2022 Library Undergraduate Research Award Winners

Brookens Library and the Friends of Brookens Library are excited to announce the winners of our Eigth 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. The Friends of Brookens Library funds the $1500 in awards received by students.

The excellent projects submitted this year made the judging a challenge, but the selection committee of Holly Kent, Diana Zaleski, and John Laubersheimer were able to decide upon the winners.

This year we are honored to recognize the following students for their exceptional research:

1st Place: Taryn Christy – “Our Building is Run by Women”: Women’s Success in the Illinois Public Sector

2nd Place: Abigail High – The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bombs

3rd Place: Briana Rodriquez – Forced Labor in U.S Detention Centers: The Exploitation of Detained Immigrants Under the Guise of Voluntary Work Programs

4th Place: Blake Bergner – The Significance and Racism of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates

5th Place: Diana Ibarra – The Augmentation of Feminicides in Latin America Through Machismo

The competition was tough this year and all of our submissions were top quality research. A big congratulations for all our winners and all of our entrants!

Navigating Research Guides

Are you struggling with your research? If so, Brookens offers quite a few resources that you can use to improve your research experience! One of these amazing resources is our Research Guides.

Research Guides can be accessed from the library homepage by clicking on the pink book icon. Once you open the Research Guides, you’ll see that they’re organized by subject, which makes it easy to find exactly what you need.

What is a Research Guide?

After you select a subject, you’ll see a menu on the left side of the screen that has everything you need to know. These tabs will walk you through the research process. Each tab includes information that will help you with specific elements of your research. The “Find Sources” tab will guide you to specific resources for your subject. This includes databases, news sources, and books. If you need more assistance, the “Get Help” tab will provide you with some additional resources and places you can go for extra information. To contact the librarian who specializes in your subject, just head back to the “Welcome” tab and either email them or schedule an appointment.

Next time you find yourself stuck in the research process, just check out the Brookens Research Guides. With plenty of information to walk you through your research, you’ll be succeeding in no time!

Celebrating National Library Week

Happy National Library Week! This year, the annual celebration is taking place from April 3rd-9th, and the theme is “Connect With Your Library.” With the first National Library Week taking place in 1958, the yearly event has been celebrated in libraries across the country for decades. At Brookens this week, we’re going to be celebrating in a few different ways, so feel free to get involved!

Connect With Your Library

A theme involving connection can be interpreted in so many ways, and, in our opinion, it’s definitely important to focus on all of the possible aspects of connection! There’s definitely an element of Brookens that applies to however you interpret connection. We have technology, amazing employees and events, and various other resources and services available to students, faculty, community members, and alumni.

Celebrating at Brookens

This year, we’ll be doing quite a bit to celebrate National Library Week! Tuesday (April 5th) is National Library Workers Day, so be sure to express your gratitude to any library employees you may see then (and any other day as well!). Wednesday (April 6th) is National Library Outreach Day and you’ll definitely want to check out our Instagram for something special! We’ll also have some other special posts on our social media throughout the week and a few interactive things at the library, so keep an eye out for those as well!

Be sure to keep your favorite library in mind as you celebrate National Library Week! If you’re looking for more information on the yearly celebration, you can check out this American Library Association page!

We’re Hiring for Summer!

Are you looking for an on-campus job? The library is hiring and you can join our team starting this summer! Brookens is looking for student assistants who will provide customer service at the library’s main desk and assist in processing books and other library materials.

Necessary Qualifications to be Considered for Summer Employment

  • Registered for at least 6 credit hours in either the Spring 2022 or Fall 2022 semester
  • Able to work during the Fall 2022 semester
  • More information regarding employment eligibility is available on the Student Employment Procedures website

Application Process

  • Apply to the job in Career Connect by April 12th (you must have an approved resume to apply)
  • Complete this questionnaire
  • Applicants will be notified via email by April 19th

Peer Research Drop-In Hours

Brookens Library is now offering in-person peer research help on Sundays from 2-8pm and Tuesdays-Thursdays from 6-9pm! This drop-in help is the perfect opportunity to get immediate assistance with your research.

Some perks of the drop-in hours include:

  • Research help outside the librarians’ typical hours
  • Instant support without making an appointment
  • Opportunity to get assistance from peers who have a broad research-knowledge base
  • Easy access at the library’s main desk

Some examples of help offered at the drop in hours include:

  • Selecting and navigating databases and research guides
  • Selecting and improving search terms
  • Finding both online and in-person resources
  • Referrals to a librarian/walking you through making an appointment with a librarian
  • And much more!

Next time you’re needing some extra support with your research, stop by the main desk at Brookens on Sundays from 2-8pm and Tuesdays-Thursdays from 6-9pm to get help from your peers!

For help with more complex research questions, schedule a research appointment with a librarian.

Prep for Spring Break with Library Resources

With spring break approaching, students are finally guaranteed some free time after a busy few months. If you don’t have plans next week and are wondering what you can do to stay busy – look no further than the library!

eBooks and Audiobooks

Brookens Library has an eBook service that all UIS students can easily use! Either download the cloudLibrary app or check out the cloudLibrary website. All you need to log in is the library card number on your iCard! eBooks and eAudiobooks are perfect if you’re traveling and want a book you can easily open on your phone. There are multiple featured lists with some great recommendations if you can’t decide what to read!

Book Recommendations

For readers who are more interested in physical copies instead of eBooks, there are plenty of places to get book recommendations! When you walk into the library on the main floor, our featured book displays are across from the main desk. With several great books to choose from, the book displays are a great place to go if you don’t know what to read next. We also have a few past blog posts with some recommendations including books for people who aren’t readers, books from impactful authors, books from LGBTQ+ authors, books from Native American authors, and more!

Binge Kits

If you’re a fan of movies rather than books, don’t worry! The library’s offerings aren’t limited solely to books – we also have a substantial DVD collection along with DVD players that are available to check out. Our DVD binge kits each include three movies that have a common theme. Some popular choices that are featured this month include Romantic Academia and Recent Pixar Favorites, among several others. When you check out a binge kit (located next to the book displays, across from the main desk), you also have the opportunity to get candy and popcorn to complete your perfect movie night!

Library of Things

The library also has a Library of Things collection with some unique items for students to borrow! One of the largest components of the Library of Things is the selection of board games. With a huge range of games that can be played with as few as 2 players and as many as 10, there’s something for everyone. Some other fun Library of Things items that are available to check out for use during spring break include a sewing machine, different kitchen supplies (ranging from baking supplies to an ice cream maker), cameras, and a Sega Genesis console.

Whether you’re planning on staying in with a good book or getting together with friends to watch a movie, you can count on Brookens to have everything you need for a great spring break! Enjoy your break next week!

What is Your Ideal Bookshelf?

One of the greatest parts of reading is having the opportunity to share your love of books with others. Some people choose to do this through book clubs, while others take their opinions to popular apps like Goodreads. Another option for those who may be more artistic is creating an ideal bookshelf.

Ideal bookshelf is a term coined by artist Jane Mount, who wrote a book entitled My Ideal Bookshelf which contains many illustrations of different people’s most valued books. The shelves can feature books that had a significant impact on your life, books that changed your entire worldview, or books that you just love for no reason at all. Mount also creates commissioned art pieces for people who want to commemorate the books that hold a special place in their hearts. For those who are interested in creating their own bookshelf, Mount also has a few different templates available for free!

One of the best parts of creating and sharing ideal bookshelves is that each individual shelf is going to be vastly different from any other. Sharing your ideal bookshelf reveals interesting elements of your personality that make you and your taste in books unique, and it can also be a lot of fun seeing what books other people have in common with you! Bonding over favorite novels is one of the best ways to get to know a fellow reader.

In my opinion, it’s also just a lot of fun to create an ideal bookshelf and have the opportunity to share your favorites with others. I love talking about reading, so I’m always looking for an excuse to share my love for books in a fun and different way.

If you decide to create your own ideal bookshelf, tag us or DM us on Instagram @uislibrary!

Book Recommendations for People Who Aren’t Readers

Are you looking to get into reading, but don’t really know where to start? Do you buy books intending to read them, but never get around to it? If this sounds like you, don’t worry! There are plenty of books out there for people who may not consider themselves readers. If you’re interested in easing yourself into the pastime, then this may be the perfect place to begin!

Short Stories to Get You Started

  • 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories – This collection contains 40 short stories, all of which were carefully selected because of their ability to stand the test of time.
  • A Manual for Cleaning Women – Published years after the author’s death, this collection of stories received extensive critical acclaim when it was released in 2015.
  • Get in Trouble – These stories contain elements of fantasy, magic, and horror for those who are fans of a wide variety of genres.

Books with a Plot that Will Hook You Instantly

  • Project Hail Mary – This science fiction book immediately grabs your attention and holds it by going back and forth between flashbacks and present events.
  • Lucky Boy – Jumping between two perspectives, Lucky Boy is a heartfelt page-turner that keeps you guessing the entire time.
  • Everything I Never Told You – Full of secrets and vibrant characters, you won’t be able to put this book down while you’re reading.

Audiobooks You Can Listen to While Multitasking

  • The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters – This true story is simultaneously captivating, funny, and deeply honest.
  • Why Fish Don’t Exist – This book has elements of chaos, love, and loss and is incredibly intriguing.
  • Minor Feelings – Minor Feelings, which is highly acclaimed, offers an intimate look into the author’s relationship with her Asian-American identity.

Graphic Novels to Read if You’re Short on Time

  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me – This young adult romance has amazing illustrations and will definitely keep you entertained.
  • Special Exits – With a unique subject matter, Special Exits is a truly intriguing graphic novel that’s grounded in reality.
  • Fun Home – Nominated for several awards, Fun Home offers a perspective that’s both impactful and fascinating for all readers.

Even if reading isn’t your favorite hobby, it can still be a great way to relax or learn new things. These books will certainly get you hooked on reading and have you filling your bookshelves in no time!

Classics Retold

What makes a book a “classic?” Critical acclaim? Bestseller status? Hundreds of definitions exist that attempt to clearly explain these famous novels, but my favorite probably comes from Italo Calvino’s list of 14 definitions of a classic: “’Your’ classic is a book to which you cannot remain indifferent, and which helps you define yourself in relation or even in opposition to it.”

Despite the fact that classics are usually widely known and renowned, Calvino implies that the classification of classic novels can be subjective and differ from person-to-person. In my opinion, this shows that a book must be truly impactful to be considered a classic by many.

Because of the effects these popular books can have on people, they are often modernized and updated in order to stay relevant. One way to do this is to create adaptations of popular classic novels. Pride and Prejudice, for example, has been adapted for the stage and made into multiple movies and television shows.

While these adaptations sometimes stay true to the original work, they sometimes involve modernization or retellings. These retellings can involve parodying the original novel, updating the setting, or creating new stories for the same characters. Oftentimes, these retellings achieve popularity because they capitalize on the fame and notoriety of the original novel.

In my opinion, a retelling is most successful if it keeps specific elements of the original work – main characters, important messages, basic plotlines – the same, but changes other elements to create something new and interesting. Retellings work because they are both familiar and unique, which is achieved by retaining the best parts of the classic novel and spinning the rest into something new. Because of this successful model, retold classics are everywhere. If you have a favorite classic novel, there’s most likely a retold version of it out there.

This month and next, Brookens is highlighting a shelf of retold classics on cloudLibrary. With selections ranging from Shakespeare to Frankenstein to Wizard of Oz to Jane Austen, there’s definitely something for everyone! And, for readers who don’t consider themselves fans of the classics, these books offer fresh perspectives and new plotlines. If you’re looking for something to read this month, check out some of these ebooks and audiobooks!

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!