Don’t get mad, get new books and ancient newspapers

The author stacks up on new library books. Photo Credit – Erin Toepfner

I felt like I was in an episode of “Mad Men” when I opened the UB student newspaper from the late 1950s. A half page ad for Marlboro jumped out and told me Marlboro was the most popular cigarette on college campuses nationwide, along with a U.S. map that had each state visually represented by an open pack of cigarettes.

Fortunately, I hadn’t exactly travelled back in time to that decade. I was safely scanning Langsdale Library’s archive of UB’s student newspapers, in the lovely smoke-free Special Collections reading room on the 4th floor of the Learning Commons, in the lovely, smoke-free, Langsdale Library.

But it felt a little like time travel. I was watching history unfold, reading students’ first-hand responses to events that seemed like staples of reality. The events of the past were so much a part of the fabric of my memory and existence that it took a few minutes for it to sink in when I read the headlines that Martin Luther King Jr had been assassinated, that this news was hitting people for the first time. It wasn’t a history book I was reading, it was history.

And a lot of it was infuriating—assassinations, sexist cartoons and cigarette ads to name a few of the more disturbing aspects of history I came across.

The further back in time I went with UB’s student newspapers, the larger the cigarette ads became. They slowly creeped up from half page ads to full page ads as they went back to the earliest issues in the 1930s.

On the other hand, it was spectacular to feel the fervor in the front page articles about the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. It was a relief to watch women take on more roles and work towards more diverse degrees, instead of being pigeon-holed into a few select majors. It was fun to see people streaking through the 1970s. It was heartening to read about the formation of a bike club in 1972.

It was fascinating to read about the anticipation for the then-new Langsdale Library, scheduled to be built in 1966, while the same building was being renovated right across the street in the present day. Plans for the state-or-the-art design repeatedly appeared in the student newspaper in the 1960s. In contrast to the current library designs with more glass letting in natural light, windows were being designed small, to cut down on the glare for people reading books. The plans were being published in the paper. I saw renderings of the new old library. Then, finally, in 1966, Langsdale Library was built and a photo of the “modern” building appeared on the front page in the student newspaper.

It was exciting to see the Langsdale Library make the front page repeatedly, every time the library received a new collection of books. There it would be in big blocky letters, headline after headline—“Langsdale Library receives X number of books,” in contrast to the present day, when libraries are giving away more and more books as we become more and more digital.

Although Langsdale Library has recently given away many books, there is no need to get mad.  The library recently received several carts of new books for its collection. This may not make the front page of the paper but here it is in the middle. The new books themselves can be found on the New Book Kiosk as you enter the library. Come check them out!

UB’s student newspapers will eventually be online back through the 1930s. Check out the UB Post back to 1981 in Langsdale Library’s  Special Collections for a little bit of time travel—and let me know what T.V. show you feel like you’re in!

When the going gets tough, get graphic novels!

“Pleasure reading should be pleasurable,” says librarian Jenny Arch in her blog Look out, honey, ‘cause I’m using technology “Not that you shouldn’t ever explore a new genre or try a book that you find a bit difficult, but if you’re 25 or 50 or 100 pages in and you’re just not that into it, then by all means, put it down and pick up something else instead! You have this librarian’s permission.” Unless you’re doing required reading for a class, she adds, there’s no sense driving yourself crazy with a book when you can be enjoying one instead.

It can be difficult to read a book your friend recommends when you’re swamped with school work. After hours with a textbook it can be hard to concentrate on an intricate novel or thought-provoking nonfiction. Are those books better left for summer reading, when you can give them your full attention?

Kemi Kodja, a finance major at UB who works at Langsdale Library, is now reading W.I.T.C.H., an Italian fantasy comic series written by Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa. Kodja started reading the series for the second time in her life, this semester, after a UB writing professor asked her class to reflect on what made them love reading.

The first time Kodja read W.I.T.C.H., she was in third grade and living in Benin. Her edition was a French translation. After being inspired by her Writing

300 assignment, Kodja picked up her old French translation of W.I.T.C.H. and struggled to get through it with a French/English dictionary at her side. Mainly an English speaker now, Kodja ultimately decided to read the English translation of W.I.T.C.H. online.

Kodja likes shelving books at the library because it’s a great way to find new books to read. This time of the semester, however, she is feeling daunted by the pile of library books she has checked out.

Still Kodja wanted to stay on top of everything she had to do, so you can imagine how happy she was when she discovered The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need on Langsdale’s shelves. “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” is America’s first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga – and the last career guide you’ll ever need” says the graphic novel’s author, Daniel Pink, on his website. Entertaining as well as inspiring, the book can be read in an hour or two.

Readers can also find Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, another graphic novel on Langsdale’s shelves. Persepolis is considered a modern classic of the medium. The book is a memoir of a girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. “…Full of

thematic imagery,” says book reviewer Rachel Fischer, in Library Journal. The family in Persepolis is fascinating, says Fischer. The main character is an outspoken and intelligent girl with Marxist parents. She also happens to be the great granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors. Persepolis could be an engaging way to explore memoir as well as social and political history along with human rights issues.

Similarly, students might want to check out Maus, the Pulitzer prize winning graphic novel by Art Spiegelman. Maus is a Holocaust survival story that explores the effects of experiencing the Holocaust. Other graphic novels at Langsdale include Gabba gabba hey!: the Graphic Story of the Ramones, Skim, a tale of growing up goth in the 90s and a graphic novel version of Romeo and Juliet.

To find more graphic novels at Langsdale Library, visit Worldcat at

And remember, you can always put down your book halfway through and pick up a different one.

Twelve-Thirty Talks and Writing Wednesdays

Whether you’re planning a paper or a garden, the library can help you cover ground

Are you looking for a unique learning experience this October? Twelve-thirty Talks or Writing Wednesdays at the library may fulfill that requirement.

On October 21, Dr. Jan L. Williams, Associate Professor of Accounting and Yale Gordon Chair for Distinguished Teaching will be discussing accounting as part of the library’s Twelve-Thirty Talks series.

Streambank native garden, two years after planting. Photo by Jeff La Noue
Streambank native garden, two years after planting.
Photo by Jeff La Noue

At the Twelve-Thirty Talks in September, sixteen people learned about native gardening. UB Sustainability Planner Jeff La Noue discussed how a native garden can attract butterflies, birds and help the environment, as well.

“My first big advice is to start small,” said La Noue. In order to be sustainable, your garden must be manageable.

“If you let nature do it, your neighbors are going to be mad at you,” added La Noue.

Are you a busy UB student? Then a native tree or bush may be better for your yard. They require little upkeep but are still good for the environment.

Are you wondering what to plant? La Noue recommends visiting Herring Run Nursery, located seasonally at 6131 Hillen Road. Staff can help with appropriate selections.

Are you looking for inspiration? Reference and Instruction Librarian Peter Ramsey recommends Paradise Lot , a book about two people who turned a junk yard into a permaculture garden.

You can find Paradise Lot and related books on Langsdale’s shelves and in the library catalog, as well.

Another October learning opportunity is Writing Wednesdays. The library and the Writing Center are partnering to bring you this educational experience.

Do you ever worry about your writing? Then you’re among even experienced writers.

“I have always experienced doubt about my own writing,” said Mia White, tutor for the Writing Center and writer for The UB Post.

White is working on an MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts. Despite being in her final year of the program, she is still apprehensive about her writing at times.

White’s own self-doubt is part of the reason she likes working as a writing tutor. “Seeing students change their attitude about themselves is really rewarding,” she says.

“I’m not a writer,” White hears students say, quite often. “If students learn skills on their own, and start to see writing as a process, they may begin to realize this isn’t the case.”

White will be in the library from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Wednesday in October as a writing consultant. To make an appointment, please go to

“Bring an assignment sheet and whatever you have written – printed,” says White.

Do you like interactive workshops? Visit the Academic Learning Center to polish your professional prose. For details, check out the Achievement and  Learning Center  (ALC) online or in AC 113.

For the Writing Center’s Wednesday Walk-in Hours and Online Chat, please visit the Writing Center, also located online and in AC 113.

The Langsdale Library is located on the third floor of the Learning Commons.

Look out for more Twelve-Thirty Talks in November. Heather L. Pfeifer, Associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice, will speak about police reform and training.

Do you want to be ready for finals? Stay tuned for details about the library’s late night, coming up in December.

Uncommon Knowledge

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 10.45.53 AM
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

Food for thought

Are you hungry for knowledge or just plain hungry?

Do you want to meet new people or chat with friends from last semester? Check out the Library Cupcake Party Jan. 27 from 3 4 p.m. Stay awhile and get to know the librarians. Wander around. Check out some books.

Take a look at The Cupcake Diaries, the true tale of two women starting a cupcake bakery in Georgetown. The book includes recipes, which could come in handy when the library runs out of cupcakes.

Luckily, the library won’t run out of books anytime soon.

Did you miss the Library Cupcake Party? The Cupcake Diaries can be checked out year round.

Are you still in the mood for dessert? Do you want to learn about the local flavor? Are you an entrepreneur eager for inspiration? Maybe you’re all three. “Ace of Cakes” explores the inside story of Baltimore-based business Charm City Cakes.

 Reference and instruction Librarian Peter Ramsey checks out books on food.

Reference and instruction Librarian Peter Ramsey checks out books on food.

Are health and the environment more your cup of green tea? Check out the The Third Plate, a recent addition to the library’s collection. Just published in 2014, the book discusses sustainability and food.

Could urban farming be in your future? Flip through Carrot City. Or check out Breaking through Concrete. Both books explore urban agricultural endeavors.

For fast facts, The Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food will fill you in.

Learn where your meat may be coming from in Animal Factory and The Chain.

For fast-food-for-thought, check out the library’s DVD collection. Super Size Me and Food Inc. can both be borrowed for free. Other free DVD rentals include Tapped, which explores issues surrounding the bottled water industry and Forks over Knives, which discusses recent research on health and diet. Watch In Organic We Trust and find out what’s behind food labelling and marketing.

Do you like lunchtime conversations? Attend the library’s Lunch and Learn series. Speakers from the Merrick School of Business, the School of Criminal Justice, and the Klein Family School of Communications Design will be leading discussions at the library. The library is planning one session each month.

For more information on the Lunch and Learn series, please contact Mike Kiel at

For more books and DVDs on food issues, check out this link: coversonly/3513839.

Photo Credit: Laura Melemad