Romanesque bindings

A post by Assistant Curator Katie Brew

I have recently been fortunate to attend a five day Romanesque binding course with experienced bookbinder and conservator Arthur Green. It was a largely practical course, attended to gain a deeper understanding of this particular binding style and its construction – to improve my own skills and directly inform the conservation of the early medieval bindings we have here in Special Collections.

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Looking forward, glancing backwards

Faculty Librarian Ben Taylorson reflects on the changes brought about by the pandemic as we settle into a new term.

I have to say, it has been nice to see so many students back in Durham for the start of the new academic year. The building in which I work when on-campus – The Bill Bryson Library – has felt very empty with so many of its users studying remotely. As we all begin to move forward into a new normal, things that remind me of the ‘old normal’ bring some comfort. That said, we must accept that some things have changed for good.

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Graduate intern update: Beth

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

Hello, Beth again here with an update on my Archives and Special Collections internship. This time, I’ve been spending the last month with Visitor Services – an entirely different side to the building I’m used to seeing so far.

In my first week I was introduced to what Durham University has on offer for members of the public to visit. In the Palace Green Library (PGL) building, we currently have two exhibition spaces open to the public – the Museum of Archaeology exhibit and the Durham Light Infantry Collection Gallery upstairs. These are free to access and while they can be booked online via Eventbrite, we do have spaces available to curious visitors who walk in subject to availability. We also have the UNESCO World Heritage Site Visitor Centre that has recently been relocated into the building and is freely open to the public without any booking. We also have the front desk, where visitors can ask for directions or assistance and buy tickets to tour the Castle, tourist information leaflets and a gift shop.

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#DULibIntroducing Tom Henderson

In the next of our series introducing members of staff, #DULibIntroducing welcomes University Library and Collections graduate intern Tom Henderson.

Tom Henderson

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

My name is Tom Henderson and I work as a ‘Graduate Intern (Ushaw Collections)’. I divide my time between Ushaw College and Palace Green Library, since parts of Ushaw’s collections are held at both. The role involves working in the search rooms at Ushaw and Palace Green, processing reader bookings and requests, and cataloguing collections.

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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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Inter-lending from the back of beyond

Hi, my name’s Judith Walton and I look after the day to day running of the library’s Inter-Library Loans team (previously known as the Document Delivery Service – we changed our name this summer just to keep everyone on their toes). One of the smaller ‘behind-the-scenes’ teams that you might not have come across, Inter-Library Loans is here to get hold of things not held our own library – books, articles, theses etc. It’s a lovely place to work, with a really positive feel to it. In daily contact with librarians all-round the UK (and the world), we’re always problem solving, tracking down hard to get items, which suits my inquisitive nature, and there’s always something new to learn. There’s a real sense of achievement when you track down something truly obscure and it’s lovely to see the smile on the researcher’s face when it finally arrives!

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Graduate intern update: Beth

Graduate intern Beth Hall updates us on what she’s been up to in the last month or so…

Hello, it’s Beth! Back again with another update from my Archives and Special Collections internship.

I promised an update on my time with conservation in my last post, and what a fascinating couple of weeks it has been.

We kicked off with a tour of the building, with a view to look at the conservation measures that we have in place to keep the collections safe. We have pest traps around the building (not necessarily to catch all the insects we might have here as you might think, but to monitor their levels and where they are likely to be found), which are mostly by the strong rooms where the collections are kept. We also have temperature and humidity monitors that make sure the environment for the collections are stable. These are regularly checked, and radiators come on if humidity levels get too high to make sure everything balances out!

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#DULibIntroducing… Vicki Hedley

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

Hi!  I’m Victoria Michelle Hedley, Customer Services Co-ordinator for Disability Support and Digitisation.  The Digitisation Team processes all the digitisation requests for reading lists to make them available via online reading lists – this includes a lot of behind the scenes work on Talis and enormous, space-age scanners!  The Library Disability Support Team provide personalised support for students and staff registered with disabilities, including book retrievals and creating alternative formats of reading materials.  In addition to all of this, I help manage our virtual enquiry desk, Ask DULib!

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Graduate intern update: Elisabeth

Graduate intern Elisabeth Prestgard updates us on what she’s been up to in the last month or so…

Hello again everyone! Here is my update for the month. The Document Delivery Service team has recently changed its name to Interlibrary Loans team. I’m still part of both the ILL and Customer Service teams. I have been working more days onsite, which has been nice as it allows me to learn more about the different queries at the Help and Information Desk, and it gives me the opportunity to meet friendly and interesting people in person (especially since a lot of my time has been spent working from home.)

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Five from the Hive: Top 5 Fictional Librarians.

Welcome to the latest Five From the Hive blog post! Who are your favourite fictional librarians? We often have this conversation, so for this latest Five from the Hive we are looking at the 5 Most Popular Fictional Librarians (as voted for by staff at Durham University Library and Collections). Then we’ll look beyond the stereotypes of librarians to highlight the diverse work we really do!

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