How to Celebrate the Best Thanksgiving

Celebrating Thanksgiving with help from Brookens Library graphic

For students who are planning to stay on campus for Thanksgiving or for those getting ready to host a Friendsgiving celebration, the thought of cooking and preparing food can definitely be intimidating. Whether you’re experienced in the kitchen or a beginner, Brookens Library has tips and tools that can help you have a successful and stress-free Thanksgiving!

Tools in the Library of Things

The Library of Things has a variety of items, including games (that are great for some after-dinner entertainment!), technology, home, and kitchen items! For college students on a budget who may not be able to afford some pricier kitchen essentials, the library has an ice cream maker, waffle maker, immersion blender, and more that can be checked out for seven days at a time.

Cooking can definitely be intimidating for those who don’t have a lot of experience with it. Even more intimidating, however, is cooking for a crowd on Thanksgiving when everyone expects perfection. If you’re slightly (or very) worried about the dishes you’re going to prepare for the holiday, then check out some of these suggested recipes.



Side dishes


Hopefully these tips can help you have a successful Thanksgiving on or off campus! If you’re looking for even more recipes, Brookens has many cookbooks that are available both in-person and online. Happy Thanksgiving!

Board Games for the Holidays

It’s November, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Many people think that Thanksgiving is about the history of the holiday, and some may think that it’s about the delicious food that is being prepared, but it’s actually about giving thanks and family. This national holiday is the perfect time to play board games with family or friends.

Board games are available to borrow from our Library of Things collection. You can check out a maximum of 3 items from the collection at a time, they can be checked out for 7 days at a time.

Our games cover a wide variety of game categories. Below are some recommended games to play from our collection.

Classic (Well-Known):

Family Friendly (Great for Family Game Night!):

Party (Play with a Group of Friends):

Strategic (Challenging Games):

If you enjoy these recommended games, feel free to check out our other Library of Things games!

Have a recommendation for a game we should add? Suggest a game via our suggestion form.

12 Movies for a Cuddle Night

Cuddle Season has arrived!

As the weather is getting colder, it’s time to cuddle up and watch a movie. Grab your partner, some popcorn, and a blanket then snuggle up and watch one of the twelve movies below. Check out these featured films at Brookens Library.

These classic films are perfect to watch with your significant other:
The Notebook
Romeo and Juliet
The Great Gatsby

These films are great to stay in and chill for the night:
Love & Basketball
Sleepless in Seattle
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

These films are excellent for a good, romantic laugh:
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
27 Dresses
Valentine’s Day
Say Anything

Need a DVD or Blu-Ray player? They are available for check out at the library main desk via our Library of Things collection.

Cocoa and Coloring on 11/10

Looking for a fun, relaxing activity or free refreshments (or a free car scraper)? Come to Brookens Library from 5:30-8:30pm on Wednesday, November 10th to color your stress away and sip some hot chocolate.

We’ll have a variety of coloring pages, and we’ll be giving away free car scrapers to prepare for winter. Coloring pages, art supplies (markers, crayons, and colored pencils), free hot chocolate, and car scrapers will be provided for those who attend. If you’re interested in crafts, or are just looking for something to do with your friends, then this event is perfect for you!

National Author’s Day

What is National Author’s Day?

National Author’s Day is celebrated on the 1st of November, honoring one’s favorite authors and encouraging those who aspire to become an author. Whether we are avid readers or not, the author has likely impacted you through movie adaptations or various art mediums. 

Movie Adaptations and their Importance  

The Hunger Games trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, Persepolis written by Marjane Satrapi, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen are all books that have had great cultural impact, in addition to film adaptations. The authors of these stories have led to discussions of social issues that are necessary to discuss. Because of these brilliant minds, we not only gain these iconic books but also influential movies! 

Notable Authors You Can Find at Brookens Library 

Nourishing the Writer in You

In addition to reading about your favorite authors and catching up on their best-sellers, you can nourish the writer inside of you! Whether you wish to improve your literary techniques or simply polish your grammar skills, you can check out these helpful books at the Brookens Library!

Thousands of eBooks Newly Available

Brookens Library is participating in a collaborative eBook Program with other members of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI). In March 2021, the CARLI Board approved a proposal to issue a call for crowdfunding for a FY22 CARLI eBook program to purchase a collection of eBooks that are available to all CARLI members, not just the purchasing institution. In addition, contributing member libraries can continue to purchase items that are available in the I-Share online catalog.

Through a renewal of this agreement, you now have access to 23,000+ Wiley Online Book until June 2022. A listing of the titles available for UIS and CARLI members through the Wiley site can be found here. This include all subjects, as well as all years available within the Wiley Online Library. All titles have unlimited access for CARLI members through June 30, 2022 and may be used as course materials or for course reserves. Direct links may be embedded into course management systems. In fact, staff at Brookens Library are aware of at least one eBook in the package that is a current course textbook.

UIS and CARLI members will have access to Oxford University Press eBooks on the Oxford Scholarship Online platform in addition to the Wiley Online Books, also until June 30, 2022.  This includes titles in nine subject areas: Biology, History, Law, Music, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Social Work, and Sociology with publication dates of 2018– June 2022. In addition, you will also have access to more than 1,600 eBook titles from Oxford University Press purchased through a program CARLI piloted in FY21. A listing of the titles from Oxford Scholarship Online can be found here. Once you select a subject collection you can limit to available items.

The advantages of purchasing eBooks collaboratively as a consortium are numerous: providing access online is equitable and inclusive, it allows limited library budgets to go further, and eBooks can be particularly useful if needed for instruction or supplemental reading. eBooks can be downloaded onto a variety of devices as well to be read at your convenience. 

Spooks, Books & Candy Chutes on 10/27

With Halloween quickly approaching, Brookens Library has a fun way for you to get in the mood. On Wednesday, October 27th from 6:30-8:30pm, the library will have an interactive candy chute where students can gather some goodies. We’ll also have some spooky and seasonal books and movies for students to check out and enjoy.

And for students who want to stay a little longer, we’ll have a Halloween-themed craft station where you make your own pumpkin or ghost garland that’ll help you keep things festive. We’ll provide you with all the supplies you need, so if you’re interested in exploring your artsy side or just looking for something fun to do with your friends, feel free to enjoy this stress-free seasonal activity!

If you’re a fan of the spooky season, love getting free candy, or are looking forward to borrowing some Halloween-themed books or movies, you should definitely come out to Brookens on the 27th!

Spooks, Books and Candy Chutes
Wednesday, October 27 at 6:30-8:30pm
Brookens Library Main Floor

Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month

LGBTQ+ History Month is a month-long celebration each October that honors the history of the LGBTQ+ community and the importance of the gay rights movement. Created in 1994, the month gives people the opportunity to learn about LGBTQ+ history and ways to help the community. Even for those who are not LGBTQ+, this celebratory month is important because it recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of a community that has been harmfully removed from history.

One way to honor LGBTQ+ history, is by celebrating and reading LGBTQ+ authors. Both historically and modernly, there are many amazing authors who are members of the community. At Brookens Library, we have some amazing options for diverse LGBTQ+ literature from a variety of different authors.

Even if you aren’t an avid reader, there are several LGBTQ+ movies you can borrow as well.

One reason why the creation and consumption of LGBTQ+ books and movies is so important is because of the significance of representation. Representation matters because people who come from different and diverse backgrounds often have unique perspectives that may not be seen otherwise. It is common for marginalized groups (the LGBTQ+ community in this case) to struggle to have their voices and opinions heard when society chooses to focus on what is considered to be standard or traditional. Oftentimes, when these diverse perspectives are hidden, others who have the same views worry that they are alone in having these thoughts or somehow wrong for thinking the way they do.

By celebrating and promoting LGBTQ+ authors and content, we’re elevating the voices of this marginalized community and providing representation for those who may not see themselves in traditional media. We are also actively showing our support for the LGBTQ+ community and creating a space where members of the community can feel welcomed and free to be themselves.

For LGBTQ+ students or allies looking for more information, Gender and Sexuality Student Services is an amazing resource!

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday meant to honor and commemorate Native Americans and their history and culture. The holiday is celebrated on the second Monday of October by hundreds of cities and counties across the United States of America. One of the first cities in Illinois to adopt the holiday officially was Oak Park, Illinois in 2017. Although Indigenous Peoples’ Day is not yet considered a national holiday, it has gained popularity in the past decade. However, there is hope that the holiday will gain even more national traction because President Joe Biden issued a presidential proclamation of the holiday on October 8, 2021. 

The Importance of Indigenous People’s Day 

Prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, millions of Native Americans resided all across North and South America. Since then, Indigenous folks have experienced centuries of trauma and tribulation. From the arrival of Columbus until the 1600s, 90% of the Indigenous population was killed due to slavery, mass genocides, and diseases. Thousands of years worth of rich history and cultures were destroyed. Today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Native Americans make up only 2.08% of the United States’ population. This is why honoring Native American stories and culture is so crucial. We must not ignore the tragedies that occurred throughout American history but rather, acknowledge the immense suffering that Native Americans have had to endure for generations. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we uplift Native American voices and educate ourselves on the history and culture that has long been forgotten. 

Honoring Native American Voices in Media 

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, take the time to learn about Native American history, culture, traditions, and individual experiences. At Brookens Library, you can take out a variety of books that focus on the perspective of Native American writers and main protagonists. You can also check out some of these books through the eBook service provided by the library – cloudLibrary

Books to Check Out: 

Learn More About How To Support

Basics of Research

Research can be overwhelming, especially for students who don’t have a lot of experience with it. Luckily, the research process can be broken down into smaller, more manageable parts that make the experience easier and less stressful.

Understand your assignment.

Trying to start your research without understanding your assignment will lead nowhere – it’s like driving to a destination without a GPS or any sense of direction. Focus on the length of your assignment, the due date, and the types of sources you’ll need to use.

Choose a topic.

If possible, choose a topic that interests you. This will make the assignment more fun, and much easier to complete. If you don’t know very much about the potential topics, then you can do a little background research to help you decide.

Figure out what information you’ll need.

Information can come from many different source types – including books, journals, newspapers, and more. Sometimes professors will require you to use either scholarly or popular sources as well. Scholarly sources can typically be characterized as works where scholars wrote peer-reviewed academic research that explores a new discovery in their field. Popular sources are intended for general audiences and have the purpose of informing, entertaining, or persuading.

Identify a research question.

This step is really helpful in narrowing down what you’re going to be searching for. It will also help add focus to your project. Consider a variety of brainstorming strategies, such as concept mapping.

Explore sources.

Brookens has access to a lot of different databases, so knowing where to start can sometimes be confusing. For general research, Academic Search Complete and Google Scholar are great places to start. For more in-depth searches, our research guides have recommended databases for many different subjects.

Start searching

You should definitely pay careful attention to your search terms. Selecting important keywords from your research question will help you get better results than if you try to search your question.

Evaluate the information you’ve found.

There are a few things to focus on when deciding if you want to use a piece of research.

  • Is the information current? (Or, is it important for you to use up-to-date information for this project?)
  • Is the research relevant? Will this information help you complete your assignment?
  • Did this come from a credible author/source?
  • Is the information accurate? (You may need to check with other research to answer this.)
  • Is this research attempting to persuade you or give you an opinion? (You may need to reconsider how you’re going to use the information after you answer this.)

Cite your sources.

Citing your sources accurately is really important in order to avoid plagiarism. The Purdue OWL is a great source for information on citations – it has great tips and goes into detail on everything you need to know for different citation styles.

If you ever have any other questions about the research process, feel free to reach out to the library for help! You can either contact a librarian for subject-specific questions, use the library’s online chat service (which can be found on the library’s homepage) for the more general questions you may have, or check our FAQs!