The Value and Fun of Graphic Novels

Do you know an non-reader, a struggling reader, or a reluctant reader? Do you have children, grandchildren, neighbors, nieces or nephews learning how to read? Turn them on to graphic novels.

Scholarly studies are showing that the combination of pictures and words aids comprehension and vocabulary for struggling readers. With their clever and entertaining illustrations, condensed text, and unique formats, graphic novels can effectively communicate complex ideas.

The University of Detroit Mercy Libraries has been collecting graphic novels for several years.  The collection includes reconstructions of  the classics, such as Macbeth: the Graphic Novel, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment: a Graphic Novel, or Romeo and Juliet: the Graphic Novel.

Other graphic novels teach traditional school subjects, such as The Manga Guide to Calculus and other manga guides to statistics, electricity, and physics.

And graphic novels can be read for purely entertainment purposes, such as Star Trek. Countdown, Star Wars, the Force Unleashed. II, or Big Nate Goes for Broke.

To find graphic novels in the Detroit Mercy catalog, go to and type graphic novels in the search box.  Click Search.

Contributed by Sue Homant.

Chapters in the History of the Book–Hidden Treasures



From the Greek “palímpsestos,” to scrape again.
This was the ultimate in recycling. Roman writers Catullus, Cicero, and Plutarch all told of the practice of making palimpsesti  on papyrus and wax tablets. (Avrin. p. 168)  After the fall of the Roman Empire the practice continued, manuscripts which were no longer useful or contained material considered pagan would have their pages cleaned so they could be reused. This would save time and money since parchment was expensive. Why is this important?  Ink containing iron  leaves a ‘ghost’ in the substrate which can be obvious, or might require special techniques such as spectral imaging to discern. So it is possible to see the original work, even under two or three layers.  Sometimes these are previously unknown texts, or works that we know existed but no copies have been found, such as the Archimedes Palimpsest. Sometimes they are works which are earlier versions of known works, which then can show how a particular text has evolved.

Avrin, Leila.  Scribes. Scripts, and Books: the book arts from antiquity to the Renaissance.  ALA, 1991

Noel, Will.  Restoring the Archimedes Palimpsest

Palimpsests: The Art of Medieval Recycling:

Archimedes Palimpsest

Detail of the Archimedes Palimpsest

Two Incredible Databases You Might Not Have Heard About


I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight two very important and very interesting databases from Alexander Street Press. Black Thought and Culture, and Black Women Writers. These two databases represent the very best from this publisher and offer a deep and wide expanse of non-fiction and fiction literature from Africans, and the African Diaspora. In Black Thought and Culture there are over 1,300 sources including ebooks, interviews, journal articles, speeches, essays, pamphlets, and letters from more than 1,200 authors. In Black Women Writers there are more than 50,000 pages of poetry and prose from over 1,200 authors representing three continents and 20 countries giving unparalleled views of black women’s struggles through time.

Whether you’re looking for sources for your latest sociology assignment, or you’re exploring options for your African American Studies Minor, these two databases offer a wealth of knowledge and information from authors known and unknown. Both databases offer easily intuited browsing features, while also offering search capabilities that reach deep into the texts of each record. Explore these two resources and prepare to be astounded by the richness of their offerings.



Dynamic Catholic: Be Bold. Be Catholic.

dynamicAs a Catholic and the Catholic Studies librarian for the University, I am exposed to many Catholic resources that fill both the scholarly and spiritual needs of the Detroit Mercy community. In the past year I have become excited about a relatively new organization called Dynamic Catholic. Founded by Matthew Kelly in 2009, the mission of Dynamic Catholic is “to re-energize the Catholic Church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism”.

According to the 2014 PEW Study of Religion in America, 20.8% of Americans consider themselves Catholic. Twenty percent of those attend mass either seldom or never and 28% do not believe the scriptures are the word of God. A 2015 PEW study found that 52% of U.S. adults raised Catholic have left the church. Some of those returned, but 40% had not.

From the Dynamic Catholic web site:

“Growing numbers of Catholics are disillusioned, questioning their faith, and filled with doubts about the modern relevance of Catholicism. Dwindling Mass attendance, scarcity of vocations, and Catholic school closures are just a few of the signs.

The sad truth is that most Catholics have never really been shown the genius of Catholicism and how it could animate their lives.

Business as usual will not turn the tide. In fact, business as usual will not even stem the tide. We need to start thinking on a whole new level. We need game-changers.”

Dynamic Catholic is providing  the “game changers”.  Kelly and the members of the Dynamic Catholic Institute take aim at the heart, soul and intellect (and yes, even the funny bone) of all Catholics in simple but profound and often humorous ways in order to re-engage, re-focus, and re-energize us into the life of the Church and reinvigorate the Church itself.

catholicismIf you are interested in learning more about about the significance of Catholicism in today’s world or you feel your spiritual life is in need of resurrection, I invite you to come to the library and check out Matthew Kelly’s book Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living With Passion and Purpose. Or visit Avail your self of the free resources. I highly recommend you pick up Matthew Kelly’s CD The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality.  It will expand your view of Catholicism, provide ways to make Catholicism more relevant for your life and make  you laugh at the same time. Or sign up for Best Advent Ever 2016. From the first Sunday of Advent to Christmas Day, you will receive, by email, inspirational videos, tips and music to contribute to a meaningful holiday season.


Let’s face it. It’s tough to be Catholic in this day and age. It’s not popular. But I’m not Catholic because of what the Pope or the bishops or the priests or the mainstream media says or does. I’m Catholic because of what Christ said and did. Dynamic Catholic gets that and provides the resources to help all Catholics see Catholicism in a whole new light. You might even find yourself proud to admit your Catholic. You might find your home again.



headlinesVote_470322_7Did you know there’s an election coming up?  Hard to miss if you’ve been online, watched TV, listened to the radio or used email in the past month.  Election Day is Tuesday November 8 across the United States.  We’re told it’s the most important election in our lifetime.

Ssounds like quite a responsibility wtih a  lot to learn. There’s no shortage of info out there.  But it’s important to look at everything critically; make sure you’re getting the most impartial info available.

The State of Michigan Voter Information Center is a good place to start. You can find out if you’re registered to vote; hope so, because in Michigan that must be done 30 days before the election.   You can also find out where to go to vote and  you see the ballot that you’ll be faced with in the booth.

If that makes you want to learn more — always a good idea — check out VoteSmart where you can look up a candidate by name or search by zip code to find what offices and issues.

An interesting section of VoteSmart is called Vote Easy  

Find your political soul mate.

Based on your response to questions on several issues [healthcare, national security, etc.] VoteSmart will tell you which candidates in your area most agree with your positions.

Factcheck Another no nonsense site from the League of Women Voters, a group that has been providing objective information on elections since the 1920s. is a project of the Annenberg  Public Policy Center, “monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.”  Sort of a for politics.

FiveThirtyEight  One of the original sites using data and projections models to develop statistical odds of election outcomes.  In 2008 famously  forecasted 49 of the 50 state outcomes for the presidential election and correctly projected all 35 US Senate races.   It’s now run by ESPN and has branched out from politics, but still covers elections as its main focus.  If you like numbers, this is the site for you.   [538 is the total number of electors  in the Electoral College]


Lots of data, polls reported on races all over the country and on issues.  Notice that
Real Clear Politics is supported by advertising and includes links to news articles, so the content needs to be read with a particularly critical eye. There is still a lot of good factual reporting here.

There’s more, but this will get you started toward making you an informed citizen ready to enter the voting booth knowing what’s going on and what you think about it all.

Practice, or in other words, fake it ’til you make it

PianoRecall the old joke “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Well, the punchline “practice” still holds true today. Whether playing a musical instrument in a recital, shooting free throws in a basketball game , or identifying the parts of human anatomy for an exam, practice is an essential part of mastering a skill.

BballConfidence in ones abilities helps master a skill as well.  Have you ever heard the phrase “Fake it ’til you make it” ?  Many experts advise that merely acting confident and secure will make you feel more confident and secure in situations that can be stressful.  So success in that recital, game, or exam can be achieved, in part, by practice and confidence.

AnatomyUDM Libraries offer ways to help gain that confidence through practice, specifically practice exams.  We offer access to Learning Express Library  which contains many practice exams including Graduate School Admissions Exams (GRE) and Physician Assistant Certification Exam (PANCE).  We also offer Board Vitals which contains both National Board Dental Examinations (NBDE) and National Board Dental Hygienist Examinations (NBDHE) practice exams.

So consider a practice exam as a way to gain that confidence!

October is Scary Movie Month


Haunted House

Are you scared of the dark? You never know what could be lurking in the shadows as the days start  getting shorter and the nights start getting longer.  Grab a blanket and turn off the lights and watch one of the many bone chilling movies the library has to offer.  You might have to sleep with one eye open after this!




DVD - freak showAmerican Horror Story: Freak Show

“Step inside American Horror Story: Freak Show, the terrifyingly twisted reincarnation of TV’s most shockingly original series. Jessica Lange leads an extraordinary, award-winning cast that includes Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson and Michael Chiklis. Lange plays Elsa Mars, the proprietor of a troupe of human “curiosities” on a desperate journey of survival in the sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida, in 1952. Her menagerie of performers includes a two-headed, telepathic twin (Paulson), a take-charge bearded lady (Bates), a vulnerable strongman (Chiklis) and his sultry, three-breasted wife (Bassett). But the strange emergence of a dark entity will savagely threaten the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike.” (

Watch the Trailer:


DVD - As aboveAs Above, So Below

“Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the secret of what this city of the dead was meant to contain. A journey into madness and terror, it reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt everyone.”

Watch the trailer:


DVD - Battle RoyaleBattle Royale (Batoru Rowaiaru)

“In the near future, the economy has collapsed, unemployment has soared and juvenile crime has exploded. Fearful of their nation’s youth, the Japanese government passes The BR Law: Each year, a 9th grade class is sent to a remote island where they will be locked into exploding neck collars, given a random weapon, and forced to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor left.”


Watch the trailer:


DVD - Fourth KindThe Fourth Kind

In remote Alaska, citizens have been mysteriously vanishing since the 1960s. Despite multiple FBI investigations, the truth behind the phenomena had never been discovered—until now. While videotaping therapy sessions with traumatized patients, psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler (Milla Jovovich) unwittingly exposes terrifying revelations of multiple victims whose claims of being visited by alien figures all share disturbingly identical details. Based on actual case studies, The Fourth Kind uses Dr. Tyler’s never-before-seen archival footage alongside dramatic reenactments to present the most disturbing evidence ever documented in this provocative thriller critics are calling “terrifyingly real…The most shocking alien abduction movie to date.” –Tim Anderson, BLOODY-DISGUSTING.COM

Watch the trailer:


DVD - HousesThe Houses October Built

“Beneath the fake blood and cheap masks of countless haunted house attractions across the country, there are whispers of truly terrifying alternatives. Looking to find an authentic, blood-curdling good fright for Halloween, five friends set off on a road trip in an RV to track down these underground haunts. Just when their search seems to reach a dead end, strange and disturbing things start happening, and it becomes clear that the haunt has come to them.”


Watch the trailer –


DVD - It followsIt Follows

“For nineteen-year-old Jay, the fall should be about school, boys and weekends at the lake. Yet, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can’t shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her. As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.”  (Filmed at UDM)


Watch the trailer:


DVD - Let me inLet Me In

“Abby, an eerily self-possessed young girl, emerges from her heavily curtained apartment only at night and always barefoot, seemingly immune to the bitter winter elements. Owen, an alienated 12-year-old boy, recognizes a fellow outcast and opens up to her, forming a unique bond. But as a string of grisly murders occupy his town, Owen has to confront the reality that this seemingly innocent girl might be hiding an unthinkable secret.”

Watch trailer:



DVD - MamaMama

“A supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their parents were killed. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.” (catalog)

Watch trailer:



DVD - orphanageThe Orphanage

“Centers on Laura (Belén Rueda) who purchases her beloved childhood orphanage with dreams of restoring and reopening the long abandoned facility as a place for disabled children. Once there, Laura discovers that the new environment awakens her son’s imagination, but the ongoing fantasy games he plays with an invisible friend quickly turn into something more disturbing. Upon seeing her family increasingly threatened by the strange occurrences in the house, Laura looks to a group of parapsychologists for help in unraveling the mystery that has taken over the place.” ( (in Spanish with English subtitles)

Watch the trailer:


DVD  - UnfriendedUnfriended

“Unfriended unfolds over a teenager’s computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure who seeks vengeance for a shaming video that led a vicious bully to kill herself a year earlier.” (

Watch the trailer:




DVD - VanishingThe Vanishing on 7th Street

When an unexplained blackout leaves Detroit in darkness, most of the population vanishes. As the sun rises, a handful of survivors realizes the few light sources are all that protects them from impending terror.

Watch the trailer:



DVD - horrorSee what other scary movies the library has to offer…if you dare.  Just visit the  library catalog and do a keyword search for -  horror dvd


DVD - scary

Sweet dreams and Happy Haunting!







Stay on Track with an Assignment Calculator

octoberDo you frequently underestimate the time it will take to complete an assignment … especially a research paper or presentation? There are online tools available to help keep you on track: Assignment calculators. They create a timeline that can help you determine when you need to have completed specific portions of an assignment, so you are not scrambling at the last minute.

Many university libraries have assignment calculators available. To use, all you need to do is put in the date that the assignment is due, and the calculator … calculates … a timeline for you to follow. Some also have links from the calculator to other sites that may be helpful when working on an assignment: choosing a topic, writing a thesis statement, and proofreading strategies.

Try some of them out and see if one of them works for you:

Research Project Calculator – although created for secondary school students, this site will save & share your assignments and send email reminders, if you create an account

University of Minnesota Assignment Calculator

SJSU – Assignment Calculator

University of Connecticut Assignment Calculator


Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your research!

Jill Turner, Librarian




Choosing a Topic for a Research Paper

Do you need to write a research paper this semester, but you can’t think of an intriguing topic to research? Several of the library databases have lists of current topics, from affirmative action to video games, with links to relevant newspaper and/or journal articles.

Open the Newsbank database and you’ll see links to current topics in the left-hand frame.  There are also quite a few special reports, which include background articles, statistics, maps, images and websites, on selected topics. The Opposing Viewpoints in Context database also lists many current topics with links to various viewpoints from newspaper articles, journal articles, statistics, maps and primary sources.Topic

If you are a visual learner, try the topic finder visualization wheel in the Academic OneFile database.  Broad topics are located in the center of the wheel, while more specific topics are on the outer edges.  This database also shows trending articles, with more popular topics in red and orange, and less popular topics in green or yellow.

Online encyclopedias also provide a wide range of topics, including background information and references.  Find an encyclopedia by typing “encyclopedia” into the search box on the library home page,


and clicking the “View It” link under any title that has the “Online access” symbol.  You can then browse through some of the topics to see if any grab your attention.


 Scanning through your textbook may also give you more ideas for possible topics.

To focus your topic, try using the five W’s.  For example, WHO does the topic involve or affect- do you want to focus on one group?  WHEN has the topic been relevant- do you want to compare time periods or examine just one?  WHAT are the major points of debate or perspectives on your topic? WHERE is your topic important- at a local or national level?  WHY is the topic important or interesting to you?

You can also look at the articles and information you find on your topic– if you find too many, you may need to narrow your focus, but if you find too few, try broadening your perspective.

Finally, if you have trouble finding information on your topic, remember that your UDM librarians are available to help!

Jill Spreitzer, Librarian

From the Research Desk: Welcome Freshmen!

Welcome-in-various-languagesThe UDM librarians are happy to welcome you to the library website.  Here is some news you can use about the library.

Phone numbers:

Check-out Desk: 313-993-1795

Research & Information Desk 313-993-1071


Our regular hours are:

Monday-Thursday    8:00am – 10:00pm
Friday                      8:00am – 5:30pm
Saturday                 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday                   12:30pm – 7:00pm
Hours may vary during holidays, breaks and finals. Check the library website.

Fast Facts About the Library:

The Research & Information Desk is staffed with librarians every hour the library is open.


Chat with a UDM librarian online from 15 minutes after opening to 15 minutes before closing. Use the chat box after regular hours for 24/7 service.




The library has Wi-Fi Internet access: bring your laptop. No laptop? No problem. The library has over 50 computers for use.
All registered students are allocated 400 free pages of printing for the academic year. Color printing is available.

Keep this in mind. You are going to need a scantron eventually. The library has them for 50¢ per sheet. Blue books are $1.00.

Earbuds and flashdrives are available for purchase for your convenience.

Cafe A La Carte is in the lobby of the library for your food and beverage needs.

Electronic Resources and Remote Access

Databases, full text journals and electronic books are accessible through the library portal:

For off-campus access, begin your search at A login screen will appear when you try to access the electronic materials. Login as you would for your Blackboard or TitanConnect account: UDM email name and password. Or, click the Re:Search Portal link at the upper right corner of the Blackboard after you have logged in.

If you experience access problems, call the Research & Information Desk at the number listed above during library hours. At all other times, send an email to

Borrowing materials

The loan period is 28 days for books and 1 week for DVD’s. You must have your student ID to check out materials. You may renew once by phone or through your “My Account” in the online catalog (no DVD renewals). Use the Renew Books link on the home page. Sign in with your TitanConnect account login and password.

Course Reserve materials are at the Check-out Desk (in library use only).

For Your Entertainment

The library has music CD’s, Audio Books and movies and television shows on DVD for your down time.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Come in, say hi and find out what else the UDM library has for you. We can’t wait to meet you and start you on the path to achieving your academic goals.

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