Going beyond your reading list…

Last week we introduced a range of new Guides available for staff and students across the University, and yesterday we highlighted some of the features you may have missed in our new Reading Lists platform. Today we’d like to highlight the support available to you on our Research Skills Guide to help you navigate the collections and resources available to you beyond your reading list. Read on to find out more…

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A warm welcome to Durham University Library and Collections 2020-2021

A message from Mike Wall, Assistant Director and Deputy Librarian in the University Library and Collections

If you are a new student joining us at Durham University this year, welcome! We’re so pleased you’ve chosen Durham for your studies and we hope your time with us is a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. And to those of you who are returning at the start of a new academic year, welcome back! After such an unceremonious parting six months ago, we’re excited to be able to open the doors of our libraries to you once more.

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The Bill Bryson Library’s First Steps into UX

If students were brave enough make it past the terrifying dragons we had set up in the library during induction week, they may have experienced the library’s first foray into UX research.  UX stands for User Experience, and in a library context it basically means that users are put at the centre of all our decision-making, from the big to the small. UX research puts an emphasis on using creative and intuitive methods with participants, rather than standard surveys that can be uninspiring, boring, and often cannot get to the heart of how users feel, as well as what they think.

We wanted to find out what new students felt as soon as they walked into the library, and whether the expectations of returning and postgraduate students were being met, so induction week felt like the perfect time to conduct our research.

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Pens, pencils, worms and dragons

Encouraging new students to visit the library during induction week can be a tricky business. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in a week where they are not only having the academic aspect of their next 3 or 4 years mapped out to them, are being invited to join team, clubs and societies and indulge in half price pizzas and 2-for-1 “quaddy voddies”, new students might find that ‘pop into the library to have a look around and to pick a pencil and a book-shaped eraser’ slips quite far down their agenda.

Although we’re not strictly competing for attention with University Cheese Society or “slammer’s night” at the local champagne bar, it is important to get students into the library early on in their university lives so that we can:

  • Remove any worry, fear or trepidation about the library – after all, it will likely be on a scale much greater than students have experienced to that point
  • Highlight what we have to offer
  • Put a ‘human face’ on the service

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