On Thursday 15 September, University Library and Collections staff attended the first ‘Making a Difference at Durham’ event. This was a chance for colleagues from across the University to come together to engage in discussions and hear about the range of resources, activities and benefits the University has to offer. For many staff, this was the first time they had seen colleagues from other areas of the University in person since the pandemic.
University Library and Collections had a stand as part of the event to promote the range of services we offer and the huge collections we have. The stand featured items from Special Collections and Archives, Bill Bryson Library and Museums, with the opportunity for visitors the stand to get a closer look and handle some of our amazing objects.
We had great engagement from all staff who visited the stand and there were some reoccurring responses.
Many staff (particularly from Professional Support Services) didn’t realise they could use the Bill Bryson and Palace Green Library. They said they would walk past the building but hadn’t thought of using or visiting, and didn’t know they could access the online resources.
Another common response was, “I used to have visits to the museums or attend events before the pandemic and should start thinking about doing this again”. It was a reminder how the pandemic has changed our routines and behaviours and for some people, it is still something they are working on as part of their ‘new normal’.
The event allowed us to create a talking point with staff who visited our stall – something that they will talk about with their family, friends, colleagues and hopefully, create an interest and awareness of what we do.
Library and Collections staff also got a lot from the event. There was some great feedback about services and collections that staff wanted to hear more about, such as the family events at the museums, our Liberate My Library initiative and Wellbeing collections at Bill Bryson Library, and upcoming exhibitions. It has also given us ideas about how we can engage more with staff from across the University.
Library and Collections staff are so passionate about breaking down barriers and making sure that we are accessible to all, which was shown at this event.
This was the first ‘Making a Difference at Durham’ Event the University has ran and we were pleased to have played a part. We may or may not have made a difference on the day, but we hope it has started a conversation and helped build new working relationships with staff who we haven’t engaged with before.