Tag Archives: Special Interest

Freedom of Information Day is March 16!

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

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Book Review

81iybqipdilSmoke Gets In Your Eyes
By Caitlin Doughty
 363.75 D732sm

Imagine your eventual death….what feelings run through you? Mortician Caitlin Doughty hopes some level of peace and acceptance accompanies the sadness and the anxiety. As a child, watching another child fall to her death in a Hawaiian shopping mall, Doughty began her path as a death expert and funeral director. Doughty didn’t agree with the commercial death industry for several reasons, including the potential to up-sell to grieving families, its unnecessary procedures (embalming and its environmental impact), and its dynamic of removing corpses from the view of society (which only elevates our death anxiety). Therefore, she decided the best way to educate society was to go from the inside: enroll in mortuary school. Doughty has since been busy working at her non-profit L.A. funeral home, blogging at her website The Order of the Good Death, and creating an “Ask a Mortician” podcast and video series all in the name of making our culture more death positive. This book is fascinating, creepy, humorous, and well-written. Doughty is a great storyteller: irreverent, witty, smart, and has found her calling. Doughty is very descriptive and leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to dead bodies, decomposition, and funeral home procedures. Educational and engaging, this work is highly recommended! She also has recently written a book called From Here to Eternity which is another page-turner about worldwide death customs.

Jen photo-Submitted by Jennifer Schlau, Reference/Instruction Librarian

The Buried Giant Book Review

buriedgiant.jpgThe Buried Giant
By Kazuo Ishiguro
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This work by 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Ishiguro is an immersive, engrossing fantasy about an old couple on a journey to discover the unknown. Taking place around the time of King Arthur, Axl and Beatrice strain to remember their pasts, coping with brief flashes of uncertainty that threaten to upend their progress while traveling to reach the neighboring village of their son. They encounter various characters along the way that assist them in understanding both their own quests and pasts, and the quests and pasts of others.

Throughout the work, Ishiguro writes of the “fog” that encompasses not only the couple, but many others in their village and the surrounding countryside. His writing encapsulates that fog for the reader; we are drawn in by the descriptions and the conflict but are not quite sure how each piece fits into the puzzle until the very end.

Lavishly written and heart-wrenching, this book is not necessarily something that gives the reader a “good feeling” when reading it, but it is definitely a book that is lovely to read and whose themes stay with you long after you have finished. As this is my first Ishiguro novel, and because I have read that Buried Giant is a departure for him, I am looking forward to reading more by this novelist.


–Submitted by Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian


Library open during Pancake Dinner


Plan your study session or finish up your research paper at the ECC Library (Building C) on December  4 and get a bonus–free pancakes! The library is also open until 10:00 p.m.

When you need a break, enjoy an all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, and coffee dinner from 8-10 p.m. in the Jobe Lounge (Building B), sponsored by the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Student Development.

Building B and the F Building Computer labs will also be open until 10 p.m.


Between the World and Me Book Review

Between the world

Cover via Amazon.com

Between the World and Me
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
305.800973 C652b  

Coates writes a series of essays addressed to his son about the state of race relations in America and how this will impact his son’s life. He describes his upbringing and his intellectual development, fostered by  deep reading and exposure to new ideas and people at Howard University; he was also changed by becoming a husband and father. He gives historical context to the black experience in the United States, and then gives us his personal experiences and views. This book is an important contribution to the conversation about race in America.


–Submitted by Julie Keating, Reference Librarian

For faculty (and students): Interlibrary Loan


Photo via Meme Maker

What is Interlibrary Loan:
Interlibrary Loan is the process by which the library will request materials not available in our own collection. Items are delivered to the library and you can pick them up and check them out just like any other library item. Items are usually free.

Why you should care:
This means that you can get just about any item you want, from any library, without having to try to find it yourself, for free.

The service includes books, journal articles, DVDs, videos, and other materials.

Plan ahead–sometimes items  can come quickly, but giving a week to 10 days for the item is a good rule of thumb.

Need to use it?
You can find the policies and form here.

For questions, contact Armando Trejo, Archives/Interlibrary Loan Librarian at (847) 214-7141.


Tree of Smoke Book Review


Cover art courtesy of Amazon.com

Tree of Smoke
by Denis Johnson

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With the onset of PBS’s broadcast of the Ken Burns film series, The Vietnam War, it’s a good time to revisit some of the novels written about the war. Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke is one of the great ones. Winner of the 2007 National Book Award, the novel follows four main characters through their experiences in the war from 1963 to 1970, with a conclusion which takes place in 1983. Two of the characters are brothers of low rank in the military. The other two are high ranking: an uncle and nephew involved in the secret service. Although the book does a good job relaying the wartime atmosphere, especially the constant uncertainty, it does a great job of relaying the sense loss and grief. This book is not for the timid and it took me awhile to get through it, but it is definitely worth the effort.  Denis Johnson was awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction this past July. He passed away on May 24, 2017.

Barb Evans Photo 11-20-13

–Submitted by Barbara Evans, Reference Librarian