Hello again and welcome back! 

Following on from Welcome last week, we wanted to ensure that we said ‘welcome back’ to the Library to all of our continuing students too. 

Large rectangular red pin on badge with white text that reads 'ask me... I work here!'.

We’re here to help you with all of your Library questions

We know last year was difficult for everyone and especially for those of you who grappled with online and remote learning. Many of you have been away from campus for a while so, please ask us for assistance if things feel unfamiliar.  

We are pleased to say that many of the measures that were in operation in the Library over the past year have been disbanded! 

 

Study space bookings 

Since 3 September, study space bookings are no longer required for individual study spaces and group study is available again. The 1st Floor Group Study Rooms can, once more, be booked in advance. See our recent blog for more information 

 

Click & Collect 

Click & Collect has ended and you can now browse the shelves and borrow items without having to place holds in advance of your visit. More information about how and when to place a hold on an item can be found on the Placing & cancelling a hold webpage. 

We’ve retained the one-way system, sanitisation stations and enhanced cleaning as these have all proven to be useful over the last year. Additionally, University health and safety policy is still single occupancy usage of lifts and, if you are able to wear a face covering, we encourage you to use one when moving around the building.  

Find out more about keeping safe on the Student Essentials pages.  

 

Library tours  

Have you seen our Instagram tour yet? Library tours continue to be available online and there are several other options too. 

 

Opening hours back to 24/6+  

We’re back to our normal term time 24/6+ opening hours. This means the Library closes Saturday evening at 21:00 and reopens Sunday at 8:30, apart from that we’re open all hours. Please note that the Library Café closes at 22:00 on weekdays and IT Service desk hours can be found on the DTS website. 

 

Don’t forget to make the most of expert help!  

The Study Advice and Academic Liaison Librarian teams have been expanding the range of online materials available to help you make the most of the Library. Visit the Library website to see our new Training and events guide and links to our newest YouTube videos and other resources. 

 

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Bookmark the Library blog to stay up-to-date with any changes

 

Further information 

We’ll continue to provide updates on the Library services on our websiteblog, and social media to keep you informed but if you have any questions, please get in touch via library@reading.ac.uk or see our contact information for other options.  

Your Library Team

Autumn term – time to continue your studies

avenue of trees in Autumn

So, the summer holidays are almost over, and thoughts are starting to turn to coming back to uni. Where do you start and how do you make sure you’re ready for the challenges ahead? Follow our Study Advice tips below to ensure you’re ‘study ready’ for the autumn term.

Tip #1: Sort out the stationery

Start with preparing yourself mentally by ensuring you have all the equipment that you need. You’re likely to be attending seminars on campus as well as engaging in online content, so you’ll need to decide if you’re going to stick to pen and paper, make notes digitally or have a combination of both. You may need pens, paper, files and dividers, or ensure you have the digital versions ready; so, set up your online folders for each module.

Tip #2: Check out Blackboard

If you have access to your Blackboard account, check out the information that’s available for each module. Download and save any key documents where you can easily access them. Make a note of the assignment details and deadlines and familiarise yourself with the structure of each module.

Tip #3: Access your reading list

Once you have access to your reading list through Blackboard, you can start by making a note of your essential readings. You might want to purchase some of the books, or check out their availability in the Library.  Your online reading list will show you where to find books on the Library shelves, or how to access online versions available through the Library. You can plan your reading in advance, and you may be able to access and read online versions before you start.

Tip #4: Make a study plan

Once you have access to your own timetable, you can create your own weekly and termly study plans. Check out our videos on managing your time which offer some tips to get you started. Our video on organising yourself offers some advice on managing your studies in a blended learning environment.

Tip #5: Brush up on those academic skills

You might feel that some of your study skills have become rusty over the summer. So, if you want to refresh your skills on writing essays, referencing and organising your study time, check out our Study Advice videos. We also run Weekly webinars to support you to develop your academic skills. Book your space on these today and get yourself study ready!

And if you’re a first-year student, make sure you join 1000s of your fellow students on our Study Smart course. This has been designed by us specifically to help prepare you for studying at university. You’ll find loads of resources to help you and some of our current students are online to answer any of your study questions.

Study Advice 

UoR Library Welcome tours

Full library tour to show the building and key location for Autumn term 2021 lasting 6.58mins on Instagram

Visit the Library via our Instagram tour

There’s been a lot happening this week across the University so if you want to slow things down, try out our self-paced tour. Go through, online at your own pace and in your own time.

Or, if you prefer something a bit more whizzy, take a look at our Instagram tour.

Expandable maps arranged as a welcoming smile.

Mini folding maps – your friendly Library guide

Alternatively, visit the Library in person, pick up an expandable map and take a look around the building yourself.

We like to think we have something for everyone so if you’re new to the University of Reading, or if you’re a returning student and haven’t been onsite for a while, come and see us for help with all your Library needs.

A table with Library, study advice and other University information displayed along with a table top stand displaying relevant information.

Learn what your Library offers, and how we can help you from the display in our foyer

Your Library Team

Education students, welcome to UoR Library!

Femail teacher at door of school classroom furniture

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Early September, children return to school and we welcome postgraduate students learning to teach them with our Institute of Education. Greetings!

Why not come to meet your Education Academic Liaison Librarians and Study Advisers at the ‘marketplace’ in RUSU’s Cafe Mondial, 10:00-12:30 on Friday 3 (secondary students) or 12:00-13:00 Wednesday 8 September (primary students). We’ll also be around all year to support your studies of course!

Check out our Education subject and referencing guide online to discover online and physical resources – much is online, linked to your reading lists, with printed theory and Teaching Practice Collection resources in the Library building.

You can see what the Library is like right now on YouTube. Do visit the Library on Whiteknights campus once you receive your Campus card. Please note that our opening hours extend in a few weeks time when full term begins. Watch our Library website for changes to accessing collections and our modern study spaces, or follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)!

Your Academic Liaison Librarians for Education

 

Get set for dissertations with live and video training!

Young asian girls crouch at running race start lineSet to start your dissertation this summer? No? Get on track by joining this week’s live webinars introducing reference management tools EndNote and Mendeley, or catch up with our new videos summarising topics discussed at last week’s Master’s Dissertation Fayre!

Join reference management workshops

Book through the Actions tab on RISIS to join Extra EndNote and Mendeley reference management workshops:

  • EndNote Online – Tue 15 June 11am
  • Desktop EndNote – Wed 16 June 11am
  • Mendeley – Thu 17 June 11am

View Master’s Dissertation Fayre videos

Showdy figures study in purle background of caption "Masters Dissertation Fayre 2021 Monday 7th to Firday 11th June.Last week all students attending live webinars and giving feedback said they would recommend the sessions to others. One said, “Everything has been helpful; despite writing two dissertations I have not had sessions like these before. Learning to focus my research (‘systematic searching’ and ‘finalising research questions’ were great) and [learning to] plan my study more carefully are the sorts of things I’ve been needing to improve.”

So help yourself to these newly recorded video versions provided by the Library’s Liaison and Study Advice Teams. Aspects covered include:

Ready? Get set. Go!

Rachel Redrup, Academic Liaison Librarian

 

Book your Master’s dissertation webinars this week!

Put your studies on track for success with a series of webinars for Master’s students working on their dissertations! The Master’s Dissertation Fayre, run by the Library’s Study Advice and Liaison teams, is back after the success of last year.  Students loved our range of topics covering all elements of dissertation planning and writing, from choosing a research methodology to writing your literature review.  This year, we’re offering all that and more!

Webinars are running online at 11am and 2pm each day from Monday 7 – Friday 11 June. These friendly and helpful sessions are open to all Master’s students, and you can book a place online.

Topics include:

  • Critical writing
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Systematic literature searching
  • Finalising your research question
  • Using company information databases
  • Writing your literature review
  • Literature searching tips
  • Reference management tools comparison – Endnote vs Mendeley
  • Writing your discussion
  • Using primary sources/archives online
  • Finding statistical sources

We’re looking forward to seeing you virtually, and hearing your feedback.

Academic Liaison Librarians and Study Advisors

5 tips for starting your Master’s dissertation

So, you may have just finished your exams but now you have to turn your attention to your dissertation. Where do you begin and how can you ensure you stay on track? Below are our Study Advice and Library tips to help you get started and stay focused.

Student studying in the Library

Tip #1: Have a plan

Having a plan not only helps you to stay on track but weekly goals keep you motivated. Work backwards from your hand in date and remember to build in extra time for proofreading and final touches. Our videos on managing your time offer some tips to get you started.

Tip #2: Start with something small

To help you get going, start with a task that you can get done easily. This might be something simple, like setting up a word template or printing off a couple of key articles. Being able to complete one task can give you a sense of achievement and motivate you to tackle more challenging ones.

Tip #3: Think about the information that you need…

…and how to access it! If you are carrying out a literature review, or analysing documents or literature, make sure that you are familiar with the key online resources in your subject area. You can find out more about what’s available to you, as well as contact details for your Academic Liaison Librarian, on your Library subject guide. Look at the COVID-19 page in the guide for top tips on how to access resources when off-campus.

Tip #4: Think more, read less

It’s important that you think critically about what you’re reading. This requires you to see the links between various theories and consider what they mean for your research question. So, when taking notes remember to not only record a summary of your reading but more importantly note what you think about what you have read. This will help you when you come to write up. Our video on critical note-taking offers some advice on this.

Tip #5: Attend a webinar

The Library and Study Advice teams are running a series of webinars for Masters students working on their dissertations. The Masters Dissertation Fayre is back for a second year, covering a range of topics from selecting a reference management tool, to structuring your literature review.

Webinars will run online at 11am and 2pm each day from Monday 7th – Friday 11th June. These friendly and helpful sessions are open to all Masters students, and you can book a place online.

Thanks for reading,

The Study Advice Team

Library news and reminders

Visiting the Library for study space or click & collect?

The one way system in the Library

To help to keep us all safe, please continue to follow the Library Covid- 19 Code of Conduct; it is important that you

  • wear a face covering,
  • practice social distancing
  • stick to the study space allocated by the booking system
  • follow the one-way systems and other procedures in place in the Library and on campus.

 

Finishing your studies soon?

If you are finishing your studies at the University soon, please return any outstanding print or other media as soon as you can. If you are not local to campus and are in the UK, please use our Freepost service to return your loans. If you are not in the UK, please get in touch with us for guidance on alternative ways to get your loans back to us safely.

Return loans in the Book Drop flap to the right of the Library front doors

 

New events!

You may have noticed a new addition to the library homepage. We have created ‘New Events‘ to provide a one-stop-shop of information! Although we are still not yet able to provide in person events, there are plenty of learning and study opportunities on offer. Look out for forthcoming webinars and further online support from Study Advice and the Academic Liaison Librarians. We’ll be posting more information about these events on our social media soon, but in the interim, see the Study Advice Webinars LibGuide for details.

New events section on the Library website.

 

Vacation loans

If you are leaving campus for the summer vacation, our vacation loan period should make like easier!

We have renewed all loans, with the usual exceptions such as Inter-library loans, for continuing students until Tuesday 28 September, so why not make the most of the opportunity for some really great summer reading, by taking part in the UoR Reading Challenge and borrow some items before you leave!

June 2021 summer reading challenge- read a book set in a country that you would like to visit.

Library User Services

Dissertation videos, guides and 1-2-1 support

It’s February which means if you’re a final year student, you’re probably frantically trying to complete your dissertation. Over the past few weeks, the Study Advice Team and your Academic Liaison Librarians have been running webinars to support you to find resources and write up your projects and dissertations. But don’t worry if you missed them, we have a plan….

Plan #1: watch our videos

We have recorded short videos on all aspects of dissertation research and writing which summarise what was discussed in the webinars. These short videos cover tips on critical thinking for dissertations, writing your literature review and discussion chapters, and managing the final stages. We also have a video on finding resources online, if you’re at this stage of your research.

Plan #2: check out our guides

We have a range of study guides that support you with various aspects of your dissertation:

  • Our Study Advice dissertation guide covers everything from planning your project to finishing off your dissertation. And our guide on literature reviews will support you to write this important chapter.
  • We also have a suite of Study Advice videos on major projects and dissertations, if you’d rather watch a video than read a guide.
  • Our Library guide on systematic reviews will be of interest to those of your conducting this type of research. We also have a guide to help you with searching databases.
  • Managing your references – whether you need help referencing a resource in a particular referencing style, or using reference management software, our online guides can help you with referencing and your dissertation bibliography.

Plan #3: book a 1-2-1

You can book a 1-2-1 appointment with a Study Adviser or your Academic Liaison Librarian to discuss your own specific questions. Remember we are not subject experts, but we can help you with the following:

  • If you need some support with managing your time for your dissertation, academic writing style, using evidence or overcoming writer’s block and procrastination, you could book a Study Advice appointment
  • If you’re struggling to find the resources you need, navigate the library databases or manage your references, book an appointment with your Academic Liaison Librarian. You can find your Librarian’s contact details and request an ALL appointment online.

Study Advice and Liaison Librarian Teams

How to avoid screen fatigue

Girl with head in hands looking at laptop screenIf you find that your eyes feel tired, you feel headachy, struggle to concentrate or have neck and back pain, one possible explanation could be screen fatigue, say our Study Advisers.

Our devices help us to study and stay connected to each other but, unfortunately, they can also tire us out and limit our productivity. Screen fatigue can be avoided by putting some simple strategies in place, read on to find out more!

Tip #1: Take breaks

As with any kind of study, it is important to take regular breaks. To avoid screen fatigue, making clever use of your breaks can help. For example:

  • If you take a ten-minute study break from writing up an essay on your laptop, try to take that break away from screens. Avoid the temptation to look at your phone in your break and instead try to do something physical, even if it’s just emptying the dishwasher or making a cup of tea.
  • If you have time for longer breaks, try taking a walk or going for a run. This will give your brain and eyes a rest from the screen but can also relieve aches and pains from poor posture adopted while working on a screen.

Tip #2: Plan screen and non-screen time into your studying

Planning your studying with a timetable, to-do lists or planners is a useful practice and might be something you are already doing (see our advice on Organising your studies). However, have you considered planning your study with regards to screen time? For example, you could:

  • Mix and match your studying activities for the day to include some screen and some non-screen activities. For example, you could spend an hour searching for journal articles for an essay, take a break and then spend another half an hour sketching out an essay plan on a piece of paper.
  • Think about activities that you could switch from online to offline. Could you print out a paper to read instead of reading it from the screen? Could you make that meeting a telephone call instead of a video call?

Tip #3: Watch out for triggers

You will, of course, need screens every day to study and stay connected, but look out for situations where you end up online unnecessarily:

  • Turn off notifications. Do notifications on your email or phone pull you back to screen? Could you turn some of them off? Even just turning off notifications temporarily while you are working, off-screen can help.
  • Buy an alarm clock. If you use your phone as an alarm in the morning, it can be very easy to drift onto the internet after turning it off. Buy a simple alarm clock instead and remove the temptation.
  • Seek offline distractions. If boredom finds you picking up your phone or opening an internet browser, watch out for this, and try to replace these activities with something else – listening to the radio, calling a friend or even doing some colouring in a book will give you a break from the screen.

For more

Watch the Study Advisers’ new short videos on Organising your studies and Taking notes from videos and see our Covid-19 Guide.

Visit our Study Advice website for more resources, to book a 1-2-1 or attend a webinar this spring term.

Study Advisers

This article is also available on the Student Services News Blog as How to avoid screen fatigue.

New Year Study Advice: have a plan

Computer-generated laptop,, file, calendar, diary imagesCovid-19 has brought with it new ways of working and learning for all of us. A term in, it’s time to reflect on what has worked and what new strategies we need to try to keep on top of our studies. Our Study Advisers have some new videos to help you and some top tips to starting the New Year on the right track.

Tip #1: Make a plan

If you don’t have a study timetable, now’s the time to make one. Follow these 5 steps to make a workable weekly plan and ensure you keep on top of your studies this term:

  1. Make a note of everything you need to complete each week. For instance: watching videos, attending seminars, working on assignments, and reading around your subject.
  2. Allocate time. Work out how much time you have for each task each week. You should see studying as a full-time job, so aim to allocate 35-40 hours a week to studying.
  3. Schedule in time. Using a weekly planner, add in your fixed appointments, then begin slotting in your other study activities. Use the times that you are motivated for study and mix up reading, writing, and listening task within a day.
  4. Making it easy to stick to. Try to have a set routine, starting study at the same time each day, plan in regular breaks and move things around if your plan is not working for you.
  5. Plan backwards from assignments. Give yourself weekly targets to work towards. Try using a termly planner and put it up near to where you study.

Tip #2: Take more effective notes

With lecture content now likely to be recorded, you need to develop different note taking skills to what you might be used to. If you’re finding that watching this content is taking longer than you hoped it would, try these things before, during and after watching:

  • Before: Access the slides and familiarise yourself with the content. Decide if you will write on the slides or pre-format a document with some headings on.
  • During: Decide whether you will hand write notes or create them online (perhaps using OneNote). Watch the video without pausing, if you miss something critical just jot down the time and re-watch that bit. Your notes must have a meaning to you, so just note down anything that springs to mind when your lecturer is talking.
  • After: Spend a few moments summarising what you have just learned. Consider how it fits in with what you already know and other areas within the module. Pattern notes or a mind maps work well for this. Remember to file your notes away in an organised way,

For more

Watch our new short videos on Organising your studies  and Taking notes from videos and see our Covid-19 Guide

Visit our Study Advice website for more resources, to book a 1-2-1 or attend a webinar this spring term.

Study Advice

Using the Library over the Christmas holidays

Paper angel on top of book tree in the Library foyer

Be like our book angel and stay on top of your library books this Christmas!

Whether you’re heading home soon or staying on campus over the vacation, this summary of available Library services can help you plan ahead. We wish you happy holidays and effective studying – stay safe everyone!

Library opening

Term ends on Friday 11 December, so after this date the Library will be operating reduced opening hours. This will affect the times that you are able to book study space, Click & Collect loans, book IT Service Desk appointments and use the Library Cafe.

From Saturday 12 December till Monday 21 December, the Library will be open from 08:30 to early evening on weekdays only. There are no weekend services available.

Along with the rest of the campus, the Library closes completely on Tuesday 22 December until Sunday 3 January for the University Christmas closure.

From Monday 4 January till Friday 8 January, we resume vacation-hours opening, and from Saturday 9 January we’ll be open for term-time hours again.

Borrow until January 2021

To help borrowers heading home early due to UK government guidance, we’re lending everything to all Library members until Tuesday 12 January. Any items borrowed or renewed from Monday 30 November will issue until 12 January. These vacation loans include standard, 7-day, overnight loans and journals.

Store and Closed Access requests

If you need materials from the off-site Store or from our Closed Access shelves, be aware of the final dates of collection and make sure you place your request in time.

  • Store collections finish for Christmas on Thursday 17 December – get your request in before 08:30 on this day.
  • Closed Access collections will finish for Christmas on Friday 18 December – get your request in before 13:45.

We will next collect from Closed Access on 4 January and from Store on 7 January (these dates might be subject to change if there is a shortage of available staff). For more information, see Requesting items from Store and Closed Access.

Online help

All our expert staff are available online to help and advise you throughout the vacation (except during the Christmas closure period).

If you have a general enquiry, email library@reading.ac.uk or phone 0118 378 8770.

More info

Check our Current Library Services guide for up-to-date information, especially if there are changes to current government guidelines.

Library User Services