New Philadelphia Exhibit & ECCE Talk

Please join Brookens Library in welcoming Gerald McWorter and Kate Williams-McWorter on November 5th at 6pm in the Student Union Ballroom for their ECCE Speaker Series presentation, “Free Frank’s New Philadelphia, Illinois: First U.S. Town Founded by a Black Man.”   

We will learn of the personal history and living legacy of Free Frank McWorter, who founded New Philadelphia, an abolitionist town just 20 miles from slavery, and purchased 16 family members from slavery, starting with his pregnant wife and then himself. Gerald McWorter & Kate Williams-McWorter will discuss their recent publication, “New Philadelphia” (2018). Gerald McWorter is the great-great-grandson of “Free” Frank. New Philadelphia was inhabited for more than 100 years. Its location is now on the National Register of Historic Places and under consideration to become a designated National Park.  As Barack Obama said, “New Philadelphia is a site of national importance as the first town known to be founded and platted by an African American. Platted in 1836 by Frank McWorter, a former slave, New Philadelphia thrived as a biracial community during a period of extreme racial tension.” Against all odds, this is an important story of community creation and family unification.

In conjunction with this talk, Brookens Library will have a traveling exhibit on display provided by the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum from October 21st through November 18th

We hope to see you in the library and at the talk on November 5th at 6pm. 

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.  

Constitution Day September 17: Special Event

Celebrate Constitution Day with Brookens Library & ECCE on Monday, September 17th. Faculty in the Library Instructional Services Program have partnered with UIS’ Legal Studies Department and the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office of Intellectual Freedom to present an ECCE Speaker event with a focus on freedoms enshrined in the US Constitution.

Our panel guests for Contemporary Attacks on American Constitutional Freedom: Hate Speech, Political Speech, and the Right to Privacy will include James LaRue, Director of the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom and Professors Deborah Anthony & Eugene McCarthy from Legal Studies.

Join us for what is sure to be a highly informative panel presentation followed by a lively question and answer period. Refreshments will be served following the Q&A and will also offer an opportunity for direct conversation with our panel guests.

The first 50 audience members to arrive in Brookens Auditorium for the talk will receive a pocket Constitution!

What:   ECCE Speaker Series: Contemporary Attacks on American Constitutional Freedom: Hate Speech, Political Speech, and the Right to Privacy

When: Monday, September 17th, 6:00 pm

Where: Brookens Auditorium

Brookens Library is proud to be an official depository of the Federal Depository Library Program. We can assist in locating and accessing federal government information. In addition, we can assist with accessing state government information.

For direct exploration of many of our government information resources see: Government Information

Related Library Research Guides:

Legal Studies:

Political Science:

For further information please contact Pamela M. Salela at: or Sally LaJoie at

Katherine Boo Coming to UIS April 1st!

Katherine Boo, author of “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” the 2012 National Book Award recipient will be coming to the University of Illinois Springfield for a lecture and book discussion.

Event Details:

Tuesday, April 1st

7:00 pm

Brookens Auditorium

Free & open to the public

Book signing will immediately follow.

Katherine Boo Lecture at the University of Illinois Springfield 4/1/2014