#DULibIntroducing… Richard Holmes

Please state your name, full job title, and a brief description of what that entails:

Richard Holmes, Faculty Librarian for Social Sciences. The central element of my role is to communicate between the departments in the faculty and the University Library and Collections to ensure we are delivering services and resources that meet their diverse needs. I do this by attending key committees within each department to promote new and impending library developments and to pick up changes that may have an impact on the Library, Special Collections or Museums. I also provide support to enable members of Durham University at all levels of study to get the best out of the wonderful collections available. This can range from answering basic email enquiries, through one-to-one tuition, to delivering research skills classes embedded within teaching programmes. I also have a role in collections development, ensuring the right materials are available when needed to support each department’s teaching and research activities.

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5 things I wish I had known about library e-resources as a student

By Customer Service Advisor and postgraduate student Gracie Sharp

Navigating the vast array of physical and electronic resources offered by the library can be a daunting task for many students, and it can be hard to keep track of where to find this information in the ocean of university emails we receive on a daily basis. I know from personal experience that as a student sometimes you just don’t have the time or mental energy to devote to finding these resources, and that’s okay.

Since becoming a Customer Service Advisor at the Bill Bryson, whilst also studying for a master’s degree, I have become more aware of certain, very helpful, e-resources offered to us by the library. Which is why I’m writing this blog post as a low down of some online resources that just might make your life a bit easier.

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12 Activities of Christmas: Library Staff Challenge

As we lead up to Christmas, we’ve given over this post to Sarah Hyland and Katie Skellett, who have been forcefully injecting Christmas cheer across Library and Collections staff, who have worked hard across 2020 to get services up and running, buildings back open and reading materials available online.

“We probably don’t need to say this but what a year it has been! Normally we would be decorating the offices and you wouldn’t be able to see people or books for tinsel and Christmas trees.  We would also be having staff parties, Christmas cracker relays and sharing delicious Christmas treats that the bakers amongst us had whipped up.  This year is obviously a bit different but the University Library and Collections Staff Development Group still wanted to try to do something to bring colleagues together.  We wanted to share a bit of Christmas cheer and help to make people feel festive – wherever they are just now.  So, we came up with the “12 activities of Christmas”.  It started on Monday 30th November and ran until Tuesday 15th December – culminating in a virtual Christmas quiz party!”

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Looking back

2020: what a year. What a terrible, terrible year. But, in one of our last blog posts of the year, we thought it would be nice to look back at some of the positives for Durham University Library and Collections.

“Positives!?” I hear you cry. Yes, believe it or not, amidst the unrelenting difficulties of 2020 there have been quite a few. In addition to the reactive services we have offered such as Click and Collect or Browse and Borrow, we have implemented a number of service improvements that will stand us in good stead for years to come, as we (hopefully) begin to edge out of the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming months. So, a few highlights to prove it hasn’t all been bad:

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On the first day of WellBEEing @dulib shared with me…

Feeling festive and being acutely aware of the stresses and uncertainty the festive period holds for many this year, we embarked on a wellbeing campaign for December, named ‘12 Days of WellBEEing.’

Read on to find out more (and check back next week to hear about Library and Collections Staff own ’12 days of Christmas’ festive challenges…

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A review of ‘Liberate My Library’. Diversifying collections in a challenging year.

As we approach the end of the year we thought it would be a good time to look back at a new service we launched back in February. Wow talking about February seems like a lifetime ago now doesn’t it? So much has happened in 10 months and although not everything has been what we would have liked there have been things to celebrate. Our ‘Liberate My Library’ scheme we think is one of them.

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Digital Diwali – November 2020

Another impact of Covid-19 has been on how museums engage with their communities. In previous years, the Oriental Museum has hosted large-scale Diwali celebrations on site, attracting over 400 students, staff and people from the local community. In 2020 the celebrations moved online, and museum staff found new ways to get people involved. We invited people to create videos showcasing how they celebrate Diwali, what this time of year means to them, their favourite food and recipes and reflections on how things will be different this year.

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#Hist2020: History Day 2020, celebrating our collections

Every year University College London organises a day for academic, cultural and heritage institutions to come together to showcase the enormous range of historic collections in archives, libraries and museums. In pre-Covid times, the day would be held at Senate House and would be attended by anyone in London with a serious interest in historical research.

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Spotlight on the collections: Anne Stevenson Poetry Library

Anne Stevenson at a book launch in 2009 (Photo Credit: Simon James, Flickr, via CC BY-SA 2.0)

According to Anne Stevenson, who died on 14 September 2020, a poet is that rare person ‘who is in thrall to nothing but poetry’s weird tyranny and ungovernable need to exist’. The volume and breadth of her poetry and scholarly interests attest to this uncontrolled creative urge, and we are very fortunate to have part of her poetry library.

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Dissertation advice

One of the key responsibilities for our Faculty Librarians is to support our dissertation students, many of whom will be undertaking a substantial research project for the first time. Although we would always urge our students to consider what materials and resources they are actually going to have access to (this could be in terms of accessing a physical collection such as an archive, or being able to use, say, a particular database), this year it is more important than ever.

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