COVID-19: 5 tips for studying @ home

Reading glasses and pens rest on an open bookStudying at home requires self-discipline, organisation and effective time management strategies. Follow our Study Advice top 5 tips to make the most of your study time at home.

Tip #1: Set up your home office

Make sure you have somewhere dedicated to studying. Set up your desk and keep your device, books, paper and stationery to hand. Try to keep the space separate from where you relax, even if it is just a corner in your bedroom. Leave it tidy, so it is more inviting to return to the next day.

Tip #2: Create a study timetable

It’s important to allocate time to study (and time to relax and do exercise). Think about when in the day you’re more effective (for most this is the morning). You might want to consider, for instance, taking a couple of hours off every afternoon to take some exercise and return to your studies in the early evening. Make sure you add in regular breaks and rewards along the way. For more on creating a timetable, watch this short video.

Tip #3: Set yourself weekly goals

It’s important to know what you hope to achieve each week – especially if you are working on a project like a dissertation or revising for exams. Goals help to ensure we stay on track but also help to motivate us to keep going and give us that sense of achievement. Work backwards from your deadlines to determine where you want to be at the end of each week. If you have a shorter deadline (like an assignment to write in a week), instead set yourself some daily goals. This video will help you do this.

Tip #4: Work with others

During these times, it’s important to continue to connect with others. Keep in touch with peers and motivate each other. Arrange daily catch-ups, virtual coffee chats or perhaps some revision groups, where you can test each other’s understanding. Do share your study goals too, as you are more likely to strive to meet them once you’ve declared them.

Tip #5: Use the advice and support available

It might feel that you’re on your own, but all the central services are still running.

Make the most of the support and expertise on offer and ensure you get the grades you deserve.

Dr Sonia Hood, FHEA
Study Advice Manager, Study Advice & Maths Support

COVID-19 update: Library services move fully online

Silvery-gold clad University of Reading Library buildings in distance, surrounded by green trees, green grass in foregroundIn line with the University’s move to online teaching, the University Library will be moving to a fully online service with effect from Monday 23 March 2020.  Please be assured that we will continue to provide you with our services.  We will ensure that all online resources and additional online help are available to you during the current, unprecedented public health situation.

Using Library online services

A significant proportion of our resources are already available online. There will be no change to this service and everything that you previously used will continue to be available.

Online resources

Undergraduate and post-graduate taught course students: you can still access UoR online reading lists directly and via Blackboard.  Many of the items on your reading lists are accessible online, with some lists fully available online.

For your research, you can still access e-resources through the Library website, to find our extensive collection of e-books, e-journals and databases. The following tools will help you:

Online Library help and assistance

All Library staff are still available to help and assist with your studies and research.

Library materials currently on loan

Whilst the Library building remains closed the printed book collection will not be available.  If you currently have books on loan that are due back do not worry!  We will automatically renew them for you so that you do not get fined.  And if you incur any fines during this period of online working you will not be charged.  Books that you currently have on loan will not be recalled and you will not be expected to return them whilst the building is closed.  If you want to place a reservation (hold) on a book you can continue to do so and we will seek to satisfy your request.  For loan and general enquiries, please email library@reading.ac.uk

Interlibrary loans

You can still request Inter-Llibrary Loans in the usual manner, completing the online request form.  If you currently have Inter-Library Loans (books) from another library do not worry, we will arrange for the return date to be extended for you.  For Inter-Library Loan enquiries, please email ill@reading.ac.uk.

Other enquiries

If you have any other enquiries or require any additional support, please email library@reading.ac.uk.

Look out for further Library service updates on the Library websiteUniversity Library News blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Stuart Hunt, Director

COVID-19 Library update: Social distancing

Long study table with four seats in library

We encourage you to sit two metres away from other Library users to safeguard your health

Whilst the Library building is open weekdays 08:30-17:00 to card-holders, with immediate effect we are implementing more stringent social distancing measures. To safeguard the health and safety of both Library users and staff, study places will be spaced out and help desks will operate behind barriers. Many other services continue online.

Study space

  • We have introduced spacing between places on open tables to actively encourage users to sit the government-recommended two metres apart.
  • All group study rooms in the Library are closed with immediate effect to discourage the dangers of sitting close within an enclosed area.

Help Points

  • The Library’s Welcome Desk on our Ground Floor remains open for enquiries but we are asking users to talk to us from behind tensile barriers, thus maintaining a safe distance between us. Unfortunately this means you will not be able to pay fines here with cards, but you can still pay fines online if you need to.
  • Although our Study Advice Desk is now unstaffed during this situation, please do ask us your questions and book one-to-one consultations online with:

Further information

Please be assured that, in line with the University’s move to online teaching, the University Library continues to provide online resources and additional online help during the current, unprecedented public health situation, although some services have changed. Please see our COVID-19: Library service update for details.

Look out for further Library service updates on the Library websiteUniversity Library News blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Stuart Hunt, Director

Get Library help with exams and dissertations

figures at table beween book shelvesThis time of year, we know many of you are busy preparing for exams or working on those dissertations. Why not take a moment to check out the advice and support that we have on offer; it could save you time in the long run!

Our Study Advisers have a series of video tutorials and study guides providing essential advice on effective revision techniques or dissertation writing. Or why not visit us on the Ground Floor of the Library and collect your free year planner to help you plan your revision, or those dissertation and major projects

Your Academic Liaison Librarian can point you towards the best sources in your subject to find good quality literature supporting your work. Take a look at the guides they have created to your subject resources.

We can also offer you individual advice:

Find out more on our Library website or come along to our Study Advice Desk on the Ground Floor of the Library and find out how we can support you.

Sonia Hood, Study Advice Manager and Rachel Redrup, Academic Liaison Librarian

Enhance your dissertation with our advice!

Call at the Study Advice Desk for dissertation help.

Writing your dissertation this term? From research to write-up, make use of your Academic Liaison Librarian’s and Study Advisers’ help to produce your best work.

Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian or book a one-to-one for help perfecting your:

  • literature searching
  • referencing and use of referencing software.

Look out for Study Advice seminarsdrop in with a quick question weekday lunchtimes 13:00-14:00 or book a longer one-to-one. Study Advisers can help you:

  • manage your project
  • ensure coherence and
  • avoid procrastination.

Don’t put it off!  Call by the Library Study Advice Desk (right of the main stairs) or check us out online!

Rachel Redrup, Academic Liaison Librarian and Sonia Hood, Study Advice Manager

New gender studies guide celebrates ‘Astor 100’

Gender studies is an area of research which can cover a wide range of academic disciplines. In celebration of Astor 100, marking 100 years since Nancy Astor became the first woman to take her seat in British Parliament, the Library has introduced a new online guide to support research into gender-related topics. The guide takes the same format as our subject guides but focuses on the range of materials available from the Library and Special Collections relating to gender studies. It has been created to help you find some of the key resources the Library can provide in this area, as well as point you towards other useful online resources, libraries and archives.

We’d love to hear your feedback on our new guide, so let us know what you think!

Suggest more diverse Library resources

You can also help us to diversify the Library’s collections by putting forward your suggestions for Library materials to help support a more diverse curriculum. All you need to do is complete our Diversify our collections suggestion form to suggest a book, DVD, topic or author for purchase in an area you feel is currently underrepresented in our Library collections. We’ll do the rest!

If you would like to suggest other items for the Library, please complete our regular book suggestion form.

Tim Chapman, Library Diversity & Inclusion Group

Library open following major refurbishment

The University Library is now open following its major refurbishment. Over £40 million has been invested into improving key features and facilities, including:

  • increased study space, including space to meet growing demand for group study.
  • new automated service to make borrowing and returning books quicker and easier (freeing up librarians’ time for helping students).
  • print hubs on Ground Floor and floors 1-4.
  • water fountains on floors 1-4.
  • expanded Library café, including new outdoor dining area.
  • new larger cycle sheds.
  • improved impact on the environment, with energy usage lowered by 40% and carbon emissions cut by 30%.
Girl using automatic book borrowing machine

Borrow at contactless Self-Service Points; return at the new book sorter machine.

Minor finishing works will continue to take place as and when needed over the coming weeks. Any major work will take place outside typical user hours.

Study space on campus

The Library now houses the largest collection of study spaces on campus. There are still plenty of other places on campus to go for studying – details of these can be found on the Study Space Across Campus Essentials page.

Those returning to campus may note that the URS Building is being used for teaching this term and is no longer used as Library study space.

Where to get help

Study Advice and Maths Support Desk

There are plenty of places within the Library you can get help.

  • For general enquiries, including help with your Library account or finding your way around, please use the Welcome Desk (Ground Floor).
  • For expert advice on a range of study skills and resources in your subject area, please use the Study Advice and Maths Support Desk (Ground Floor).
  • For IT enquiries, please visit the IT Service Desk (1st Floor).

Maps of each floor are also available – please take a look to see exactly where specific features are located within the building

 

Library refurbishment: return to a single Library building

Chairs in front of a long enquiry counter where on the other sides a librarian sits talking on phone. Two people are talking across the far end of the counter.

Come to the Library building Welcome Desk where Library staff have relocated to assess all your library-related queries!

Library refurbishment has reached the significant point where services and study space return to one single building! Most services are already up and running in the Library building, with our contractors moving study space furniture and PCs back from the Library@URS building over the next days. The Library@URS building is now closed, as of 2 July 2019.

Services in the Library building

Books on shelves to left of table and chairs with packing crates sticked to right.

Overnight loan books moved back to the Library building to form Short Loan (formerly Course Collection) on the Ground Floor. You also collect ‘Holds’ here now.

Services now returned to the Library building include Library User Services’ Ground Floor Welcome Desk; the Short Loan collection of overnight loan material (formerly Course Collection); and the Holds shelf where you can collect requested material. Come to the Library building once more to receive Study Advice and Maths Support, or help from your subject’s Liaison Librarians.

Small beared-person behind counter helps long-haired person sitting on a stool infront of him.

Receive IT help in person at the IT Service Desk on the Library’s 1st Floor!

The IT Service Desk is now restablished on the 1st Floor, where more and more PCs will arrive to create an area for individual and group PC study, with two teaching rooms.

People sit on seats outside large building with glass front and metalic brown cladding.

Try out communal benches for groups or single seats for individual reading outside the Library Café this summer!

You may already know the well-established Library Café, but do try out the smart, new outside seating which includes communal benches for groups, and single seats for individual reading.

Coming to the Library building soon!

Quiet and group study area seating is due to return to the 3rd and 4th Floors over the next weeks. (We anticipate refurbishment of the 2nd Floor to be completed in time to reopen in August.)

View of construction site from above,. One shelter is roofed, another has beams raised above a concrete pad.

New cycle shelters are under construction, in line with the University’s environmental policies.

Work continues in several areas, including on new cycle shelters – which can be viewed from the new lift stairs – so note that there may still sometimes be noise and disruption in the Library building. Although the Library@URS is closing, a variety of alternative study space options remain across campus.

Further information

Library refurbishment forms part of the University’s ambitious 2026: Transform capital investment programme, which focuses on improving campus facilities and supporting the student experience by the University’s 100th anniversary of its charter.

To keep up to date with the latest Library refurbishment news, please visit the Library refurbishment webpage and look out for posts on this Library blog.

Rachel Redrup for University Communications

Library refurbishment update

Room of empty circular and hexagonal desks with chairs

Next session, the Library’s 1st Floor will become a PC area for individual and group study, with PC teaching rooms and the IT Service Desk. PCs will be installed over the summer, arriving soon.

Library refurbishment continues to progress well across all remaining areas.

Outside, you will have noticed the change of access to the Library, with both doors at the main entrance now open. Access will change again as external works progress. Hard and soft landscaping will continue as well as planting of shrubs. Steel work is also being delivered for the new bike shelters, which will be installed shortly.

On the inside the PCs from Library@URS will be move back to the Library building in the next few weeks.

As works continue there may sometimes be noise and disruption. Alternative study spaces are available in the Library@URS building for the time being, as well as a variety of alternative study space options across campus.

This refurbishment forms part of the University’s ambitious 2026: Transform capital investment programme, which focuses on improving campus facilities and supporting the student experience by the University’s 100th anniversary of its charter.

Further information

To keep up to date with the latest Library refurbishment news, please visit the Library refurbishment webpage and look out for posts on this Library blog.

Rachel Redrup for University Communications

BAME ‘Student life through a lens’ exhibition

Several large photographs placed on easels

See seven BAME students’ University of Reading experiences through their images and words exhibited in the Library until 5 July

Let the photographs on display in the University Library foyer tell you ‘a thousand words’ about student life for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students at the University of Reading … and how it could become more inclusive. You can also view the images and join the conversation online on Instagram at UoR Life Through a Lens.

Throughout 2018/19, seven BAME students studying literature and languages took part in the project ‘A Thousand Words: Student Life Through a Lens’, commissioned to better understand their challenges and generate suggestions for how to make the University more inclusive. Project participants were tasked with taking photographs that reflected their experiences of UoR student life, as well as preparing a short accompanying commentary. These are now on display in the University Library foyer until Friday 5 July 2019.

Participants reflected at focus groups on their own and others’ images and experiences. They reported a strong feeling of isolation and lack of integration prior to the project, and that there were not enough activities at Reading promoting awareness of cultural diversity among staff or students, or enough BAME role-models. Participants recommended a range of actions, including:

  • diversifying the curriculum and mainstreaming diversity,
  • developing stronger connections with BAME professionals through the University’s Careers service,
  • highlighting cultural events throughout the year, and
  • improving BAME representation at the University and the Students’ Union.

As a result of participating in the project, students reported an increased feeling of group identity, a better ability to express themselves, and a sense that their voices had been heard.

For the full project report please contact Dr Nicola Abram, who led the project with Katy Green, and Professor Jane Setter (School of Literature and Languages). It was funded by the UoR Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Fund.

Rachel Redrup, Library

Nancy Astor exhibition at UoR Library

Lady Astor, first woman UK MP, is depicted next to a representation of her desk, strewn with letters about her appointment and work.

Visit a small free, public exhibition celebrating Nancy Astor, the first female member of parliament in the UK, on the University Library building’s ground floor. This is the latest installation to occupy our new exhibition space created as part of the Library Refurbishment Project, in the foyer beside the Library Cafe, outside card-operated Library entrance barriers.

Kindly funded by the Friends of the University, this exhibition reflects the work on Nancy Astor that Dr Jacqui Turner curated for Parliament’s Vote100 ‘Voice and Vote Exhibition’ in Westminster Hall in 2018 celebrating the centenary of the first women to gain the vote in 1918. Our thanks to the Vote100 Project Management Team for their kind permission to use their materials.

Dr Jacqui Turner is a Reading Lecturer in Modern Political History. Part of her Astor 100 research project work marking 100 years of women MPs, her research of the Nancy Astor Papers, held at the University of Reading Special Collections, has uncovered an array of letters and documents that chart Lady Astor’s career and life. These represent the most comprehensive collection of papers of any female politician. They include political correspondence 1919–1945 and parliamentary papers, general correspondence 1900–1964 and large volumes of newspaper cuttings 1908–1964. American-born, Nancy Astor succeeded her husband as Conservative MP for Plymouth in 1919, becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons, and continued until her retirement in 1945.

You can follow Astor100 and see more from the Astor Papers via our Twitter exhibition @LadyAstor 100 ‘An Unconventional MP: the political life on Nancy Astor in 50 documents’. Also, keep up to date with what else is going on, including efforts to raise a statue of Nancy Astor in her Plymouth constituency, via Jacqui’s Twitter feed @Jacqui1918

Rachel Redrup, Library
with Dr Jacqui Turner

Library refurbishment: three lifts in use

Three glass lifts on two floor levels.

All three smart, new lifts, and the staircase behind, are now in use on the south side of the Library building.

Library refurbishment continues to progress with all three new glass lift cars now in operation, and the staircase behind in use.

Use the new lifts to reach group study space on the 1st Floor, and books and materials on the 3rd and 4th Floors. Meanwhile, refurbishment continues on the closed 2nd and 5th Floors. Behind the hoardings, the demolition of the central staircase beside the old lifts is now complete with the removal of the old lifts continuing.

The works involved in removing the old lifts may sometimes be noisy an disruptive. Alternative quiet and silent study spaces are available in the Library@URS building, as well as a variety of alternative study space options across campus. A guide to the availability of study space across the campus can be seen here: Study space update.

This refurbishment forms part of the University’s ambitious 2026: Transform capital investment programme, which focuses on improving campus facilities and supporting the student experience by the University’s 100th anniversary of its charter.

Rachel Redrup for UoR Communications