Category Archives: Information

For general informational items.

For faculty: How to find a journal title in the library’s print/online collections

Full Text Finder is a service you would use if you want to know if a magazine or journal article can be found in its entirety (full text) through our library’s collection.  Many of these journals also allow you to create an RSS Feed and/or Create an Alert, so you can keep up with the latest articles in your discipline.

Find Full Text Finder on the Article Databases webpage, by choosing “F” on the alphabetical list. It is also located under the Research drop down box on our home page under Find a Specific Journal.

To use Full Text Finder, simply type in the title you want to search.FTF search

Once you search the title, if the title is available in our collections, you will get a screen like this, with your link to the full text access:FTF results

You can also browse the journals by discipline (subject area). Click on the subject you want to explore, such as Biology, History, Marketing, etc:FTF discipline

If you need help using this tool or finding out if we carry a particular title, please contact us!

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Best Product Review Sites

control-3312776_1280We polled our librarians and library staff for their best product review sites. Although many of us are familiar with Consumer Reports and Amazon, there are often other sites you only hear about through word of mouth.  So from our mouths to yours…

Consumer Reports: This old standby still stands the test of time. You can get to the full text free through the library here (search Consumer Reports), with lots of back issues to explore. Here are two places below you can see years back to the 1980s.

Angie’s List: This review site focuses on the product of SERVICES provided by a company. A great place to see local information if you aren’t sure where to begin.

Good Housekeeping Product Reviews: Go here for beauty, clothing, fitness, appliances, garden, and more. See if your favorite gets the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!

Amazon: Anyone can write reviews of products, and some are pretty fun (and tongue-in- cheek) to read. You can see their review policies here.

Wirecutter: This site’s “recommendations are made through vigorous reporting, interviewing, and testing by teams of veteran journalists, scientists, and researchers.” More rigorous than some sites, it’s a great place to try for electronics and gadgets, but has so much more.

Top Ten Reviews: Per their site, “for over 14 years, we’ve been one of the largest and most comprehensive product review sites on the web, with tens of thousands of reviews and rankings in categories” that include services, software, business, electronics, and more.

BestReviews: Another good site that does testing and doesn’t accept free products.  They compare the top products in thousands of categories to give you reliable purchasing advice. A great place to go for tech reviews (oldie but still a goodie!).

Both and are stellar for a car search and give pros, cons, and specs.

There are many review sites available, from the general to specific. For example, here is an article discussing the Top 28 Product Review sites for Online Marketers. aggregates reviews from many different review sites (so you can find what Wirecutter and Good Housekeeping both say about salad spinners!)

As with all information, it is important to do your homework before committing to a decision! Try out some of these sites to make yourself a savvy consumer!

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, with contributions by ECC Librarians & Staff

Recommendations: Watching and Listening

Traveling this summer? Check out our Recommended Watching/Listening Research Guide!

This guide lists recommendations for audio, TV, and film. Links to award winners are included, as well as popular sites such as IMDb, TED Talks, PBS, and NPR. We also link you to databases in our library that can also provide video and audio. This can be a great starting point in identifying a new interest or author.

If you want look up to see if we have a particular item, see our FAQ on how to search the catalog for films only.  To search audio, do the same process except choose Books on Tape/CD. Or, give the library a call and we can look up an item for you.

Want to check something out to take with you? If you are a student, faculty, or community member of District 509, you can check items out of our library to bring with you! See this site for details.

—Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian



July is National Culinary Arts Month!


According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, jobs in the culinary arts (such as a chef) are increasing at a faster rate than the average job.

Employment of food preparation and serving related occupations is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations, a gain of about 1.2 million jobs. Population and income growth are expected to result in greater consumer demand for food at a variety of dining places, including restaurants and grocery stores.–Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2017

As a reminder, the library has many resources available to you that can help you gain an edge in your chosen culinary field. Check out the resources below to keep up with current issues, best practices, current news, and more.

Magazines in the library (available for checkout):

  • Chef
  • Bon Appetit
  • Cooking Light
  • Cook’s Illustrated
  • Food Magazine
  • Saveur

Online trade publications:


The library has access to thousands of newspaper articles, from local papers such as the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald, to around the globe. Search the newspaper collections individually for current news on food trends or foodborne illness outbreaks.


Plunkett Research: Find market research, industry Statistics, trends and in-depth analysis of companies, including industries such as Hotels & Travel, Green Technology, International Companies, Retailing, and Sports.

Gale Virtual Reference Library: Contains many works related to food, such as Food: In Context, Career Opportunities in the Food and Beverage Industry, and Encyclopedia of Food and Culture.

Ebook Central: Search by a term such as culinary, cuisine or cooking for many culinary works, from the scholarly to the practical.

Print books:

These books are available in our library.  Click here to view a list of books under the subject of Cooking. We also have cookbooks by well-known chefs, including Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Emeril, Rachael Ray, Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and more.

Selected works:beatenseared

Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America 

American Home Cooking: A Popular History

Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore

1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die1000places

The Making of a Chef

saltfatbookSalt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Coming to my Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook

The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African-American Cookbooks

100 Million Years of Food

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

Professional Baking

Kings of Pastry (DVD) Foodfights

Food Fights and Culture Wars: A Secret History of Taste

*All covers courtesy of

–Updated and revised by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian


Top 10 Chicago Festivals & Summer Events

Living in Chicagoland affords many opportunities for free and low cost summer-time entertainment. With a quick 70-90 minute train ride from Elgin on the Milwaukee District West (MD-W) Line) you are in the world-class city of Chicago.  You can explore the neighborhood festivals, the beachfront, and the myriad of activities in Grant and Millennium Park.Grant_Park_Music-Festival-text.jpg

What are your favorite summer events and festivals? When I used to live in Chicago and even now when I am in the suburbs, some of my favorite activities are the free music concerts and art festivals, as well as Chicago Summer dance. However, you may be more interested in the food, beer, and film festivals. Or perhaps you have children and need family-friendly events. Whatever your interest, on almost any summer weekend you can enjoy a variety of Chicago festivals and events. Check out this festival list from Chicago Tonight on WTTW.

Jana’s Top-10 Chicago Festivals and Events for July-September:

  1. Grant Park Music Festival – June 12-August 18, 2018
  2. Millennium Art Festival – July 6-8, 2018
  3. Chicago Summer Dance – Thursdays-Sundays, June 28-August 25, 2018
  4. Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk – July 21-22, 2018
  5. Square Roots Festival – July 13-15, 2018
  6. Taste of Lincoln Avenue – July 28-29, 2018
  7. Taste of Chicago – July 11-15, 2018
  8. Chicago Riverwalk – Late May-October, 2018
  9. World Music Festival Chicago – September 7-23, 2018
  10. Chicago Air and Water Show – August 18-19, 2018

ALSO, don’t miss out on my favorite boat cruise, Chicago’s First Lady and the $15 walking tours offered through the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF). This summer CAF is also moving into a new beautiful location on the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue bridge across the river from the reasonably new Apple Store. There will be exhibits and speakers at this premier location.


For other ideas on how to have fun this summer check out these previous blog posts – StaycationWhatever Your BudgetInspiring Places

Share your favorite summer events and activities in the comments!

jana.jpg–Written by by Jana Porter, Reference/Instruction Librarian

From the ECC Archives: Erica Varrak, refugee and ECC employee

Erika V_7

Did you know that back in the day, ECC had only ONE staff member? That person was Erica Varrak. She handled secretary and then registrar duties on her own from 1952-1965, and then remained as registrar until her retirement in March 1978.

Varrak was raised in Estonia. Due to World War II, she and her son spent 5 years in a refugee camp in Germany. She immigrated to the U.S. as a displaced person, and became a U.S. citizen in 1955.

Of her immigration, Varrak stated:

What I had read and heard about his country was the answer to my prayers, especially for my son because I wanted him to live in a free country and get a good education.

When she came to work at ECC, she was the secretary to Dean Gilbert Renner.

Learn more from our digital collection:

Summer Reading Suggestions from the ECC Librarians!

Summer reading

Each year we do a post on books we have enjoyed and suggest for summer reading. Items available in the ECC Library collection are noted.

*The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
When 15-year-old Maribel Rivera sustains a terrible injury, the family leaves behind a comfortable life in Mexico and risks everything to come to the U.S. so that Maribel can have the educational resources she needs. Henriquez’s novel focuses on a small community of immigrants from all over Latin America and their struggles, triumphs, and generosity in supporting each other as they build their lives here.–Mary Klemundt, Adjunct Technical Services Librarian

The Monk of Mokha by  Dave Eggersmonk.jpg
This is the fascinating story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, an American of Yemeni descent.  Alkhanshali was working a a doorman after his hopes of attending college were dashed by financial difficulties. When he learned that Yemen was once a premier coffee producer for the world, Alkhanshali became interested in the coffee industry, and thought there might be an opportunity for a business.  Over time though, the quality of the methods for producing the coffee had deteriorated to the point where most growers in Yemen had switched to another, more lucrative crop. He decided to try to revive the coffee production business in Yemin.  The story of how this non-connected, young entrepreneur started from nothing and built his business from sheer determination and will is interesting enough. But when Alhanshali visited Yemen right as civil war broke out, his story became one of survival against tremendous odds. The danger and perils of trying to get home with the precious coffee beans read like  a suspense novel.–Julie Keating, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Never let me goI read two classics by Nobel Literature winner Kazuo Ishiguro: * Buried Giant and * Never Let Me Go. If you haven’t read this author yet, you will be entranced by his use of language and his storytelling. —Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Dark voyage : a  novel by Alan Furst. One book in Furst’s series of spy novels set in World War II, the story follows the Dutch tramp freighter “Noordendam” as it takes on a false identity and attempts a dangerous, clandestine voyage to transport detection equipment that may help turn the tide of war in favor of Britain against the devastating U-boat attacks in 1941. The novel may be a bit frustrating for you if you need everything neatly tied up at the end, but it’s full of fascinating characters and great tension. ECC doesn’t have this one, but does have Furst’s *Spies of the Balkans.–Mary Klemundt, Adjunct Technical Services Librarian

Flesh and Blood (Frank Elder series #1) by John Harvey.  Although this is an English detective series, this detective, Frank Elder, and the story are far from typical. Frank is slowly pulled out of retirement to deal with the unsolved disappearance of a sixteen year old girl. As he has a daughter of about the same age with whom he has a distant relationship, Frank follows his heart and gets drawn further and further into the case.  This book is hard to put down! At the end, you’ll be seeking out the other two books in the series. Number two, *Ash and Bone, is owned by the ECC library. A fourth book is due out this fall. The author won the Sherlock Award for best detective created by a British author.–Barb Evans, Reference/Instruction Librarian

The Immortalists by  Chloe Benjamin. At the opening of this novel, the four Gold children visit a psychic, and one by one are told the date of their death. The rest of the novel focuses on the lives of each of the children, and how this knowledge affects their lives as they grow up and go out into the world. Each one is affected differently, and deals with this knowledge in their own way. The novel raises some interesting questions about how you would live if you knew when you were going to die.–Julie Keating, Reference/Instruction Librarian

*White Trash by Nancy Isenberg. Isenberg’s thesis is excellent and important: much as we like to think we’re the land of mobility and “everyone is equal”, the truth is class has been and is still kept track of in the U.S. Four hundred years of history is condensed into 330-ish pages, so be prepared for abrupt jumps in history and for periods in that history to be glossed over or absent all together. Still, a well-researched book that will teach readers a good amount.–Jennifer Schlau, Reference/Instruction Librarianwhite trash.jpg

Fallout (V.I. Warshawski series #18) by Sara Paretsky.  Don’t be put off by the #18. These mysteries can be read as stand-alones. Featuring a physically and mentally strong women detective, V.I. Warshawski, the setting is usually Chicago. However, in this latest book, the case leads V. I. to Kansas. She is pushed into the past as it holds the answers to help her solve the crimes of the present. This book is fast paced and will have you on the edge of your seat. The *ECC library owns 7 books in the series.-Barb Evans, Reference/Instruction Librarian

*Nobody’s Girl by Antonya Nelson. I was surprised by this book. The author’s gift for storytelling and description grabbed me and didn’t let me go until the end. The main character, Birdy, is very flawed which makes her very relatable. At some points in the book I felt frustrated with her decisions, especially when it seemed like she was giving up on herself, an experience very much like we can all have with friends and family in real life. The quality of the characterization and description in Nelson’s writing was so good that I went on to read two of her other books and some of her short stories.-Barb Evans, Reference/Instruction Librarian

*Living on the wind : across the hemisphere with migratory birds by Scott Weidensaul. A very readable look at the amazing phenomenon of bird migration. The threats facing migrating birds have only increased in the years since the book was published, which will only increase your awe and wonder at the feats accomplished by creatures weighing only a couple of ounces.–Mary Klemundt, Adjunct Technical Services Librarian

hidden life*Hidden Life of Trees  by Peter Wohlleben. From the book summary: Are trees social beings? This book makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. The author draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers.–Barb Evans, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice
by  Bill Browder. Bill Browder was once one of the richest men on earth, having started an investment fund in Russia after the Soviet collapse. As Browder became part of the Russian business world, it was hard for him to overlook the corruption in business, and after he exposed the corruption he saw, he was expelled from the country. After his business was raided by law enforcement, he and his attorney Sergei Magnitsky began to investigate. Magnitsky was subsequently arrested and died in prison, from injuries stemming from terrible treatment by the government, ending in a brutal beating that killed him. Browder has devoted the rest of his life to see justice served for Sergei Magnitsky, and seeing that the people behind the corruption are punished financially for their actions. Browder was successful in persuading governments to get behind the Magnisky Act, an act that freezes the assets of Russian oligarachs that profited from these actions. By crossing the Kremlin in this way, Browder’s life is in peril from retaliation by the Russian government. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in international politics, human rights issues, financial dealings, and current events..–Julie Keating, Reference/Instruction Librarian

If you are looking for dystopian literature, try  *Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (reviewed by former ECC librarian Karen Klein) or End of the World Running Club by Adrian Walker. Although tragic in theme, both have somewhat hopeful endings and really make you think about what would happen if circumstances beyond our control disrupt our societal norms.–Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian


*Prisoners of geography : ten maps that explain everything about the world by Tim Marshall. An insightful, sometimes eye-opening, look at how geography drives politics, even in an age of sophisticated technology and globalization.–Mary Klemundt, Adjunct Technical Services Librarian

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith. We all sweat when we have to rent a car. The details of the rental agreement may not be crystal clear and once we sign we hope we’ve understood all of the implications. For Paul Stuart, a Scottish food writer visiting Tuscany to write his latest book, his expectations of receiving the car his editor reserved  soon evaporate. The reservation is lost and there are no cars to be had due to the upcoming holiday weekend. After an altercation with the rental agency clerk, Paul spends a brief stint in jail. He’s saved by a local magistrate and taken to an equipment rental agency to rent a van. As you can tell from the title of the book, Paul does not end up with a van. The bulldozer that Paul does end up driving to Tuscany is just the beginning of his adventures in Italy. Paul’s romantic life becomes complicated when an attractive art historian he meets in Tuscany, Anna, his ex-partner, Becky and his long suffering editor, Gloria all end up in town at the same time. At one point, the bulldozer is stolen. It’s put to good use and ends up helping to solve some local parking, zoning and land dispute issues. As many of the Italian characters in the book quip, “it’s Italy”.  This is a light hearted, warm and very fun escapade and would make a great summer read on the beach, on the patio or on an adventure in Italy! The ECC library owns *many titles by this prolific author.Barb Evans, Reference/Instruction Librarian.

Thick as thieves by Megan Whalen Turner. From the book description: “Kamet is a slave poised to become one of the most powerful men in the Mede Empire thanks to his master’s close relationship with the Emperor.  While he knows the limitations of his life as a secretary and slave,  Kamet is ambitious and eager for the chance to help shape the Empire and  wield his influence until one whispered conversation changes  everything. No longer safe, Kamet embarks on a journey that will take  him farther than he once thought possible. Traveling away from the seat  of the Mede Empire, Kamet finds an unlikely ally in an Attolian soldier  far from home and realizes that sometimes choice and freedom can be much  more important than power or influence.” Simultaneously billed as the 5th book in Turner’s “Queen’s Thief” fantasy series and as a stand-alone novel, it actually works as both. If you haven’t read any of the others, you can read this one and, without knowing the background, still the enjoy the adventure and the characters. Hopefully, you will be interested enough to go back and start the series with The Thief (2005). If you are already a fan, you will have fun fitting the details and information in this story into the whole world of the “Queen’s Thief” books.--Mary Klemundt, Adjunct Technical Services Librarian

incognito.jpg*Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susan Cahalan. This is an incredible book about a rare inflammation of the brain (Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis) in a young woman and her fight to regain her former self. An accessible discussion of physical and mental illness and how the brain works. Another good book that discusses how the brain works and describes brain science in an engaging way is *Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman. –Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian.

*Other summer reading suggestions can be found here under the Book Review tag, or view the 2016  and 2017 Summer Reading posts for more titles.

–Contributions by librarians Barb Evans, Mary Klemundt, Jennifer Schlau, Julie Keating & Maria Bagshaw