Renovation 1 Year Anniversary

Our main floor renovation is officially 1 year old today! To celebrate, we’re taking a stroll through memory lane and looking back at some photos of the main level of the library.

Here are a few photos prior to the renovation. There were book stacks everywhere, twice as many computer stations, and an abundance of red carpet. As you can see it lacked light, and was very cramped. It was far from an ideal study environment for students and didn’t have any space for student engagement.

We closed the floor at the end of the Spring 2017 semester. Renovation started with carpet removal. With the space cleared out, it was immediately apparent just how vast the main floor could be once opened up. It provided ample room for us to rearrange existing furniture and build a very much needed dedicated library learning space.

On October 15, 2018 we re-opened the floor and welcomed students back to their new library. Library Dean, Pattie Piotrowski remembers that “students immediately came in and reclaimed the space. They settled in to study right away. They were so comfortable, it was if it had never been closed.”

Now spacious and light, the main floor is a welcoming environment for our students to meet, collaborate, and study. The new Library Learning Center provides a space for information literacy instruction, training, workshops, and much more.

Without photos it’s hard to remember what the space looked like before the renovation. It is a space so transformed that it bears no resemblance to its past self. Watching students own this space and truly make it their own over the last year has been an absolute joy. It truly is the space that our students deserve.

Open Access Week Activities 10/21 – 10/25

This year, Open Access Week is from October 21 – 27, 2019.

Open Access Week is an annual scholarly communication event focusing on open access and related topics.  This week is celebrated with a number of workshops, seminars, etc.  The full schedule of events held this year around the globe may be found at their website:

Brookens Library will be hosting two events next week.

“Open for Students and Educators: Open Educational Resources Level the Playing Field” Webinar
Tuesday, October 22, 1pm – 2pm, Brookens Library Learning Center (230A)

The Library will host the first event, a webinar led by Sara Rachel Benson at UIUC and sponsored by the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) on Open Educational Resources (OER). A description of this webinar is as follows:

Open educational resources (OERs) are not usually a hard sell for students. But what about educators? How do they benefit from having access to resources that are licensed openly? And how can we, as librarians, guide faculty in adopting and adapting OERs? This free webcast will cover essential OER questions and topics, including:

  • What does OER mean?
  • How is OER helpful not only to students, but to educators as well?
  • Locating and adapting OER (or how to interpret Creative Commons licensing attached to OERs)

Speaker: Sara Rachel Benson, Copyright Librarian and Assistant Professor in the Scholarly Communication and Publishing Unit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Open Textbooks, the Open Textbook Network & Finding Alternate Free Textbooks
Wednesday, October 23, noon – 1pm, Brookens Library Learning Center (BRK 230A)

The Director of Collections and Scholarly Communications, Stephen McMinn, will follow up with a session on Open Textbooks, the Open Textbook Network, and finding alternate free textbooks in your discipline. 

For more information on these events or other Scholarly Communications or Open Educational Resources (OER) contact your subject librarian or Stephen McMinn (

Meet the Team: Venky

Name: Shrivyankatesh “Venky”

Major: Computer Science

Status: Graduate Student

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?   Never makes me feel alone. There are many events where I can go and mix with people. There are many events organized by different organizations like ISF, ISS etc which are fun to attend. The environment at the workplace is cheerful which kinda keeps me happy.

What are your goals for the semester? One of the important goals for this semester is to get good grades. I am planning to take some online courses and practice some of the coding languages. Another goal for me in this semester is to maintain proper diet and eat healthy food and work-out everyday.

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? H.F.Y.: Have Faith in Yourself. This is the title I would like to give my TV show. There were many times in my life when I was feeling very low and thought I would never be able to achieve anything. As a life of a stammerer it was quite hard to speak with anyone else and I never thought of speaking in front of public. Sometimes even to say a single word would take me like 5 mins. But somewhere I had faith in myself and I kept on saying to myself ” There are great things for me; And I would never give up on me!” Eventually after struggling a lot and taking some gutsy decisions I was able to turn the tables. During my undergraduate I became the President of department, where I had to speak with the higher officials, deans, etc. and sometimes even gave presentations to groups of people about 30 to 100. I had faith in myself and never allowed my stammering to get in my way to achieve something.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies? Yes I am currently the Secretary of SOFA and an active member of Society of Advancement of Management. I am planning to join some more student organization which would help me to improve my inter-personal skills. I am not that active in sports, but every evening I go to TRAC for a daily work-out, where sometimes me and my friends play with some random international students. This helps me make new friends and get to know people from different regions.

What have you learned since working at the library? I was able to hone my inter-personal skills, communications skills. Got to learn about the work culture. I was able to improve my research skills while searching things for the patrons.

What are your post-graduation plans? I would love to work in the field of security; which I like. For a few years I would like to work in a Multi-National Company and then I would like to give and crack the exam for cyber security officer and work as a ‘Cyber Police’. In this way, I would be able to have the experience of the corporate world and also be able to serve government.

What is your favorite item from the library collection? First of all I would like to mention about how great the concept of ‘Library of things’ is!!! It’s my first time where I came across such a feature of a library. It’s really nice to have all the day-to-day things like umbrellas, cook-ware, cameras and many more things to rent. My favorite things are the cook-ware.

Meet the Team: Shihan

Name: Shihan

Major: Computer Science

Status: Senior

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?   The all-english environment helps me improve my English ability and the diverse culture has changed many stereotypes for me.

What are your goals for the semester? My goal this semester is to get an A in every course. Be able to complete the application for graduate study before December. Then I hope I can arrange the time for work, study and entertainment reasonably.

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? I would call it: environmental impact capability. Because I am an international student, my English has improved a lot during my three years studying in America. That’s more progress than I’ve made in 10 years of studying in China. Because we have an all-english environment in the United States, it makes a big difference. The second is that the United States has a diverse culture, which leads me to have an inclusive world view.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies? I am very interested in music, because I learned piano, electronic organ and vocal music when I was a child. I also learned guitar at UIS. So I’m very sensitive to the instruments used in music. In daily life, I also like to read some pop music history, just like listening to a story.

What have you learned since working at the library? Working in the library, I learned some communication skills. But the most important thing is good communication, dare to express their own opinions. I’m still studying hard about it.

What are your post-graduation plans? I plan to graduate in the spring of 2020 with a bachelor’s degree. I’m going to apply for graduate study this semester. Because master degree is very important to determine the future, so I am in a very nervous preparation.

What is your favorite item from the library collection? My favorite thing from the library of things are the Cameras.

Meet the Team: Precious

Name: Precious

Major: Computer Science

Status: Senior

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?   My favorite thing about being a student is the variety of opportunities on/off campus. It could be organizations, jobs, or events. There’s always something going on somewhere.

What are your goals for the semester? To improve my coding skills with Java, C, and C++. Do well in my classes.

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? It would be called “The Precious Smith Show”, similar to the Bernie Mac Show. You get to see my interaction and experiences with school/home and those around me. Not sure how interested people would be in my bad joke commentary though…

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies? I am involved in Computer Science Club and Black Student Union

What have you learned since working at the library? I have learned a lot about how the library operates and just how many people it takes. Each department of the library is a crucial part of ensuring an amazing student experience upon entering Brookens.

What are your post-graduation plans? I hope to find either find a residency, job, or internship somewhere in the midwest. If I am not able to find one, I plan to attend graduate school for my masters degree.

What is your favorite item from the library collection? My favorite thing from the library of things are the Canon Cameras.

The U.S. Constitution and John Tinker

The U.S. Constitution:  In celebration of this preeminent document, there will be an ECCE event on September 12th that will include John Tinker, who was one of two plaintiffs in the groundbreaking 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case Tinker vs. Des Moines School District. Tinker was suspended from his high school for wearing an armband intended to make a political statement about the Vietnam War. He sued, and the resulting Supreme Court decision established the landmark principle that students (even minors) have the right to free speech within school walls.  Mr. Tinker will be speaking on September 12th at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. Free pocket Constitutions will be available outside Brookens Auditorium prior to the event.  On September 17th, Constitution Day, Brookens Library will provide pocket Constitutions to all who enter the library and while supplies last. 

For more on free speech and 1st amendment, see Intellectual Freedom News, which is published weekly by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.  There you will find a weekly digest of recently published articles on these topics as well as others.   

How much do you know about the U.S. Constitution?  See if you can answer any of the following questions: 

  • Who was called the “Sage of the Constitutional Convention”? 
  • Who was called the “Father of the Constitution”? 
  • Was Thomas Jefferson a member of the Constitutional Convention? 
  • How did Thomas Jefferson impact the framing of the Constitution? 
  • How long did it take to frame the Constitution? 
  • What cities have been the capitals of the United States Government?  
  • What is the source of the philosophy found in the Constitution? 

Stumped? See the answers to these and other questions on the National Archives website

Brookens Library is proud to be a member of the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program.  As such, we are able to provide easy access to an abundance of government information.  You can find information from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Register, the U.S. Code, Congressional Record, United States Courts Opinions, Department of Education and so much more. See the library’s research guide on government information at:  The library has numerous resources related to the law including specialized databases like HeinOnline, WestlawNext & News, and Nexis Uni  as well as organized access to a variety of finding legal aids:

Contact the library for more information.  

How to Request Items

How-To Tuesdays are back with the new semester to give you a quick refresher on all things Brookens after your summer break!

This week Taylor can’t find the obscure book she wants at Brookens. How will she survive? With I-Share, of course!

See a book that you would like to request for pickup at Brookens Library? This brief tutorial will show you how to request items from I-Share libraries and have them sent to you!

If you have any questions, contact the library main desk and someone will help you.