Celebrating Buddha’s Birthday

A post by Learning Coordinator Charlotte Spink.

On Sunday 15 May the Oriental Museum hosted Buddha’s Birthday celebrations. This event was particularly special after a two-year break owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was wonderful to welcome back our visitors and see the museum full of people.

Buddha’s Birthday, also known as Vesak or Wesak, is celebrated around the world and commemorates the birth of Buddha in around 563 BCE. Born a prince, Buddha went on to renounce his privileged royal life and become a holy man, ultimately reaching Enlightenment. 

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Graduate intern update: Beth

Graduate intern Beth Hall updates us on what she’s been up to recently…

Hello! It’s Beth, back again with a long-awaited intern update. I’m glad to have the opportunity to sit myself down and reflect on these last few hectic and varied months. It’s been a busy year so far – just how I like it!

One of the largest and heaviest books I’ve ever had to retrieve – the Hartlepool Antiphonal, yes that is the size of an entire trolley!
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International Women’s Day 2022

Yesterday was International Women’s Day! This year’s theme was #BreakingTheBias and we wanted to explore and celebrate this concept in the Library by highlighting some of the inspirational women who are featured in our collections.

With our beloved mascot Billy Bee leading the helm, we took a dive into the many thousands of books here at Billy B and picked a selection of amazing female authors, scientists, medieval mystics, and poets!

#BreakTheBias
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Behind the scenes – what a catalogue record looks like!

We are about to embark on the process of moving to a new Library Management System, or LMS. This is a lengthy process, as the LMS effectively manages most core functions of a library, such as cataloguing resources, managing the loan/use of those resources and the records of our users. So transferring to a new system is a complex project, and one that we will keep you updated on over the course of the coming months. What we can say with certainty is that a new LMS will represent a significant upgrade, both for us as library staff and you as the user!

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The Lambton Archive – a summer internship

Summer intern Iris Leussink looks back on two months spent working at Palace Green Library

For a lot of people in Durham, Palace Green Library is a bit of a mystery. Some of my friends, even those who have studied and lived in here for four years, have never set foot in the building. Before I started, I had only been here once to see a rare book for my History dissertation. So I’m writing this blog post to give you an idea of what an internship at an archive might look like in practice.

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Five From The Hive … Top 5 Most Used EBooks (2021)

Welcome to the start of a new blog series called ‘Five From The Hive’! Librarians love many things, like books (especially the smell of old books ), food and running. Whilst restraining myself from bursting into song like Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’, one of our most favourite things is a list. We do love a good list. Whether it’s a top 5 or a to-do list, we don’t mind. Lists make us feel good! And organised! So, we thought we would put together this series where we can share our top 5 lists on library and Durham-related topics.

We are starting the series with ‘Top 5 Most Used EBooks (2021). The titles featured are the 5 most used individually used EBooks so far in 2021 (Titles from eBook Packages not included, and all information was correct at the time of writing).

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Intelligent, demanding, and meticulous: getting to know Bishop John Cosin

Over the last year, History PhD student Lily Chadwick has been cataloguing the correspondence of Bishop John Cosin, founder of Cosin’s Library on Palace Green in the centre of Durham. Reading through his letters, she caught a glimpse of his personality.

Cataloguing the correspondence of Bishop John Cosin over the course of the last eight months has provided considerable insight into the personality and mind of one of Durham’s most imposing figures. Certainly, there are limitations to the source material, which mean that we cannot draw definitive conclusions about Cosin as a person.

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The miraculous cure of Sister Aloysia Gonzaga O’Connor: Spotlight on the collections

One of our archivists, Dr Jonathan Bush, retells the story of a miraculous cure that stunned doctors and caused quite a stir in 19th-century England. The account of Sister Aloysia’s healing is found in the archives of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, which Jonathan has been cataloguing.

The substantial archive of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, dating back to its foundation in Liege in 1642, documents the rich and colourful history of an English convent abroad. The records in the collection tell the story of the community in Liege, its evacuation to England during the turbulent years of the French Revolution, and its subsequent flourishing as a school and convent at New Hall, near Chelmsford, Essex.

One of its more remarkable personal stories concerns the extraordinary ‘cure’ of Sister Aloysia Gonzaga O’Connor. News of the case caused something of a sensation in a country where Catholics and their tales of ‘miracles’ were treated with suspicion and derision by a predominantly Protestant media.

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University Library and Collections – favourites from our collections…

As part of our World Book Day celebrations, we’ve been exploring the theme of ‘Choice – curiosity has no age limits and neither do books.’ There can be no better examples of this than from our very own collections held within our archives, special collections and museums. With a vast range of books that are as fascinating today as they were when first written, they continue to generate a desire to discover and learn and will cultivate this curiosity for many, many years to come. 

With that in mind, we’ve asked some of our librarians and curators to choose their favourite book from our collections and share their insight into these incredible items… 

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The Importance of the Rainbow in Library Collections

As part of LGBT History Month we wanted to highlight the importance of representation of the LGBT+ Community within our library collections.

When we read a book or watch a film, if we see ourselves or our community represented we have a sense of identity and belonging. It also helps challenge and fight prejudice and encourages education.

In the last year many LGBT+ events, such as Pride, have been cancelled and safe spaces and representation of the LGBT+ Community has been challenging for people to access. This means representation in books, media and objects have been even more important for people to turn to.

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