Grey desks with purple dividers and lamps beside windows and book shelvesHave you seen the results of this summer’s Library refurbishment project yet? We’ve made some amazing changes to our now colourful Library.

  • 5th Floor (Silent Study): new soft pods for personal study added to the central area, in addition to refurbishment completed last year
  • 4th Floor (Social Sciences): has been repainted in duck-egg blue. New blue individual study pods are built around the printed material, plus a new adjustable table for users with disabilites. Find new group study tables and small four- and six-person glass pods in the front section.
  • 3rd Floor (Arts and humanities): has been refurbished in purple and blue including painting, carpeting, new study pods and desks, with new adjustable tables.
  • 2nd Floor (Sciences): is now fully painted in dusky green. You probably already know the areas created last year for collaborative (group) study toward the front and quiet study around the printed material areas.
  • Staircases: Our main central staircases have been repainted with accent walls matching the floor colours to help you find your way. Our lift lobby stairs have been refloored and lobbies refurbished.
  • Toilets: We are delighted to announce our Ground Floor toilets have reopened as fantastically refurbished, single-sex facilities, more popular than the previous unisex arrangement. Our single-sex 5th Floor toilets were refurbished last year.

What do you think?

At Open Day, one potential student said “This is the coolest library ever!” Two brothers said they had been to five or six universities and felt the library at Reading was by far the best, and really made you feel ready to study. Someone else said, “Your toilets are lovely! I’m always going to use them when I’m on campus.”

Further information

Concrete mixer and wheelbarrow in middle of empty library reading roomFor day-to-day information, select the ‘Refurbishment‘ category on University Library news or follow the Library on Twitter or the Library on Facebook. An overview of the 2014 refurbishment project is on a previous blog post.

We apologise for any inconvenience but thank you for your co-operation.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Student reading an e-book on the 2nd FloorWelcome!

The University Library and its staff 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.

Read our Making the most of guide or watch our Welcome video for a general introduction to the Library and our services.

Learning how to use the Library

A large academic library can be confusing and hard to find your way around.

Get a head start in Welcome Week by…

  • Coming to a one-hour Finding your way workshop at the Library to find out how to search the catalogue and find items on the shelves. These workshops also run during Week 1 of Term.
  • Visiting the Library stand in the Dome on Tuesday 23 September (module selection day).
  • Coming to the Library Fair on Wednesday 24 September. Held in the Library, this is a chance for you to talk to Library staff, start to find your way around, and pick-up a freebie from one of our suppliers.

Develop your skills throughout your course by…

  • Trying one of our LibLearn Tutorials to find out how to use the Library and search the catalogue. Available 24/7 on Blackboard, the University’s online learning system.
  • Watching our videos – these cover a variety of topics ranging from placing holds on books, to doing your literature search.

Subject liaison librariansGet individual help

Contact your subject Liaison Librarian for individual help with any subject related enquiries.

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.


International students at the University of ReadingYou will probably have lots of questions at the moment about your new life at the University of Reading and how you can make the most of your time here. We at the Library are here to help support you in your studies and provide you with access to all the information you need to succeed in your course. For a brief introduction to our facilities and services watch our welcome video.

Studying in the UK may involve different skills to those you used in your home country and we have plenty of suggestions that can help your transition to this new way of learning. 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 set of webpages to help those moving up to higher education in the UK to understand what is expected, through exercises and tips. There is also a 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.

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

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

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 classification 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”. Alternatively, you can download a free ebook, Help Yourself to a Better Degree, written by the University Study Advisers specially for Reading students.

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


Good luck and we hope you enjoy your time at the University of Reading.

Charlie Carpenter, ISLC Liaison Librarian/Support Coordinator (international students), and Rosie Higman, Trainee Liaison Librarian

Our new guide for agricultureThis summer we have been working on producing new and improved online support for all subjects taught at the University.

By moving to a new system, called LibGuides, we are able to provide more focused and flexible support for your studies. We’ve been updating and restructuring the existing content, as well as adding new features, such as:

  • embedding Enterprise and Summon search boxes where you need them
  • adding RSS feeds of news from relevant organisations
  • embedding videos to help you make the most of our resources
  • publicising new books in your subject

Use the orange tabs to switch between information on finding different types of publication and resources, and for links to further help.

Accessing our subject guides

To access the guide for your subject just click on the “Explore our subject guides” button in the Subject resources section of the Library homepage.

Any comments?

We hope that you find the new guides even more useful than the old ones. If you have any suggestions for improvement, or questions about your subject, please contact your subject liaison librarian.

Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager

Student using a laptop outsideYou don’t need to visit the Library to discover about the range of resources we provide!

  • Need to know how to find things in the Library?
  • Unsure how to search for books and journals on Enterprise?
  • Need to find books on your subject which aren’t on your reading lists?

Try LibLearn!

LibLearn is an online course that you can do when you have time and at your own pace. It is available 24/7 via Blackboard, the University’s online learning system. Divided into three sections, LibLearn includes documents to read, and quizzes to test yourself on how much you’ve learnt and to provide more tips.

New to the University?

Then LibLearn One is for you. It will help you to:

  • find your way around the Library
  • search for books on your reading lists on Enterprise
  • locate books in the Library

Been at the University for a while or doing a Masters or PhD?

LibLearn Two and LibLearn Three will help you to:

  • find journals in the Library
  • search Enterprise for books not on your reading list
  • find academically reliable material on the web
  • evaluate what you find
  • understand the principles of copyright and referencing
  • develop effective search strategies
  • search databases for information, particularly journal articles

How do you access LibLearn?

  1. Go to Blackboard
  2. Log on by following the instructions on the Blackboard login page
  3. Click on the Enrolments tab at the top of the screen
  4. Type LibLearn in the Course Search box and click on Go
  5. Scroll down the screen and click on the ‘arrows’ (options menu) next to the course ID
  6. Click on the enroll button
  7. Click on the submit button on the Self Enrolment screen and OK at the bottom of the next screen

You will now be taken to the course pages. Next time you log on to Blackboard the course will be listed under Courses in which you are enrolled in the Enrolments tab.

Or watch one of our videos!

If you are unable to come to one of our ‘Finding your way‘ workshops for new students, or just want to find out more about the Library and what we do, then check out our series of introductory videos.

Some of the videos currently available are:

Library staff…happy to help!

Although there is a wealth of information and help on our website, Library staff are here to help you, so please ask if you have any questions. You can always contact your subject liaison librarian for guidance on locating resources in your subject.

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.

Child with a painted faceInterested in children’s resources? Take a look at the Teaching Practice Collection on the 3rd Floor of the Library for a huge selection of children’s books and other material from the 1960s to the present day.

About the Teaching Practice Collection

The collection covers all stages from toddlers to teenagers.

It includes:

  • Children’s fiction and non-fiction books in all subject areas
  • Multimedia items including DVDs, videos and audiobooks
  • Big Books for reading to a class
  • Children’s music scores

Other highlights include prize-winning books, dual-language material and a large collection of fairy tales, myths and legends. Most items can be borrowed for a term.

Who can use the collection?

Anyone with an interest in children’s books can use the Collection. It is primarily aimed at student teachers, providing a range of materials for classroom use, but students on the MA in Children’s Literature and from the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication will also find it invaluable. Under your guidance, the Collection could also help you with your children’s homework or reading practice!

Further information

For further information look at the Teaching Practice Collection page or contact the Teaching Practice Collection Librarian, Claire Cannings.

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

This tip was written by Claire Cannings, Teaching Practice Collection Librarian.

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. Start by thinking about what you expect to get out of your reading. Ask yourself what you already know about a topic. Then consider how that may be similar or different to what you are reading. Always ask yourself why: why do I agree or disagree with this? What is the evidence? Is it good evidence? See where your reading leads you; you may want to follow up on a text that is referred to, or try to find more information on a topic that you haven’t thought about before. Make sure you keep records of the bibliographic details in case you want to use the information later in your writing!

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. They 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.

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.

Once you’ve found what you want to read, the Study Advice team have advice to help you make the most of it. 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 targeted strategies. If you’re reading for your dissertation, watch our brief video tutorial on Starting research for your dissertation for tips and strategies. There is also guidance on Effective note-taking – so you can avoid having more notes than the book you’ve just read!

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 Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser and Helen Hathaway, Head of Academic Liaison and Support.

Polished lapis lazuli stonesAs 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 and proof-reading

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 are also guides on Academic writing including tips for more Effective proof-reading.

Incomplete reference? What should you do?

You may find you have a key piece of information, but do not have all the details you need for your bibliography. If you have some details (for instance, author, title, journal title, date) it may be possible to find the complete reference.

For a journal article, look at 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 is less common. 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.

Give your dissertation an edge by including the most up-to-date information you can

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 writing

Watch 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. Study Advice have some suggestions on staying motivated that may help.

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.

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. 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.

If you have any 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 Helen Hathaway, Head of Academic Liaison and Support and Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser.

cardstaffUniversity staff can now register their Staff Campus Card with the Library so they can use it to borrow library materials and enter the Library when access is restricted e.g. during the examination period.

All new staff will be asked to obtain a Staff Campus Card in order to register with the Library. Staff already registered with the Library will be able to replace their Library Card with their Staff Campus Card, meaning they will have only one card, not two. Those staff who currently have a Library Card will be asked to obtain a Campus Card if they need to re-register with the Library.

Where can I get a Campus Card?

Staff can obtain their Campus Card from Human Resources in Room 110 in Whiteknights House.

Further information

More information about the Staff Campus Card is available on the Campus Card website.

If you have any questions about registration, or want to replace your current Library Card, please ask at the Ground Floor Information Desk or consult our website.

Anna Richards, Library User Services

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 set of webpages to help those moving up to higher education in the UK to understand what is expected through exercises and tips. There is also a 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. 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).

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 classification 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”. Alternatively, you can download a free ebook, Help Yourself to a Better Degree, written by the University Study Advisers specially for Reading students.

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

Building your cultural and language knowledge

A 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. Local newspapers for Reading are the Reading Post and the Reading Chronicle.

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 3rd Floor. While you’re there, 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 3rd 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).

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

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, Modern Languages & ISLC Liaison Librarian/Support Coordinator (international students).

Field mapsDid you know that University of Reading Library has more than 70000 maps and atlases and is one of the largest university collections in the country?

Geographical cover

We have excellent coverage of Britain, including detailed coverage of Berkshire and the Reading area. Coverage of Europe is also very good, at least to road map level of most countries.

Coverage of the rest of the world varies with what is available – it may not be possible to obtain recent maps of some areas, especially as many governments consider maps to be politically sensitive. However we will certainly have something for all parts of the globe.

Date range

Reading 1761Although the collection is mostly post-1900, we have many facsimiles of earlier maps, including reproductions of English 18th century county atlases.

We also have Ordnance Survey maps dating back to 1830, as well as access to Historic Digimap, so it is possible to produce a time sequence of maps of a particular place.

Older versions of atlases and maps may reveal hidden information about a place and its past.


Types of map

Field and reference mapsYou need to consider the type of map you need, and what you are planning to do with it.  Maps come in a variety of different types:

  •     Sheet maps or atlases
  •     Flat or folded
  •     Loanable or reference
  •     General purpose or thematic
  •     Paper or digital

Atlases are generally available for loan, and are mostly found in the 912 and FOLIO–912 sequences on the 4th Floor.

roam TowerMost of the map collection is non-loan, but a set of folded ‘Field maps’, including British Landranger and geology maps, are available for loan on the 2nd Floor.

Thematic maps show geology, soil types, land use, population, languages – anything which can be shown with a spatial distribution.  Many maps of this type are included in atlases, but may also be found as sheet maps.

Digital maps are of increasing importance. We have access to  Digimap, Historic Digimap and Geology Digimap, which provides access to contemporary and old Ordnance Survey mapping of Great Britain, as well as mapping from the British Geological Survey. A simple print out can be produced, or data can be downloaded and used in a Geographical Information System in conjunction with your own data. Look at Maps and GIS: useful websites to find other online sources of digital maps and data.

How to find them

The first step is to search the Enterprise catalogue. Search for the location you want, then refine using the format in the ‘Limit these results’ function to include only maps and atlases (atlases are listed separately – you may need to select ‘more’ to see all the options). Try not to be too specific – a more general search will produce better results.

For more information about searching for maps in Enterprise, see the Detailed guide to finding maps. 

You can also see our short video presentation, Using maps for your research in University of Reading Library.

Or you can ask the Map Librarian! I am happy to help and can normally be found on the 2nd Floor.  Alternatively you can email me for 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 Judith Fox, Map Librarian.


© the-difference CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Are you away from Reading and the UK this summer? Maybe…

  • Spending a year abroad?
  • Going on industrial placement?

…and concerned about how you are going to find materials for an assignment or your dissertation whilst you are there?

Don’t worry! There is a wealth of information available on the web, which can be accessed via your computer from anywhere in the world.

Resources you may access wherever you are

You can still access most of the e-resources provided by the Library including…

  • The Library catalogue, Enterprise – search to find e-journals and e-books. Simply conduct your search and then use the limit options on the left of the screen to select ‘Books’, followed by ‘Online’ to find e-books and ‘Journals’ and ‘Online’ to find e-journals.
  • E-journals Finder – browse the Library’s online journals by title or subject.
  • Search Summon, the Library’s new discovery service, to find full-text journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia and dictionary entries and newspaper articles.
  • If you wish to widen your search to materials held elsewhere, you can search for journal articles and other materials using a database. Some databases contain the full-text of the item, while others provide a reference and abstract only. If only a reference/abstract is provided, you are usually able to check for full-text access via the Item Finder – just click on the blue “Search for item at Reading” link to find out if the Library has online access.
  • Online dictionaries and encyclopedias – these are a good place to start your research and find academic, reliable information. They can be searched individually or through Summon.
  • Google Scholar – finds scholarly literature in all areas of research. It can be set up so that it links to the University of Reading Library’s electronic journal holdings.

How to access electronic resources off-campus

If you follow links from the Library website, Enterprise, Summon or the E-journals Finder you will be given the easiest route to logging in when you are off-campus. Usually you will just be prompted to login with your University username and password. Occasionlly, if you access an e-resource via a search-engine, you may need to select ‘University of Reading’ from a list of institutions before you can login. To find out more, see Accessing e-resources.

Please note: These resources are for your personal use only (you should not use them on behalf of your placement company or your friends) – more details at Terms and conditions of use for Library e-resources. A few databases are only accessible from the UK too.

Eiffel tower

© Sri S CC-BY-NO-SA 2.0

Studying a language abroad as part of your degree?

Find the Useful Websites page for the language you study. It will give you lists of, and links to, selected resources in your country of destination, such as library catalogues, listings of journals, access to the media, links to organisations and other useful tips.

Going on industrial placement in the UK?

If you go on an industrial placement in the UK as part of your course and there is another academic library nearby, you may be able to borrow from there by registering via SCONUL Access.

Help in your subject

If you require further guidance about the e-resources available in your subject, remember to look at the relevant Library subject guide. You are also welcome to contact your subject liaison librarian for advice on locating resources.

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 Modern Languages & European Studies and the ISLI.

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