Study (break) in the library


This finals week, the library is serving double duty: as your go-to place to study and your place to take a break! We’ll have coffee, tea, and bottled water until 6PM Monday-Thursday on the table near the chalkboard. You can’t miss the beverage table when walking in the library!

We also have coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, and puzzles set out if you really need a mental break from the books. This stress-relief station is located on the study table nearest the reference desk, across from the graphic novel collection.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself this week! The library has you covered.



National Library Legislative Day

Library of Congress; photo credit: USCapitol

The proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018 includes massive cuts to library program budgets. But Congress must approve the budget, so there is still time to save funding. Today is National Library Legislative Day, so this week is the perfect time to take action! Here’s what you can do:

  • Tell us why you care about libraries by writing on the library’s chalkboard (located near the computer lab).
  • Sign up to be a library advocate to stay informed about library legislative issues.
  • Contact the Illinois Senators (Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth) by email, phone, and/or Twitter to ask them to support library funding.

If you’ve ever used the PSC Library (or any library for that matter!), visited a museum,  or simply believe that credible information should be available to all, then this issue directly affects you. Show that you care by taking action! (And if you’d like to learn more about the civic process, check out the library’s Political Science guide.)

Shakespeare @PSC

Why should anyone be interested in an author who lived over 400 years ago? Believe it or not, the works of Shakespeare continue to shape literature (such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) and film (such as The Lion King), even today.

Stop by the library to borrow titles featured in the library’s Shakespeare display, and be sure to check out the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s live production of Romeo and Juliet at 11:00AM on Thursday, April 27 in the PSC auditorium! Tickets are $5 for students and are available in the Business Office.

And if you’re just looking for some fresh insults inspired by Shakespeare, you can find those online.





Photo by erik forsberg; shared under the Creative Commons license

The PSC Library now offers several books in audio format. Using the Cloud Library app (the same app used to read ebooks), you can download audiobooks using your computer or mobile device so that you can listen to your book anytime/anywhere – such as on a long drive, while doing laundry, cooking dinner, etc. You’ll have 21 days to listen to the book and you don’t have to worry about returning it – the app will take care of that for you!

The only information you need to start checking out audiobooks is your 14-digit barcode number located on your ID card, which begins with “22783.” But, please note that you must have a library account set up in order for the app to work. So if you’ve never checked out a book before, please stop by the Circulation Desk to set up your library account.

By the way, signing up for a library account and checking out an audiobook are two challenges you can easily complete in order to enter our Library Challenge contest! Suggest an audiobook that you think the library should have and you’ll complete another challenge.

Below are just a few of the titles we offer in audio format. If you have any questions about using the Cloud Library app or accessing audiobooks, please ask us. Happy listening!

(Armchair) travel


Photo credit: Matt; shared under the Creative Commons license

With February–arguably the Chicago area’s dreariest month–at a close and spring break just around the corner, it’s tempting to think about a change of scenery.  If a trip out of town isn’t on your schedule this break, you can still escape…with a book!

Check out these titles that are particularly evocative of a time and a place. The location and time period have been listed, but click on the book cover to see the full catalog description. Some are e-books, so you can even read them without coming to campus over the break. Happy travels!

Africa, 1897
New York, present day
Spain, 1945
Alaska, present day
Pacific Northwest, 1990s
France, 1940s-1950s















Civic engagement


Photo credit: BKL, c/o, shared under the Creative Commons license

A new presidential administration is underway. Regardless of your political beliefs, it’s a good time to remember that as U.S. citizens, we have the duty and the right to speak up about issues we care about.

If you’re new to the civic process in general, our Political Science Guide includes some great resources to familiarize yourself with government processes, including books and websites.

Here are some ways to stay connected and to help you voice concerns:

  • Join the email list for a nonprofit organization that represents a cause you care about.
  • National Public Radio (NPR) has a new show, titled Indivisible, in which listeners with differing political views are encouraged to call in and discuss concerns. In the Chicago area, the NPR station is 91.5 FM.
  • White House Petitions are online petitions that you can start or sign. The White House is required to address petitions that reach at least 100,000 signatures.
  • is an online database of proposed changes or additions to regulations. The government is required to review and consider submissions on this site, so speak up!
  • Contact your Senator or Representative. This site has some tips on the different methods of contact, and allows you to find your elected officials by entering your zip code.

Like any organization, the government needs to know what’s working (or not) for its people. By staying informed and providing feedback, YOU can help shape the direction of our nation!






Photo credit: Solja Virkkunen; shared under the Creative Commons license

Feeling prepared for final exams and assignments can help you feel less nervous during this inherently stressful time. But how to prepare when there’s SO MUCH to do? We have some suggestions:



Use a time management method, such as the Pomodoro Technique, to make the most of your time. Make a list of what needs to be done and make yourself a study schedule. Limit distractions by keeping cell phones silent and out of sight during study time.




Create your study space by finding a quiet area that allows you to focus on the task at hand. The library is a great place to work! It’s quiet, and sometimes it helps to be near other students who are in the same “need-to-study” boat. If you’re studying with a group, you may also check out a study room for 2 hours per day.




Keep yourself well by eating right, getting enough sleep, and taking periodic mental breaks to do something you enjoy. If you’re looking for leisure reading material for such breaks, we have some great book suggestions.


Finals will be over before you know it. You can do this!

Monthly display: memoirs


Photo credit: daniyal62; shared under the Creative Commons license

Learning about others’ lives can help us to reflect on our own. This Thanksgiving Recess (November 24-27), consider reading a memoir. The library has several on display this month (they’re located behind the cookbooks), but if you’re interested in a title that we don’t have, you can place a request for it using our interlibrary loan service. If one of the other 76 libraries within our consortium owns the title, it will be ready for you to pick up in just a few days. As always, please ask us if you have any questions about finding or borrowing materials.

Here’s a sample of the memoirs available to borrow at the PSC Library:

why-not-me         audacity-of-hope          i-am-malala         bossypants

Cookbooks in the library (and online)

apples    Image modified under the Creative Commons license. Photo credit: arbyreed

Thanksgiving is around the corner! Do you need to bring a dish to a Thanksgiving celebration? Or perhaps you’re just looking to incorporate some variety into your daily diet?

The library holds a great number of recipes for special diets—for example, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, etc.—and that represent a wide range of cuisines. Check out this month’s display in the library, or, go online to access a huge selection of recipes in the form of eBooks and magazine articles. (Current PSC students and faculty members can even access these digital materials from home!)

To find  recipes online using the PSC catalog, first select the Advanced Search option on the library homepage.




Within the Advanced Search, type in “cooking” OR “cookbooks” into the search box. Note: the default Boolean operator is “and.” By switching the operator to “or,” a larger number of results will appear. Also select the “SU Subject Terms” field from the drop-down menu next to the text boxes. Click “Search.” This will retrieve the library items that have been categorized into the “cooking” or “cookbooks” categories.


Now, you can browse through the results, or add another term to the last search box in the top if you’re looking for a specific diet, cuisine, or ingredient. Limiting the Source Types to Magazines and eBooks will exclude scholarly reports and articles related to food (these types of sources don’t typically include recipes).


As always, please contact us if you have any questions about using the Advanced Search (or if you have any other questions about using the library!).

This week in 1871: the Great Chicago Fire


  Image: Library of Congress, LCCN 92506070

October 8-10, 1871: Thanks to a combination of very dry conditions, a predominance of wooden buildings, and a smaller fire from the previous day which compromised the efficacy of firefighters and equipment, what would be known as the Great Chicago Fire ruined about a third of the city. We might never know for sure if Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was to blame for the blaze, but check out these four great resources from the PSC Library and beyond to learn more about this important event in Chicago history!

  1. Chicago Tribune Historical Archive

Primary sources were created by individuals during the time of the historical event, rather than by later researchers. Newspapers are a great example of a primary source, and the PSC Library has digital access to the archives of the Chicago Tribune.

One way to find articles created around the time of the Great Chicago Fire is to look at the news articles published around October 8-10, 1871. To do this, first find the archive that covers the time period of interest. In this case, since we are searching for articles created during 1871, click on the fifth archive in the list, “Chicago Tribune (1860-1872).” Once there, you have the option to search within the publication or to browse specific dates.

Continue reading “This week in 1871: the Great Chicago Fire”