Freedom of Information Day is March 16!

Use this link to find information on your state!

Celebrated on President James Madison’s birthday (one of the Fathers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights), this date is celebrated each year to celebrate and encourage openness of government with the people.

This video from the Department of Justice, explains what the Freedom of Information Act is and provides a detailed look at FOIA.

To share on social media, use #FreedomOfInformationDay.

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Resource Spotlight: Alexander Street Theatre in Video

Covering documentaries and performances for some of the most prominent plays in the 20th century and beyond, this resource provides unique content, including many new performances from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre collection (Opus Arte), Theatre Arts Films, the BBC, and TMW Media Group.

You can browse the collection by discipline, such as diversity, history, music, or science. In addition to videos and audio, there are over 8,800 books and documents to explore.

Unique to this database is the ability to make a clip or playlist–this can be helpful for students when wanting to highlight a piece as part of a paper or project, or for faculty to include as part of a lesson or use in D2L.

If you haven’t tried this resource, take a look at all it has to offer!

You will need to have an activated Student ID to view this content from off campus. Contact 847-214-7337 to activate your ID.

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Women’s History Month starts March 1!

This year’s theme for National Women’s History Month is  Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.”  From the National Women’s History Project:

These Honorees embraced the fact that the means determine the ends and so developed nonviolent methods to ensure just and peaceful results.
For generations, women have resolved conflicts in their homes, schools, and communities. They have rejected violence as counterproductive and stressed the need to restore respect, establish justice, and reduce the causes of conflict as the surest way to peace. 

You can find more about the honorees and nominees here.

There are great resources online, such as the Women’s History Month site through the Library of Congress. In the library, as part of our Global Issues in Context Database, there is a special section on Women’s Rights you can explore.  This site provides audio, video, news, biographies and more. As part of our HeinOnline database, there is a section on Women and the Law that you can also explore. You can also explore biographies on women and others in our Biography in Context database. You can also find books on Women’s History in the catalog, or search Ebook Central for ebook options.

-Written by Maria C. Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian

African American History Month and Science Fiction

Quick: can you name an African-American science fiction author?  Author Octavia E. Butler has re-emerged after being overlooked.  Chicago Tribune writer John Warner notes that her prominence took a back seat “likely because she was a woman and African-American.” 

Butler described a future that is coming true today.  In Parable of the Sower, from 1993, her dystopian setting is characterized by “climate change, economic inequality, and unchecked corporate power” (Warner 10).  These predictions so inspired an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, that students are now designing “survival packs” for an exhibition honoring Butler’s creation of a character who keeps going, no matter what (Rockett 8).

The next book in the series, Parable of the Talents(owned by ECC), takes the character Lauren into her adult life and that of her daughter, to face a government that persecutes religious and ethnic minorities in the name of “making America great again.”  Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel.

Prefer your dystopias less realistic?  Check out ECC’s copy of Butler’s Wild Seed:  Doro is an entity who changes bodies like clothes, killing his hosts by reflex or design. He fears no one until he meets Anyanwu. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter who can absorb bullets and heal with a kiss and savage anyone who threatens her. She fears no one until she meets Doro. Together they weave a pattern of destiny unimaginable to mortals.

Or how about vampires?  In Fledgling(on display at ECC), Shori states, “When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing.” Shori, the only dark-skinned member of a vampiric race, appears to be a black, ten-year-old human girl, but in fact she’s a 50-something Ina woman. (Cox, 10 Octavia Butler Quotes).

The title that is being taught in high schools is Butler’s Kindred, from 1976.  In this time-shifting narrative, a modern woman is wrenched back in time to save the slave-owner who will father her own great-grandmother.

References: Cox, Carolyn. “10 Octavia Butler Quotes to Live By.” The Portalist, 22 Jun 2017,

Rockett, Darcel. “A showcase of ‘visionary muscles’: Octavia Butler book inspires exhibit from SAIC students.” Chicago Tribune, 23 Dec 2018. Life + Style, pp. 8-9.

Warner, John. “Worried about climate change?: 2 Octavia Butler books written in the 1990s seem prescient today.” Chicago Tribune, 21 Oct 2018. Life + Style, p. 10.

*All covers courtesy of

–Written by Mary Spevacek, Reference/Instruction Librarian

Library closed for President’s Day

By uhuru1701 on Flickr

The library will be closed on Monday, February 18, 2019, in honor of President’s Day.

We will reopen at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday, February 19.

Click here for Spring Semester Hours.

100 iconic love stories from around the world

For your reading list pleasure on Valentine’s Day, we bring you 100 love stories from around the world (courtesy of Kimberly Mays). This list will show you titles from each country with a brief synopsis. Find your love today!

Elgin College History collection highlighted for Black History Month

Courtesy of Illinois Digital Heritage Hub

The Illinois Digital Heritage Hub has highlighted two local collections as part of their celebration for Black History Month: the McLean County Historical Society’s Bloomington-Normal Black History Project and Elgin Community College’s Elgin Community College History collection.

From the post: The Elgin Community College History collection includes images from Elgin-area Black History Month celebrations often involving prominent figures in African American history and culture. In particular, Tuskegee Airman Andrew Lane met with Larkin High School students for Black History Month in 1994.

–Illinois Digital Heritage Hub,

You can see the entire post highlighting these collections here.

Thank you to Armando Trejo for his diligent work on digitizing and preserving the ECC story for the future.

–Written by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian