Changes to visiting the Library

Making sure everyone is able to maintain social distancing while they study has meant that we have had to restrict the number of students who can use the Library at any one time.  In order to guarantee you a space to study that you can easily find when you visit the Library, we are about to introduce a simple study space booking scheme.  This study space booking scheme starts on Monday 2 November 2020 but you can already book study spaces in advance from Monday onwards.

Changes to visiting the Library

From Monday 2 November, you will need to book a space in a study zone before you can enter the Library.  You can book morning, afternoon and evening study periods in advance through the online booking system.  You will need to connect via the VPN in order to make bookings from off-campus.

You now need to book study zone before you can enter the Library.  You need to book a study space online before you can enter the Library through the turnstiles.  Once booked, entering the Library during the four-hour window you have booked will activate your booking.

The Library is now divided into 14 study zones – click the link for an enlarged version of the image on the right and details of what is available in each study zone.  You can choose which zone you want to work in when you book.

You must leave through the exit turnstiles before the end of your booking period.  If you overstay your four-hour booking slot, there is a risk that you will still be occupying a study space someone else has booked and arrived to use.

You may borrow a laptop to use during your visit.  Laptops may be borrowed from the lockers on the ground floor for use in the Library building.

Read more ›

Posted in About your Library

Brand new introductory bitesize video playlist

Getting started using Library resources?  We have a new series of bitesize videos introducing just about everything you might want help with in a brand new playlist on YouTube.

Take a look!

Posted in Services

Smile for the webcam

People gathered in a business meeting in front of a poster reading "Big Brother is watching you".

Artist’s impression of a tutorial group shortly before lockdown.

“Big Brother is watching you” beam into student bedrooms everywhere from the pages of Moodle as laptops are turned into Orwellian devices to watch students, beaming the reassuring words from the Ministry of Truth (or Minitru, to give it its proper name in Newspeak), to all those herded into ghettos, locked away, forgotten about, and left to suffer.  Young people, who in exchange for exorbitant student fees have been subject to forced labour (well, study) and their laptops turned into surveillance devices so that academics may invade the privacy of their bedrooms to watch, to judge, and to decide in secret congress how students should be punished according to unpublished standards in the absence of any governance or oversight in a scene taken directly out of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984”.

At least, that is what you might imagine is happening if all you had to go on was the somewhat naive and reactionary article Wired just published.  All I can suggest is that they must be desperate to entertain their readers.  That or the author genuinely envisages terrified youths in halls of residence up and down the country huddled around the dying light from a mobile phone screen, waiting for the Thought Police to burst in and drag one of them away for a ‘chat’ with their personal tutor in Room 101. Read more ›

Posted in Thing of the Day

Black History Month and our Rare Books Collection

For Black History Month last year we found a real gem of a book in our Rare Books Collection by the artist Paul Peter Piech (1920-1996). Piech started out his artistic career working in advertising and found his style worked well in communicating a message.  Piech used bold colour, typesets and graphics to highlight social, political and racial injustices.  His work is at times deliberately provocative, demanding us to take notice and take action. His linocuts often include phrases and snippets of speeches from key figures in society as is seen in our pamphlet ‘Words and Wisdom of Martin Luther King’, which is a signed limited edition – number 243/300.

This year we have used the pamphlet again firstly as it is still so relevant and as I cannot lie, it’s actually very hard to find items in the Archives and Rare Books that offer a diverse and culturally different point of view.  This is something we are working on though.

Our Rare Books collection is constantly being added to and we are actively working to decolonize the entire library collection to reflect diversity. It is important for you as students to have a multitude of viewpoints and an understanding of historical contexts.

As part of the Rare Books Collection this pamphlet cannot be borrowed, but you can see it in the Display area on the first floor of the library




Posted in Uncategorised

Celebrating Black success

Traditionally society has held up role models for success that have been almost exclusively white.  As part of Black History Month, I want to try to redress this balance and hold up some role models that have impressed me over my lifetime and who are still alive and active, rather than focusing on the many impressive black entrepreneurs, inventors, statesmen, thinkers, scientists and politicians of the past.

Zadie SmithZadie Smith – writer and lecturer

An extremely successful author who published her first book at the age of just 24, Zadie Smith writes books inspired by her experience of issues around race and society that have won many prizes as well as essays and short stories.  She also lectures at New York University.

Read more ›

Posted in Thing of the Day Tagged with:

Exploring being Black and LGBTQ+

Intersectionality matters: it’s hard being a heterosexual, white man.  It’s harder being black and harder still if you happen also to have been born a woman and/or LGBTQ+.  The statistics speak for themselves: 

  • 51% of BAME LGBT people reported having experienced racism in the LGBT+ community; this number rises to 61% for black LGBT people.  
  • 1 in 5 BAME LGBT people have experienced unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they are LGBT, compared to 1 in 8 for LGBT people in general.
  • 12% of BAME LGBT employees had lost a job because of being LGBT compared to 3% of LGBT staff
  • 10% of BAME LGBT staff have been physically attacked because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the workplace, compared to 3% of white LGBT staff.

Recognising the peculiarly British roots of African homophobia

It is important to recognise that homophobia is largely not native to Africa but instead stems from the attempted cultural genocide and colonial export of homophobia by the British Empire in the 19th century.

Read more ›

Posted in Thing of the Day

Camera, action… essay?

Whether you want to create video clips from television and film materials, now including all of Sky Arts, for use in your presentations and digital projects or author entire video essays, Learning on Screen is your new best friend.  Check out their helpful, bitesize videos on logging in and getting started right through to their introductory series on producing your first video essay.


Posted in Services, Subjects: Creative Arts

Looking into the law? Get your expertise certified!

A-Level Law Unlawful Act Manslaughter A01 Template | Teaching ResourcesGetting certified in the use of the law databases LexisLibrary, WestlawUK and HeinOnline looks good on just about anybody’s CV but it is practically a necessity for anyone looking to work with the law.  Your friendly student reps Sara and Freya are here to help you every Monday evening and will be hosting basic and advanced certificate training sessions on a regular basis.  Speaking of which…

Join Sara Abreu to learn how to pass the Westlaw Advanced Certification session next Thursday, 22 October from 4:30 – 6:00 pm online through Google Meet.  Here is the meeting link.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Services

Rediscover what the Discovery Service can do

The Discovery Service searches across many library resources, allowing you to carry out a single search and find relevant materials from lots of different ejournals, ebooks and other databases brought together in one Google-style search results list.  Click on the big blue “Search” button in the top-right corner of the Library website and the Discovery Service is the first search box on the next page.

The Discovery Service offers powerful tools to refine and narrow your search until you find just the most relevant materials to inform and support your arguments for assignments and wider learning.  If you have not used the Discovery Service before, this video introduces its key features.  For many subjects, the Discover Service is a great place to start looking for information, although if you are studying Design, Engineering and Law you would be much better off looking to your Subject pages on the Library website (under the Subjects menu) to find specialist resources dedicated to your subject that are not included in the Discovery Service.

Discovery (and searching) beyond the basics

The Discovery Service has some very powerful tools and features that are not necessarily obvious at first glance.  This video explores these in more detail.  It also explores a new and powerful way of looking for information on obscure and specialist topics called a ‘building blocks search’ strategy.  This approach can be used in any database for any subject and is often useful for uncovering information when your search returns either too many or too few results when you try a simpler search. Read more ›

Posted in Services

The joy of having a sustainable routine

Easier said than done, a sustainable routine helps keep you healthy, happy and able to stay on top of your studies.  A relaxing bedtime routine leading to enough, regular sleep is the bedrock on which a successful life is built.  You may also find that sleep helps solve life’s most intractable problems.

Staying hydrated and eating well, with a variety of different fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources to provide your body with everything it needs and plenty of slow-release energy helps you keep going throughout the day, concentrate better and remember more.

Getting in a healthy routine early on makes everything easier.  Cooking, making lunch for the next day, washing up, washing yourself and your clothes, studying, relaxing, playing, sleeping… your routine will later carry you through tough times and make life as a whole that much more manageable.  If you find you are struggling to cope, chat to the Student Wellbeing service for advice and support.

Posted in Services Tagged with: