Summer term in the Library

The start of Summer term signals a new chapter for the Library.

This term, the Library can provide both 24-hour access and full seating capacity – that means 1500 study spaces available!

Students studying at one of the large tables in the Short Loan study area on the Ground Floor of the Library

Short Loan quiet study area on the Ground Floor.

Measures in place throughout the pandemic, such as wearing face coverings and socially distanced study spaces, have been removed. We’ve retained sanitisation stations and lone lift occupancy, and additionally, as part of ongoing good practice, we encourage you to test if you’re feeling unwell and to follow University guidance on attending campus. 

 

What’s available from the Library this term? 

We close at 21:00 on Saturday evenings and reopen on Sundays at 8:30 for the entire term. 

  • Bank holidays included!

We’ll be open throughout the bank holidays (Monday 2 May, and on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee dates Thursday 2 June and Friday 3 June). Keep an eye on our website for opening hours and information about services. 

  • More choice of study spaces on campus.

As well as providing 1500 study spaces in the Library, URS remains available 8:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday, as do the 24hr PC labs. See alternative study spaces for further details about other spaces on campus. 

  • Got a quick query? Visit the Study Advice & Maths Support desk.

Visit the desk, on the Ground Floor of the Library, weekdays between 10:00 – 14:00 for quick questions about your studies. You can also find details for your Academic Liaison Librarian on the Library website along with information about forthcoming workshops – online and in-person, 1-2-1 assistance with your studies and more. See the website for further links and details.  

  • Need something else?

Remember, we’re here for you so if you have any questions about your Library account, loans, or anything else to do with the Library services, please get in touch and we’ll help you to stay on track.   

Your Library team

Easter vacation

Friday 25 March is the last day of the Spring term – well done everyone, we made it!

 

Spring flowers by Ali G Rashidi on Unsplash.com

If you’re revising during the Easter vacation, here’s some information that will help you make the most of the Library over the next few weeks.

 

Help and support with your studies

We recently blogged about support for your studies over the forthcoming vacation. The key thing to remember is that, whilst the Study Advice and Maths Support desk is closed (after 14:00 Friday 25 March until 13:00 Tuesday 19 April), you can still get in touch with your Academic Liaison Librarian and Study Advice for assistance with finding resources and getting the best out of your learning.

Over the vacation, except for during the University closure period (Wednesday 13 April to Monday 18 April), questions for Study Advice or your Academic Liaison Librarian, will still be answered – simply get in touch with them by email.

 

Library opening hours

The Library will close for the University Easter closure period at Midnight on Tuesday 12 April and will re-open at 8:30 on Tuesday 19 April. Apart from that, we are open to registered users for study space, Library loans and other services such as assistance with finding materials and managing your Library account. Take a look our opening hours page for more information.

 

Library loans during Easter vacation

Usual policies apply so remember to check your Library account and keep an eye on your University email account for any messages from us, such as Recalls (recalled loans). If we do recall an item that you have on loan, we’ll email you. Renew your items online or contact us at the Library, either way, keep track of your Library account. If you need to return an item but are away on vacation, you can post your items back to us.

 

Using other libraries

If you are away from Reading during the vacation and want to gain access to an alternative University library, you may be able to do so via the SCONUL access scheme. See our Using other libraries webpage for more information about other library services which may be available to you.

Your Library Team

Contacting your Academic Liaison Librarian or Study Adviser over the Easter vacation

From Monday 28 March until Monday 18 April, the Study Advice and Maths Support desk on the Ground floor of the Library (where you ask quick queries about your studies) will be closed.

Over the Easter vacation, (except during the University closure period, Wednesday 13 April until Monday 18 April), if you’ve any questions for your Study Adviser or Academic Liaison Librarian, you can contact us by email and request an online or face-to-face appointment.

Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian – for questions about finding books, journal articles, literature searching, referencing styles or referencing software.

Contact Study Advice – for questions about any aspect of academic skills development such as: structuring your essay, time management, exam revision strategies or understanding assignment feedback.

You will also find lots of help on the Study Advice guides, and in your Library subject guide.

Image of a person taking notes in a note book with post it notes and a laptop also in view.

The Study Advice and Maths Support desk is open until 14:00 on Friday 25 March so if you have a study query that you want to discuss in person before the Easter break, make sure you visit us by then.

 

Kim Coles, Academic Liaison Team Manager & Sonia Hood, Study Advice Manager

Getting ready for the exam season! Top tips from the Study Advice team.

Have you started thinking about exams yet? This year, some exams will continue with the take-home format, while, in some other cases, in-person exams may be returning! Whatever the case may be for your subject, getting organised early is key.

Study Advice is here to help! Check below our top 10 tips for exam success and info on all the additional resources and interactive support we offer:

 

For efficient revision…

 

  1. Make a plan! Check when your exams are scheduled and allow yourself plenty of time for revision in small doses.
  2. Note the format of your exams. Format may differ among different Schools and modules; make sure your information is correct and up to date, so you can prepare accordingly.
  3. Go beyond your lecture notes. You can’t revise everything in detail, so select fewer topics to focus on in more depth. Check your reading list for further reading; think how you’d use what you’ve read to answer a question. Use your module’s revision session to ask questions or clarifications of the module convenor.
  4. Past papers are your friends! Use them to work out how many topics to revise, to practise writing quick plans and timed answers, and to familiarise yourself with exam instructions. Past papers are available at the exams office archive.
  5. Take good care of yourself. Eat healthy meals, sleep properly, and give yourself time off – taking breaks will reinvigorate your brain and increase your efficiency in processing information.

 

On exam day…

 

  1. Read the questions carefully. Don’t just look for familiar key words; check again. You might find the topic you are well prepared for is worded differently.
  2. Use outlines before your start writing. Think about the key points in your answer and dedicate a paragraph to each one. To structure your paragraph, make your point early and clearly, then give your evidence and analysis to support it, and end with a concluding sentence to link the point back to the question.
  3. Work out your timings. Know when you need to move on to the next question. Spend longer on questions worth more marks and allow time for checking. If your exam is not timed, it is still advisable to stick to recommended timing and word count; this will help you understand the scope required to cover and avoid going off topic.
  4. Don’t panic! Under pressured conditions in invigilated, time-bound exams, you may initially feel you don’t know enough; go over the question again and put down in a list what you do know. If you go blank, take a few deep breaths and don’t push yourself to remember. Instead, move to a question you can answer and return afterwards. Chances are you will remember when your brain isn’t under pressure.

 

After the exam…

 

  1. Reflect on your experience. What strategies worked well? Use these in your preparation for the following exams.

 

For more tips on exams revision, how to approach different types of questions, exam room strategies, and more, check out our Study Advice exam prep resources.

We are also planning interactive sessions you can join to discuss your questions or practise in exam-room conditions. Book your place via our Webinars and Workshops page.

  • Wednesday 23 March, 2:00pm-3:00pm: Revising for university exams (online)
  • Wednesday 20 April, 1:00pm-2:00pm: Preparing for in-person exams (face to face)
  • Wednesday 20 April, 2:30-4:30pm: Practice exam workshop (face to face)

Best of luck to all!

 

Library website migration

The Library webpages have moved over to the University’s new content management system (CMS) – you may already be familiar with the new interface as many areas of the University website have already been migrated.

Partial image of the new Library website.

The migration means that the look and feel of our webpages have changed, but access to all our guidance, resources and other information should remain available. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, please email us at library@reading.ac.uk so that we can help you stay on track with all your information needs.

Your Library team

Library staff recommend some diverse reads!

The long, wintry days provide an ideal opportunity for some recreational reading so Library staff have provided some personal recommendations for some of the books purchased recently using the Library’s Diversity fund:

Rainbow Milk, by Paul Mendez

Cover of "Rainbow Milk"

Chosen by Sharon Hill, Collections Services

The story of Jesse McCarthy; a young, black Jehovah’s Witness from Wolverhampton.  Jesse is also gay; a total no-no in his religion.  After being cast out from his faith and a pariah in his family home, he travels to London in search of a new life, a new community and a new purpose.

Sharon says: I was very moved by this book. Despite his conflicting feelings, Jesse’s irrepressible spirit shines through and he finds self-acceptance and joy against the odds.

 

 

 

A Room Called Earth, by Madeline RyaCover of "A Room Called Earth"                        

Chosen by Sue Crawford, Library User Services

A neurodiverse young woman’s experience of a party.  Minutely attuned to those around her, she alternates between profound connection, alienation and being overwhelmed.

Sue says:  “Touchingly written insight into the highs and lows of compulsive attention as the main character gets ready for a party and the experience of it when she gets there. Her back story is revealed along the way.”

 

 

In Black and White, by Alexandra Wilson

Cover of "In Black and White"

Chosen by Tim Chapman, Academic Liaison Librarian

Alexandra Wilson, a newly qualified barrister, gives a real and personal perspective on what it’s like being a mixed-race woman at the bar. It’s a fascinating read – compelling, worrying and surprising. Not all is right with our Criminal Justice System, but somehow Alexandra strikes the right note in making us understand that people like her can make a difference.

Tim says:  “Compelling writing that doesn’t get bogged down in legal jargon. If you want to know what life is really like for a young, mixed-race woman working in the law, go no further. I couldn’t put it down.”

Want to recommend a title to diversify our collections? Find the link under the Books tab of any of our Diversity LibGuides or contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Library Diversity & Inclusion Group

New year, new habits – making the most of your Library

Happy New Year and welcome to the Spring term. Our Library teams look forward to continuing to support you with your studies.  

If you’re a January starter, we recommend that you look at our top recommendations in the Information for new students LibGuide. If you’re returning to Campus, we’d like to share the following reminders on how to make the most of the services, resources and facilities. 

 

Support with your studies 

Do you need help with an aspect of your studies? Your Academic Liaison Librarian and the Study Advisors will be happy to assist. Take a look at the Training and workshops webpage for more information, links to guides, training materials and more!  

 

Study areas  

Study space is available on all floors of the Library, including individual silent study on the 5th Floor. If you are using this study area, please remember that it is entirely silent so you may prefer to use the individual quiet study areas, located on all other floors, or the range of group study spaces.  

‘Want to know more? 

  • Watch our YouTube video about study areas in the Library or see our Instagram tour to find your favourite space.
  • Find out about additional study space on campus. Visit the Essentials webpages https://www.reading.ac.uk/essentials/Study/Study-space to discover more and, if you’re a postgraduate student, you can also enquire with your department to find out if they can advise on other suitable locations.  

 

Please note: you may find it useful to familiarise yourself with other locations as, at peak times, you may need to find alternative study space. We are currently operating at a slightly reduced study space capacity due to the increased need for ventilation within the building. This provision is aligned with University health and safety guidance. 

 

Stay safe 

If you are using study space in the Library, help us to keep open and stay safe by: 

  • Not moving furniture – study areas have been specifically configured to comply with capacity allowances in relation to ventilation requirements. 
  • Keeping windows open, on ventilation mode, if studying in a space next to a window.  
  • Wearing a face covering (unless you are exempt) when using the Library.  

Masks and other face coverings should cover the nose and the mouth and should remain in place at all times. 

  • Following the one-way systems, using the sanitisation stations and not using the lifts in groups.  

Single occupancy of lifts and other measures are all still in place so please refresh your knowledge of our Covid-19 safety information. Look out for our signage and notices displayed throughout the building to assist you.  

  • Not eating in the Library.  

Help us to keep the building clean, safe and tidy by eating in the Library Café or other suitable spaces on campus. Please do not bring hot food into the Library at any time as this creates unpleasant smells, and is disruptive for other Library users.  

  • Using lidded containers, when bringing drinks into the Library.  

Non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks are permitted – we have recycling facilities for single use cups and plastic bottles.  

 

Visiting the Library between midnight and 8:00? Remember to bring your campus card for entry via the keypad next to the right hand side entry door.  

 

Recalled items 

The Library is a shared resource, so please look out for our recall emails and courtesy reminders. If someone places a hold on an item that you have out, a recall notice will be sent to your University email account. Recalled items must be returned so that other users needing a particular book can gain access. If you still need the item, simply place a request once it has been returned so that the next available copy can be held for you. Further information on recalls can be found here.

 

Opening hours 

24/6+ opening hours resumed on Sunday 9 January – full details of the opening hours may be found here. 

 

Do you follow us on social media? If not, this may be the perfect time to begin so that you can stay up to date and make the most of your Library! 

 Social media icons

 

Your Library Team

Welcome to new and returning students – getting ready for Spring Term

Happy New Year from the University of Reading Library

Welcome – or Welcome Back – to the University of Reading Library!

Your Academic Liaison Librarians wish you a Happy New Year. Now that you are preparing for Spring Term, here’s a reminder of some of the support we can provide to help you with your assignments and research this term. If you’re new to the Library building, you can take an online tour.

How to find books and academic journal articles

If you found it tricky to find the right materials last term, you can remind yourself of the Library’s search tools Enterprise and Summon via our playlists. Our playlists are all available on the University of Reading Library YouTube and will show you

  • how to search for books, journals and other materials
  • how to locate print books
  • how to borrow print books

Manage your references

When you’re planning assignments, keeping track of the books and articles that you read is really important and saves a lot of time when you’re writing your bibliography at the end of an essay. Making good notes about your references now can help you later on, so it’s a good habit to get into.

Look at the Referencing tab on your Subject Guide for guidance specific to your programme, or visit our Citing References Guide for information on when to reference, how to structure a reference and a bibliography. You’ll also find lots of helpful advice on reference management tools.

Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian

At the University, there is a Librarian for each subject. They can help you with finding information and referencing. You can email any queries to your Librarian, or arrange a 1-1 appointment to discuss a specific question.

Find out who your Librarian is here: www.reading.ac.uk/library/liaison

If you are a new student, you’ll find all the information you need on our New Students Guide.

Kim Coles,
Academic Liaison Team Manager

 

New Year: have a plan

File, calendar, notebook with pencil and laptop graphic

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. Study Advice have some videos to help you, a new webinar series and some top tips to starting the New Year on the right track.

 

Tip #1: Reflect on the last term
Regular reflective practice is an important part of doing well at university. It involves looking back on a recent period of study, evaluating your approaches, and setting yourself targets for further development. Before you start planning for the coming term, think back on how the term just gone went:
• What did you enjoy the most? Can you think of why you enjoyed it so much? Equally, what did you enjoy the least, and why?
• Was there anything you did particularly well at? What did you do that worked so well?
• Was there anything you could have done better? If you had to do something similar this term, how might you approach it differently?
• Did you get the support you needed last term? If not, do you know where to find it?
Tip #2: 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. Note down 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 tasks 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 #3: Read actively
It’s called ‘reading for a degree’ for a reason: no doubt you’ll be asked to read lots of articles, book chapters and other material to support your learning. But if you find that you read without knowing why you’re reading, you don’t think about what you’re reading or you fail to make connections along the way, then you’ve fallen into the trap of passive reading. Instead, consider why you’re reading, what question might it answer? And consider if you agree with what’s been said. How does it fit in with your course material and other ideas you have come across? In short: think more and read less.
Tip #4: Be more proactive
• Start working on your assignments sooner, even if it’s just setting up a way of organising your lecture notes according to which assignment they’ll be useful for.
• Make sure you’ve done enough preparation before going to your lectures. Give yourself enough time to engage with the required reading, screencasts, or other materials. Take active notes where you are not just summarising the content, but also processing your own thoughts, identifying key terms you don’t understand, and noting down your questions. Using your notes this way will help you participate in class more actively!
• Look for support sooner: don’t ever think you will be penalised or judged for needing support. Students succeed because they use the support available to them, not because they are ‘naturally’ good students.
For more
Watch our new short videos on Organising your studies and Reading academic texts; and see our Time Management Guide
Visit our Study Advice website for more resources, to book a 1-2-1 or attend a webinar this spring term. Our webinar on the 12th January is: ‘work smarter not harder’ and is essential if you want to use your study time more effectively.

Study Advice

Disability and inclusion resource guide for UK Disability History Month

This UK Disability History Month, check out the Library’s guide to disability and inclusion-related topics.

Black text on a yellow blackground saying Disability history month, University of Reading.

The guide takes the same format as our other subject guides but focuses on materials from across our Library and Special Collections, as well as pointing you towards other useful online resources, libraries and archives.

 

Suggest more diverse library resources

 

Screen shot of our disability & inclusion resource guide

You can help us diversify Library collections further by suggesting books, DVDs, topics or authors for purchase in an area you feel is currently underrepresented. We’ll do the rest! Just complete our Diversify our collections suggestion form.

You can see Diversity fund titles purchased in current and previous academic years on our dedicated Library Diversity fund reading lists.

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

Library Diversity & Inclusion Group

Christmas Vacation – Library loans, opening hours and more

Close up image of the word Library as mounted on the library building cladding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a busy Autumn term!  

The final week of term begins on Monday! We thought this would be a good time to share the Library vacation information with you, to help you get the most out of your Library through the break. 

 

Online help 

All our expert staff are available online to help and advise you through the vacation before, and after, the University closure period. Through this time, the following services will be available 

  • For advice on resources for all your course needs, contact your Academic Liaison Librarian, they can assist by helping you to make the most of the Library resources.  
  • Study Advice can help you develop your study skills through the online tutorials and bookable sessions on offer.   
  • The Research Engagement team are available to help support your research needs. If you require help with Open Access, research data management and other research related matters, visit their webpages for further support. 

Once we enter the University closure period, you will still be able to gain help and support through the range of training guides and videos that the teams have produced. 

 

Store and Closed Access requests 

If you need materials from the off-site Store or from our Closed Access shelves, please make sure you place your request in good time. The final dates of collection are as follows 

  • Store collections – Thursday 16 December. Requests for items should be submitted by 8:00, that morning so that they can be processed for retrieval.  
  • Closed Access collections – Wednesday 22 December. Please submit your request before 13:45 if you wish to consult a closed access item in advance of the closure period. 

We will resume Closed Access collections on Tuesday 4 January and from Store on Thursday 6 January. For more information, see Requesting items from Store and Closed Access. 

 

Vacation loans  

To ensure you have good access to resources over the break, vacation loan periods will apply as follows 

  • Items from our Short Loan/overnight loan collection borrowed on Friday 17 December will not need to be returned until Tuesday 4 January 2022, but they must be returned by 11:00 to avoid any charges.  
  • 7-day loans borrowed from Monday 20 December will not need to be returned until the end of the closure period (Tuesday 4 January 2022).  
  • Standard loans (3-week loans) will naturally issue over the break from Friday 3 December. Term loans will update on 2 December so that any items issued then will not be due until Tuesday 22 March 2022.  

Recalls will still apply until the University closure begins so, please remember to check your University email and return any recalls in good time.  

 

Vacation opening hours 

The Library will be open 24/6+ until Friday 10 December, when we will be closing at Midnight. This also signals the start of the weekend closure, and the start of vacation hours as follows 

 

From  To  Opening hours 
Saturday 11 December  Sunday 12 December  CLOSED 
Monday 13 December  Thursday 16 December  Open 8:30 – 19:00 
Friday 17 December    Open 8:30 – 17:00 
Saturday 18 December  Sunday 19 December   CLOSED 
Monday 20 December  Wednesday 22 December  Open 8:30 – 19:00 
Thursday 23 December    Open 8:30 – 17:00 
Friday 24 December  Monday 4 January  CLOSED 

 

Much of the University will be closed between Friday 24 December and Tuesday 4 January. On Tuesday 4 January, the Library will reopen as follows  

 

Tuesday 4 January                        Thursday 6 January                              Open 8:30 – 19:00 
Friday 7 January      Open 8:30 – 17:00 
Saturday 8 January      Open 8:30 – 19:00 
Sunday 9 January    Open 8:30 24/6+ resume. 

 

Further information on the Library opening hours, including the IT Service Desk can be found on the Opening hours webpage.  

If you have a general enquiry, please contact us ahead of the University closure dates by emailing library@reading.ac.uk or phone 0118 378 8770. 

Best wishes, 

Your Library Team 

 

Find information for your studies using your Library subject guide

Image of Students in the library cafe

Don’t forget that you can use your Library subject guide to find useful information in the Library and online. Now that you’re beginning to prepare or receive feedback on assignments, you might find that you need to find more information relevant to your subject – you’ve got access to loads of interesting books and journals through the University Library, and your subject guide can help you to find the most relevant places to start.

What is a subject guide?

Your Academic Liaison Librarian has created an online guide for your subject to show you how to access books, reference materials, journal articles, electronic resources (including e-journals, databases and multimedia resources) and other useful websites relating to your area of study.

To access the guide for your subject just click on the “Explore key resources in your subject” in the ‘Help for your subject’ section of the Library website homepage, or go directly to our list of subject guides.

A screenshot of the Library homepage, displaying the 'Explore key resources in your subject'

How do I use my subject guide?

The subject guides are divided into several sections, each with its own tab at the top of the page:

A screenshot of the tabs at the top of a Library Subject Guide

  • Reading Lists – how to get started with your online reading list (if your course/module has one) and how to effectively manage your academic reading.
  • Dictionaries & encyclopedias – online dictionaries and encyclopedias as well as highlighting key print titles in the Library. It also links to e-resources such as Credo Reference, Oxford Reference and specific dictionaries for your subject. It is far more reliable to use these than to use Wikipedia for your work.
  • Books – tips on finding books using Enterprise and lists of Call Numbers for particular topics within your subject area. This section also showcases new books that have been purchased for your subject.
  • Journal articles – tips on finding journal articles on Summon and links to the key databases databases for finding journal articles in your subject area.
  • E-resources – lists key databases for your subject, as well as other useful resources such as multimedia resources, company financial databases, and online tutorials and guides to e-resources related to your subject.
  • Websites – a list of relevant websites that could be useful for your work. There are also hints on how to evaluate a website, so if you conduct an internet search you can be more confident you are using reliable information.
  • Citing references – points you in the right direction for getting help with referencing and avoiding plagiarism. You’ll also find information on reference management software which can save you time collecting references and writing your bibliography.
  • Further sources – information on Special Collections which may be relevant to your subject, and obtaining other materials such as conference papers, theses, maps and newspapers.
  • Help – links to study guides, videos and help from the Study Advice Team, your Academic Liaison Librarian, and Digital Technology Services.

What if I need help using a database on my subject guide?

You can always contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for help selecting or using a database – from Enterprise and Summon to company information searches. You can email your Librarian to ask a question, or request an in-person or online appointment to discuss a question in depth. Every weekday between 1-2pm one of the team is available on the Study Advice and Maths Support Desk on the Ground Floor of the Library so you can drop in to ask a quick question too. We’re here to help, so if you’ve any question – big or small – get in touch!

Kim Coles,
Academic Liaison Team Manager