Summer Classes and Library Resources

If you’re planning on taking summer classes at UIS, then you definitely need to check out some of the amazing resources offered by Brookens Library.  By utilizing the library to its full potential, you’ll be as successful as possible in your classes and have a great summer semester.

Librarians can help you find books, of course, but they are also great at doing research. Whether you need help deciding which databases to use or you need to identify specific search terms, the librarians at Brookens can assist you. To book an appointment with a librarian, head to the library’s website and click Research Guides. From there, you can select your subject, learn who that subject’s librarian is, and book an appointment with them.

If you just have a quick question, you can also use the Chat with a Librarian service, which is constantly monitored during the week from 10am-6pm Monday through Thursday and 10am-4pm on Friday. The chat service can be accessed from many pages on the library’ website, including the homepage.

If you’re on campus, the library is open from 10am-4pm Mondays through Fridays and 10am-6pm on Wednesdays. The library is the perfect place to study on a hot day while you’re working on your summer courses, so make sure you take advantage of it. If you’re just looking to check out some books, the library’s Grab-and-Go service operates during study hours as well. If you’re planning on coming to the library during the summer semester and you want to double check the hours, you can see them here

The library has everything you need to be successful this summer! Check out all of these awesome resources and reach out if you have any questions.

What to Do in Springfield This Summer

With the spring semester wrapped up, many students are looking forward to heading home and enjoying summer. If you’re stuck in Springfield, however, don’t worry! Even if you’ve already been to every Lincoln site, there are still plenty of amazing options to keep you busy and entertained!

Old Capitol Farmers Market
Whether you’re looking for fresh produce or baked goods, the downtown Springfield farmers market has you covered. Open on both Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8-12:30, the farmers market truly has something for everyone. I go to the farmers market nearly every week (sometimes twice a week), and I cannot recommend it enough. In my opinion, nothing is better than getting fresh and affordable fruits, vegetables, and herbs while supporting local farmers and businesses. Even if you don’t buy anything, the atmosphere is incredibly fun and vibrant.

If the outdoors appeal to you and the farmers market isn’t enough, then you definitely need to check out the trails in Springfield. If you’re a fan of either hiking or biking, then the trails are for you. Lewis Memorial is perfect for either activity, so I would definitely recommend checking it out! Even if you aren’t super active or an outdoor enthusiast, the trails in and around Springfield offer an excellent escape to nature along with great scenery.

Prairie Archives
If you’re like me, and the library kept you sane this year with their many options to access books, then you definitely need to head to Prairie Archives. Also located downtown (across from the Old State Capitol historic site), Prairie Archives is a bookstore that is completely packed with every type of book imaginable. The first time I went, I was in shock as I kept walking through the store finding more rooms that were equally as full as the ones before. With well-priced used books inside, and an even more affordable highly-discounted section outside, Prairie Archives has options for everyone. If eBooks are more your style, though, Brookens has you covered with the cloudLibrary service!

Lincoln Library
Another amazing place downtown, Springfield’s public library is, once again, a must-visit spot for readers. Those living in Springfield can get a free library card, and, even if you aren’t a Springfield resident, UIS students are eligible for a reciprocal account. I grew up going to the Lincoln Library every other week, and now, even though I have more books than I’ll ever read in a summer, I still go regularly. 

Illinois State Museum
This museum may seem simple when compared to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, but it is truly wonderful. As with the Lincoln Library, I’ve spent many hours here, so believe me when I tell you it’s definitely worth the visit. With some permanent exhibits, and some that are temporary, you’ll be able to learn something new every time you visit the ISM, even if you’ve been before. Admission is currently free, which makes this downtown spot (that’s close to the Capitol if you haven’t seen it yet) the perfect way to spend an afternoon. 

If you’re looking for something good to eat, and don’t want to cook yourself with one of Brookens cookbooks, then you should definitely check out some local spots. My favorite restaurant in Springfield is Mario’s, so if you’re in the mood for pizza or Italian, you should definitely head there. For sandwiches, Head West is always an excellent option, but Monty’s is  great too! ( Don’t worry – you’ll have amazing food at whichever sandwich shop you choose.) For breakfast, you have to go to Charlie Parker’s Diner for the best (and biggest) pancakes in town.

If you’ll be in Springfield this summer and are worried about how you’re going to stay busy, don’t panic! Springfield has plenty to offer all year long, so you’ll be able to enjoy the warm weather and your break from school without succumbing to boredom.

Post-Finals Book Recommendations

Trying to decide what to do with your free time after you finish finals? Lucky for you, Brookens has some amazing books available on cloudLibrary to keep you entertained and busy this summer.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Regarded by many as a hilarious account of the life of a World War II antihero, Catch 22 has been adapted on film and screen many times, giving you the perfect opportunity to stay busy.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians has been showered with positive reviews, and, if you love it, there are two sequels to follow-up with!

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson
According to the New York Times, I Think I Love You “combines effervescence with earnestness, [and is] a finely tuned sense of absurdity with nostalgia, satiric wit with genuine warmth.”

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
After I read Last Night, I had only one thought: this book is truly incredible. Focused on two girls falling in love in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red Scare, this book has it all – romance, history, and more.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This novel is kind of intense, but amazing nonetheless. If you’re looking for a book you can completely escape into, then Little Fires Everywhere is perfect for you.

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
This book combines both wisdom and humor to create a truly engaging reading experience.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, the Serial Killer is dark, but funny nevertheless. Filled with sarcasm and wit, this book will easily pique your interest and keep you entertained.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Red, White & Royal Blue is another truly wonderful book. Seriously. This novel had me laughing and crying, and left me desperately wanting more.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Yes it’s a teen novel, but Simon is really enjoyable! With well-thought-out characters who are easy to love, this book brought me so much joy.

Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Described as “oddly compelling,” “morbidly fascinating,” and “shockingly hilarious,” Stiff fascinatingly accounts the world of human cadavers.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Funny, intellectual, weird, and creative – The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is crafted perfectly and is an absolute joy to read.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Sweetly focusing on friendships and romance, this novel perfectly balances hilarious moments with ones that will definitely make you cry.

The Martian by Andy Weir
The Martian is one of my all-time favorite books. Expertly jumping between serious moments and humor, I desperately wish I could experience reading this for the first time again.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal
With many amazing reviews, this book is a “charming and thoughtful story that illuminates the bonds of family, sisterhood, and heritage that tether us despite our differences.”

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang
The Wangs is a funny and charming family story that a reader can be easily immersed in. It’s a wonderful book that will leave you emotional.

As summer approaches, don’t forget about Brookens and our amazing resources. The cloudLibrary service has some of the best books that can keep you entertained for hours.

Your Guide to Frequently Used Library Terms

Do you want to take advantage of the resources Brookens Library has for students? Does the confusing jargon used at the library confuse you? If so, then we have some help for you! We’ve outlined some terms below that will allow you to succeed at the library in everything you do!

Call number – a group of letters and/or numbers that identifies a specific item and provides a way to locate physical books in the library

Database – a collection of information stored electronically

Peer review – a process where experts in a field review books or articles submitted for publication by the experts’ peers

I-share – a library system that provides participating libraries with a merged catalog of the holdings of all I-Share libraries and supports resource sharing among participating libraries

Catalog – a database listing and describing the materials held by a library

Interlibrary loan – a service that allows you to borrow materials from other libraries through your own library

If the idea of entering a library freaks you out, don’t stress! The library was made for students, so you should never worry about feeling out of place. Please feel free to ask librarians about anything and everything that worries you! They know all the tricky terms that can come up and are more than happy to help with whatever you need. If you have any questions, you can use our “Chat with a Librarian” service or schedule an appointment with a librarian!

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!

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!