Top 10: Keeping your items safe

Image by vishnu vijayan from Pixabay 

In honor of National Cyber Security Month (see post), we thought we would do a post on safety.

When you are studying and concentrating, it is easy to become distracted. The last thing you need is to lose your work or study materials through theft or inattention.  Here are 10 tips to help keep your stuff safe and private in the library and online:


  1. Keep personal items with you at all times, even when just going to the printer or restroom.  This includes bags, purses, phones, laptops, flash drives, and other items.
  2. Do not put purses or bags on the restroom floor where others could quickly grab them.
  3. Always log off of your library computer before you leave the library so that no one else can access your account.
  4. Report any suspicious or disruptive behavior to the Reference Desk, Computer Help Desk, Circulation Desk, or any library staff.  Do not confront any suspicious or disruptive person yourself.
  5. For emergencies, call the ECC Police at X-7777.  For non-emergencies, call X-7778.


6. Strong password strategies (try Strong Password Generator or 1Password). Easy passwords equals easy access!

7. Secure your text and calling options: if you don’t have an Apple device, look for online software and apps that can encrypt your information.

8. Update software: often your updates contain critical patches for security issues. Do this regularly!

9. Use a browser that allows you to be anonymous. Tor Browser and Epic Browser are two options.


10. Pay attention at all times to your surroundings.  Don’t be glued to your screen but rather make sure you are keeping physical space and virtual space as private as you can.

ECC has a website devoted to safety issues, including weather, fire, and lockdown procedures.  Be sure to sign up for the RAVE Alert. See the ECC Campus Safety site for more information.

*Some of the online tips providing by the Library Journal article on Protecting Patron Privacy.
–Reposted by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. –National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS)

There are lots of great resources available on the NICCS site, including this one from Homeland Security on Social Media Bots:

You can also check out our Cybersecurity and Online Privacy and Security Research Guides.

To join the conversation, use the hashtags #BeCyberSmart and #CyberAware or follow NCSAM (@StaySafeOnline or Facebook.)

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

#BookThatChangedYourWorld: Jennifer Schlau

Boyd, Candy Dawson. Forever Friends. Puffin, 1986.

I probably read this book 10-15 times (maybe even more, I truly lost count) as an older child/young adolescent, and somewhere I still have my copy.

Hands down, this is one of my favorite children’s books. It’s beautiful when the memories of enjoying a great book in many locations and in all seasons feels as warm as enjoying the story itself.

One reason I think I took most to this story as a child was the African-American protagonist and her family. I grew up in a school system very predominantly made up of Caucasian students so reading a story about an African-American girl my age that I could identify with and relate to was very powerful experience for me.

Toni (Antoinette) is preparing for a big exam into a private academy when her best friend Susan is killed in a car accident. We walk with Toni as she processes her friend’s death. We walk with her moving toward physical and emotional maturity.

Boyd makes you feel like you are right next to Toni – for instance, vivid descriptions of waking up in the morning to the sound of the heater running and being warm and snuggly in bed. There’s a little metaphor that I remember, but Boyd puts you right there (reading my review makes me want to curl up and read this again as soon as possible!). This work was originally published as Breadsticks and Blessing Places. It is out of print, but with a quick search on World Cat to see where it is nearby, I noticed that Chicago Public Library has it (under the Breadsticks and Blessing Places title) as well as Loyola University (under Forever Friends), so if you decide to read it, Interlibrary Loan might be for you.

–Submitted by Jennifer Schlau, Reference/Instruction Librarian

New books at the ECC Library!

Check out (get it??) a sampling of the books that have just arrived! Click the link for location information, description, and availability.

New books arrive every week–search our library’s catalog from our website for new and old favorites.

Vikings: Facts and Fictions

Pastry School: 100 Step by Step Recipes

Throwaway Nation: The Ugly Truth About American Garbage

Luisa Now and Then

Doing Justice

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches

Factfulness:  ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Robots are Coming: the future of jobs in the age of automation

How Schools Work

Feminism Unfinished

Building Reuse

Aristotle’s Way

*Images courtesy of

Banned Books Week is Sept. 22-28, 2019

Censorship is saying: ‘I’m the one who says the last sentence. Whatever you say, the conclusion is mine.’ But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word – even if someone has a very weak, quiet voice. Such power will collapse because of a whisper.–Ai Weiwei (BrainyQuote)

No one should be restricting your right to reading or seeing materials just because they are deemed controversial or too political by a certain group of people. It is your right to make your own judgments on the value of the resources available to you.

We have many works in our collection that deal with censorship in different areas. Browse these subjects in our catalog. This catalog search deals specifically with Censorship in the United States.

Which works were most banned in 2018? Check out this video:

Want to know more? This infographic provides information on challenges and censorship (from the State of America’s Libraries Report 2019).

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

We are social–connect with us!


Did you know that the ECC Library is on Facebook and Twitter?  All our blog posts get shared there as well, plus we add extra information in our social media forums.

To connect:

Critical thinking and information literacy

Information literacy has as one of roots critical thinking. Without knowing how to understand types of information (scholarly/popular, primary/secondary) and how to evaluate them, you can have a disadvantage in the classroom and in your future workplace.

Information literacy can encompass ideas such as bias, authorship, currency, evaluation, presentation, synthesis, attribution, and more.

The library has compiled some tools in a research guide to discuss how you think critically about the news, although the tips in there can also cover articles, websites, books, and other information you may want to use in your research.

There’s a great YouTube series called Crash Course: Navigating Digital Information that discusses these concepts. Narrated by John Green (Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns), this series of 10 videos provides a basis for becoming adept at online research. The skills and concepts can also be applied to research in general. Watch the first episode here:

Remember that your librarians also teach about information literacy concepts in the classroom–you may see us in your psychology, sociology, history, art, or other classes.

If you are faculty and you want an instruction session, click here for our online request form.

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian