month’s edition of Movie Roulette and discover a new film to occupy your time as the winter weather sets in.

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!

Below, you’ll find a list of all the movies for December. 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!

Classic Holiday Movies
A Christmas Story
Home Alone

Feel-Good Post-Finals Films
Love, Simon
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Don’t Be a Scrooge!
The Muppet Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol

A Die Hard Christmas
Die Hard
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Die Hard With a Vengeance

Movie Musicals to Cure Winter Break Boredom
Les Miserables
Into the Woods

Some Feel-Good Animated Christmas Movies
The Polar Express
The Nightmare Before Christmas

Snow Day Movies
The Revenant
The Hateful Eight

The Old Time Christmas Movies
Miracle on 34th Street
It’s a Wonderful Life
White Christmas

Blockbusters to Watch with Friends and Family
Avengers: Endgame
Jurassic World
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Cartoon Comfort Movies
Finding Nemo

So You Want to Play Dungeons and Dragons

Image of fantasy world with title of blog post

Dungeons and Dragons has been one of the most popular and iconic tabletop role-playing games for decades and has grown in popularity over the past few years due to popular broadcasts like Critical Role.

Even though D&D is traditionally a game people play together around a table, there are plenty of ways to continue playing this iconic game while social distancing, and the library has plenty of resources to make your games more exciting!

  1. Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy: Read and Gain Advantage on All Wisdom Checks. Understanding the philosophy and morality of your decisions as a Dungeon Master helps you create realistic worlds that your players will enjoy. This book gives context into some of the morality of your actions in the world of dungeons and dragons.

2. Calculator. Sometimes the math of D&D can be made a little easier when you have a calculator at your side. Especially in the late game when you might do over 100 points of damage, and you need to calculate resistances or immunities.

3. Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D. Dungeons and Dragons is a game of mystery and adventure, and even the story of how it was created holds the same intrigue. If you want to know how it all started, check out this book.

4. Voice Work: Art and Science of Changing Voices. Roleplaying may feel awkward at first when adopting a voice for your character, but when your entire group joins in, your game will feel that much more immersive. While you’re most likely not a professional voice actor like the people who play in the popular podcast Critical Role, but you don’t have to be.

5. Other Worlds: The Fantasy Genre. In D&D you can create a world inspired by anything you want; so might as well broaden your creativity by reading various works of fantasy. If this book does suit your fancy, then there are plenty of other works of fantasy that the library has to offer!

6. D&D Zoom Background. Embrace social distancing gaming and get in the mood with a D&D Zoom background.

Hopefully, these resources are enough to guide you towards a fun and fulfilling game of Dungeons and Dragons. This winter, stay inside and play some Dungeons & Dragons online with some friends and use these resources to give your game that extra spark.

We at the Library SPARK Team wish that you roll nothing but natural 20’s!

Find the Perfect Recipe with These Cookbooks

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what is the best way to get your annoying extended family to be quiet? By stuffing their face with some good food. Feast your eyes on these cookbooks!

Cover of The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook

Want to fill up on Thanksgiving dinner but want to feel healthier after gorging yourself? Check out this vegetarian cookbook.

Cover of Thug Kitchen

Thug Kitchen: eat like you give a f*ck: the official cookbook

Take your health by the reigns by giving flavorful options for vegetable dishes. Make Thanksgiving a little less traditional with recipes like roasted beer and lime cauliflower tacos.

Cover of Martha Stewart's Cooking School

Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook

Martha Stewart is an expert chef who has been helping home chefs for decades. Check out this cookbook to get some master advice that can really wow those in laws.

Cover of Learn to Cook

Learn to Cook: A Down and Dirty Guide to Cooking

Are you ready to take your diet beyond just microwave meals? Cook chiles rellanos and peach cobblers with this funny and fuss-free beginner cookbook.

The Geeky Chef Cook Book cover

The Geeky Chef Cook Book

It’s time to get your geek on in the kitchen! Make pumpkin pasties from Harry Potter and lemon cakes from Game of Thrones. Sip from a bowl of plomeek soup from Star Trek and enjoy with Peeta’s cheesy bread from The Hunger Games.

Cover of Cook Korean!

Cook Korean!

Perfect for the visual chef who wants to learn the basics of Korean cooking! This comic book with recipes will teach you everything from Korean tacos to kimchi jjigae!

EveryDayCook cover


If you like recipes with lots of pictures, here’s the cookbook for you. Make buttermilk lassi, green grape cobbler, chocapocalypse cookies, and roasted chile salsa.

Need a Zoom background for your virtual feast?

If you’re celebrating Thankgiving remotely, here’s a festive zoom background to download showing off the fruits and vegetables of fall. Download here or find your own free Zoom background.

How To Browse the Shelves Virtually

Most people enjoy browsing shelves in a library, letting their eyes wander from title to title and author to author until a book compels them to pick it up. What propels us to choose one book over another? The eye-catching cover? The intriguing title? Our familiarity with the author?

Shelf browsing has a certain appeal, but because the pandemic, it’s become more challenging to incorporate this type of discovery into your research process.

The new library catalog has a Virtual Browse Feature that can help you capture that feeling of serendipity again. This feature lets you “browse” our print books as if they were on the shelf, allowing you to locate nearby books with similar topics in the library’s collection.

How To Browse the Shelves Virtually

  1. Search for a book or topic in the library catalog search bar on the library homepage.
Typing a topic into the search bar on the Brookens Library homepage

2. Click on the title of a book to be taken to its record page. Note: The Virtual Browse feature is only available for print books; electronic books cannot be browsed in this way. Make sure to choose a book that says it is “Available at Brookens Library.”

Showing the search results for a catalog search

3. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the “Virtual Browse” section. Scroll left or right with the arrows to see the books that are on the shelf nearby. Click on a book to be taken to its record page to request that book for easy pick up with our Grab-and-Go service.

Arrow pointing to the Virtual Browsing shelf in an online book record in the library catalog

Got Library Questions? Chat with a Librarian

If you have library questions, we have the answers! It’s super easy and simple to get library help with our Chat with a Librarian service.

If you’re on the library website, all you need to do is find the “CHAT WITH A LIBRARIAN” box and type your question. A librarian will be able answer your questions or refer you to another librarian for further research help.

Chat Hours:
Sundays: 2pm-8pm
Mondays-Thursdays: 10am-10pm
Fridays: 10am-4pm

If you have a question outside of our chat hours, browse or submit your question on our Library FAQ page.