Author Archives: Jill Spreitzer

Top 6 Study Tips for Final Exams

pressureThe pressure is on!  We’re in the midst of finals, when all your class readings, lecture notes, practice problems and studying will be distilled into a one to two-hour exam.  Test anxiety can significantly affect your performance on exams, so here are six study tips to help  you feel prepared and relaxed for your finals.desk

  1. Find an ideal study space:  You’ll want a space with all of the supplies you’ll need (you don’t want to spend time searching for index cards, a ruler, or whatever else you may need) and without distractions (your dorm room may not be the best choice if friends tend to drop in).

  3. Prioritize: Start with your most important tasks while you’re still fresh and can focus your attention.

  5. When reading, start at the end: Unless you’re reading a mystery or other fiction, start with the summary or conclusion and any study questions at the end of each chapter. This way you’ll know what important points you should focus on as you read.  You should also scan the chapter headings and bold-faced terms for the same reason.

  7. Think of possible exam questions: When you’re reviewing readings or lecture notes, try to formulate possible exam questions for each major point or idea.  This active engagement will help you remember the information when you’re asked a similar question during an exam.sleep

  9. Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep: It may seem impossible when you have so much to do, but exercise helps reduce stress and depression, getting enough sleep will help you concentrate, and avoiding too much sugar or caffeine will help keep you from crashing after a brief burst of energy.

  11. Turn off your cell phone!  This may be the hardest but most important study habit, but it’s hard to study when no cell phonesyou’re texting.  If you’re using a computer, you may even want to turn off your wi-fi or internet connection so that you’re not tempted to watch the latest cat video.


Jill Spreitzer, Librarian Consultant

Banned Books Week: Sept. 21-27, 2014

banned comicsDid you know that Huckleberry Finn, Where the Wild Things Are, Captain Underpants and The Call of the Wild have all been banned or challenged at some point in schools and/or libraries?  It’s not an old or isolated problem, hundreds of books are challenged throughout the U.S. every year.  Every year, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom of all Americans to read all types of materials, regardless of whether or not the materials include controversial or unpopular viewpoints or topics.

This year, Banned Books Week will focus on banned comics and graphic novels.  Comics and graphic novels are often targeted for removal from libraries because of the mistaken belief that all comics are for children or that they do not have serious literary or artistic value.  However, several graphic novels have won critical praise and won literary awards, and play an important role in libraries, helping develop literacy skills in ESL learners, reluctant readers, and those with learning disorders.  Read more about the history of comics banning as well as relevant case law at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund website.

Jill Spreitzer, Librarian

Michigan Legal Help

milegal Michigan Legal Help is a user-friendly website designed to help Michigan residents learn about their legal rights and responsibilities and to help them navigate through the legal system to resolve civil legal problems without a lawyer. It includes information, checklists and court forms on common issues such as landlord/tenant issues, divorce, custody and paternity issues, and some income tax and public benefit issues. For example, if you’re having trouble getting your landlord to make repairs to your home, the site will ask you a series of questions and then generate a “Letter Requesting Repair”. You can also find information on what you can do if the landlord fails to comply.

gavelMichigan Legal Help also includes information Michigan courts, including a short video on what to expect and how to prepare to go to court. You will also find explanations of which types of cases go to which courts, and contact information and directions to the different courts in Michigan.

If you need more help, there are links to legal help centers where you can get in-person help, directories of lawyers, and local community organizations that may offer additional assistance.

The website was developed by the Michigan Legal Help Program and is managed by Legal Services of South Central Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School, and its content is regularly reviewed by court officers and attorneys to ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date.

Jill Spreitzer, Librarian Consultant

Choose Privacy Week

choose privacyChoose Privacy Week, May 1-7, 2014

As technology continues to advance at a record pace, privacy issues evolve with it. From aerial surveillance drones and  traffic light cameras, to wiretapping or website tracking, privacy is being attacked in public and sometimes in places that used to be private.
Learn more about digital privacy issues by watching videos featuring Michael German, the senior policy counsel for national security and privacy at the ACLU Washington legislative office and Geoffrey Stone, a constitutional lawyer at the American Library Association’s Choose Privacy website.

You can learn how to defend your own privacy with these books from the UDM Library:

  • Privacy: a very short introduction,  by Raymond Wacks, Oxford University Press, 2010  Wacks explores the gray areas between national security, personal privacy, and the public’s right to know by examining case studies and comparing privacy laws in different countries.  He presents the difficulties that constantly changing technology presents to lawmakers and to individuals.   


  • Imagining new legalities: privacy and its possibilities in the 21st century, edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey, Stanford University Press, 2012.   This book  discusses the changing boundaries between public and private lives and explores the issue of whether or not information that is voluntarily made public in one forum should be freely accessible to anyone who wants to use or circulate it for other purposes.

Jill Spreitzer, Librarian

Reading World News Online

newsWhether you’re looking for the latest information on how Detroit’s new mayor is dealing with crime in the city, or you want to know what government leaders in Baghdad are saying about the insurgents in neighboring Syria, newspapers are some of the best sources for information on current events.  The UDM Libraries provide online access to hundreds of local, national and international newspapers.  The Newsbank database includes articles from the Detroit News, Lansing State Journal, and over a hundred other Michigan newspapers, including several university newspapers.  (UDM’s Varsity News is available on its own website.) Newsbank also includes newspapers from around the country, such as the Denver Post, and from around the world such as The Shanghai Times and Brazil’s O Globo.

If you’re looking for the New York Times of The Times of London, check out the InfoTrac Newsstand database, and the Lexis Nexis Academic database provides even more to choose from.

To access any of the newspaper databases:

  • Click on the “Articles, Journals + Databases” tab on the research portalarticles tab
  • and then click on the “ALL” link that appears in front of the alphabet. ALL
  • Scroll down the alphabetical list of databases that appears and click on the database you prefer and start searching!

Jill Spreitzer, Librarian

24/7 Library Research Help

Can’t find the scholarly references you need for your research paper, but the library is closed? Don’t worry, librarians are available to help 24/7 through our Ask a Librarian chat service.

Look to the upper right of the re:search portal.  You’ll see a green box labeled “Ask a Librarian”.  Type a question into the bottom of the box and a librarian will answer.

When the library is open, you’ll be chatting with a UDM librarian. When the library is closed, you’ll be connected to a librarian from another Jesuit college or university, such as Gonzaga University or Boston College, or a librarian trained to answer college research questions. They will know that you are from UDM and will help you find the information you need using UDM library resources.

Or, if you’re not in a hurry, email your question to the reference desk ( and we’ll get back to you within one business day.

Jill Spreitzer, Librarian.

Check out our new look!

If you’ve searched for a book, ebook, or DVD in the library during the last few weeks, you’ve probably noticed the library catalog’s new, user-friendly interface.

The new format makes it easy to limit your results by format (e.g. books vs. dvd’s), publication date, subject heading, and language.

You can also text a book’s title and call number to your cell phone to take with you upstairs or downstairs in the stacks when you go to  retrieve the book.

Or, if you prefer, drop down menus allow you to print or email your results list to yourself, your classmates, or your professor.

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