Library staff recommend diverse reads for Empathy Day

With Empathy Day on the 9 June and the end of term on the horizon, the Library’s Diversity & Inclusion group have been dipping into some of the good reads purchased from our Diversity and Wellbeing funds to see what life feels like in someone else’s shoes.

The right sort of girl, by Anita Rani

Chosen by Sharon Hill, Collections Services

Sharon says: You may know Anita Rani, presenter of Countryfile and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour among other things. But how well do you really know her? What was it like growing up in a Sikh household in Yorkshire but being the only Punjabi girl at school? How did she navigate being too ‘gori’ (white) at home but too ‘brown’ at school? This book is full of good advice, immense humour and conveys the warmth and love of a Punjabi community as well as the hopes, expectation and dreams placed upon the shoulders of this second generation British Indian. It took me back to my school days and helped me understand the path trodden by my Sikh best friend.

 

 

That’s the way I think, by Dr David Grant

Chosen by Tim Chapman, Academic Liaison Librarian

Tim says: This book is written with great empathy. As a non-dyslexic reader, it really helped me to understand a range of difficulties that people with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD diagnoses encounter – beyond just reading. It takes a holistic approach across these conditions and I feel it makes a pretty good stab at attempting to encourage people with neurodiverse conditions to embrace, and understand themselves – treating these conditions not as learning difficulties but as the very things that make them unique, and who they are.  It’s written in a non-academic way with lots of personal experience and anecdotes. Fascinating stuff.

 

 

 

Small Island, by Andrea Levy

Chosen by Sharon Hill, Collections Services

Sharon says: Returning to Britain after fighting with the RAF in the Second World War, Gilbert Joseph doesn’t find himself feted as a hero by his beloved Mother country – quite the reverse!  Turned down for jobs and accommodation he finds post-war Britain a shabby, decrepit and prejudiced country.  If you want some idea of the experience of the Windrush generation, you can do no better than read this compassionate account of post-war immigration.

 

 

 

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

Book your place for the Masters Dissertation Fair this week!

Purple background shows image of a student studying. Text reads Masters dissertation fair, 6-10 June, Booking now!Wondering about how to start researching and writing your Masters dissertation or project?  Why not book onto the Masters Dissertation Fair that’s being run by our Academic Liaison and Study Advice team?

Choose from a selection of different webinars, workshops and drop-ins running this week until Friday 10 June offering advice on all elements of your dissertation planning, researching, and writing.

For more information on each session and to book, take a look at our Masters Dissertation Fair Guide

Our friendly sessions include topics such as:

  • Managing your dissertation project
  • Overcoming writer’s block
  • Critical writing
  • Systematic literature searching
  • Finalising your research question
  • Writing your literature review
  • Literature searching tips
  • Finding information beyond the UoR Library
  • Reference management tools
  • Writing your discussion

More help available

You can also book a 1-2-1 session with a Study Adviser, who can offer advice to enable you to manage your project, write critically and ensure academic integrity and your Academic Liaison Librarian who can support you with researching and accessing the material you need and how to reference it correctly. And for those that prefer self-paced online resources, we have a suite of videos and guides on dissertations, major projects and literature reviews.

Remember, you can always discover key resources in your subject area in the liaison team’s guides and use our guide for Taught Postgraduates.

Academic Liaison Librarians and Study Advisers

Jubilee Bank Holiday Opening hours and more

Jubilee opening hours

 Decorative: Jubilee official assets

The Library will be open on the Bank Holidays of Thursday 2 June – Friday 3 June to align with our usual 24/6+ opening hours. 

If you are studying, come and visit us and make use of our extensive print collections! 

We won’t be able to retrieve materials from our Stores on Thursday 2 or Friday 3 June, so  

  • the next collection from our Off-site Store, will be made on Thursday 9 June.   
  • if you would like to consult an item from our Closed Access collection, please make your request by 13:00 Wednesday 1 June.   

For more information, see Requesting items from Store and Closed Access. 

 

Finishing your studies? 

Person holding a large stack of books.

Whether returning your loans or preparing to continue your studies- we can help with all your resource needs!

If you’re finishing your studies this year, why not get ahead of the curve and return your loans? We’ll be in touch with reminders. If you have an agreed extension on your course finish date, let us know so that we can update your account. 

 

Continuing your studies? 

If you’re continuing your studies at the University, why not join our Student applicants scheme? Becoming a student applicant gives you access to the Library until you begin your next programme of study in the Autumn term. See the website for more information about our membership offers. 

 

We hope you find this blog helpful. If you have any questions about Library services visit our website and LibGuides, but if you still can’t find the information you need, please get in touch 

Your Library Team 

Starting your dissertation? Follow our top 5 study tips

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

Tip #1: Have a plan 

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

Tip #2: Start with something small 

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

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

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

Tip #4: Think more, read less 

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

Tip #5: Attend a webinar or a workshop 

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

 

Webinars and workshops will run online from Monday 6th - Friday 10th June. These friendly and helpful sessions are open to all Masters students, and you can book a place online here: 

https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/webinars/dissertation-fair

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