Important update: Study space in URS Building

Students outside the URS Building

The University of Reading’s capital investment programme, 2026: TRANSFORM, is well under way to improve further our campus facilities. The University Library is undergoing a major transformation – we are investing over £40 million into making it a modern and comfortable place to study, with the very best facilities and learning resources. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.

Study space relocation to the URS Building

In April 2017, much of the study furniture from the Library was relocated to the URS Building. Several key services from the Library Building have also been relocated to the URS Building – the Library Information Desk, Study Advice and Maths Support, the Course Collection, the IT Service Desk and Café Libro. The Library Building remains open for borrowing books.

By moving study space and other services to URS, we can provide a quieter environment for study, enquiries and support. It also means less disruption through noise or dust from the building project, with URS still being close enough to borrow and use Library materials.

It is expected that these arrangements will be in place until August 2018, when study space and other facilities are currently planned to move back into the Library.

What’s changing?

Closed pink double doors to large lecture theatreThe URS lecture theatres have been out of use since the relocation to allow us to accommodate the maximum permitted number of study spaces in this building (there’s a restriction on the total number of people allowed in the building at any one time for fire safety). The University has recently taken the decision to re-open the URS large lecture theatre for teaching in the 2017/18 academic year.

Due to the fire safety restrictions in place, this will mean that the number of term-time study spaces available in the URS building will be reduced from around 800 to around 600. This will be disappointing news for some, as the total number of study spaces available to students during term-time will necessarily be reduced. However, please be assured that the University explored every possible alternative option before reaching this decision, but feel it is important that it offers students the best available teaching space for their classes.

We will work to re-instate the study spaces during the Christmas and Easter vacations, and in the summer term for the exam period.

Café Libro will remain open as usual.

Naturally, we will closely monitor the usage of the URS study spaces and the alternative study spaces provided across our campuses (see below for more information) to ensure all spaces are accessible, available and well-used. Feedback from students on these spaces is very much welcome as it will help us to plan study space availability in the future.

Alternative study spaces

Taking into account the reduction of study spaces in the URS Building, there are still over 1,500 study spaces available across the Whiteknights and London Road campuses.

We have provided some helpful resources to make it easier to find a suitable space to study. These include;

All of these resources can easily be found through the Library Refurbishment Project page. Do bookmark this page on your laptop or mobile to find it easily later.

We are also working with RUSU to create a new study space map which we will share with you as soon as it is ready.

Do not forget too that rooms located in teaching buildings will be subject to departmental use – and as always, please treat all spaces with respect.

Library project; progress to date

 We have made good progress since work started last summer. In summary;

  • all floors have been prepared for works to be carried out – you will notice that several areas have been sectioned off for work, especially on the Ground and 1st Floors;
  • work to improve the exterior of the Library is well under way and internal weatherproofing is largely complete;
  • work is underway for the creation of a brand new café; and
  • we are nearing the end of the demolition of a staircase on the south side of the building – a major phase of work that makes room for new, bigger lifts and a replacement staircase.

We are, of course, taking measures to reduce the risk of noise wherever possible, but please do remember that this is a live construction project – noise will be unavoidable from time to time. As a way of reducing disruption throughout the day, noisy work will cease after 10:00 during term time.

Stay up-to-date

The latest project news is shared through the Library blog – keep checking for updates. Major news will also be shared through the Me@Reading student portal and more.

We also share regular updates through our social media channels – we’re on:

Facebook: /theuniversityofreading and /universityofreadinglibrary

Twitter: @UniofReading, @UniRdg_Student and @UniRdg_Library

Instagram: uniofreading and unirdg_library

Please contact library@reading.ac.uk in the first instance if you have any queries.

Full details of the refurbishment, including FAQ, project summary, latest news and study space links, are available on our dedicated Library Refurbishment Project website.

University of Reading Communications Team

New student? Make the most of your Library – info tip

Students studying in the URS Building

Group study space in the URS Building

Welcome!

We are here to support your studies, providing you with access to information – online, multimedia or printed – and the skills to make the most of it.

For a general intro…

Learning how to use the Library

A large academic library can be confusing and hard to find your way around. This year Library services are also operating from two buildings: study space and services are located in the URS Building, whilst printed materials are still available to borrow from the adjacent Library building.

Come to a ‘Finding your way in the Library’ session

Our interactive sessions run throughout Welcome Week and Week 1. Discover how to find books in the Library and borrow them, and have a tour of the services and facilities in the URS Building. Each session lasts around one hour, but could save you a lot more time in the long run!

To find out more and book your place see – Finding your way workshops.

Students outside the URS Building

The URS Building

Explore your Library & the URS Building in Welcome Week

We are open through Welcome Week, so why not explore before all the other students return? Between 09:00 and 17:00 you can:

  • Collect a self-guided Library tour leaflet to follow – stop off at whatever is relevant to you.
  • Visit the Library to find resources for your subject – pick up a guide to your subject there and pick-up a freebie from one of our information suppliers.
  • Pop in to the URS Building next door to discover your favourite study areas on the 2nd Floor (we’ve got silent, quiet and group spaces) and the largest PC facility in the University on the Ground Floor (along with IT help from the Service Desk).
  • Also meet Study Advice and Maths Support on the Ground Floor of the URS Building and pick up a free planner to organise your new University life!

Visit us in the Marquee

On Tuesday 19 September, Library staff and the Study Advice Team will be in the Marquee for ‘Academic success and module selection day’. Please pop in and have a chat with us about how we can support your studies.

Explore our online help

We’ve got lots of resources on our website to support your studies and develop your skills.

  • Try one of our LibLearn Tutorials to find out how to use the Library, search the catalogue, and more. Available 24/7 on Blackboard, the University’s online learning system.
  • Watch our videos – these cover a variety of topics ranging from placing holds on books, to doing your literature search.
  • Take a look at your subject guide, to discover key resources relevant to your studies.
  • Develop your study skills by exploring the wide range of guides and videos provided by our in-house Study Advice Team.

Our friendly subject liaison librariansGet individual help

Your friendly subject liaison librarian will be happy to give you individual help with any subject-related enquiries, or questions about the Library. You might also see yours as part of a Library session organised by your Department.

For one-to-one help with study skills contact the Study Advice Team.

Prepare yourself for life at University

Have you completed the Study Smart online course? This short course has been designed to help you make a smooth transition to University learning. It covers academic integrity, communicating at University and being an independent learner. Why not find time in Welcome Week to complete the course if you haven’t already done so?

For more information…

For extra guidance see Information for new Library users on our website.

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information

This tip was written by Learning Support Co-ordinator Sally Smith and Library Web Manager Jackie Skinner.

Adjusting to study in UK higher education – info tip

Two international graduandsFor international students, preparing for success in UK study means more than just learning the language. You will have many questions about the culture and expectations of universities in the UK, which can be quite different to what you have been used to. Even if you’ve been successful when studying in your home country, you will need to develop and adapt the way you study to succeed in the UK. We have plenty of suggestions that can help – and you can always get in touch with the Study Advice team or your subject Liaison Librarian if you have more questions.

Understanding university study in the UK

The University Study Advisers have developed a guide to help those moving up to higher education in the UK to understand what is expected through exercises and tips. This is one of a whole series of study guides and video tutorials to help you develop the skills you will need for study success, including dedicated advice on assessment by examination in UK Higher Education and guidance on academic writing. You may find the Academic Phrasebank (University of Manchester) helpful when starting out with your academic writing.

Other useful guides include UKCISA’s study tips and the Prepare for Success website (University of Southampton).

If you are starting undergraduate study at the University, remember to complete the Study Smart course which is aimed at helping all new undergraduates feel more prepared for study. You can return to the course throughout your first year if you want to remind yourself of what you’ve learnt.

Developing effective practices for UK study

There are various books in the Library written for students on developing your study skills. Many can be found on the 4th Floor with Call Numbers beginning 378. Why not have a look on the shelves to see what is available? Or search the online Library catalogue, Enterprise for “study skills”.

You may find referencing and citation practices in the UK are quite different to those you have been used to. See our Citing References guide for tips on how and when to use references correctly in your writing.

To make the most of the Library, check out the following guides:

Building your cultural and language knowledge

student reading newspaperA good way to practise your language skills and, at the same time, learn something about UK culture is to read newspapers. The Library subscribes to a number of newspapers in print and online.

The Library has many resources that can help you to build your language skills, including books to help with IELTS (International English Language Test Score) and language dictionaries. These can be found on the 2nd and 4th Floors. While on the 2nd Floor, you might also borrow a novel to practise your reading for pleasure, or a film on DVD to help your listening skills. Alternatively, you may prefer to improve your English language skills by using the Teaching Practice Collection on the 4th Floor of the Library which includes an extensive collection of children’s literature in English, both fiction and non-fiction.

A useful online resource for developing your English language is Learn English (British Council). You may also find the English for Uni website helpful. This aims to make difficult grammar and academic writing concepts easier to understand.

There is also general information for International students at the University, including links to advice on visas, accommodation and getting involved in University activities.

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information

This tip was written by Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser and Charlie Carpenter, ISLI Liaison Librarian/International Student Support Coordinator.

Broaden your horizons – learn a language! Info tip

Students learning languagesWhether you’re a new or an existing student, why not learn a language in the new academic year? The Library holds a variety of resources to help you learn languages, no matter what your level or preferred mode of study may be.

Choose your language

The Library’s language learning resources cover the six languages taught to degree level: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin and Ancient Greek; and the additional languages taught within the Institution-Wide Language Programme (IWLP): Modern Greek, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and British Sign Language. Some textbooks or dictionaries for learning other languages, including English as a foreign language, are also in stock.

Choose how to study

If you want to learn a language by yourself, there are various resources for self-instruction, such as workbooks, CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs.

If you are attending language classes, such as with the IWLP, then there are textbooks, grammars, dictionaries and easy readers which may be a helpful supplement to your course textbook.

Male student reading italian textBeyond the language

Of course, learning a new language also involves finding out about a different country, its society and culture. The Library holds numerous books encompassing the history of many different countries, as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish literature in the original language.

If reading the history and literature of a particular country is a bit too much like hard work, then why not watch a film from that country or study a map of that country? The Library holds many films on DVD, with a large number in languages other than English, as well as a collection of around 70,000 maps and atlases.

Where in the Library?

The language learning resources in the Library are currently located on the 2nd and 4th Floors. Look for the 400s section – normal size books are on the 2nd Floor and Folio (large) size books are on the 4th Floor. You may find some language learning resources in the Teaching Practice Collection, which is on the 4th Floor. Although primarily aimed at trainee teachers, this collection includes children’s literature in English, which may be used to improve English language skills.

For literature, films on DVD and Field maps, head to the 2nd Floor – films at Call Number 791.437, literature is located in the 800s section and Field maps in the ‘Maps’ section. Books on the history of various countries are located on the 4th Floor.

Other language learning resources in the University

The Self-Access Centre for Language Learning (SACLL), located in Edith Morley 230, is a specialist language learning facility, open to international students and the wider University community. The centre includes a wide range of materials for students learning English and foreign languages, including books and DVDs. There are also computers available for students to use, some with useful online language materials.

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information

This tip was written by Charlie Carpenter, Liaison Librarian for the International Study and Language Institute.

New online resources – try them now!

Laptop and bookWe now have access to a number of newly purchased online resources – available to use from on- and off-campus.

  • Thesaurus Linguae Graecae -the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) contains the majority of the surviving literary texts written in Greek from Homer to the fall of Constantinople.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts  references to publications covering political science and international relations, including international law and public administration/policy. Includes journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, and working papers, from 1975 to the present.
  • Drama Online: Shakespeare & Early Modern Drama Videos – a new addition to our existing Drama Online collections, covering key plays and acting techniques, including Maxine Peake’s Hamlet, Stage on Screen, and a Shakespeare Acting Masterclass from Patsy Rodenburg.
  • Oxford Handbooks Online – we now have access to the new 2017 Literature collection, 2016 and 2017 Linguistics collections, and the 2017 History collection.
  • Oxford Scholarly Editions Online – access is now open to three more collections: Renaissance Drama, Renaissance Poetry, and Renaissance Prose.
  • Routledge Historical Resources: History of Feminism – this resource provides access to materials on feminism (covering the period 1776-1928) published by Taylor & Francis. It includes primary and secondary sources, such as full books, selected chapters, and journal articles, as well as thematic essays.

The library provides access to many more online resources – you can find more information on our E-resources webpage.

Lucy Ardill, E-resources Team

Get ahead by reading around your subject – info tip

Boy reading in sunshineDuring a busy term, there’s not much time for reflection so the long vacation is a good time to do some wider reading around your subject. You may want to catch up, build your in-depth knowledge of topics you’ve already covered, or put your previous reading in a wider context. You might want to get ahead and prepare for next year’s modules, or you may be starting to work on your dissertation.

Whatever your reason for reading around your subject, it will be more effective if you know how to find appropriate resources and how to make the most of them once you have found them. The Library and Study Advice can help with this.

How will it help me?

Reading around your subject will help you to develop an overview of key themes and issues in your topics. You will be able to compare what different scholars think about topics, and what evidence they are using to support their ideas. To get the most out of it, you should be reading critically and thoughtfully.

How can we help you?

The Library has plenty of tools to help you find materials that are not on your reading lists.

Start by looking for your subject on the Subject help pages. The guides list the essential things you need to know to get you started on wider reading: the numbers at which the main topics are classified; dictionaries and encyclopaedias for your topic; how to search for journal articles and the appropriate databases to use; even some evaluated web sites.

If you already know a key text for your topic, search for it in the Library catalogue (Enterprise). From the full record, you can find more books by the same author or on the same subject by clicking on the links.

Searching Summon can give you a different angle. Enter a search term and it will show you chapters within books that are available online, online journal articles, and even news items on your topic that might get you thinking.

Yi-Yellow-Brick-RoadDon’t forget to think beyond books and journal articles, especially if you’re researching for your dissertation. Our databases can point you to newspaper articles, reports and primary texts including letters and ephemera – often offering the full text online. Plus our Special Collections have archived material and rare books to explore from Brian Aldiss to The Wizard of Oz.

Getting the most out of your reading

The Study Advice guide on Managing academic reading includes ideas on how to select materials, reading techniques and common abbreviations you may come across. There is also a brief video tutorial on Reading academic texts that includes guidance on reading strategies to help you make the most of your reading time.

Make sure you keep records of the bibliographic details in case you want to refer to the text later in your assignments. We have guidance on Effective note-taking so you can avoid having more notes than the book you’ve just read. Or watch our video on Critical note-taking to help you develop your thinking about what you’ve just read.

If you’re reading for your dissertation, we have a video tutorial on Starting research for your dissertation for tips and strategies.

Let us take you somewhere you’ve never been this summer and help you to make the most of reading around your subject!

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information.

This info tip was written by Tim Chapman, Science and Life Sciences Liaison Team Manager and Ian Chilvers, Liaison Librarian for Computer Science & Mathematics and Statistics.

More journal archives now available

ArchiveWe have recently purchased access to a number of online archives to give you full access to articles in older issues of these journals and newspapers:

You can also find resources relevant to your subject by exploring your subject guide.

Lucy Ardill, E-resources Team

 

Temporary relocation of 2nd/4th Floor Information Desks

A helpful sign

Information Desks on the 2nd and 4th Floors of the Library have been temporarily relocated to the former staff offices on the north side of the building (facing the Palmer Building). Staff are still available there to help you, Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00.

The Help Point remains available on the Ground Floor.

We will post an update once we have moved back to our original location on the 2nd and 4th Floors. In the meantime, please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused by this.

Keep up to date

Keep checking the Library blog for the latest refurbishment news and updates.

Details of the Library facilities available in URS (including services, map and opening times) can be found on our dedicated URS Building page.

All of the above can be easily accessed through our Library refurbishment project page: www.reading.ac.uk/library/refurb.

Bethan Davies, Trainee Liaison Librarian4th Floor Desk Map

 

Resolved – problems downloading on the ScienceDirect platform

We are pleased to say that the problems with downloading PDFs from ScienceDirect have been resolved and you should be able to use this resource as normal. You may need to clear your browser cache and cookies first.

If you experience difficulties accessing any of our resources please fill in the E-resources problem report form and we will do our best to assist you.

Apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.

Lucy Ardill, E-resources Team

Library refurbishment: path deviation and demolition of staircase

Orange barrier across footpath with partially demolished Library building behindPedestrians and cyclists should note that a path diversion has been placed around the south west corner of the Library Building.

The diversion has been put in place as a major phase of work – the demolition of staircase 2 – will commence from Monday 7 August.

The diversion will take pedestrians and cyclists away from the concentrated area of work around the south side of the building – please just walk around under the end of the URS Building to regain your route.

Inside the Library, staircase 2 is enclosed behind hoardings and is located on the right-hand side of the building as you walk in through the front entrance, adjacent to the male toilets.

The demolition will be carried out in progressive phases, moving from top to bottom of the structure. Noise levels are likely to be high, depending on the works being carried out. The bulk of the noisiest demolition works are planned to be carried out before the start of the Autumn Term.

Study space across campus

You can find details of study space across campus on the Library refurbishment project page.

This includes around 800 spaces available in the URS Building, and other campus rooms available for immediate use, which you can find through the Free Room Finder.

Stay up to date

Keep checking the Library blog for the latest refurbishment news and updates.

Details of the Library facilities available in URS (including services, map and opening times) can be found on our dedicated Library@URS page.

For more information on the Library refurbishment, please see our dedicated project page.

Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager

Library refurbishment: path deviation

Orange barrier across footpath with partially demilished Library building behindIf you walk or cycle around the south west corner of the University Library Building, please be aware of a path diversion. We have redirected some pathways to send pedestrians and cyclists, more safely, a little further away from the building, in preparation for demolition of Library staircase 2 over the next few weeks. Please just walk around under the end of the URS Building to regain your route.Hoardings across path to one side of Library building

Rachel Redrup
Library Marketing Co-ordinator

Polishing up your masters dissertation – info tip

Student studyingAs you get into the last few weeks of work on your dissertation or major project, it should all be coming together. This info tip aims to give you the tools to get everything done in time – and make your dissertation a shining success!

Editing, proof-reading and referencing

At this stage, you should be starting to think about editing and proof-reading. It’s best not to leave this till the last minute as it’s rarely just a matter of checking your spelling. There may be missing citation details to find, arguments that would be better placed elsewhere, repetition to remove, and word count to reduce. All these things take more time than you think.

Study Advice have a guide on Writing at Masters’ level which will help you to see what you need to aim at when editing your writing. There is also a guide on Academic writing including tips for more Effective proof-reading. If you have five minutes, you could watch one of their video tutorials on dissertations.

Make sure your citations are all correct, complete and consistent. This can be a slow process so allow plenty of time. There is information about different referencing styles and how to reference more unusual sources in our Citing References libguide. You could also look at the Study Advisers’ video tutorials on referencing. If you’re still not sure, ask your Liaison Librarian or a Study Adviser.

Incomplete reference? What to do?

You may find you have a key piece of information, but not all the details you need for your bibliography. If you have some, it still may be possible to find the complete reference.

For a journal article, try Summon or one of the Library’s databases; for a book, try checking your reading list, searching the Library catalogue, or a database specializing in books such as Worldcat or Copac. Ask at a Library Information Desk for help. You can also look back through your Library account to see the titles of books you’ve borrowed over the last 6 months.

If you have a quote but don’t know where it came from, try one of our online dictionaries of quotations included in Credo Reference or Oxford Reference collections. Or type it into Google, framed with quotation marks e.g. “To be or not to be”. You may find it’s better to use a short phrase rather than the whole quote; try to find a grouping of words that stands out. What you must never do is invent details, or include things in your dissertation if you cannot be sure about the source. This may lead to accusations of academic misconduct.

For more help watch this brief video tutorial on How to find bibliographic details.

Get the edge with up-to-date information

The best dissertations include the most up-to-date research so, if you have time, you could check for recent publications that you may have missed in your literature review. Many databases allow you to re-run your search for an author or on a topic to find only the most recent items.

For example the Web of Science allows you to save your searches to re-run against the latest updates to its databases. You can also set up RSS feeds and citation alerts (so that you are notified when someone cites your key articles). To set up email alerts, search the individual databases within Web of Science. Female student writingWatch the Saving your search and setting email alerts video for detailed instructions. You could check other databases for similar features.

For more, see our further tips on keeping up to date.

Staying motivated

It can be difficult to motivate yourself to get to the finishing line, and it’s easy to underestimate how long the finishing touches may take. Breaking your remaining tasks down and setting deadlines to get each ticked off can help. Study Advice have some further suggestions on staying motivated.

Layout and binding

Find out ahead of time what is expected in terms of layout and binding and you are likely to save yourself from last-minute panic. The Study Advice website has some general principles on finishing up. More specific information should be in your course or module handbook. It may also be possible to look at past dissertations.

You do not need to hard bind your work, but if you choose to do so, do be aware that you will have to leave considerably more time. The Library have teamed up with experienced university binders Hollingsworth & Moss to offer a hard and soft bound printing and binding service.

Acceptable binding styles include thermal binding with a hard or soft cover, spiral and comb binding. These can be done at many print shops with a little notice, including Mail Boxes Etc in the RUSU building on Whiteknights campus.

If you have any last-minute queries, you can always come and ask your Liaison Librarian or a Study Adviser.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser and Rachel Redrup, Liaison Librarian for Education.