Preserve the Baltimore Uprising

Screen capture of Preserve the Baltimore Uprising online

Local cultural heritage organizations and university faculty members are working together to create an online digital collection related to the events surrounding the death of Freddie Gray in police custody on April 19, 2015. The public is invited to submit content to the online project.

Angela Koukoui, a UB undergraduate and Langsdale Library student assistant, is one of two interns currently working at the Maryland Historical Society on building the digital repository. She was recently interviewed alongside Maryland Historical staff member, Joe Tropea, about the collaborative initiative. You can view their online interviews on Channel 2 and Channel 13.


Updated Reciprocal Borrowing List - BCCC added!

We have great news! We have recently entered into a reciprocal borrowing agreement with Baltimore City Community College (BCCC)!

University of Baltimore students, faculty and staff can continue to borrow in person or through patron-placed holds from the University of Maryland System using the catalog USMAI. But now the University has one more reciprocal agreement to add the list of Baltimore Collegetown Academic Libraries in Maryland that you can borrow from. You can use your current ID/barcode to borrow from the following list of Libraries:

Coppin State University
Goucher College
Loyola/Notre Dame
Maryland Institute College of Art
Morgan State University
Stevenson University
Towson University

Currently enrolled students may also borrow from any CCBC campus using their current UB ID.  UB Alumni may borrow from Langsdale Library, UB Law Library, and UMBC with a valid Alumni Association card and ID

For further questions email langcirc@ubalt.edu.

Library contact information can be found at


Supreme Court Declines to Hear Google Books Case

Just this past Monday, April 18, the Supreme Court decided not to take up the case of a long-running lawsuit against Google Books.  The court's decision is a win for Google, bringing an end to a decade-long court battle.  The Google Books project makes digital scans of millions of books available to the world.  In order to build such an impressive and (of course!) searchable digital library, Google partnered with major libraries, including those of the University of Michigan, Columbia University, and Harvard University, to scan their entire book collections. 

Back in 2005, the Authors’ Guild sued Google over its Google Books project.  The Authors’ Guild claimed that Google infringed on copyright by its wholescale scanning of complete books, done without the permission of authors or publishers.  The lawsuit has taken many twists and turns over the past decade but, again and again, the courts found in favor of Google, declaring Google Books to be both a “fair use” of the texts in question, as well as a transformative use.  Google’s book-scanning endeavor is seen as transformative because, for the first time ever, it allows for the full-text searching and text-mining of millions of works.  Now that the Supreme Court has declined the Google Books case, Google Books fans can rest easy, knowing that the fate of this revolutionary project no longer stands at the mercy of a judge.


New Materials at Langsdale

Did you know that Langsdale Library offers a list of all of our newest materials? We do! Each month we'll post an update letting you know about a few select titles, but there are far too many to mention here so be sure to check out our comprehensive online list. There is an RSS feed to the list, so you can subscribe and be updated when new materials get listed each month.

New Materials at Langsdale:

In The Episodic Career, Farai Chideya explores the landscape of employment in America. Profiling the rich, the poor, and people from every strata in between, Chideya seeks to understand the many kinds of work we do—for example, not just job fields, but whether we seek to build institutions or seek social change while earning money. In addition, Chideya provides a self-diagnostic tool to help you find your work/life “sweet spot.” You’ll see how different types of people have navigated their careers and forged their own paths even in times of hardship. As a young reporter at Newsweek, CNN, and ABC, Chideya realized that her working-class Baltimore childhood and factors like Ivy League education affected how people viewed her, and she takes a frank look at stereotypes, employment discrimination, and how to create healthy workplaces. Ultimately, she asks how we as a country can sustain the American Dream.

"More than ever before, radiation is a part of our modern daily lives. We own radiation-emitting phones, regularly get diagnostic x-rays, such as mammograms, and submit to full-body security scans at airports. We worry and debate about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the safety of nuclear power plants. But how much do we really know about radiation? And what are its actual dangers? An accessible blend of narrative history and science, Strange Glow describes mankind's extraordinary, thorny relationship with radiation, including the hard-won lessons of how radiation helps and harms our health. Timothy Jorgensen explores how our knowledge of and experiences with radiation in the last century can lead us to smarter personal decisions about radiation exposures today. Jorgensen introduces key figures in the story of radiation--from Wilhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of x-rays, and pioneering radioactivity researchers Marie and Pierre Curie, to Thomas Edison and the victims of the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Tracing the most important events in the evolution of radiation, Jorgensen explains exactly what radiation is, how it produces certain health consequences, and how we can protect ourselves from harm. He also considers a range of practical scenarios such as the risks of radon in our basements, radiation levels in the fish we eat, questions about cell-phone use, and radiation's link to cancer. Jorgensen empowers us to make informed choices while offering a clearer understanding of broader societal issues. Investigating radiation's benefits and risks, Strange Glow takes a remarkable look at how, for better or worse, radiation has transformed our society."

"The films of the Coen brothers have become a contemporary cultural phenomenon. Highly acclaimed and commercially successful, over the years their movies have attracted increasingly larger audiences and spawned a subculture of dedicated fans. Shunning fame and celebrity, Ethan and Joel Coen remain maverick filmmakers, producing and directing independent films outside the Hollywood mainstream in a unique style combining classic genres like film noir with black comedy to tell off-beat stories about America and the American Dream. This study surveys Oscar-winning films, such as Fargo (1996) and No Country for Old Men (2007), as well as cult favorites, including O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and The Big Lebowski (1998). Beginning with Blood Simple (1984), it examines major themes and generic constructs and offers diverse approaches to the Coens' enigmatic films."
An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

These are just a few of the many new books, movies, and games at your Langsdale Library. To see the complete listing of new materials check out our list right here! If you want to receive updates when new materials get listed each month, you can subscribe to the list through the RSS feed.


Banned Books!

Every year as part of National Library Week the American Library Association publishes a list of the year's most commonly challenged books in the country.  Here's last years' list:
1)      The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
2)      Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
3)      And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
4)      The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
5)      It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
6)      Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
7)      The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
8)      The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
9)      A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
10)  Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
          Reasons: sexually explicit

Langsdale actually has copies of several of these books, so check out The Kite Runner, The Bluest Eye, or Persepolis and you can decide just how scandalous they are for yourself!  This year National Library Week is next week.  What will be on the list this year?


Langsdale to become latest link in the chain

The renovated Langsdale Library could feature
a copy Bill Woodrow's Sitting on History
that is in front of the British Library
via Wikimedia Commons 
[CC BY 3.0]
At the beginning of The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data, author Michael Lynch asks his readers to imagine a hardly far-fetched future where everyone has a neuro-implant that allows them to access information from the internet by their thoughts alone.  He raises an issue previous expressed by others, such as Nicholas Carr in The Shallows, that as our society gets so immersed in digital culture, we could lose the ability to think about and solve problems in different ways.  Lynch goes on to imagine what would happen if an ecological disaster were to take down the network of this world where people had no experience with other ways of “knowing” things. He thinks it would be just as catastrophic as if everyone went blind.

At Langsdale, this naturally got us thinking about the role libraries play in the way people access information and develop knowledge.  While much of the digital resources that can be accessed through Langsdale are things like scholarly journal articles that can’t be fully understood without investing the time to read and consider them carefully, we do provide almost all of them solely in digital format.  So that begs the question of what might happen in the event of a disaster, such as a Zombie Apocalypse. OK, so obviously the Zombies part is a joke meant to make the material more engaging, but that link goes to CDC website with lots of great suggestions about what to do in an actual emergency. However, the useful information there would be completely unavailable if there were a massive disruption to the power grid. If a calamity were to happen, how would people get the information they need, especially when time may be of the essence?

In response to this conundrum, Langsdale is proposing that the 2nd and 3rd floors of the renovated library building be dedicated to housing the essential books and documents of our generation.  While that is a good first step, in order to ensure that this material would be available in the event of a disaster, Langsdale is going to have to change some of its operating procedures.  For instance, we can’t have someone borrowing an important book and risk that it won't be available when it is crucially needed. Plus, if the power goes down, our current system would not even be able to detect if someone were trying to sneak a book out of the library without checking it out.

An artist's drawing of a bookcase like the ones that 
could be used in LangsdaleBookcase in Hereford
  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Fortunately we already know how to deal with these problems, because libraries in the time before the printing press - when it wasn't easy to make copies and books were very valuable - already figured it out. The renovated Langsdale will be become the latest in the growing trend of modern libraries that feature books chained to the shelves. Table-desks will be connected to the bookcases so people will be able to sit comfortably and read the books next to the shelves. Although this sounds like it would be expensive, since the new library will no longer need the electronic systems designed to circulate books and deter thefts, the net impact on the budget is negligible.

Historians have pointed out that in these chained libraries, books needed to be shelved with their spines facing inward, so that the chains did not become tangled when a book was taken off the shelf.  In preparation, Langsdale staff has started inscribing the call numbers along the outside of the books, so that people will be able to find the items they need quickly and easily once the renovation is complete.

The basement of Langsdale, which sits below ground level, seems like an ideal place to congregate in a disaster, so we will be stocking the basement with lots of paper and pencils.  Anyone there will be able to go up to the floors with the books and copy all of the pertinent information from them as needed.  There was some concern that chaining the books would prevent students from being able to check them out or even make copies of them during times when we did not have an active emergency.  However, recent surveys indicate that most students own a smart phone upon which they could download and free scanning app.  So we assume that students will be able to use those to make any personal copies they might need.  Within the parameters of copyright law, of course.

Langsdale's books could be shelved this way in the not too distant future.
Wimborne Minster: the chained library © Chris Downer [CC BY 2.0]

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of this fine April day.


Do you use Langsdale's resources on your phone/tablet?

At the beginning of this spring semester, Langsdale Library's homepage got a facelift.  If you visit our website on a mobile device, you will notice that the layout of our site changes to better fit your screen.  Both the desktop and mobile layouts offer access to the same content and services. 

We're interested in hearing from you about how you use Langsdale’s resources on your mobile device!  What are you looking for when you visit Langsdale Library’s website on your phone or tablet?  What do you love about our mobile layout?  What do you hate about it?  What features are missing from our website that you wish we had?

Please take a brief, 4 question survey and let us know your thoughts about our mobile website layout.  Thank you!