Support from your Library beyond Welcome Week

Hands hold our map infront of library entrance gates

Take a tiny self-guided tour to find out where everything is on the Library’s newly refurbished Ground and 1st Floors.

Welcome Week may now be over but there is still plenty of support available, online and in person, to help you make the most of the Library.

Library tours

Library tours continue to run throughout week 1 at 11:00, 12:00 and 14:00 each day. You can book onto a tour on RISIS, or just turn up five minutes before the start time.

If you don’t have time for an escorted tour, you can also pick up a self-guided tour in the Library. This will allow you to look around the Library at your own pace, guiding you through all the information you’ll need to make full use of the services and facilities.

You can also take a look at our YouTube channel for quick videos on how to use the Library such as finding a book, using the self-service points and how to print, scan and copy.

Who can you ask for help?

Academic Liaison librarians

There is a dedicated academic liaison librarian for every subject at the University. Your liaison librarian can support your studies by:

• showing you how to use information resources effectively – your librarian can offer training sessions for your School/Department and online library guides for your subject
• showing you how to save time by making the most of all our Library services
• giving you individual help with research – your librarian can offer in depth one-to-one help in finding information, including identifying the most relevant e-resources for you to use

Contact your academic liaison librarian to arrange a meeting.

Pick up a free year planner, as well as information, study and maths advice, from the Study Advice Desk!

Study Advice and Maths Support Desk

The Study Advice and Maths Support Desk is staffed 10:00-16:00 every weekday. You can drop in here with quick queries for Study Advice, Maths Support and Academic Liaison Librarians or to book longer appointments with staff from any of these teams. You can also pick up a free Study Advice year planner, perfect for helping you organise your studies for the coming year.

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.

Ask general enquiries at the Welcome Desk.

Welcome Desk

You can ask at the Welcome Desk for help with most general enquiries including:

  • finding your way around
  • your Library account and membership
  • loans, renewals and holds
  • inter-library loans

Our friendly staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Further information

To keep up to date with the latest Library news, visit this Library blog and our social media channels.

Katie Winter, Academic Liaison Support Librarian

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

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 2nd 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), language dictionaries, and films on DVD which you could watch to help your listening skills. Alternatively, you may prefer to improve your reading skills by using the Teaching Practice Collection which includes an extensive collection of children’s literature in English, both fiction and non-fiction. The language learning books, films on DVD and Teaching Practice Collection can be found on the 3rd Floor, while on the 2nd Floor you might wish to consult the English literature books and borrow a novel to practise your reading for pleasure.

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.

Polishing up your Masters dissertation – info tip

Student studyingAs you get into the last few weeks of work on your Masters 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.

It can make a real difference to your mark to 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 guide. 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 information, 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 specialising 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 want to use a direct quote from your reading but don’t know where it came from, try typing it into Google, framed with quotation marks e.g. “the City’s collusion with slavery”. Google will then search for the exact quotation. You may find it’s better to use a short phrase rather than a longer 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 can 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, Web of Science allows you to save your searches to re-run against the latest updates to its databases. You can also set up feeds and citation alerts so that you are notified when someone cites your key articles. Watch the saving your search and setting email alerts video for detailed instructions on how to do this.

This service isn’t only available in the sciences, however – you can set up alerts in services such as BrowZine to find the latest articles across all disciplines and subjects. Most databases will have this function available, but each one will work slightly differently. If you want to set up alerts for a particular database but aren’t sure how, get in touch with your Liaison Librarian.Female student writing

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. You might turn these into a Gantt chart and pin it up on your wall, so you can see your targets at a glance. 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 in your department to see how they have laid out their work: ask your tutor.

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 Caitlin McCulloch, Trainee Liaison Librarian for Chemistry and Pharmacy.

Can we help you to be a more resilient student? – info tip

You may have read a lot about resilience recently – but what does it mean for you as a student?

In academic study, everything depends on being critical. You are encouraged to take a critical approach in your reading, note-making, practical research, and writing. That’s what makes your studying academically rigorous: but it can feel more difficult when the critical eye of your marker is turned on your work. This is when resilience kicks in. The resilient student is able to understand criticism as a tool to develop skills and understanding. Study Advice and the Library can help you to develop resilience and use it to feel less stressed and enhance your study success.

 

Be prepared!

Feeling prepared will build your academic confidence and that will make you more resilient. Try keeping a learning log so you can reflect on things that have worked well, and things that you might need to work on. Look back on this after you’ve submitted your assignments, and you’ll be well prepared by the time you have to write the next one.

You can prepare for lectures, seminars and lab sessions by gaining a bit of basic knowledge of the topic before the session. You can find short articles in encyclopaedias and other reference works written for your subject; the Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias tab in your Subject Guide will list some useful titles.

For your more detailed reading when you prepare for exams and assignments, Study Advice has a guide on reading and making notes, and video tutorials on researching your assignments and preparing for exams. Make sure you’re prepared to get the best mark when you’re writing up your assignments with our guides on essay writing, report writing and dissertations.

 

Dealing with feedback

When you get your assignments back, it’s tempting to take a quick peek at the mark and then file them away. That’s a good way to avoid feeling deflated by criticism of your work; but you’ll miss out on the comments from your marker that are designed to help you develop.

Our video tutorials on assessment and feedback can help you understand what markers are looking for, and how to use your feedback as a tool to improve your marks. Our guides can show you ways to respond to common comments. For instance, the Library can help you to respond to the comment that you need to ‘do wider reading’. Have a look at their Subject Guides, and guides to using the Library Catalogues for ways to find more reading in your subject.

The Study Advice academic writing guide has tips on grammar and punctuation, and on effective proof-reading, and our citing references guide will make sure you cite it right. Or come and see us for a one-to-one confidential advice session to go through your feedback and discuss how you could respond.

 

How to stop putting it off

Procrastination is often a consequence of not developing your resilience. It’s a common response to the fear of failure – and it’s harder to succeed if you’re not sure what success looks like. Using the strategies above to make you feel more prepared and understand your markers’ expectations will help to avoid this. However, if you find yourself constantly putting things off, we have a video tutorial on overcoming procrastination to help you break the cycle. And it’s under seven minutes long, so you won’t be wasting any time watching it!

And if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed generally, have a look at our other video tutorials on time management. They include one on making more hours in the day – something we all need!

 

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.

Overwhelmed by reading? – info tip

If your resolution this term is to be more efficient when studying, a good area to focus on is your reading and note-making. Independent reading and taking notes are likely to make up a large part of your study time at university, so a few small adaptations to your reading strategies could potentially save you a lot of time over the term.

Reading with a purpose

The Study Advice team has a guide on managing academic reading which includes ideas on how to select material, deciding how much to read, and reading techniques. We also have a brief video tutorial on reading academic texts that introduces the kind of reading needed for academic work and appropriate strategies.

To get started, use this simple three-step plan to make your reading more active and targeted:

 1. Understand the purpose for your reading:

2. Think about what you need to find out:

Ask yourself what you already know about the topic, from previous lectures, seminars or wider knowledge. Use this to identify your gaps and what you need to find out – it can be useful to phrase this as a series of questions so you can then search for answers to those questions.

3. Identify where you can find this information:

Your reading list is often a helpful place to start – the Library has a guide to understanding your reading list. But to get the best marks you will most likely need to go beyond your reading list – see the Library guide on doing your literature search for information on where to look, effective search tips, finding the items you need. For targeted resources and more advice on finding information in your subject, take a look at your subject resources pages or contact your subject liaison librarian.

An open notebook and pensNote this!

Efficient reading goes hand-in-hand with good note-making, so if you feel you are being slowed down by taking too many, or too few notes, have a look at our guide to effective note-taking and our video tutorial on critical note-taking.

The secret is not trying to capture everything you’ve read (or you’ll just end up with more notes than there are pages in the book itself!) but to keep good records so you know where to find the information again when you need it. Watch this short video tutorial on finding bibliographical details you need for note-making and referencing. If you find it hard to keep track of your references, consider using reference management software, such as EndNote.

Spending too long reading?

Reading is a potentially open-ended task – there is always one more book or journal article in the Library that you could read. If you feel your reading is taking too long, have a look at the Study Advice guides on managing your time and our video tutorial on how to make more hours in the day

If you find it difficult to focus on your reading, list the things that distract you and take steps to deal with these distractions. For example, disable pop-up notifications on your phone if you know social media can easily draw your attention away from your reading. Another helpful strategy is to think about the time of day when you are most focused and productive, and use your best thinking time to tackle the most difficult texts.

Putting limits around your reading time and stopping it from becoming an endless task can also improve your efficiency and your motivation! Make an estimate of how much time you need to do your reading, break your reading down into manageable chunks, and schedule it into a weekly study timetable. For more advice on how to make one, watch our video tutorial on making a study timetable.

Need more help?

If you need more advice on how to manage your reading and improve your note-taking techniques, contact the Study Advice team to book an appointment.

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

This tip was written by Dr Michelle Reid and Erika Delbecque, Study Advisers.

Challenge yourself to maximise your Library and Study Skills – info tip

Student studyingWant to make sure you get the best possible marks by working smarter, not harder? Week 6 is the perfect time to review and develop the skills you need to succeed and work effectively in your studies. The Library and Study Advice teams have guides and videos that will help you achieve just this. And why not take one of our challenges and learn a new skill that will make your studying more successful and help you to find excellent resources?

What do you need to develop?

Everyone starts from a different place and progresses through their studies at a different pace, so you will need to consider what your own needs are and how they are best met, but the suggestions below should have something for you.

Ten challenges to try something new

  1. Learn how to access and use an e-book.
  2. Sign up to an app like Forest, Evernote, Tomato-Timer or Remember the Milk to keep yourself organised and on schedule.
  3. Use Summon to find a newspaper article or book review that’s related to your subject.
  4. Try a new learning technique – video or record yourself talking for three minutes on a topic from your course.
  5. Set up an EndNote Web account to store your references.
  6. Start a reading diary to record your reflections on what you’ve read (use a paper notebook or set up a private blog).
  7. Find a map that will help with your subject – they’re not just for geographers!
  8. Watch a video tutorial on an aspect of study that you need to develop.
  9. Pick up a free year planner from Study Advice and get control over your deadlines.
  10. And finally, take a break from studying and use Enterprise to find and borrow a film on DVD – we’ve lots to choose from.

Alarm clock“I don’t have time to develop my skills!”

It can be hard to develop new skills when you’re already busy using the old ones – but it’s worth doing to save lots of time in the future. If you don’t have much time, try these quick ideas:

If you’ve got 5 minutes…

If you’ve got 10 minutes…

  • Record yourself recapping the main points of your last lecture – it’s more effective than rewriting your notes.
  • Open an EndNote Web account to manage your references, then bookmark our guides and training sessions to find out how to use it.

If you’ve got 30 minutes…

  • Enrol on a LibLearn tutorial to learn how to get the most out of your library – there are advanced versions if you’ve already tried one.
  • Book a session with a Study Adviser to review your study practices and see if there’s anything your could develop.
  • If you’re a Part 1 undergraduate who hasn’t enrolled in Study Smart yet, now’s your last chance – free enrolment only remains open till 12 Nov. Check your emails for details of how to do this: once you’re enrolled you retain access to the resources for the whole year. If you’re already enrolled, re-read any sections that are more directly relevant to what you’re doing now in your studies.

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 Sally Smith, Liaison Librarian.

Using Library books around refurb work

Here’s an update on accessing Library resources within the Library Building, even though many other areas are closed for Library Refurbishment Project construction work.

Using Library resources

Tall man holds small book, small lady holds large book outside UoR Library

Large size arts & hums books have moved up to our 4th Floor; normal sized items down to the 2nd Floor.

The 2nd and 4th Floors of the Library are open, containing all your books. This includes arts and humanities material, relocated from the now-closed 3rd Floor: normal size material went to the 2nd Floor; larger size and Teaching Practice Collection items to the 4th Floor. If you need any help finding anything, just ask Library staff at 2nd or 4th Floor Information Desks.

A few unique print journals are retained on the 4th Floor, but as most print journals are unavailable until after refurbishment, we encourage you to use our online journals or request an inter-library loan.

Man uses Library Self-Service Point machines of right, computers on left.Although much of the Ground Floor is now out-of bounds, we created a small area at the bottom of the main stairs for you to borrow, return or renew your loans at Self-Service Points or use PCs and catalogues. Just ask at the Help Point by the entrance if you need assistance. Ground Floor toilets are also still available.

Library construction work

White cloth over doors to 3rd Floor from stairsYou may have heard construction work in progress from areas closed-off for your safety (Ground Floor, 1st, 3rd and 5th Floors). Our contractors are demolishing internal walls in advance of refurbishing our 1st and Ground Floors; removing staircase 2 before installing new accessible lifts; and preparing to install new heating, ventilation and toilets on our 3rd Floor; besides installing new windows. Find out more about our plans on our Library Refurbishment Project webpage or visit our URS Building display (2nd Floor landing by Café Libro) for images of future development and previously refurbished floors, which will be reinstated.

URS Building facilities

Lego construction figures arranged around book and large single black Lego brick

Remember! Library Building = books + builders; URS (Lego) Building = study space + services.

Remember to visit the URS Building for Library services and study space, next door at the other end of the orange brick road, further away from potential construction noise. This is also where you will find Cafe Libro, Course Collection material and can collect ‘holds’.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

What are the Study Advisers up to? (March 2017)

This post is the first in a planned series of regular updates and timely tips from the Study Advice team. For more on any topic, see our website or contact us at studyadvice@reading.ac.uk.

Thinking about dissertations?

With undergraduates hopefully reaching the final stages of their dissertations and Masters students starting to embark upon theirs, it’s a good time to remind you of our guides and video tutorials to help make dissertations and longer research projects more successful. These include:

Students are also welcome to book one-to-one appointments with us for more individual advice on the process of planning, researching and writing their dissertations (all contact details on our website). Study Advice will be available during Easter and Summer vacations when many people stay on campus to work on their projects. So for dissertation advice and support, do come our way!

New team member

Erika Delbecque has joined the Study Advice Team as a Part-Time Study Adviser. She is no stranger to the University of Reading having previously worked at the University Library as a Trainee Liaison Librarian, and will continue to work as a Part-Time Librarian at the University’s Museums and Special Collections Services alongside her new role.

Her first degree is in English and Dutch Literature, and she has gained postgraduate qualifications in Education and in Librarianship. Erika is particularly interested in digital literacies and the impact of technology on student learning, innovative pedagogical practices, and in supporting international students.

Making exam revision more effective

Spring is on its way and so too are university exams. With this in mind, it’s worth remembering Study Advice resources to help with exam revision. We have a range of information in our study guide and a suite of video tutorials. These cover topics including:

Tutors are welcome to link to any of these resources in revision sessions.

We also have two seminars on exams, both in Palmer 105 from 2-3:

  • Wed 8 March: Revising for Exams
  • Wed 15 March: Writing for Exams

You don’t need to book for these informal workshops; just turn up. In addition, students can book a one-to-one appointment with a Study Adviser to discuss revision plans and strategies on an individual basis.