Library Help

Quick Links

Contact info

Susan Braxton
Prairie Research Institute Librarian
Funk Library
1101 S. Goodwin
Urbana, IL  61801

phone: (217) 333-5856

email Susan

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is intended to help users find information on specific topics, based on questions frequently received by the Prairie Research Institute Library. If you don't find your question or topic here, check out the Library's list of subject guides and bibliographies or ask a librarian.

Closure of the Prairie Research Institute Library - Frequently Asked Questions

Using the Library


Environmental Information

Federal Information

Illinois Information

General Reference and Statistical Information

Closure of the Prairie Research Institute Library - Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to the books and journals?

Materials have been transferred to other locations (primarily Funk ACES Library and the Oak Street Facility). 
They can be found as before using the online catalog and can be requested from there. 
Journals at Funk ACES do circulate and can be requested.

Where can I return items I have checked out?

Borrowed items from UI or I-Share libraries can be returned to any University Library desk.  
Locations and hours can be found on the University Library homepage.  
Library materials cannot be returned via campus mail.

Who can help me with library research?

Research assistance is available from
Susan Braxton, Prairie Research Institute Librarian
505 Funk/ACES Library MC-633
1101 S. Goodwin
Urbana, IL  61801

Who can help me with my library account, overdue/lost books, fines, etc.?

Central Access Services can help you with any problems related to your library account, including overdue or lost books and fines.

Where can I find more information about the library closure?

Additional information about the closure of the Prairie Research Institute Library can be found in the following documents.

Using the Library

Can I have library books delivered to me on campus?

Yes you can!  Choose "UIUC CAMPUS MAIL" as the pickup location when requesting books from the University Library and IShare Catalogs, and materials will be delivered to your office. 
Note that campus mail delivery is often much slower than pickup at a library desk.  Convenient library desks are listed below for on-campus Institute facilities.
Materials requested via ILLIAD are sent via campus mail by default to faculty only.  If you do not have a faculty appointmtne

Can I have library books delivered to me even if I work in a field station/remote office?

Although you cannot have them delivered directly to your office, you can have them delivered to a nearby IShare library for pickup. 
Many of the Institute's field stations and remote offices have at least one I-Share library nearby. 
Library books can be requested via the I-Share catalog for delivery to the nearest I-Share Library (view map). 
If there is no convenient I-Share pickup location, the Institute Library can mail University Library owned materials to you. 
Contact the Institute Library desk for assistance.

Can I set a default pickup location for my library account?

Yes!  Instructions are here.   Here are the libraries near on-campus facilities of the Institute:

How long is the loan period for a book?

Loan periods depend on type of item and type of patron.

How can I renew books online?

You can renew books online using your VuFind Account (which uses a password you set yourself for authentication) or your Voyager Classic account (which uses your library borrower ID and last name for authentication).  Both of these accounts the University of Illinois and I-Share materials you have on loan. 

Why did my attempt to renew my book online fail?

In most cases, renewal attempts fail because the renewal limit has been reached.  For most University of Illinois materials, you may renew items 10 times (which translates to more than 3 years of loan time).   Most I-Share items may be renewed up to 6 times (which translates to six months of loan time).  When the renewal limit has been reached, you must bring the item(s) to a library service desk. A library staff member will check the items in, and can check UIUC items out to you again (with another 10 renewals allowed).  I-Share items must be returned once the renewal limit is reached. 

Who is Entitled to Access Electronic Resources Licensed for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Campus?

See the University Library's collections website for a detailed explanation of licensed resources and who may access them


Do you accept book donations?

The University Library accepts gift books.
See the donor information page 

Do you accept donations of personal papers or research program records?

See the University Archives donations page.  

How can I donate money to support the Library?

Donations to support the purchase of natural history materials may be made to the John K. Bouseman Illinois Natural History Survey Library Endowment Fund. 
Also see, University Library Advancement for additional ways to support the library. 

Environmental Information

Where can I find information on pollution in the Great Lakes?

U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office is a very good place to start when looking for information about the Great Lakes. They have many resources, including information about each lake. In particular, the Great Lakes Atlas provides comprehensive information about the history, ecosystem, environmental concerns, and joint management of the Lakes. Paper copies of the Atlas are also available.

I'm a student doing a paper on pollution/hazardous waste/recycling/other environmental topics. Where can I find information on this topic?

U.S. EPA's Student Center is an excellent place to begin your research. It includes information on environmental basics, air, water, conservation, ecosystems, human health, in your neighborhood, and waste and recycling. as well as links to environmental laws, publications, an environmental dictionary, news, and information for teachers and kids. U.S. EPA also maintains frequently asked questions collections on a variety of topics. You should be able to locate basic information with links to EPA resources from these documents.

If you're looking for information on the health effects of specific chemicals, see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's ToxFAQs.

For a good discussion of current environmental issues with relevant links, see the Almanac of Policy Issues: Environment and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Where can I find a copy of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, or other major environmental legislation?

U.S. EPA maintains a list of major environmental laws with links to full-text sources on the laws & regulations section of their web site.

How do I find an EPA test method?

U.S. EPA's Forum on Environmental Measurements maintains an online collection of EPA test methods. The U.S. EPA Region 1 Library compiled an index to EPA test methods (latest edition is 2003). This index is a useful tool if you aren't sure which of the many EPA methods compilations contains the method you need.

The National Environmental Methods Index, a cooperative effort of the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey, is an excellent online source for test methods. Users can search by analyte, CAS number, or method number. Users can also browse by general method and locate test methods approved for regulatory use.

Where can I find environmental information for teachers to use in the classroom?

The Environmental Education LibGuide includes a wealth or resources for teaching K-12 students about the environmental effects of pollution and waste, as well as strategies for improving the environment.

U.S. EPA's Environmental Education web site includes resources for educators and parents, as well as information about grant opportunities and teacher awards.

Another good resource is EElinked Networks. This site, maintained by the North American Association for Environmental Education, provides a wealth of resources for educators on environmental topics. It includes links to classroom resources, contacts, reference resources, regional information, and education and environment directories.

The University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems (formerly the National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education) has developed Faculty Teaching and Research Materials that integrate pollution prevention concepts into various subject areas. Each compendium contains a resource list, selected readings, syllabi, and student assignments. The subjects covered include Accounting, Agriculture, Business Law, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Coastal Zone Management, Environmental Studies, Finance, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Industrial Ecology, Marketing, and Strategic Environmental Management. There are also links to case studies and bibliographies.

Although it doesn't have specific curriculum guides, Benchmarks for Science Literacy is something that all teachers should read. A companion publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's project "Science for All Americans", it is a compendium of specific goals for science literacy in several key areas including the living environment. It is part of their Project 2061 program which promotes literacy in science, mathematics, and technology.

Where can I find information on pollution prevention, clean technology, or cleaner production in a specific industry?

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center has many factsheets and technical research reports dealing with both general and specific pollution prevention topics. In addition, Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable maintains a virtual library of resources related to pollution prevention and cleaner production for many different industries. National Compliance Assistance Centers are also an excellent source of information on pollution prevention and regulatory information in specific industries. U.S. EPA's Business and Non-Profits page links to general regulatory information, information from specific EPA programs, and the U.S. EPA Small Business Gateway. EPA's Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse distributes and links to many, many pollution prevention publications, including industry-specific information. Finally, EPA's Pollution Prevention Home Page contains information about Agency initiatives, including the Design for the Environment Project, which targets specific industry sectors.

Where can I find information on landfills, solid waste disposal, and recycling?

U.S. EPA's Wastes page includes information on recycling, hazardous wastes, and solid (non-hazardous) waste. U.S. EPA also maintains frequently asked questions collections on a variety of environmental subjects. The Municipal Solid Waste page includes statistics about generation of trash in the U.S and links to data sets and the annual report Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: Facts and Figures.

How do I locate companies that recycle pallets, silver, batteries, and other industrial wastes?

Waste exchanges bring companies looking for recyclable industrial wastes together with companies who are wanting to get rid of such wastes. Many states have materials exchange programs. The Illinois EPA runs the Industrial Material Exchange Service. Recycler's World, a worldwide trading site for recyclable commodities, has a directory of companies who deal in recycled goods. The directory is subdivided by waste category and state. The Southern Waste Information Exchange (SWIX) maintains a list of materials exchange services, as well as lists of materials wanted and materials available.

What do I do with old paint, household cleaners, pool chemicals, and other household wastes?

The following ISTC publications answer some of these questions:

Many states and local governments sponsor household hazardous waste collection days. In Illinois, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency organizes these events. To obtain a list of dates and locations, information about collections, or a list of what is and isn't accepted, visit their web site or call the Waste Reduction Unit at (217) 785-8604. If your community does not currently sponsor a collection day and you want to start one, U.S. EPA has published Household Hazardous Waste Management: A Manual for One-Day Community Collection Programs (EPA 530 R-92 002). U.S. EPA's Household Hazardous Waste page includes links to reduction, reuse, recycling, collection, and disposal options.

Where can I find out which universities or schools offer environmental science, conservation, or sustainability courses? Can I see copies of the course syllabi?

The American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) maintains a database of sustainability focused academic degree programs. You can search the database or browse by degree type and discipline. Also check out the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems (formerly the National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education). They have developed curricula and resource lists to help faculty in many different disciplines incorporate pollution prevention into their courses. The Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability's Resources page includes links to curriculum resources in many specific disciplines, including biology, business, chemistry, communications, design, engineering, English/creative writing, environmental science, humanities, law, mathematics, psychology, religion, sociology, and cross-disciplinary programs.

Where can I find information about toxics in my community?

The Environmental Defense Fund's Scorecard site produces local reports by combining scientific, geographical, technical, and legal information from over 150 electronic databases. Local reports include contact information for legislators and decision makers. Another good source is U.S. EPA's Envirofacts page. It's a single point of access for environmental data collected by the agency. EPA also offers a "search by zip code" feature on their Your Community page.

Where can I find information about my drinking water?

There is an Illinois Water Supply Information guide that provides links to federal and state resources on supply, water use, and relevant legislation.

Federal Information

What is the difference between a law and a regulation?

Congress passes the laws that govern the United States, but Congress has also authorized federal agencies to help put those laws into effect by creating and enforcing regulations. U.S. EPA's Basics of the Regulatory Process provides a basic description of how laws and regulations are developed, what they are, and where to find them, with an emphasis on environmental laws and regulations.

How do I find Federal Register notices, U.S. laws and regulations, committee testimony and hearings, and other legal information?

At the Federal level, there is a fair amount of information available at no cost. Some good web sites include:

Illinois Information

Where do I find information about Illinois companies?

The University of Illinois' Business Information Services group has developed a handy flowchart for locating company information. The Thomas Register of American Manufacturers provides listings of companies that manufacture specific products. The Illinois Business Directory and the Illinois Services Directory are also good sources of basic company information.

Where can I locate Illinois laws and regulations?

Illinois bills and laws are available from the Illinois General Assembly. The site includes bills and resolutions, Public Acts, the Illinois Compiled Statutes, and the Illinois Constitution, as well as information about House and Senate committees. Public acts and pending legislation are only available for the current legislative session. To access previous legislative sessions, use the site map. The Illinois Pollution Control Board also has some links to Illinois environmental laws, including the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, summaries of environmental legislation pending in the Illinois General Assembly, and summaries of environmental legislation passed during the current session. Illinois regulations are announced in the Illinois Register and compiled in the Illinois Administrative Code by the Secretary of State Indexing Department. After regulations are finalized by the Joint Committee on Administrative Code, they are published in the Illinois Administrative Code. For more information about Illinois' legislative process, see the Illinois Legislation LibGuide developed by the University of Illinois Library's Government Information Services group.

How can I find out what congressional or legislative district I'm in and who my representatives are?

The easiest way to find this information is to look on your voter registration card. Both congressional and legislative districts are listed there. However, if you can't find your card or you want to know who represents another district, the Illinois State Board of Elections has a searchable database to help you locate representatives based on street address. The search results include links to contact information for each representative, including all of their district offices. You can also search by ZIP+4, official, and district.

General Reference and Statistical Information

How do I find information about organizations and associations?

The Encyclopedia of Associations is the best place to look for this information. Most libraries have a copy of this in their reference collection. Some libraries may also subscribe to Associations Unlimited, which is an online version.

How can I find out how many printers/refineries/metal finishers/other industrial groups are located in my state?

The U.S. Census Bureau's County Business Patterns database contains employment statistics, by Standard Industrial Classification and NAICS for all states and counties in the United States. To search the database, select a state (or select the entire United States), then narrow your search by SIC code. If you're viewing information for a specific state, then decide you want to compare those statistics to other states, click the compare button.

The Census Bureau also publishes economic census profiles for many manufacturing and service industries. In addition, they have a one-stop census page called American FactFinder that allows users to search multiple census databases and compile custom reports.