Relaxation on demand: just press play and chill

Student with laptop in Ravelin ParkSteph from Sports & Recreation offers mindful relaxation sessions in the Library Meeting Room every Thursday afternoon for those who want to learn to unwind but for anyone who cannot make it, you can enjoy Steph’s relaxation sessions whenever you want on her audio blog or by subscribing to her podcasts.

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Here for you, whenever you need us

The University Library at nightOpen for you 24/7

We are now permanently open 24/7 during term-time, and open until midnight over the summer vacations.  We only close for summer bank holidays and a few days over Christmas and New Year.

All our resources are available anywhere in the world over the internet, so not only can you find a place to study away from home come day and night, you also have a digital library you can carry in your pocket.  Our online chat and phone services also operate round the clock, every day of the year, so you can always get help if something stops working or you need a hand finding information or with referencing.

From search to shelf in one tap

The Library catalogue now offers a 3D floor plan showing where to find each book you look up at the touch of a button, making it quicker and easier for you to find the books you need.  Any problems finding the books you want?  Ask a librarian.  We’re here to help with your every challenge, big or small.

Stress free study

You have enough to think about without worrying about whether your library books need to be renewed. That is why we introduced automated renewals, so that we only charge if another client is waiting for overdue books. We took away the cap on the number of interlibrary loans as well, so you now have access to however much material from other libraries to support your research as you need.

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Keeping the peace (or how not to have arguments)

The library can get very busy and nerves are easily frayed when people feel under pressure.  Even a whispered conversation can carry far and wide in a quiet, confined and echoey space.  At the other extreme, people working in splendid isolation in a drop-in meeting pod is beyond frustrating for those trying find a place where they can blot out the rest of the world and have a heated discussion about a group project.

For the sake of everyone, please could we ask that you take a moment to choose the best place for the way you intend to study.  Read on for tips on finding the best place for you.

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Taking your wellbeing to heart

Relaxing with a good book... in a good deckchair

Relaxing in the kitsch indoor ‘seaside zone’ in 3rd Space, on the first floor of the Students’ Union

Working with the Students’ Union, Student Wellbeing, and other local services, we have renewed our commitment to support your wellbeing at university. In collaboration with Sports & Recreation, we have introduced brief weekly relaxation sessions in the Library.

When you told us that you found these sessions useful, we extended the programme to run throughout the year. You asked us to offer the sessions in the same time and venue each week so they were easy to find, and so this year we held them all at the same time and in the same room. Relaxation is a valuable life skill you can quickly learn, so if you have not yet been, please join us on a Thursday afternoon and find out how you can relax in moments.

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Gender as accepted fact… gender as myth?

Gender neutral/diversity iconSociety has for the longest time held that people can universally be divided along the lines of their anatomical gender.  We can see this plainly in the design of toilet blocks and changing rooms that segregate gender.  This overly simplistic and religiously influenced view of gender as “binary”, that individuals may be unambiguously and universally separated into males and females, has always been challenged by the birth of intersex (hermaphroditic) individuals who are born with both male and female genitals.  Where both sets of secondary sexual characteristics are present and functional, surgeons in recent times have had the ability, and to avoid possible later medical complications felt the responsibility, to assign that person’s gender soon after birth.  Often such individuals grow up to identify with the gender other than that to which they were assigned.  This suggests that anatomy and gender identity are separate and independent.  This in turn raises the question, if gender identity is not rooted in anatomy, from where does it come from?

Anatomical gender is not congruent with their anatomical gender for many individuals born with a clear and unambiguous anatomical gender.  Nor is it fixed throughout the lifespan.  Some people identify as being “gender fluid” because they feel they move between genders, at times on a day by day basis, or exist quite happily without a gender identity at all.  “Trans” individuals feel that their gender identity is consistently at odds with their anatomical gender.  This is common not only among intersex individuals who have had an anatomical  gender surgically, and often arbitrarily, assigned to them but also those born with a distinct and single anatomical gender.

The frequency that gender identity and anatomical gender are mismatched has led some people, this author included*, to question the validity of gender as a concept.  Might gender be learned, rather than an innate property of people?  Roland Barthes commented on the artifice of gendered toys, pointing out that given a free choice, girls would as willingly play with traditional boys toys such as trucks and soldiers and boys with ‘girls toys’ such as dolls and tea sets as with toys intended for their own gender.  A closer examination of clothing, toys, behaviours, attitudes and more that are traditionally expected, rewarded and censured in children reveals that both gender and masculinity/femininity appear to be social norms ingrained in people as they grow from such an early age they are accepted as axiomatic, assumed truths that are not open to question.  As society relaxes its moral panic over sexual and gender diversity, we are discovering as a society just how diverse and individual gender really is.

*(my views are not necessarily the same as those of the University)


Further reading

Read more about sexual and gender diversity from:

Crowdfunding project – “X Marks The Spot”

If you are interested in supporting the expression of gender diverse creative writers, “X Marks The Spot” is seeking backers on Kickstarter to enable it to publish an anthology exploring life beyond binary gender.  A £5 backer offer will secure you a pdf copy of the work, assuming the project is successfully funded. (Kickstarter only charges backers when projects are fully funded and expected to go ahead.)


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Create your own cartoons!

If, like so many of us, you have tuned into a modern cartoon only to realise that you could do better, here is your chance.  Studio Ghibli (who produced the likes of Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, and many others) made their old animation software available to everyone for free, so they could make their own animations!

Source: Animation Lookback: Studio Ghibli part 1 from Mat Brunet on Vimeo.

Download OpenToonz and get creative!

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Free trial access until 6 March 2019: Gale Reference Complete

Until 6 March 2019, we have trial access to Gale Reference Complete, including newspapers, scholarly literature and an archive.  Please let us know if you use it and find it helpful.  This will help us decide whether it is worth subscribing to this resource permanently.

Here are the links to the different searches available:

Remember to record the details of anything you use before the trial ends because all the resources will be unavailable thereafter.

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How close is too close?

Photograph of the Individual Silent Zone, showing the zoning banner in the foregroundIn the past you told us that some of the silent areas of the Library were noisier than they should hav been.  That’s why we recently restructured the Individual Silent Study zone, grouping several areas together into the side of the building that is naturally quieter, retraining our staff and increasing the frequency of patrols.

You might have noticed the striking new purple banners flanking the entrance to each zone. By replacing shelving with study spaces, we are able to offer more space to study in silence now than ever before, and we have made sure that all the seating in the individual silent zones encourages individual study without talking.  We even introduced offer free earplugs for anyone those times when you want to blot out the world completely and work anywhere without risk of interruption – we find they are useful anywhere, not just in the silent zone!

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New eBooks – January 2019

What follows is a list of new electronic books received by the Library during January 2019 ordered by title. More complete details, as well as listings from previous months, are available on our website’s New Books page in the form of downloadable Excel spreadsheets.
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New Books – January 2019

What follows is a list of new books received in the Library during January 2019 ordered by classmark. More complete details, as well as listings from previous months, are available on our website’s New Books page in the form of downloadable Excel spreadsheets.

Read more ›

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