5 Questions for Author-ECC Librarian Karen Klein

Karen new picOne of our librarians, Karen Klein, has published a book titled Torin’s Legacy. We decided to do a 5 question interview about her book and her inspirations.

What is your book about?

The short answer is that it is about adventure & fantasy. However, I will also include book description for more detail:

To choose magic…?

After Andrew’s dad died, his mom wanted him to have a normal non-magical life in Los Angeles.

His Aunt Mac had another idea – she wanted him to move to Chicago to become her apprentice.

Andrew chose the Mages’ Guild over his mother. He never thought his choice would land him into a world of High Magic, being chased by Shadows in a place with ever-changing scenery where you can’t rely on a map to get you home.

 Who is your target reader?

I tend to write for myself or my brother and not think about a broader audience until the more business side of things come into play.

That being said, my book isn’t YA, but I think that teens could enjoy it as much as adults. I would say the ideal reader of my book is either someone who already loves fantasy and wants a new adventure. Or perhaps someone who may not normally read the genre, but is open to a fun story.

 What are the major themes in your book?

I think that themes are more for readers than writers – what did the reader get from the book? A book isn’t truly finished until its been read.

However, if I had to say,  identity & coming-of-age. Two of the main characters are teenagers and that really is a time for exploration. And answering the question: who do I want to be?

Courtesy of Amazon.com

 Who has inspired you, or who inspires you?

Great question. My younger brother inspires me. (He’s not so little anymore). He survived cancer at fifteen and never once complained during chemo or radiation. He fought so hard and thank goodness, he is now healthy and in college.  The other person in my family who inspires me is my dad. He does it with his work ethic and always striving to be the best that he can be.

In terms of writing and art, I have many inspirations and influences. I adore Jane Austen, which doesn’t come out so much in this particular novel. However, in some forthcoming projects, I can see her influence. I am also inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, he did it accidentally, but he created what we now see as “modern fantasy.” A third author who inspires me is Neil Gaiman – he is never afraid to tell a story in the medium it needs. I am in awe of his ability to not only write novels and short stories, but also television, film, and graphic novels. I want to grow up to be him someday. Especially since he has had the opportunity to write episodes for Dr. Who, which is one of my favorite TV shows.

I could go on and on about how many writers have influenced me, so I will stop at three. But I would like to say that I am also influenced by the world around me – nature, travel, music and art. It all goes into the idea compost of my subconscious.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

There is so much advice out there and this may sound a bit cliche, but really read and write are the two biggest pieces of advice I would give any writer.

Read as much as you can as often as you can so you can see both the good and the bad that has been published. Read outside of your comfort zone and push your boundaries.

Then write, many people say to write everyday, which gets you into the habit of it. This is a piece of advice that I myself have difficulty in following. So if you can’t write every day, find time in your schedule and make it happen. Even if that is only ten minutes three times a week or an hour once a week. Make the most of the time that you have. You can’t improve without practice. And if you miss a day or week try not to beat yourself up. Instead, just make it to the next session and do it. (I know this is hard. I still struggle with this myself.)

Finally, go out and experience life, everything that you do and see. Every conversation you have or eavesdrop on is fodder for writing. Live your life to the fullest so that your writing will be as vibrant as your life.

To buy the ebook, click here!

Summer Travel–Adventures Near or Far

Cover courtesy of Amazon.com

Although the National Travel and Tourism Week  is over, it is now summer and a great time to take a break. Whether you plan to take a day trip to downtown Chicago for one of its many festivals, sit under the stars for free concerts in Millennium Park, explore another country, or drive along one of several USA road trips mentioned in the library’s USA’s Best Trips: 99 Themed Itineraries Across America, there are books in the library to support your adventure.

On a tight budget? Check out Tim Leffel’s book Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune.

Cover courtesy of Amazon.com

Want a lifelong memory? Plan a future dream trip to one of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

Want to learn while having fun? Browse through The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life where you’ll read about volunteering with archaeologists in Transylvania, learning about medicinal plants in the Andes, or pursuing wellness activities like a yoga retreat.

Student Health 101 sent out this article about travel hacks–check it out!

The Office of Travel and Tourism  lists the top 2013 destinations for Americans travelling abroad. Here are the top spots:

  1. Mexico
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. France
  5. Italy

If you are like me and can’t afford going overseas or even across the country this summer, then consider taking a few local day trips  and researching and saving for a future destination. For me this means visiting Chicago, Lake Geneva, and family in Kansas City this summer and saving for my “dream” trip next Spring to Guanajuato, Mexico. Enjoy all your summer adventures whether near or far!

Jana–Submitted by Jana Porter, Reference/Instruction Librarian

P.S. If you want an adventure beyond your summer travels check out study abroad opportunities at ECC.

Summer Reading Recommendations from ECC Library!

By jgoge [CC BY 2.0]

By jgoge [CC BY 2.0]

What better time of the year than summer to catch up on those novels or that nonfiction you have been wanting to read?  Whether you read “old school” in paperback, or an ebook through iPad or Kindle, when you find a great read, it can transport you and enrich your life in indescribable ways.

The library has a great guide that gathers Recommended Reading sites all in one handy place.  Check it out for award winners, book reviews, and sites to search by genres or series.

Our library staff also has some great recommendations for you–so pull up a beach chair, get a cold drink, and dig into a great story that may change your life!

Librarian and staff recommendations:
Linked items are available in the ECC library

The signature of all things / Elizabeth Gilbert–Recommended by Stacey Shah

The Wild Truth / Carine McCandless— Recommended by Jennifer Schlau

Chasers of the light: Poem from the Typewriter Series / Tyler Gregson Knott —Recommended by Karrie Stewart

All the Light We Cannot See / Anthony Doerr–Recommended by Maria Bagshaw 

Lovely, Dark, Deep: stories / Joyce Carol Oates–Recommended by Barb Evans

The invisible bridge / Julie Orringer–Recommended by Stacey Shah

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister / Amelie Sarn & Y. Maudet–Recommended by Jennifer Schlau

Sense and Sensibility / Jane Austen–Recommended by Karen Klein

It’s Kind of a Funny Story / Ned Vizzini —Recommended by Karrie Stewart

The Golem and the Jinni / Helene Wecker –Recommended by Kristy Yemm Pemrick

Boston Girl / Anita Diamant–Recommended by Kristy Yemm Pemrick

Trigger Warning / Neil Gaiman–Recommended by Karen Klein

The Language of Flowers/  Vanessa Diffenbaugh–Recommended by Kristy Yemm Pemrick

Broken Monsters / Lauren Beukes —Recommended by Karrie Stewart

Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World / Margaret Macmillan–Recommended by Maria Bagshaw

Beautiful Ruins / Jess Walter–Recommended by Kristy Yemm Pemrick

How to Be Both / Ali Smith–Recommended by Kristy Yemm Pemrick

Among Others / Jo Walton–Recommended by Karen Klein

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald / Therese Anne Fowler–Recommended by Karrie Stewart

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian / Avi Steinberg–Recommended by Karrie Stewart

–All photos courtesy of Amazon.com, except as noted.

Citation Guides are now available via OWL Purdue

OWL graphicECC Library will now be providing links to the OWL Purdue citation guides, as the Hacker guides we have known and loved have been discontinued.

Here are the quick links to each citation style:

Access to the different types of citations (books, periodicals, electronic, etc.) can be found on the LEFT sidebar. Also available are in-text guidelines and sample papers.

For other citing help and NoodleTools, see our Citing Your Sources webpage. If you need assistance using these new guides, please contact the library at 847-214-7354 or libref@elgin.edu.  Or stop on by Building C–we would be glad to assist you!

Chromebook FAQs now available!

The library has purchased Chromebooks for the use of CURRENTLY registered ECC students (see this February blog post). Because we get so many questions about our Chromebooks, we have added several Chromebook FAQs to our library’s FAQ site.

To find just the specific Chromebook questions, click on the Chromebook tag, or go to this link.Chromescreen

If you have other questions, please contact the Circulation Desk at 847-214-7337 or circdesk@elgin.edu.

June is LGBT Pride Month!

Image from the Chicago Pride webpage. This photo mosaic contains over 10,000 photos of Chicago’s Pride Parade over the last decade.

President Bill Clinton deemed June ,“Gay & Lesbian Pride Month,” in 2000. June was chosen as a remembrance for the Stonewall Inn riot in Manhattan in 1969, which is considered the start of the LGBT civil movement in the U.S.

The movement has several goals such as promoting pride of sexual orientation and gender identity, thinking of the diversity of sexuality is a gift to humanity, and engaging with the idea that sexual orientation & gender identity are inherent and cannot be changed. For some more information on the history of Pride Month, check out the National Women’s History Project website.

To celebrate Pride Month at ECC, we have included some books about LGBT perspectives and issues from our library. Also check out the information about Pride in Chicago – the website includes dates and times for festivities occurring throughout June – including the annual Pride Parade.

Library Resources:

–Contributed by Karen Klein, Reference Librarian

ECC Library Summer Hours Announced

Photo courtesy of Sarah Ackerman via Flckr

The ECC Library will have the following hours during the summer months:
June 1-August 6, 2015


7:30 a.m. 10:00 p.m.

CLOSED Fridays-Sundays
June 5-August 2

Please contact the Circulation Desk if you have any questions at 847-214-7337.