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Our Fascination with Magic

Posted on: | by Bridget Schumacher |

[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}

Study Spaces in the UB Libraries

Posted on: | by Bridget Schumacher |

With finals quickly approaching, you may be searching for a quiet space to focus on your studies. Or perhaps you are collaborating with a group and need a space where all of you can meet and discuss your project. For an overview of designated group and quiet study spaces as well as locked study carrels in each library, visit the Study Spaces in the UB Libraries page.

A few general study space reminders:

  • Cell phone conversations should be held in public corridors and stairwells.
  • Please assume responsibility to safeguard your belongings from theft.

Escape to an Alternate Universe

Posted on: | by Guest Blogger |

[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.

2014 Undergraduate Prize for Library-Supported Research Winner

Posted on: | by Bridget Schumacher |
Lee Swaydis, 2014 Prize Winner

Lee Swaydis, 2014 Prize Winner

The University at Buffalo Libraries, in cooperation with the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, are pleased to announce the winner of the 2014 Undergraduate Prize for Library-Supported Research. The $500 prize recognizes students who produce significant academic inquiry requiring the use of information resources, the Libraries, and the collections.

This year’s winner is Lee Swaydis (junior, African American Studies) for his research project, “The McCarley Gardens Struggle: A Story of Gentrification,” which explores an under-researched area of local African American history and social policy. Major research databases and the Libraries large collection of rare books on local history and politics supported Mr. Swaydis’ research. The faculty mentor for this project was Dr. Keith Griffler of the Department of Transnational Studies.

The Libraries are proud of our support in this impressive research project. Swaydis will be honored at a library reception in Special Collections on April 16, 2014, in addition to the Celebration of Academic Excellence on April 23, 2014 in the Center for the Arts.

Congratulations, Lee!