How To Tuesday: Research Guides

Research guides are a great way to find library databases that best suit your research topic. There are guides for nearly every single major or minor on campus. And even if the resources listed on the research guides are overwhelming, you can set up an appointment with a librarian to help you with your research.

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to use research guides and some of their features.

  1. First, go to the library website and click on Research Guides.
Main webpage for Brookens Library

2. Select the subject most related to your research topic or course. Some of the subjects have dropdown menus for specific courses, as shown for Chemistry, or more specific subjects, as shown for Legal Studies.

Listing of Research Guides at Brookens Library

3. When you click on your subject, you’ll be taken to a guide with a list of some suggested databases and resources to help get you started on your research. Or, you can make an appointment the librarian listed on the page who can discuss with you about how to search a specific database, brainstorm keywords with you and help you find what you might be looking for.

Chem/Bio 301 Research Guide

If you have any questions, contact the library.

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!

How to Request Articles via Interlibrary Loan

Did you know that you can request articles that the library does not own through Interlibrary Loan for free? If you’ve found an article that the library does not provide access to, you can request it from another library to be sent to you if its available.

How To Place A Request

  1. Go to the library website, and select My Account. Select My ILL from the dropdown menu, and log in with your NetID and password.

2. If this is your first time requesting an article through InterLibrary Loan, you will be asked to fill out a form with your personal information and click Submit Information.

  1. To request an article, click on Article, which is located under New Request on the left side of the webpage.
  1. Fill out the necessary fields for the article you are requesting, and click Submit Request.
  1. If the article is available via InterLibrary Loan, you will receive an email with a link to the article usually within 1 to 3 business days.

If you have any questions about submitting a request, let us know.

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!

Want to Learn How to Draw?

Drawing has been present in our lives ever since we first knew how to hold a pencil. Remember when you were younger and you were in school drawing whatever you wanted to? Everyone knows that as kids we weren’t an expert in drawing and all we could draw were stick figures. Something similar to this:

Hopefully this brought back memories!

While beginner artists can draw simple and small pictures like stick figures, those at the intermediate level can take it up a notch – and anyone can get to the advanced level, all it takes is a little practice. After all, “practice makes perfect.” Today, you’ll be shown the simple steps in basic drawing.

Step 1: Getting ready 

When getting ready to draw, you need to have all of your materials, be patient, and be open to accept criticism. For the materials, it’s your choice! You can use any color/type of paper, any pencil, any marker, any crayon, and etc. It’s your artwork! Any artist knows that drawing takes a lot of time and patience especially if you want it to look good. Accepting criticism is important because it will help you improve and become a better artist. Yes, it may hurt a bit but it will also help you a. 

Step 2: Finding the artwork you want to draw 

Before you start drawing, you have to know specifically what you want to draw. The best places to find inspiration are Pinterest and Google. On Pinterest, you can find things to draw like buildings, objects, fictional characters or even a curated mood board to inspire you to draw something new. Browse through at their website or download the app (don’t worry it’s free!).

Step 3: Print out the picture you want

Print out the picture? Yes, print out the picture. By doing this, you can put a blank sheet of paper over the printout so you can get used to the feel of drawing. Try to keep the papers together and still so you can trace the picture perfectly. Can’t see the printed paper? Use a light source such as a lamp or your phone to see the lines on the printed paper through the paper that you are drawing on.

Step 4: Leave it how it is, color it, or draw the picture without the printed paper

BOOM! You drew your first picture! You can decide what you want to do with your first drawing. As a next step, it’s recommended to try to draw that same exact picture but without tracing the printed paper. Why? To see how well you can draw without tracing.

Here is a list of eBooks that can teach you some drawing techniques:

Search our library catalog to find more books on drawing!

How To Book a Research Consultation

Midterms are right around the corner, and you may find yourself faced with a research paper looming in the not too distant future. Don’t worry, our librarians are here to help!

Librarians are research experts who can help with all stage of the research process. We can help you with picking a topic, identifying search terms, navigating databases, evaluating sources and more!

Book a research consultation with one of our librarians to get one-on-one research help via Zoom.

How To Book an Online Research Consultation with a Librarian:

  1. Go to the Brookens Library website. From there, click on the pink icon titled “Research Guides.”
Brookens Library webpage
  1. You will now be on a webpage that lists different subjects that are taught at UIS. Select the one that is most related to your research topic or course.
List of Research Guides on Brookens Library webpage
  1. When you choose your subject, you will be taken to a Research Guide that lists the most recommended library databases for your subject. To the left side, you will see a button that says “Make an Appointment with [insert librarian’s name].” Click on it.
Psychology Research Guide at Brookens Library
  1. A box will pop up where you can schedule your online appointment with a librarian. Select a date/time, fill out the online form asking for some basic information about your assignment, and submit! You will automatically be booked on the librarian’s calendar.
Make an Appointment with a Librarian

If you need immediate research assistance, you can also chat with us via the chat box on the library website.

How To Check Your Library Account and Renew Materials

Welcome back to the Spring Semester! You might have checked out some books for the Winter Break and need to renew them. The SPARK Team is here to explain how to check your library account and renew books with this step-by-step guide.

To Check Your Library Account:

  1. Pull up the library website. Select “My Accounts” and choose “My Library Account” from the dropdown menu. Log in with your NetID/password when prompted.
My Account dropdown menu on the Brookens Library website

2. And this is your library account! Here you can see items that you have checked out and any late fees associated with your account. To see what books you have checked out from another I-Share libraries, select a library from the left side of the screen under “All Institutions” to see loans from that particular library.

Listing of All Institutions in Library Account sreen

To Renew Library Materials:

3. Now to renew your library materials, click on “Renew All,” and this will renew all your items from that particular library if items are renewable.

Library account screen

4. And finally, you will get a popup saying that your books have been successfully renewed.

Message that loans have been renewed on library account

Now you know how to access your library account and renew your checked out books! To learn more about how to search the library catalog, check out our online tutorials.

Stay tuned next week for another SPARK Team How To Tuesday!

Book a Research Consultation with a Librarian

If you need research assistance, book a virtual research consultation via Zoom with one of our librarians. They are available to assist you with finding scholarly articles, narrowing a research topic, brainstorming search terms, providing an overview of our databases, and more!

How to Book a Research Consultation:

  1. Pull up the library website and click on the pink Research Guides icon.
Pink Research Guides icon on library webpage

2. Next, choose the subject that best fits your research question, topic or course. In this case, we will just choose Biology.

Select subject from list of research guides

3. Then click on the Make an Appointment button under the librarian’s photo. This will start the process of making an appointment with the librarian associated with that subject. In this case, it is Stephen McMinn!

Make an Appointment button on Research Guide

4. Select the month, day. and time you are interested in. If no times work for you, email the librarian to see if there is another time that might work for both of you. Then click Confirm.

Calendar to book library appointment

5. Fill out the form with details of your research assignment, and let us know what you’d like help with. Select Confirm Appointment, and your appointment will be automatically booked on the librarian’s calendar. All consultations this semester will be done remotely.

Confirm Appointment screenshot

How To Start the Semester Off Right

It’s a brand new semester so make sure to check out our list of useful tips from Brookens Library to help you start the semester off right!

  1. Get to know your librarians and the SPARK Team.
    Acquaint yourself with our online chat box (found on the library homepage) and know that our librarians are here to help with your library questions! You’ll also see a lot of the SPARK Team – our peer research student squad – with weekly How To Tuesday videos (see below), research tips and other fun stuff on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
  1. Bookmark our What to Expect at the Library Guide.
    Find up-to-date info about library services this semester – hours, research help, requesting materials for pick up, etc. You’ll want to check our guide frequently as our services and hours may change throughout the semester.
  1. Learn how to search our new library catalog.
    We launched a new library catalog this summer, so take some time to play around with finding a book or learning how to request an item from I-Share. Check our tutorials to learn more.
  1. Explore new places on campus.
    While the library building is currently closed at the moment, check out our interactive Google Map of outside study spaces (with photos!) on campus.
  1. Relax and have fun with an eBook or eAudiobook.
    Download the free cloudLibrary app to your mobile device and browse through our collection of popular and fun reads with cloudLibrary!

How to Charge Your Device

Are you tired of coming to campus only to realize that you have forgotten your phone charger at home? No worries, Brookens has got you covered.

Located on the main floor of Brookens, we have lockers with outlets and chargers inside them so you can lock your device and leave it while you work. If you need to charge your device and have it with you, we have a variety of chargers for laptops and phones available for checkout at the front desk.

If you are sitting down and need an outlet to plug your charger into, we have portable outlets located on the main floor that can be used on a first come, first serve basis.

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s How To Tuesday from the SPARK Team.