Skip to Content
ublogo print

University at Buffalo Libraries

Student Support

Archive for the ‘Catalog Tips’ Category

Our Fascination with Magic

Posted on:

[The following blog post was written by Kristin E. Cangialosi, a graduate student in the Department of Library & Information Studies.]

David Blaine recently visited UB as part of the annual Distinguished Speaker Series.  For some, Blaine has revitalized the childhood wonder of magic where the seemingly impossible becomes possible.  Others criticize Blaine’s endurance stunts and decry that he is not a “real” magician.   I wonder if they are familiar with Harry Houdini’s work.

Our interest in magic is nothing new.  Sorcerers and conjurers have appeared in literature since the beginning of written word.  Magic was the answer when no other explanation fit the question, and millennia later we are still fascinated by it.  Characters from myths and legends, such as Merlin and the Delphic Oracle, appear time and time again in our storytelling just with different names and in reimagined worlds.

From the 1937 publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, or There and Back Again to the immense popularity of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series at the dawn of the 21st century, fantasy fiction has exploded into a prominent and prolific genre.  It seems as if the more we learn with scientific certainty, the more apt we are to disappear for a while into a world permeating with magic in awe of those enigmatic characters that evoke its power.

Many fictional fantasy stories filled with magical characters can be found at the UB Libraries, such as:

The UB Libraries’ collection also contains numerous titles about the historical, social, or literary aspects of magic for curious researchers, like:

If you are have any questions about finding books related to magic or any other topic, do not hesitate to ask a librarian.  The UB Libraries’ collection is extremely deep, and librarians can help you uncover delightfully unexpected titles from within.

{Image Source: Cartell màgia fons germans Roca-MAE-104669,CC BY-SA 3.0, Lula-lula on Wikimedia Commons}

Escape to an Alternate Universe

Posted on:

[The following blog post was written by Kristin E. Cangialosi, a graduate student in the Department of Library & Information Studies.]

It’s that time of the semester when it seems all the work you were putting off until after Spring Break is converging into one mega-mound of stress!  Relieve some tension by escaping into an alternate universe.  How do you get to this alternate universe?  Go to Lockwood Library, take the elevator to the 3rd floor, hang a left, and walk past the periodicals to find the Graphic Novels Collection.

A graphic novel is a full length story in comic book format, usually published as a book.  You will find many familiar comic book characters in the collection, like Batman and the Fantastic Four.  You will recognize some movie and TV show titles, like The Walking Dead and Sin City.  But there are also many titles you would not expect to find on the shelf next to the likes of Wonder Woman.

Some graphic novels are grounded in our universe but use fictitious characters to tell the story, like the Holocaust retelling in Maus: A Survivor’s Tale where Jews are portrayed as mice, and Nazis are portrayed as cats.  Other graphic novels are artistic adaptations of classical fiction like Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility or the Sherlock Holmes’ tale “The Hound of the Baskervilles”.  Titles like The Manga Guide to Statistics or Darwin: A Graphic Biography prove that graphic novels can also be non-fiction, even educational.

There are several ways to find graphic novels at the UB Libraries.

  • Browse the Graphic Novels Collection in person!
  • Conduct a Catalog “Advanced” Search.

1. Go to the Catalog Advanced Search page and type in a term describing what you are looking for, such as adaptation or Marvel.

2. Scroll down and select “Graphic Novel” under “Format”.

3.  On the results page, you can use the limits along the left-hand side to further narrow down your choices.

4.  Once you find a title you want you can either jot down the call # to locate it yourself, or you can put in a Delivery+ request to pick it up at the UB library of your choice.

  • Speak with Michael Lavin, the librarian that selects titles for and manages the Graphic Novels Collection.

Delve into a graphic novel and treat yourself to some much deserved escapism; your brain will be grateful.

The Quest for Fiction

Posted on:

[The following blog post was written by Kristin E. Cangialosi, a graduate student in the Department of Library & Information Studies.]

Image Source: SteacieLibrary by Raysonho, via Wikimedia Commons

Image Source: SteacieLibrary by Raysonho, via Wikimedia Commons

When the mood strikes to curl up with a novel, you head over to your local library and straight to the fiction section. There you can browse the shelves, pull down a book, skim the inside flap, and see if it catches your interest. But where are the fiction sections in the UB Libraries?

There isn’t one dedicated section to browse, but we do have fiction in the collections. The books in a university library are arranged using a different system than most public libraries. At UB, books are arranged using the Library of Congress Classification system in which they are organized by subject. In this system, all literature is found in the P section. But there are many non-fiction works also arranged in the P section including literary criticism, books about authors, and literature in many different languages. At Lockwood Library, books arranged by P take up most of the 5th floor!

But, there are several ways that you can find the novel that you are looking for.

Conduct an Advanced Search in the catalog:

  1. Go to the Catalog Advanced Search page and type in terms that interest you, such as science fiction dystopia or Swedish murder mystery.
  2. Scroll down the page to the “Format” options and select “Fiction”.
  3. Next, under the “Illustrated” drop-down, select “No Preference” to ensure that you can see all the works of fiction with your search terms in the results.
  4. Click the “Advanced Search” button to run your search.
  5. Once on the results page, you can use the limits along the left-hand side to further narrow down your choices.

Other options for locating fiction:

Explore the different ways you can find fiction at UB, and get lost in a story on a snowy day this winter.

Find a good book to read over fall break

Posted on:

Are you looking for a good book to read over fall break?  The UB Libraries purchase a select assortment of leisure reading titles. Although we don’t have a leisure reading collection to physically browse, we do have a number of ways to go about finding a good book to read. Check out the questions and answers below to get started:

There is not a physical collection to browse, but you can search the library catalog to see what recent fiction titles have been added. To do so, check out: Popular Fiction in the UB Libraries.

You can search the library catalog to see if books by a particular author are available in our collections. To do so, go to, type in the name of the author, select the CATALOG –BY  AUTHOR drop-down menu and then click SEARCH.

If you know the title of the book you wish to read, go to, type in the title of the book, select the CATALOG –BY  TITLE drop-down menu and then click SEARCH.

Our page on Pinterest ( provides suggestions for popular fiction and non-fiction leisure reading titles.  You’ll find suggestions for science fiction, mystery, historical fiction, and more.

Happy reading!