The future’s bright…

…the future’s in the post box (which is bright red at time of writing).

We are continuing to build on client feedback, turning whole areas of shelving into new study spaces with more power sockets on the upper floors to ensure there is always ample study space for everyone all year round.  We welcome you to join the long tradition of students who have helped shape the Library.  Post your suggestions into our suggestions post box or Online Suggestion Box and tell us how we can make your student experience even better.  Final year students can also give feedback by completing the National Student Survey.

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Which Library services make you smile?

Library interior (ground floor)That was the question we put to Gracie Fuller, one of our students chosen not quite at random because she stood still for too long and looked amenable.  This is what Gracie told us:

“The university library offers a multitude of services from taking out books to workshops specifically engineered to aid your studies. The facilities cater for all needs. There are computers and printers available, even areas that offer a space to study in quiet, all of which are user friendly and easy to use. The system even automatically renews your book loans for you. The facilities include a comfortable café area to take a well-earned break when studying, the food and drinks are reasonably priced, and there’s a comfortable seating area away from the hustle and bustle of the main library.

The library has a brilliant collections management team, working behind the scenes to ensure resources are readily available and easy to find. There’s a wide range of resources too, with a rare books collection, an archive full of materials and a whole host of online resources. Also on the rare occasion you can’t find what you’re looking for, the library staff can put through interlibrary loans, or order new books to make sure you always have the resources that you need.”

Posted in Services

Relaxation sessions in the Library

People sat meditatingThe Library and Sports & Recreation are joining forces to offer ten minute drop-in relaxation sessions on Thursdays.  Learning to notice when you are becoming tense and finding ways to to relax and think clearly under pressure will make your study more effective and enjoyable.

Where and when?

To make it easier to fit into your busy day, these sessions are taking place in the Library Seminar Room 2 (Room 0.26), near the Support Services Desk.

Taster sessions are on Thursday 1 March.  Sessions then run weekly on Thursdays from 22 March until the end of May.  There will be three ten minute long sessions each day, starting promptly at 2.10 pm, 2.30 pm or 2.50 pm.  Come to whichever you find most convenient and then apply the principles you learn whenever you find yourself becoming tired and tense.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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Green for danger: the silent killer in the room

Green Victorian wallpaper

Homes have concealed many hidden killers over the years, from fire retardant and insulating asbestos wall coverings used so widely in Victorian and Edwardian times, to wallpapers with deadly arsenical dyes.  Astonishingly, while asbestos has became one of the most strictly controlled building materials, the use of arsenical dyes such as copper arsenite in both wallpapers and paint has never outlawed.  Breaking down over time slowly to release a dust containing arsenic, the young, the old and the infirm started falling ill and dying.  One physician in America famously produced a book of toxic wallpaper samples for public libraries.  He wanted to help people everywhere check whether the wallpaper in their homes was one of the most dangerous types.  If you could find your bedroom wallpaper in this book, your house was in serious need of redecoration!

Click here to read more about this unusual library book of wallpaper samples that saved lives in the nineteenth century.  It has been digitised, so you can see images of it online or download a copy, although the few surviving originals are reportedly far prettier to behold, even after they were hermetically sealed in plastic to stop them poisoning those who read them).  Sadly we have no books actually made out of wallpaper but check out this book about the history of wallpaper design.

Producing poisonous wallpapers is still perfectly legal.  The only reason you might struggle to wallpaper your bedroom with paper that “loads the air with the breath of death” is that sales of arsenic containing pigments fell sharply following the initial health scare, when doctors first recognised its harmful effects, particularly in children.

Posted in Thing of the Day Tagged with: ,

Digitally enhanced


Discovery Service on iPad“The library has a multitude of very helpful resources and if you cannot find what you need, the library staff are incredibly helpful at providing you what you need!”

We have redesigned our website from the bottom up to make it simpler to use.  Online reading lists offering access to articles and ebooks from a single click.  Library catalogue records now include 3D maps showing where you can find each book. You can now download as much as a chapter per day from many of our ebooks with a single tap or click.  For everything else, our new look subject pages bring together the very best subject resources for you to use in your assignments.  It has never been easier to find everything you need to succeed. Read more ›

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

19th century Valentine's Day cardHappy Valentine’s Day!  While you might be forgiven for thinking it a commercial venture dreamed up by greetings card shops, chocolatiers and florists, the origins of the Valentine myth and its link to romance are much older and shrouded in mystery.  Read more on

Posted in Thing of the Day

Calling all academics using social media: the NCCPE needs you!

Are you a member of academic staff enthusiastically engaging with social media to promote your research?  The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement are looking to develop support for academics who want to engage the public using social media and they want to hear how you have made social media work for you!  If you have any case studies or other evidence for successful social media promotion, you might consider answering their call for research by Tuesday 6th March.

Click here for further information and to tell the NCCPE about your social media successes.

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Round the clock convenience

Library vending machines“In the early hours of the morning, when the cafe and Co-Op are shut, it would be nice to have access to a bag of crisps. I have no doubt that it would generate a lot of revenue!”

You work better when you are hydrated, and so we installed more drinking water fountains closer to where you work.  We worked with our catering partners to open the library café for longer and install new, reliable vending machines with a more diverse selection of foods, hot and cold drinks around the clock, even after the local shops have closed.

You told us that you wanted “A toilet on each floor in the Library,” because “it would really save student’s time having to go all the way to the ground floor to use the general toilets whilst studying.”  We installed luxuriously spacious new gender neutral toilets on every floor and have refurbished all the existing ground floor toilets.  Everything you need to study in comfort is now always close at hand.

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Free trial until 23 Febraury: JoVE Engineering Video collection

We have a trial running to the JoVE Engineering Video collection until Friday 23rd February.  Please send any feedback to Timothy Collinson.
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Wireless network refurbishment (15 February)

On Thursday 15 February, contractors will be replacing the high level wireless access points in Area 2B, the OA computing rooms, pooled space teaching rooms and the Postgraduate Suite.  Disruption to wireless access should be minimal.  A scissor lift will be required for the work in Area 2B and the contractors will barrier off each work area.  No area is expected to be unavailable for long but if you have any difficulties reaching books that you need, please speak to a member of Library staff.
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