From mystery to history: Cultural arts exhibit on display in the Learning Commons

Copy of Melamed_LibraryArtShow

A special part of the library is going on exhibit Feb. 15. Photographs, video clippings and newspaper articles from Baltimore’s Cultural Arts Program (CAP) will be on display in the Division of Legal and Ethical Studies on the third floor of the Learning Commons in Room 317, the CAS Faculty Lounge. There will be an opening reception with light refreshments from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

The CAP collection is normally housed in Langsdale Library’s Special Collections and is accessible to researchers and community members just by making an appointment. The collection is in the process of being digitized, as well.

The Baltimore community has a unique opportunity to see the special showing this month and meet CAP participant Angela Koukoui, who also helped organize the exhibit. Koukoui is in the Integrated Arts program at UB.

UB President Kurt Schmoke, will be at the opening as well.

Dr. Nicole Hudgins, associate professor in UB’s Division of Legal, Ethical and Historical Studies, initially approached Koukoui about doing the exhibit and they have since been working on it together.

CAP started in 1968 with War on Poverty Funding and its Model Cities Program (MCP). By 1974, CAP was being run by the Urban Services Agency (USA) and continued until 1993.

Kokoui joined CAP’s dance program in 1986 and stayed until 1993 when she graduated from high school. CAP enabled Kokoui to apply for and attend Baltimore School for the Arts.

She now runs a non-profit dance program inspired by her time in CAP. CAP also offered piano, singing, visual arts and drama. Jada Pinkett Smith starred in a CAP production of West Side Story at the age of 14.

Everyone who participated in CAP hasbecomesuccessful,saysKoukoui. “We tried to find someone who did not succeed and we could not.” Emmy Award Winning ABC News Cameraman Pete O’Neal got his start in CAP.

Baltimore’s African American Festival (AFRAM) started through CAP, as well. Kokoui danced at AFRAM in 1976 as part of CAP’s Expanded Arts Program and was paid for her performance. Her children dance at AFRAM, currently.

Koukoui initially discovered the CAP collection at Langsdale Library as a community member. She had first checked the city archives and the Maryland Historical Society, but could find nothing. She only found two news clippings at the Pratt Library.

Finally, at an arts advocacy meeting, Kokoui got information. It was there she discovered that Urban Services Agency photographer Breck Chapman, who had covered CAP from its inception to its end, donated his entire collection of CAP photo- graphs to the Langsdale Library.

The CAP collection at Langsdale is called the Breck Chapman collection.

Come to the opening on Feb. 15 and see for yourself. You can also call to make an appointment.

Many of Langsdale Library’s Special Collections can be viewed online.

Langsdale Library is open:

Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Uncommon Knowledge

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Look for new Reference and Instruction Librarian Maggie Dull and new Resource Sharing Librarian Sean Hogan at Langsdale Library this fall. Photo credit: Laura Melamed

The Langsdale Library at the Learning Commons

Have you ever been to the library at UB? The Langsdale Library is currently located on the third floor of the Learning Commons.

Is this your first semester at UB? Are you looking for the Learning Commons? Check out the building with the huge front yard, called Gordon Plaza, where you’ll see a statue of Edgar Allen Poe. You’ll see trees and flowers, too. You may notice benches where you can take a study break and picnic tables where you can eat lunch after a productive morning in one of the library computer labs.

The library also has study rooms in addition to large open areas with big tables where you can spread out your books in front of expansive windows with lots of natural light and a great view of the city. Feel free to bring your laptop and write a paper sitting by the inspiring panorama. You can also a borrow a laptop from the library for up to four hours at a time, as long as you use it in one of the library’s comfortable study areas.

Are you spending all day at the library or just running in to borrow books and DVDs? Lock your bike at one of the racks on Gordon Plaza right in front of the Learning Commons for a minute, an hour or an afternoon. It’s free to check out DVDs from the library and free to park your bike on campus. Just bring your Bee Card to check out books and DVDs.

The library is open until 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, for late-night studying and last-minute checkouts.

The library’s Lunch and Learn program will be returning. Come to the library when UB professors discuss the results of their research. Feel free to ask questions and engage in the discussion.

On Aug. 27, the library’s popular Cupcake Social returns for one hour only! Be sure to be there from 3 p.m to 4 p.m. All students are invited.

What’s new at the library?

Academic Search Premier, one of the library’s most-used databases, is now called Academic Search Complete.

Writing Wednesdays, a new UB project, is a collaboration between the Writing Center and the Langsdale Library which will include workshops, appointments and walk-in sessions. The program will begin this semester. Keep a lookout for details.

Do you have old tapes you want to preserve or convert? Learn how in Making the Overwhelming Possible, a workshop co-hosted by Langsdale Library and Digital Maryland on Sept. 25 in the Learning Commons Town Hall. For more information visit

Meet the library’s new faculty: Resource Sharing Librarian Sean Hogan, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian Maggie Dull and, Reference and Instruction Librarian Bess Beck. All will be happy to answer your questions when working the library reference desk.

Langsdale Library Hours

Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Library Insider

So many possible things after breakfast

Do you wonder what possibilities await at your library?

UB’s Langsdale Library opens at 8 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends. Come on down, right after breakfast.

On April 2, there will be a citations workshop at the library.

But that’s not all.

One of the library’s popular Lunch-and-Learn’s is scheduled for the week of April 20. Heather L. Pfeifer, Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice, will be leading the session. To find out more, contact Mike Kiel at

Or visit the library April 30 for a long night of studying. The library will be open until 1:30 a.m.

“Unlimited possibilities @ your library” is the theme of this year’s National Library Week, celebrated April 12-18.

Unlimited possibilities at the library mean different things to different people.

“I think of the library as a place a student can explore an idea that they would not have the opportunity to explore otherwise,” Tracy Dimond, Graduate Teaching Assistant and writing student at UB, said.

“We have so many books they might not realize are academic,” Dimond added. “I hear people say ‘Oh, I can write my paper about that?’ I think that’s really cool. Music, sex, and gender are usually the big surprises.”

“Because I work at the circulation desk and as a writing instructor, I get an academic thrill when I see students start to make connections about different topics,” Dimond continued.

“When I see them in the process of thinking, writing, and learning, I get excited for them. It’s fun.”

“You can do anything at the library!” Kemi Kodja said, another student worker at Langsdale. “You can read, do your homework, hang out with your friends. You can eat or have a group meeting.”

Kodja likes to shelve books because she can jot down titles while she works.

“Like shopping for a book, only it’s free,” Kodja said. “I always have a pen and paper so I can write down titles.”

Kemi Kodja in Wonderland

Kodja is currently reading The Little Women Letters, a novel by Gabrielle Donnelly, which she found at Langsdale.

From an academic, standpoint, Reference and Instruction Librarian Pete Ramsey said the role of the librarian is to give people access to everything—because we want the possibilities hidden inside each person to come to fruition.

“So the unlimited possibilities of individual potential, when combined with what we, as a library, hope to do, can change the world,” Ramsey said.

Library Insider

A lighter, brighter library in the works

One of the things I like about doing homework in UB’s Angelos Law Center is a sun-soaked study room on a winter afternoon. It’s a great place to sit with a laptop or lunch.

Students can look forward to similar spaces in the renovated Langsdale Library at 1420 Maryland Ave., due to be completed in Dec. 2017. Proposed plans contain a number of enticing features. The new patron lounge on the first floor is expected to get nice morning light, a great place to start out your school day. Just bring a cup of coffee and catch up with friends or homework. Laptops and books are welcome.

Need to get some serious studying done? Sound absorbers attached to the ceilings have been proposed for study rooms in the renovated library.

A proposed late-night computer lab with Bee Card access is expected to be popular.

“I definitely like that,” Danielle Reaves, a marketing major at UB, said. “Hopefully I’ll be here when it’s done.” The lab will contain a water fountain and a restroom.

Students can expect approximately 100 computers and about a dozen study rooms. Additionally, laptop bars are planned for the library.

“I’m hoping to have flexible-use spaces where students could create, collaborate, display and share their research and creative endeavors,” Michael Shochet, Head of Reference at Langsdale Library, said.

The library will have four floors, including the basement. Current plans include study spaces that will get progressively quieter as you go up.

In the basement you’ll find treasures like the library’s Special Collections, which contains archives of recent Baltimore history. Students can also expect to find a lab with three iMacs fully loaded with Adobe Creative Suite.

Wish you were outside? A garden feature, just outside the library, has been proposed. Additionally, a prism- like atrium is planned.

“Having a garden and atrium would rock,” Library Technician Erin Toepfner said.

Window seats similar to bay windows are planned and proposed windows near the ceiling have been designed to reflect the sun and create more natural light inside the building.

“More natural light will be a great feature of the new building,” Mike Kiel, Reference and Instruction Librarian at Langsdale Library, said.

Student Dina Varsalone is looking forward to more windows, as well.

“It will be exciting to be in an updated space,” Reference and Instruction Librarian Natalie Burclaff said.

To be more environmentally and economically sustainable, the existing building structure will be retained, saving both carbon and money, according to building plans.

The building was designed by Behnisch Architekten. Plans are current but are subject to change if the need arises.

Library Insider: Gifts from the past

Special collections brings buried history back to life.

What’s unique, one-of-a-kind, or rare at UB’s Langsdale Library?

A 1928 UB yearbook.

Copies of The UB Post from the 1970s are few-and-far-between, but you can find them at the Langsdale.

A large collection of jazz records.

There are written records of the “road fights,” during which citizens, preservationists and environmentalists, starting in 1968, fought an expressway planned to run through the Inner Harbor and Fells Point, which threatened to completely destroy the area’s walkability. Unlike some other cities in similar situations, according to archivist Aiden Faust, Baltimore prevailed with local grassroots organizing and managed to stop the highway construction, but not before it damaged several neighborhoods.

Archivist Aiden Faust with a 1950s UB yearbook Photo courtesy of Laura Melamed
Archivist Aiden Faust with a 1950s UB yearbook
Photo courtesy of Laura Melamed

There are interviews with local residents, conducted by UB students, to fill in historical gaps in the written record which often occurred when events involved underrepresented ethnic groups and neighborhoods.

There is television footage of the Baltimore riots.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB) records from the 1990s have recently found a home at the Langsdale Library.

And what do all these gifts from the past have in common?

All of them are from the last century and all of them are part of over 125 archival collections that comprise the library’s Special Collections.

Students and community members can view some of these collections by making an appointment from the Langsdale Library Special Collections website. Other collections are available online.

Eighty videos from Baltimore’s earliest TV news stations, WMAR and WJZ, are up on the Special Collections website, Audiovisual Archivist Siobhan Hagan said. There have been 5,000 downloads so far. Library patrons can freely download, remix, and reuse any of these videos as long as it’s for educational purposes.

Hagan uses a towering video digitization rack, which she refers to as Buffy the Video Slayer, to convert historical television news shows into digital format. A high- quality motion picture film scanner would help her digitize an additional 4,000 reels of 16 mm film, making years of history accessible to students and the public.

One of Hagan’s favorite videos contains WMAR footage of Nancy Pelosi as a little girl at the Baltimore mayoral inauguration of her father Thomas D’alesandro Jr., in the 1950s.

Faust’s favorite collections include Baltimore grassroots movements like the road fights of the late ’60s and early ’70s, and the Baltimore Recycling Coalition’s fight against a city incinerator in the ’90s.

Faust also likes the oral histories. He is excited that UB students become part of the historical record when they conduct interviews for such projects. Such was the case for Dr. Betsy Nix’s class when students talked with doctors involved in the People’s Free Medical Clinic, founded in the 1970s. The clinic was founded by feminists and members of the Black Panthers to provide free health care for city residents.

Much of our Special Collections contain relatively recent Baltimore social history, says Faust, which differentiates it from many other libraries’ Special Collections that focus on much older documents.

“A lot of people expect really old books under piles of dust,” he said. But everything in Langsdale Library’s Special Collections is from the twentieth century, just like Buffy the Video Slayer.


Coming up at Langsdale Library:

Free coffee for finals

Dec. 1 through Dec. 4, 8 a.m to 6 p.m.
Learning Commons, 3rd floor

Library Insider: R&R Langsdale

By Laura Melamed

Need an instant vacation? At this point in the semester many of us do, but who has time to get away?

Instead, visit the library and flip through 1000 Places to See Before You Die. Imagine visiting long empty beaches, steep cliffs, small fishing villages and sixth century farmlands on Gotland near the coast of Sweden. Perfect for any major.

Kevin Cook enjoys a relaxing read at Langsdale Library.
Kevin Cook enjoys a relaxing read at Langsdale Library.


Wish it were summer? Wander through 1000 Places to Visit Before You Die and envision your visit to Roswell, New Mexico’s Fourth of July UFO Festival for costume contests (maybe you can reuse a Halloween mask), abduction panel discussions, and tours of Hangar 84. There will be lectures and workshops if you’re feeling homesick for school.

Or what about heli-hiking in British Columbia’s remote mountains through a “primeval world of alpine wildf lowers,” all while pausing

You Die and envision your visit to Roswell, New Mexico’s Fourth of July UFO Festival for costume contests (maybe you can reuse a Halloween mask), abduction panel discussions, and tours of Hangar 84. There will be lectures and workshops if you’re feeling homesick for school.

Or what about heli-hiking in British Columbia’s remote mountains through a “primeval world of alpine wildflowers,” all while pausing for thirty seconds at the library’s circulation desk.

When you’re on vacation,try bringing a novel. “Story structure encourages our brains to think in sequence, expanding our attention spans,” says “Your Brain on Books,” a 2013 post in the Open Education Database (OEDB). You could try Yannick Murphy’s The Call, a novel about “family, community, the human bond with animals, and—oh yeah—spaceships,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks in her review. Perfect, perhaps, for your actual trip to Roswell, New Mexico.

Mystery fans might try Twelve Drummer’s Drumming, by C.C. Bennison, The Dinosaur Hunter, by Homer Hickam, or The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson, based on a true story.

Can’t wait for the break? Try a photo journalism collection on London Street Art or other works including extensive photography such as Forgotten Bookmarks, I Watch

Therefore I Am, or Write More Good. These books and more can be found at Langsdale Library on the third floor of the Learning Commons. Come and check them out, then stay and study a while. It’s almost time for vacation.