Sunday, 26 February 2012

Churchill College Cambridge.....

Last weekend Ben & I visited Joe at Churchill.
I suggested visiting the library but was out voted - unsurprisingly.
This was the closest I got.

Although Joe did send me a photos when it was National Libraries Day (long-sufferingly)

We did go into a Book Fair at the Guildhall - mainly because it was raining lots - it was very fusty and most of the books were really expensive (which I don't approve of as elitist etc.)

Edinburgh Libraries

At half term I went to Edinburgh for the day with my son. He has applied to the University and has an offer for Sept. He's a bit bored with sixth form college and A levels so he claims so I thought a visit to the Uni might inspire him.
We looked round George Square at the University buildings and went inside some and then came to the Library. He was quite keen to look in the library which was a nice surprise. We were both really impressed with it - Ben liked the fact that there were different areas, some quiet some more social with food & drink but definitely separate. He liked the fact that the main desk was easily accessible without being overpowering in the main entrance hall. The staff were friendly and helpful. He seemed reassured that the library was there and it would be a place that he would want to use for finding books and studying.

Later in the day after we had looked round the Uni and walked to the halls of residence we headed back to the station.
We passed the National Library of Scotland.

I dashed in to have a quick look but Ben wasn't keen and I had already spotted the Central Library across the road so thought he might be more amenable to looking in there.

It was very busy with lots of people. The staff were extremely helpful and, from what I could overhear, were dealing with a wide range of enquiries. There was a great collection of books - I could have spent a long time in there. Ben wandered around and found some history and language books that he was interested in. He is definitely one of those people that likes to browse and search on his own using the signage and system rather than ask (me too). We walked back to the station 'You could blog about these libraries we've been to today' he suggested 'Good idea' I said.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Teesside University Darlington Campus Library

Last Wednesday I attended the Higher Education Business Partnership Librarians meeting which was held at Teesside University's new campus at Darlington. It was a good meeting with representatives from the University and from the partner Colleges. The HEBP groups are very useful and I also participate in the Technology Enhanced Learning Group.
After the meeting we had a tour of the building and of the library. One of the interesting things is that the main desk is an integrated service desk i.e. it serves other functions than purely the library. This is something that I want to know more about and how it works including staff roles and line management responsibilities etc. From what I can gather, it works very well and is effective. The library is small with a limited book collection as there is an emphasis on electronic resources which suit the courses on offer and the profile of the students. It is an appealing space with different seating areas and some small computer areas.

While we were looking round the rest of the building there were some features which might work in our LRC for future changes.

The computer rooms were good with two monitors for each PC. Also some seating and benching with power and data sockets which would be good for Bring Your Own Device areas.

National Libraries Day NLD12

Saturday 4th February was National Libraries Day which is part of a campaign to raise awareness of libraries and the threats to their existence. It is mainly to encourage people to use libraries and to celebrate how wonderful libraries are.
I decided to visit quite a few libraries if possible and mainly in County Durham as this includes my local library in Sedgefield. I went to Sedgefield library first - it is a nice library and usually fairly busy with a wide range of ages. We used to visit more often when the boys were younger and they do get lots of children and families in. Lots of fiction books and general reading. The librarian / library assistant mentioned to some other people that the opening hours of the library were going to be reduced from 39 to 20 something. When I went to the desk to get my book issued I asked if they were doing anything for Nat Lib Day. No, she said, didn't really know about it, not sure whether interested or not is difficult when people's jobs are at risk.

Next I went to Cornforth which is a village on the way to Durham. It's a bit off the beaten track and so I had to hunt out the library. It is a standard small local library and the librarian / library assistant was friendly. There were a few people in including some children who were enthusiastically looking at books. I chose a book and asked at the desk if they were doing anything for Nat Lib Day - but no. The library was much more appealing than I expected and was obviously used by local people regularly.

After Cornforth I went to Bowburn which is again a village south of Durham, an ex-mining community. I have been to this library a few times and there are always children in there and bikes or scooters on the doorstep. It's just ordinary but has a good feel to it of usefulness. (seed potatoes available from community centre next door)

I then to Belmont which is the other side of Durham and found the library fairly easily. A good selection of books fiction and non fiction and plenty of people coming and going.

Next stop was Newton Hall library which took me a while to find. I knew where it was approximately as my son used to go to orchestra practice at a school near there but had to use google maps on my phone to find it.

I took a book out from each library I visited. I enjoyed visiting them and there were people using them. The people using them were mainly children or older people. The people who I saw who were working age tended to come in and return and borrow books rather than staying to use the facilities but that might be a generalization on my part. I was disappointed that they was no evidence of support for National Libraries Day - I'm not sure why - maybe got other things to worry about or don't know about it.
These are the books that I borrowed

Finally I went to Durham
University Library. I do like an academic library - I appreciate the peace and purpose and often the fustiness and scholarly order and history. I like public libraries but I'm not a 'wheels on the bus' person nor a jolly activity person but I'm prepared to support them as I think they are valuable to others and the community.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Oxford Brookes University Library

Last week I attended a meeting at Oxford Brookes University. I stayed at the Harcourt Hill Campus which was interesting. There wasn't much time to look round but after breakfast I went to look at the library.

The staff were very helpful when I asked to look round. The main floor of the library seemed to be quiet study - the first books I saw were religion and philosophy e.g. Wittgenstein, Kant etc. (I used to read those books - those exact ones!).

On the lower ground floor was the book collection and resources for the teacher training courses.

It is a really great library and has some great resources.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

What to read next...

I have just finished reading this book

which was really interesting although I knew some of it already as I've read a few books about Bletchley Park. But the parts I liked best were the day to day memories of some of the less famous people especially the women. So many women worked there during the war and did brilliant work.

I should read this

as it's for Book Club next week.

But I want to read this first