National Library Week: Renovation!

As National Library Week comes to a close, I’m excited to be sharing the news with the UIS community of the revitalization of the 2nd Floor of Brookens Library this summer. Brookens Library has done admirable work in responding to the changing needs and expectations of 21st century learners and scholars. In recent years the library staff has enhanced services, updated spaces, and preserved, maintained and enriched collections, but through all of the technological, instructional, and intellectual improvements, there is still more to be done. With the opening of the new Student Union across the Quad, it was time for the library to freshen its look and re-engage its role in supporting and shaping the research of students and faculty at UIS. As the first permanent structure on campus, Brookens Library’s identity remains rooted as a critical resource for its many patron groups, and it should reflect the quality of education and the achievements of faculty and students that reinforce the reputation of UIS.

 Our plans will temporarily disrupt current services and impact how library spaces are used, but our plan is both ambitious and transformative. With the support of the Chancellor, Brookens Library will be re-carpeting the 2nd Floor, replacing the main service desk, and constructing a new classroom space. Of course along with construction, comes the de-construction phase so the 2nd Floor will be inaccessible to patrons starting right after Finals end in Mid-May. Collections currently on the 2nd Floor will be temporarily relocated, and all collections will remain accessible on the 1st, 3rd and 4th floors of the library.

 Our service point for checking out items or asking for information will be in the MacDonald Lounge on the 1st Floor, a space formerly occupied by the Stars Lounge/Mary Jane’s cafe. If you’re not already using our Cloud Library ebook service that allows you to check out and read books online without ever having to visit the library, now would be a good time to try it out.  You can get more information on how to use Cloud Library here or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us or stop by.

 At Brookens Library we want to provide collections and spaces that inspire and support research, enrich student learning and success, and improve the overall library experience of our users.


Welcome Students

Pattie Piotrowski, University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services
Pattie Piotrowski, University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services

Welcome to Brookens Library and UIS for the 2017-18 academic year! I am Pattie Piotrowski, University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services, and whether you are a returning, familiar face, or are new to campus, I want to extend a warm welcome and open invitation to students, faculty, and staff to visit Brookens Library. Brookens Library provides comfortable spaces for group or individual study, services ranging from research consultations to interlibrary loan, and collections that are located within the library, and online for easy access from off-campus.

I encourage you to explore our web page and find just what we have for you, or contact us by stopping by or by online, and we can work with you to write a great research paper, help track down that hard-to-find piece of research, or provide access to research you need. You’ll find new resources, new collections and research assistance featured on Research Guides.

In the library, we’ve added a few new items: faster computers and colorful task chairs on all levels, collaborative work stations with monitors for easy group work, and new lockers where you can securely charge your laptop, tablet, or phone. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the events and activities we hold, including fall campus traditions such as The Friends Book Sale in September and the Haunted Library in October. There’s also newer traditions to watch for, such as a Cereal Bar during Finals Week

I hope to see you at Brookens Library or on campus, but feel free to reach out any time and let me know how we’re doing or what else Brookens Library can do to assist in your success. Best to you all.

Welcome from Dean Piotrowski

Pattie Piotrowski 1webHello, and welcome to the 2016 Fall semester at UIS! I am Pattie Piotrowski and as new University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services I want to warmly welcome students, staff and faculty to visit Brookens Library. Brookens Library has something for everyone, from research tools and materials to collections of popular DVDs and ebooks (we even have Kindle Fires you can borrow as well!) In addition to our own collections, we provide interlibrary loan services, so we can get you what you need. Beyond collections and tools, we have a great staff of librarians who can meet with you and make sure you’re on the right research track, or even help you with that final piece of the research puzzle. Schedule a consultation for you or your study group and let us help you reach academic success.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on the events and activities we hold, including what has come to be a campus tradition – the Haunted Library – held this year on October 21. Brookens Library will be at the Campus Involvement Fair on August 24th from 4:00-6:00 pm. Stop by our table and ask us anything, absolutely anything, you want to know about Brookens and start down the path to being an academic star with Brookens Library.

All the best to new and returning students and remember: it’s not good luck that gets you good grades, it’s good library assistance! If you see me on campus, let me know how Brookens Library can best help you.

MARCH Chosen “One Book, One UIS” for 2015/2016

MARCH Chosen “One Book, One UIS” for 2015/2016

March Book One  - One Book, One UIS 2015 March Book One - One Book One UIS 2015MARCH, a graphic memoir about the life of civil rights icon John Lewis, has been chosen by the One Book, One UIS Planning Committee as the campus community read for the 2015/2016 academic year.   Congressman Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin and Illustrator Nate Powell have agreed to speak at UIS. Their presentation will be on Monday, October 19 at 7:00 in Sangamon Auditorium.
John Lewis has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 1986, representing the Georgia 5th District.  Born the son of sharecroppers in Pike County, Alabama, Lewis became a civil rights activist while a student at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, organizing sit-ins and participating in freedom rides.  From 1963-1966, Lewis chaired the Student Nonviolent Organizing Committee (SNCC) of which he was a founder.

The title of the book MARCH comes from the many marches that Lewis organized or participated in, including one of the most well-remembered moments in civil rights history—the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.  Lewis was one of the organizers of the march, which drew nationwide attention when the non-violent marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers.  Many historians believe that the images of cruelty from the Selma march were a factor in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Over the years, Lewis has received many prestigious awards, including the Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian honor) and the only John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award ever granted by the John F. Kennedy Foundation.  He has recently been named as the recipient of the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government given each year by the Institute of Government and Public Affairs of the University of Illinois.  A ceremony to present the award to Congressman Lewis, hosted by Senator Dick Durbin, will be held on April 29 in Washington, DC.

MARCH is planned as a three-volume trilogy.  At UIS, we will be reading volumes one and two.  MARCH: Book One has received numerous awards, including a 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award and an ALA Notable Children’s Book designation.  It was also named a “Top Ten Graphic Novel for Teens” by the Young Adults Library Services Association (YALSA) of ALA and made the “best books of 2013” lists of USA Today, The Washington Post, Slate and others.  MARCH: Book Two has just been published and has already garnered a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

Should you wish to include MARCH in a course during the 2015/2016 academic year, please contact Karen Moranski at or 217-206-7440; or Kimberly Craig at or 217-206-6245.  For any other information about the 2015/2016 choice please contact Janelle Gurnsey in the Brookens Library: or 217-206-8451.  We will release information about additional programming as it is planned.  For more information about the One Book, One UIS program, including selection criteria, please see:

What We’re Reading – Dean Treadwell

Brookens Library has started a new blog series “What We’re Reading”, a behind-the-scenes look into what our staff is actually reading on their own. We were inspired by the success of our “What We’re Wearing” Facebook series which documents the instances when staff members at the library dress alike without planning it. While “What We’re Wearing” is designed for entertainment purposes, “What We’re Reading” can serve a way for our staff to highlight a variety of books, audio books, or e-books you might find enjoyable. This series will post every Tuesday on the “What’s New at Brookens” Blog. The Dean of Brookens Library, Jane Treadwell, introduces the series with her pick for “What We’re Reading”. Enjoy!

1.)  What are you reading?  I’ve just finished re-reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.  I led a discussion of the book for my book group a couple of weeks ago and on October 3 I’ll be leading a discussion of  the book here at UIS as the last of three book discussions in connection with One Book One UIS.

2.) How did you make your selection?  Behind the Beautiful Forevers was selected by the committee that planned ONE BOOK, ONE UIS.  We wanted a book that UIS students, faculty andm staff would find accessible and relevant—one that faculty would want their students to read, one that fit the criteria for an ECCE lecture, and one that featured excellent writing, whether fiction or non-fiction.  Behind the Beautiful Forevers, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2012 and has since garnered many more prizes, fit our criteria on many levels.

3.) Describe the book in 20 words or less using your own words.  Engaging, eye-opening, empathetic yet unsentimental narrative of the real lives of some residents of a Mumbai slum; globalization at the personal level

4.) What did you like? I loved the writing—the book reads like a novel.  It caused me to reconsider some of my assumptions and gave me insight into how the effects of globalization reach each level of a society.  It also led me to consider the complexities of Indian society that work against change.

What didn’t you like? It is hard to read the book and not be upset about the injustice that the featured people in the book either encounter or are complicit in.

5.) Who would you recommend should read this?  I think anyone who wants to understand 21st century India should read this, but beyond that, anyone who cares about the plight of disadvantaged people anywhere in the world, including here in the United States.  And, for literary types—anyone who is interested in narrative non-fiction.  It is the best book I’ve ever read in that category.

A Welcome From Dean Treadwell

Welcome back to UIS and to the Brookens Library!  Whether you’re on campus or online, the Library is here to help you with your research needs as well as your reading and viewing needs when you have some down time.  If you haven’t participated in one of our iPad tours, I recommend that you try one—they are both educational and fun.  Sign Up For One Now  (We have “tours” for online students, too.)

For those of you who’ve been away for the summer, you’ll notice some changes in Brookens.  We’ve opened up more space on level two for studying and we have new green chairs at many of the computers.  We are adding to the Feature Film collection and will be giving it a more prominent location.  Also, it’s now going to be in alphabetical order—no more struggling with Library of Congress call numbers when you want to find a favorite movie!

We are also adding more titles to the audio collection, and soon we will be introducing the Mango language learning system for those of you who want to brush up on a language before going on a study abroad semester, or just because you’re interested in a particular language.  For our international students, we are building a small collection of titles in your own languages.  We will be announcing more details about Mango and the international reading collection shortly.

You may notice that some of the signs have changed on level two—we hope that they make it easier to find the service point that you need.  As always, Brookens librarians are ready to assist you!  We hope that you will ttyl—talk to your librarian—in the library, through email or chat, or by arranging for a research consultation.

The library is very proud to be a sponsor of One Book One UIS, featuring Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, who will be coming to speak at UIS on October 7.  For all of the details about One Book One UIS, see the web site

Have a wonderful semester!

Jane Treadwell

University Librarian and Dean of the Library

Remembering Don Springer

Remembering Don Springer 1938 – 2013

Donald Donner Springer, who passed away on January 24, 2013, had a special relationship with the Brookens Library.  Since 2003, Mr. Springer had been donating historical financial instruments to the Brookens Library Archives.  Many of these documents, including bonds, stock certificates, and treasury notes, are associated with prominent events and persons in financial history and feature colorful engravings.

Some of the items include: a 1782 bond issued by France’s King Louis XVI, secured by taxes on alcohol and salt, which were bitterly resented by the common people and contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution; a 1967 check signed by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty; a 1777 Massachusetts treasury note, printed by Paul Revere and issued to finance the state’s operations during the American Revolution; and an elaborately engraved 1758 certficate for stock in the Royal Trade Company of Barcelona.


In 2008, Mr. Springer and his brother, William Springer, donated to the Library’s Special Collections an extensive collection relating to the family of George Donner, who left Sangamon County, Illinois in 1846, leading a party of emigrants (the ill-fated “Donner Party”) to California.


Don Springer was passionate about these collections, and we in the Brookens Library felt very fortunate not only to have received these two extraordinary collections, but also to have gotten to know Don Springer.

Mary Jane MacDonald

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Mary Jane MacDonald, the first professional librarian hired by Sangamon State University,  passed away on Monday, March 1, 2010.  Ms. MacDonald began work at Sangamon State as an assistant librarian on February 1, 1970 and retired in 1989.  However, like many emeritus faculty, she found it difficult to leave completely, and kept coming back to the library to help out for another decade after her retirement.  A member of the Library Instructional Services faculty, Ms. MacDonald achieved near legendary status for her skill as a reference librarian.  Reflecting the esteem in which she was held by the Brookens Library and on the UIS campus, the lounge on level one of the library was named in her honor.  Recently, the MacDonald Lounge was renamed Mary Jane’s Café when it was transformed into the library coffee shop.

Mary Jane MacDonald was a Springfield native who earned three degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, including a library science degree in 1948.  She held a number of interesting library positions before coming to Sangamon State, including a first job at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, one of the nation’s great public libraries.  After her retirement, Ms. MacDonald volunteered with the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, bringing her keen organizational skills to that important project.

Sometimes one encounters a person who seems to embody the best of a profession.  For librarianship, Mary Jane MacDonald was such a person—she was the essence of a good librarian.

Today is Snapshot Day at Brookens

Today is Snapshot Day in libraries of all types across Illinois, including the Brookens Library at UIS. Two libraries that won’t be included, however, are the recently shuttered West and Southeast branches of Lincoln Library, Springfield’s Public Library. The editorial in today’s State Journal-Register laments the way that the public library has been slowly dismantled over the years, so that a once thriving asset for the community has been reduced to the main branch that is only open 53 hours per week.
Many of us in the UIS community are also citizens of Springfield. If we value libraries, it’s time to speak up.