Scholarly Communications Workshop Series

The Director of Collections and Scholarly Communications, Stephen McMinn (, at the Brookens Library will be presenting a number of informative sessions on various scholarly communication topics in the Library Learning Center (BRK 230A) from Noon to 1pm on the dates below. Anyone is welcome to attend, and feel free to bring your lunch!

This Fall, most of the topics covered are related to practical advice and demonstrations of the most popular Bibliographic Management applications designed to help researchers and scholars organize their personal libraries of important articles, books, etc. as well as creating bibliographies.  The Spring sessions will cover such topics as OER (Open Educational Resources), author rights, copyright, using citation tools to determine impact of your scholarship, and related scholarly communication topics.

Scholarly Communications Lunch & Learn Workshop Series:

Overview of Bibliographic Management Tools
October 9th, Noon – 1pm, Library Learning Center (BRK 230A)

This session will demonstrate the basic features of the various bibliographic management applications (EndNote/EndNote Web, Zotero, Mendeley, etc.) as well as discuss the similarities and differences in helping choose the application right for you. Then you can attend the specific session on the tool that best meets your needs.

Open Access Week Event discussing Open Textbooks and the Open Textbook Network
October 23rd, Noon – 1pm, Library Learning Center (BRK 230A)

Open Access week is October 21st-27th (  This event will discuss Open Textbooks, the Open Textbook Network, including how to locate and use these resources in place of expensive commercial offerings saving students monies and improving educational outcomes.

EndNote and EndNote Web
November 6th, Noon – 1pm, Library Learning Center (BRK 230A)

This session will cover EndNote and EndNote Web including specifics related to getting citations into the application and demonstrate using this tool to create bibliographies and organizing the important papers related to your research and scholarship.

Zotero Bibliographic Management Tool
November 20th, Noon – 1pm, Library Learning Center (BRK 230A)

This session will cover the Zotero Bibliographic Management tool to organize your citations and create bibliographies. 

Mendeley Bibliographic Management Tool
December 4th, Noon – 1pm, Library Learning Center (BRK 230A)

The Mendeley Bibliographic Management tool was recently purchased by Elsevier and works with Scopus and other databases.  This session will demonstrate how this tool works for creating bibliographies and managing citations.

Banned Books Week

Each year Banned Books Week is honored around the world by librarians, teachers, readers, and many more supporters of the book community. Seeking to shed a light on new and historical attempts to censor books at libraries and schools, Banned Books Week is about standing in support of the right to read and the freedom of information.

Why are books challenged or banned? Well, because someone felt they present voices, content, or ideas that are dangerous and inappropriate. Examples include Where’s Waldo? being challenged due to the image of a woman sunbathing topless . . . while facedown. Or Tango Makes Three, a children’s book about a penguin with two dads that was challenged because parents may find the content distasteful.

The American Library Association maintains a large collection of information about frequently challenged books for anyone to browse and learn from. They also compile yearly statistics about censorship in libraries that have been condensed into this infographic.

Censorship by the Numbers Infographic
Censorship by the Numbers

At Brookens Library, we will be highlighting banned and challenged books in our print and digital collections, as well as spotlighting items on our social media. The library cares about your intellectual freedom and encourages you to take ownership of it. We hope you feel empowered this week to peruse some banned or challenged items at the library and to research and learn about challenges to your right to information.

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.  

Open Education Week

Open Education Week is this week and is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its goal is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.  A major component of Open Education is Open Educational Resources (OER) which are one of the few ways that faculty can help lower the cost of higher education through reducing or eliminating the cost of textbooks and other course materials.  

Here are some events this week for people interested in finding and using Open Educational Resources:  

  • All Week – Millersville University’s Center for Academic Excellence is hosting a virtual event. During the week of March 4, 2019, faculty members from a variety of departments will hold virtual sessions on different topics related to Open Education. All sessions will be offered live through Zoom and will be recorded so faculty can watch at a later time. Each session is approximately 30 minutes in length. Recorded sessions will be posted to MU Video during the week.  The schedule of events for the week is at Last year’s recorded sessions might also be of interest.   
  • Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 11-Noon – Webinar entitled “An Introduction to Open Educational Resources and Tips for Finding, Adopting, and Creating OER at IU.”  Indiana University Bloomington undergraduate students are estimated to pay $1,034 on course materials each academic year. Data suggests that students will forgo purchasing expensive course materials, even when they know it will impact their engagement in the classroom. This session will introduce one potential solution to this issue, Open Educational Resources (OER). In addition to discussing the benefits of OER, the session will provide an overview of how IU instructors can find high-quality OER, adapt them to fit students’ needs, and even create (or have their students create) customized course materials. Other affordable course material options, including affordable eTexts and library-licensed content, will also be discussed. Link to join Webinar. 
  • Wednesday, March 6, 12-1 pm, in PAC F – There is a faculty development workshop on the “Open Educational Resources (OER) Fellows Program for Individual Faculty” here at UIS.  Faculty accepted into the one-year OER Fellows Program will receive the following to help them adopt OERs in their two designated courses: Support as needed to evaluate OER materials and increase adoption; Development training in e-text, iAuthor, and other OER creation tools; Mentoring support and assistance for presentation and publication on the topic of OER adoption; Support for conference attendance (up to $1,000) to present on their OER adoption experience; and A $2,500 stipend to be paid after OER materials have been adopted in their two designated courses.  In this presentation, current OER Fellows will describe the process of finding and adopting open educational resources into their online and face-to-face courses. They will also answer questions about the OER Fellows program. 
  • Thursday, March 7th, 12-1 pm in the Library Learning Center, 240A Brookens – There is a faculty development workshop entitled, “Tips for Finding OER (Open Educational Resources) and Library Resources for Courses.”  This workshop will provide background on Open Educational Resources (OER) with emphasis on locating alternatives to textbooks using library licensed resources, high quality Open Textbooks, and other OER resources.  

Celebrate Open Education Week, March 4th – 8th, by learning about Open Education Resources. More recorded events and support materials can be found at or by asking your friendly librarian, Librarians by Department.   

Meet the Team: Teagan

Meet Teagan!

Name: Teagan

Major: Social Work

Status: Freshman

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS? My favorite thing about being a student at UIS is all of the opportunities I have on campus. There are so many different clubs and organizations to join, there truly is something for everyone! I also love the small campus size, so I can meet and interact with other students and staff often.

What are your goals for the semester?My goals for this semester are pretty simple. I really just want to be able to learn more about my major, as well as keep up my good grades.

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? If I were to have a reality show it would be called something like, “Keeping up with Teagan.” Although this is a basic answer, it would end up being very true. My days this semester are going to be really hectic and full of school, work, and activities. If I had a reality show, it would have to keep up with my busy schedule.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies? I am involved with a couple activities on campus. I am apart of the club volleyball team here, as well as being the secretary of my residence hall community council. Other than that, a lot of my time is spent at work or doing homework for my honors courses.

What have you learned since working at the library? I have definitely learned more time management skills. Not only when I’m working, but also outside of work due to the fact I always have to plan what I am doing before I actually do it to make sure I can achieve everything I want to achieve.

What are your post-graduation plans? I plan to become a probation officer after graduation. I am studying social work because the main thing I want to do in life is reach out and help people that are having a tough time. Being that this is my main goal, I decided to study social work rather than criminal justice, although my job is still within the criminal justice field. Thankfully, I can still pursue probation with the degree I want to receive.

What is your favorite thing from the library of things collection?: I love all of the board games we have available in our library of things! I have played board games constantly with my family since I could understand how to play, so seeing a collection here is like having a piece of home with me.

Drop-In Research Help!

Drop in and get help with your research! No appointment needed.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:00 – 6:00 PM.  Brookens Library Main Level

Brookens Library is now offering drop in research help every week. Academic research is a multi-step process that isn’t necessarily linear. While there’s no “right” way to do academic research, we realize that researching can be overwhelming and want you to know that we are here to assist you. Stop by the main level and get help with your research needs from one of our talented Librarians. 

We can assist with every step of the research process – from developing your research topic to helping you track down those hard to find citations.  Undergraduate, Graduate or UIS staff, we’ve got you covered. Put out skills to your use.

We’ll be offering this service through the remainder of the fall semester and then again in the spring once school resumes. 

We look forward to helping you succeed!

Flannel FriYAY! November 9th

It’s Flannel FriYAY!!!!!

The seasons are changing and the weather is getting cooler! What better way to celebrate the fall season than to wear out your favorite flannel? Come out to Brookens Library on Friday, November 9th for Flannel FriYay!

We will be celebrating all things fall with treats and plenty of fun! What better way to get into the season by wearing flannel clothing? Hope to see you there!

Privacy Week: 3 Reasons Why Your Passwords Are Bad and How to Fix Them

Many of us entrust companies that sell products online with our addresses, credit card numbers, and bank information. While the security on their end is dependent upon them, there are some things we can do to prevent malicious users from accessing our data. One of the most basic security devices we use on a daily basis is a password. A password is like the key to a door, the more complex it is the more difficult it is to enter unauthorized. Here are some common mistakes when it comes to creating passwords:

  1. It’s way too short!
    • 13+ characters at all times people. Do you know how long it takes to crack the 10 letter password “mynamejeff” in 2018? Roughly 3 months, if you change it to “mynamejeff2” the cracking time will jump to roughly 2 centuries. But just to be future proof you should go a bit further. Make it a 13-character password, “mynamejeff222”. Now it will take roughly 369 millennia to crack that bad boy!

black and white spinning clock hands

  1. You don’t test your passwords
    • There are plenty of sites online that will show you just how long it takes to crack your password. One such site is You can see the estimated amount of time to crack your password as well as see how long it would of taken in 1992 for example.

Password strangeth bar going from fair to good to strong as more characters are typed.

  1. You use dictionary words
    • Sorry but even though the word skateboard has 10 letters, it will still be cracked in less than a second. Hackers check all words with meaning first before they start making random guesses. Lucky us there’s a way around this. Mix and match words! Sure, skateboard may be guessed instantly and so will turtle but a skateboard_turtle isn’t a real word and will take over 624 trillion years to crack.

tiny turtle on a tiny skateboard using his front legs to roll forward

For a more in depth look into strong passwords read on

By taking all of these factors into account you will be able to create some of the strongest passwords ever. Admittedly however, it can sometimes be hard to think up a good password. So next I’ll teach you tips on how to make your own easy to remember but hard to crack password. So with current technology passwords equal to or greater than 13 characters long are pretty much uncrackable. Meaning step one is to make sure whatever password you make is at least 13 characters long. Furthermore, it should be easy for you to remember. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is simply use sentences as passwords. Something like, “I really like Chinese food” or “this password is to hard to crack” are great examples. Unfortunately, due to the misconceptions of what makes a good password many sites have all sorts of hurdles you have to jump threw to make a valid password. Due to this it’s generally a good idea to make passwords that include at least 2 special characters, 2 numeric characters, and 2 alphabetic characters while avoiding using any 3 or more of the same character in a row. An easy way to accommodate this is to integrate these into your current password. For examples replacing “o” with “0”, “a” with “@”, “i” with “!”, or “space” with “_ “, to name a few. Just make sure whatever you substitute makes sense to you. Using this concept our last to example passwords might look like this, “!_re@11y_l!ke_ch!nese_f00d” and “th!s_p@ssw0rd_!s_h@rd_t0_cr@ck”.

If you take these steps into account next time you make a password than you can rest assured that the likeliness of it being cracked is slim to none. Plus, you’ll have the benefit of being able to easily remember your password therefore lowering the need to use some sort of password manager that would be devastating if in the wrong hands.

Learn more about your digital privacy:

ALA Choose Privacy Week

Privacy Paradox

Protect Your Privacy

Weapons of Math Destruction eBook | eAudiobook | Book

Meet the Team: Taliyah

Name: Taliyah

Major: Business Administration

Status: Senior

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?  My favorite part of being a student at UIS is how open and nice the student body and staff is here. There are also lots of events here that teach us about our future plans and give us yummy snacks.

What are your goals for the semester? My goals this semester have been to be more attentive to my studies in order to obtain a 3.0 GPA or higher. I am also learning to create acrylic paintings and how to do acrylic and gel nails. 

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? If there were a reality show of my life it would probably be called “What Will Happen Next?” My days are never how I plan them, they are semi-structured but always spontaneous filled with countless adventures and experiences.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies?  I read and watch tutorials of paintings and how to to nails so that I may be able to self teach myself these future hobbies.

What have you learned since working at the library? I have learned how to give spot on customer service since working at the library. I have also learned how to communicate and consult with all different types of people from all walks of life. As well as being able to research properly and how to assist other with their research needs.

What are your post-graduation plans?  I plan to move to Tennessee or Texas and purchase a building to rent out and enjoy being job free for a while.

NLW! Need Research Help? Consultation Services

It’s National Library Week! Each day this week we are highlighting some of what Brookens offers to the UIS campus and community. So far we have covered our Popular Collections, Awesome Online Resources like Mango and cloudLibrary and the Library of Things! Today we are featuring our Consultation Services!

Do you have a paper due? Need sources?

Ask a librarian!

There are many ways you can connect with a librarian.

You can schedule an appointment:

You can stop by the main library desk and ask for a librarian.

You can look for a librarian at a pop-up desk. We’ll be setting up pop-up help desks in the library and elsewhere on campus to assist you with all of your library research needs. We will be easy to spot!

Please let us know what places, days, and times you’d like to see us pop-up and we’ll make it happen.
Contact Librarian Nancy Weichert at: to set up a Consultation pop-up!

The librarians at Brookens Library are here to support you through the research process, from finding and evaluating sources to choosing and refining a topic. We’re here to help you succeed!