Celebrate Banned Book Week 2015!

Banned Book Week was launched in 1982 in order to bring attention to a surge of challenges that schools, bookstores and libraries were getting. The American Library Association (ALA) reports that more than 11,300 books have been challenged since then. According to the ALA, “A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported.”

Banned Book Week September 27 - October 3, 2015
Banned Book Week September 27 through October 3, 2015


The Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded 311 challenges  in 2014.

Here are a few books of interest to Engineering and Science that have been banned at one time or another:

  • Banned in 17th Century Europe:  Any writing or discussion demonstrating the heliocentric nature of the universe.
  • Writings by Physicist and Astronomer Galileo Galilei: He was charged and convicted of heresy by the Inquisition in 1632 for writing, “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”  Main Library QB41 .G1356 1967
  • Banned in schools in Tennessee following the Butler Act of 1925:  Books and teaching materials on Darwinian evolution theory, including The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin  Main Library QH365 .O2 1979.
  • Banned in Menifee School District, California:  Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary   Hardin Library For Health Sci Library PE1628 W4M4 1993 banned for having definitions that were too explicit.
  • Banned in the United States for being too accurate in its scientific initiative: The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, written in 1960 by Robert Brent and illustrated by Harry Lazarus.

Many books which are considered classics have also been targets of challenges and attempts to ban them. Check out which books here: http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/.  There are also links to the top 100 fiction and top 100 nonfiction titles.

If you are interested in exploring Leonardo da Vinci’s engineering works, check out Doing da Vinci. Four builders and engineers attempt to build never-before-constructed inventions! The 2-disc set looks at his armored tank, siege ladder, self-propelled carts and even a machine gun! Will his creations actually work? Doing da Vinci will show you!

We have many resources that relate to Darwin, Galileo, and da Vinci. Come explore our library and find these titles and more!


Banned & Challenged Books. 1996-2015. American Library Association.

Banned Book Week.  http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

Baron, Dennis.  Webster’s Banned for too much sex.  https://illinois.edu/blog/view/25/20915

Other Resources:

Banned Books. Powered by Weebly. Date accessed: September 23, 2015

Don’t Take the Freedom to Read for Granted. September 22, 2015.  American Libraries: A publication of the American Library Association.

DIY for the Weekend: Build A NERF® Blaster!

Who doesn’t love a NERF® blaster? And what could be better than a blaster that you build yourself and can be used either manually or autonomously?

Autonomous NERF Blaster created by Bryce Bigger
Autonomous NERF® Blaster created by Bryce Bigger

Bryce Bigger’s book, Build Your Own Autonomous NERF® Blaster is aimed towards those who are less familiar with coding and physical computing – however, if you are more knowledgeable about coding and tinkering, he provides more advanced alternatives to “level up” your project.

Both a Processing and an Arduino crash course are provided. By using open-source, cross-platform creative coding, Bigger provides an inexpensive way to begin. Lots of screen prints and step-by-step instructions will have you processing before you know it and give you “mad new skills” to take you into the Arduino crash course. Again, the many pictures and careful instructions will get you to the point where you will be able to use your new processing and Arduino skills to move to the next stage of building your own blaster!

Once you have those basic skills, Bigger will walk you, step-by-step, through understanding and setting up a motion detection system and creating the brains and eyes of the blaster are also carefully spelled out. He then explains his tinkering process and how he ended up designing the foam blaster for MailChimp®. All phases of the NERF® blaster development are explained clearly and include photographs and screen shots.

A complete list of parts (and some places where they may be purchased) is also given.

So, pull out your NERF® guns and enjoy the weekend!

NERF Sentinel from AdobeMAX Keynote from The Bigger Design on Vimeo.


Engineering Library TJ223 .P76 B544 2013
Engineering Library TJ223 .P76 B544 2013


Bigger, Bryce. 2013. Build your own autonomous NERF Blaster : programming mayhem with Processing and Arduino. New York : McGraw Hill. Engineering Library TJ223 .P76 B544 2013


Come Explore Our Library! We have 2 Scanners!!

We added a brand-new overhead scanner this fall! We now have two and they are both free of charge!

Both scanners have large touch screens make them easy to use.

The scanners are easy to use. They have large touch screens to guide you through the scanning process. You are also able to either save your scanned document to a USB drive or email the document to yourself. Each scanner will scan in black & white or in color. If a USB drive is inserted, the scanner automatically recognizes this and will indicate that this is where the document will be saved. Since both scanners will scan color or black & white, they are perfect for scanning graphs, photos, magazines and journals.

The new scanner is an overhead, face-up scanner, so there will be no more book spine damage.

The new scanner is an overhead, face-up scanner. These means that books don’t have to be flattened in order to be scanned – thus preventing bo0k spine damage. You are also able to split the two pages of a book into separate images. Black edges can be removed and the content can be straightened. It also has a much larger capture area so is able to scan larger images than either copiers or typical scanners. It is much easier and quicker to scan multiple pages of a book – there is no need to flip them over to turn the page and then flip them over again to scan. You simply turn the page. There is a foot peddle so the user may use that rather than the hand scan screen. It is also wheel-chair accessible.

The scanners are located with the print station and the photocopier.

Come explore our library and find out how easy and convenient our scanners are!

Data Management for Researchers

Image courtesy of University of Virginia Library
Image courtesy of University of Virginia Library

Are you confused about funding agencies’ new data management and sharing policies? Or do you need some help managing your research data? You’re not alone and we can help! Join us for one of five upcoming workshops (each session is identical):

The purpose of this workshop is to explain research data management and its importance, help identify some common data management issues, and learn about best practices and resources that are available. This workshop is open to all UI students, faculty, and staff. Registration is requested. To register, please click on one of the dates above.

If you have any questions, or if you’d like to request a session for your group, please contact Sara Scheib or Marina Zhang.

DIY for the Weekend! LEGO® Ice Cream Maker!!

Want to do something totally different this weekend? Have a pile of LEGO® blocks lying around? How about making an ice cream maker!? Then, how about home-made S’mores ice cream? Want the flavor of the fire-toasted marshmallows? Try making your own liquid smoke!

Author Jeff Potter with his LEGO ice cream maker.
Author Jeff Potter with his LEGO ice cream maker.

To make the ice cream maker you’ll need a LEGO® Technic Kit, an XL motor, a large (empty) yogurt container and, of course, the LEGO© blocks. The base of ice cream is traditionally milk or cream with flavorings added. That homemade ice cream maker will agitate the base as it freezes.

If you don’t want to try your hand at making the LEGO® ice cream maker, you can use a traditional ice cream maker and then use either dry ice or liquid nitrogen for the freezing.

For S’mores ice cream, the base consists of whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, chocolate syrup, medium-sized marshmallows and liquid smoke. You can buy liquid smoke or make your own. If you buy liquid smoke the ingredients should only be “water, smoke.” Really, that’s all. Making your own liquid smoke requires about $20 in ingredients and is best done with chemistry equipment in a lab. This will allow you to create a closed system to capture the liquid smoke and to heat it safely. Buying your liquid smoke is cheaper, takes less time, and is a little safer…

Ready to make the S’mores ice cream? Combine the base ingredients, pre-chill it, put it in your LEGO® machine and it will all – including your LEGO® machine – go into your freezer. Once the base is set, stir in graham crackers, toasted and cut into pieces. Serve with hot fudge or chocolate syrup – add whipped cream, cherries or nuts if you like.  Yum….

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food, by Jeff Potter. Engineering Library TX715 .P882010
Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food, by Jeff Potter. Engineering Library TX715 .P88201


For the instructions and recipes, check out Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food, by Jeff Potter.

Have fun building your Lego ice cream maker and enjoy that home-made ice cream!!


Potter, Jeff. 2010. Cooking for geeks: real science, great hacks and good food. Sebastopol, CA : O’Reilly. Engineering Library TX715 .P882010

Explore Our Library: Course Reserves!

Did you know that we have Course Reserve titles for 93 classes?

What happens if you can’t remember the title of the reserve book you need for your class? We have several ways to access the Reserve information from our webpage. Under our banner are several links, one of which is Course Reserve. It is easy to search by using the drop-down menu. You are given the option of searching a multiple of ways. For example you may search by course title, instructor name, course name or number and more. Select the drop-down you wish to use, type the information in the search box and it will take you to InfoHawk and a listing of all the titles reserved for that particular instructor. Click on the Location field in the InfoHawk brief record and you can check to see how many copies of that title we have, if they are already checked out and when they are due back.

Another easy way to access information about Course Reserve titles is to go our homepage and click on the drop-down menu for Services. Clicking on Course Reserves will take you to an ICON Link or a link to the Main Library Course Reserve search page.

You know the title of the book and the professor’s name, so all you need to do is stop in at the library and ask the helpful staff at the Circulation Desk! You’ll need is your student ID card (or the number if you know it), the name of the professor and the title of the book. Each Reserve book can be checked out for 2 hours, if it is checked out within 2 hours of  closing it won’t be due until an hour after we open the next day. The fine is $2.40/hour up to $40.

Come explore our library and find that Course Reserve title you need!

DIY for the Weekend! A Home Energy Audit

Classes have started, football season is here – as much as we hate to admit it – fall (and winter!) are upon us. Maybe it is time to look at how much – and where – our living spaces use energy. This may not sound like a fun way to spend a weekend, but think of the money you could be saving! If you leave in a dorm or rent an apartment, you may not think these energy tips pertain to you, but there are many things you can do to help shrink your carbon footprint.

How many times did your parents tell you to “turn off the lights” when you left a room?” They were right – turning off lights when not in use can save a lot of energy. One way to do that is with a timer – not only with lights, but with appliances you know you use at a certain time each day. Dimmer switches, energy efficient light bulbs and, if you live in a home, motion detectors also can save a significant amount of energy/money. Another trick is to keep your lamps away from the thermostat – the heat from the lamp can cause the air conditioner to run more frequently. A programmable thermostat, much like a timer switch, can also save energy and money.

Power Monitor. Tool Library Box XX

Another thing you might want to do is figure out how much energy it takes to run the major appliances in your home. There are tables that can help you estimate costs for a home, but why not use the Power Monitor from our Tool Library. The power monitor will help you discover your “phantom” electrical use. Many household devices use power, even when turned off. It is easy to use – plug the power monitor into the wall socket and then plug the device into the power monitor. It measures the power usage for the entire time it is plugged in. An easy fix for using too much electricity are electrical power strips. Simply turn off the power strip when the device is not in use. These can save money if you are in a home or apartment where you are responsible for paying your own electric and heating bills.

A high energy user is your refrigerator. It runs 24/7 for years – even that small dorm-size refrigerator. The electric motor and air compressor take a lot of energy to run. So, what can you do? Check your the temperature in the refrigerator. Ideally your refrigerator temperature should be between 35 and 41° F. Your freezer should be around -18ºC which is-0.4ºF. These temperatures are best for keeping food fresher longer, slow the growth of bacteria and keep your food from getting freezer burn. Another easy refrigerator fix is simply making sure the door seals are kept clean. Evenly spacing out items in the refrigerator and keeping it full will help keep energy costs down, too. If you don’t have enough food in the refrigerator placing sealed and empty refrigerator containers can help. When you open the refrigerator door, the cool air stays in the container and is not lost through the open door.  Keeping a pitcher of cold water will not only help even out the cooling in the refrigerator, it will keep you from running water long enough to get it cold. Vacuum your refrigerator coils regularly and – as David Findley says in Do it yourself home energy audits – don’t “sightsee in the refrigerator.”

Water usage is another way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money. Easy things such as taking showers and not baths; take shorter and cooler showers; turn off the water while brushing your teeth; only wash full loads of clothing and wash in cold water. A common misconception is that it takes warm/hot water to kill germs, but is really the detergent and not the water temperature. Also use drying racks instead of dryers.


There are also ways to use “gray water,” the water from washing dishes, doing laundry, and other things like dehumidifiers. That water is safe to use on plants and in yards. Using gray water reduces water usage and prevents it from ending up in streams and rivers.

If you live in your own home, you can do a “pressure test” to find energy leaks in your windows, doors, and around wall sockets. Energy Efficient Homes for Dummies (pg 92-98) has complete step-by-step instructions for doing the test and how to stop those leaks.

Spend a little time this weekend doing a quick energy check, because whether you live in a house, apartment or dorm, there are DIY projects that can help you save money and reduce your impact on the world around you.

Engineering Library TJ163.5 .D86 F523 2010
Engineering Library TJ163.5 .D86 F523 2010


Findley, David S. 2010. Do it yourself home energy audits: 140 simple solutions to lower energy costs, increase your home’s efficiency and save the environment.  New York : McGraw Hill. Engineering Library TJ163.5 .D86 F523 2010

DeGunther, Rik. 2008. Energy efficient homes for dummies. Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley : Chichester : John Wiley (distributer). Engineering Library TJ163.5 ..D86 D44 2008.



Other resources:

Do it yourself home energy audits. June 24, 2013. Energy.gov

8 easy projects for instant home energy savings. Feb/March 2008. Mother Earth News.

Rehfeld, Barry J. 2011. Home sweet zero energy home: what it takes to develop great homes that won’t cost anything to heat, cool or light up, without going broke or crazy. Gabriola, B.C : New Society Publishers. Engineering Library TJ163.5 .D86 R44 2011

Lubeck, Aaron. 2010. Green restorations : sustainable building and historic homes. Gabriola, B.C. : New Society Publishers. Engineering Library TH4816 .L82 2010

For more intense energy-saving projects: Top 10 best do-it-yourself green projects. 2015. The Green Optimist.

Come Explore Our Library! Subject Guides

Are you looking for resources pertinent to your Engineering major? Check out all the subject guides we have available right from our webpage. The “Subject Guides” tab will take you to a number of helpful links and information. What you need to know is all located in one convenient place. The A to Z links will take you to links for library-wide scholarly journals, magazines, and databases.


As you begin to look ahead and plan your research for the semester, we can help from the beginning to the end. No matter what your engineering major is, you can start your research by searching Compendex. It is the most comprehensive bibliographic database of scientific and technical engineering research available, and it covers all engineering disciplines. It includes millions of bibliographic citations and abstracts from thousands of engineering journals and conference proceedings. When combined with the Engineering Index Backfile (1884 – 1969), Compendex covers 120 years of core engineering literature. An Xpress class on Compendex will be held on November 19th from 2:30 t0 3:00 in the Engineering Library multipurpose room.

We also have a subject guide on Standards which explains standards and where to find detailed information about them. There are also links to websites where you can begin your search. There is even a section on how to cite standards in your paper. The Standards Xpress class will be held on October 8th, from 2:30 to 3:00 in the Engineering Library multipurpose room..

Our Patent subject guide explains everything from what a patent is, what can be patented and what you need to know for a patent application. There is also detailed information on how and where to search and how to cite patents. The Xpress class, Learn Patent Searching, will be held on October 22 and is a basic introduction to patent searching. It will be held in the Engineering Library multipurpose room from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m.

Wondering about product liability, but have no idea were to even begin looking? We can help with that, too! Our Product Liability subject guide will help you find out about laws and regulations, find links to useful blogs, and find out what books we have here in our own library. A few of the other subject guides cover Engineering Ethics, ADA and Universal Design, and a Citation Guide.

Be sure to check out the Xpress classes that we offer. Each class provides valuable information about the resources that are available to you. Librarians will introduce you to the tools and provide you with a basic understanding of how they may be used. The instructors are more than willing to talk with you personally, answer your questions and help you find the resources that will be most helpful to you.

Prepare yourself for this semester’s projects – explore our website and check out all the information that is available in the subject guides!!


DIY for the Long Weekend: Want to ‘Noodle’ Around?

The last long weekend of the summer – Labor Day – is upon us.  Don’t you really want to do something fun and different? Have any of those swimming pool noodles lying around?


You may not want to store them over the winter – so why not make your own airframe, floating, flying quad? Make: technology on your time can walk you through the steps and in no time you’ll have a sturdy, airframe, quadcopter that can fly and float!

Quadcopter photo from Makezine.com. Behold the Noodle Copter project.
Quadcopter photo from Makezine.com. Behold the Noodle Copter project.

The April/May 2015 issue (vol. 44) of Make will not only help you make an inexpensive fun drone for the whole family, it has several articles on drone races, drone derby guidelines, 3-D printed racing drones and tricopters. This issue, in fact,  has DIY instructions for 5 multicopters!

There is also information about making your DIY drone watertight and protecting it from the elements. Each project has a list of materials, tools, and estimate of the cost and time involved in creating your very own DIY drone. The Noodle Copter requires pool noodles, battery, flight control board, among other things. The specific size and types of items and tools needed are specifically listed.

Mark Harrison, the designer of the Noodle Copter, uses it as a trainer. He says “I can’t imagine much you could do to break a pool noodle!” Perfect if you want to try your hand at flying a drone for the first time, or to get better at it before you use the more expensive ones. Harrison has also filled a Noodle Copter with LEDs making it possible to fly it at night.

Make a Noodle Copter and enjoy the long weekend!!