Open Days

A post by Faculty Librarian Ben Taylorson

Welcoming and introducing people to the University Library during open days is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. It’s always nice to see so many prospective students (and their families) coming onto campus for the first time, and looking to get a feel for both the university and the city. And being able to offer them guidance, information and – in some cases – reassurance (“don’t worry, you won’t have to read all of the books!) is particularly satisfying.

Earlier this month Durham hosted a couple of open days which were easily the biggest since Covid stopped such things. As always seems to be the case on open days, the sun was shining and Durham was looking particularly welcoming as 1,000s of people descended on Durham to take in as much as they could in the few hours they were here.

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Delightful dogs visit the Billy B

Promoting student wellbeing is always high on the agenda for us (see previous blog about self-care and wellbeing 😊). Particularly during Easter term, where pressures, anxieties and stress levels increase for many, thanks to the impending exam and assessment period. Planning study time, revision, getting enough sleep, eating well, taking breaks – all massively important but we know that sometimes, it can feel quite overwhelming to fit everything in.

To try and help with this, we’ve developed a schedule of wellbeing events and activities throughout May, kicking off with a visit last Wednesday during Deaf Awareness Week from the wonderful Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

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Study skills guidance

We have a wide range of guides available to help our users get the most of what Library and Collections offer. These include:

  • Subject guides
  • Site guides
  • Service guides
  • Archives and Special Collections guides
  • Museum guides
  • Research skills guide

The research skills guide offers advice and support on finding and managing information, keeping up-to-date, and the subject guides point to the different resources available for staff and students working in particular disciplines.

Until recently, one area we felt we were not offering specific support for was study skills – but that has change now, with our newest guide!

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Don’t judge a book by its cover – go on a Blind Date with a Book

Trying to find a new book to read isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. Of course, you can easily take to the internet, searching for leisure title inspo, but inevitably you find yourself getting lost in the long lists of recommendations online. You spend all your time trawling through the titles, debating between this one and that one before realising the spare time you once had has now slipped away, resulting in you making your own list of ‘books to read when I find the time.’ Ironic, don’t you think? (Alanis Morissette classic – couldn’t resist!)

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The Student Art Prize

The Student Art Prize launched in October 2019 to expand opportunities around creativity and to develop a new permanent student art collection, housed within the university’s wider art collection, but available as a resource for the whole community.

Want to know more about the University’s annual art prize, see works by previous winners, meet other artists, find out more about our ‘Art Prize Art School’ programme and, most importantly, find out how to apply? The launch party for the 2021/22 Student Art Prize will take place on Tuesday 9th November, 5.30pm-7pm at the Oriental Museum. Spaces are limited and booking is essential.

To get you in the mood, here are 3 of the shortlisted works from last year’s prize where the theme was HEROISM, accompanied by some words from the artists:

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#DULibWellbeing Guide

Exams and assessment period. Self-care and wellbeing.

Two phrases that should go hand in hand, right?

We know what you’re thinking. “Wellbeing? Yeah, right – I don’t have time for that! I’ve got so much studying to do!”

But did you know that taking a break from your studies can actually be very beneficial? Believe it or not, breaks can help to have a positive impact on your productivity and help to boost your performance. Not to mention your wellbeing which, let’s face it, might have taken a bit of a battering over the last 12 months or so…

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Easter Term at University Library and Collections

Easter Term, also known as the exams and assessment period (we’re sure there are plenty of other names for it too!) can be stressful at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a global pandemic. The way in which teaching and exams are being done is different; we’re all still affected by the lockdown restrictions (although happily easing in line with the Government’s roadmap) and all of us, students and staff, are getting to grips with these changes in the way we operate and study on or off campus.

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Creating a tutorial

Over the course of the last couple of months I have been working the Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD) to produce an interactive online tutorial titled Your Reading List and Beyond.

This tutorial is part of ‘phase 2’ or our overall tutorial programme. Phase 1 was designed, constructed and delivered in 2020 and consists of 6 tutorials which are available individually, whilst also designed to fit together to support the needs of dissertation students, whilst been available to all as standalone tutorials.

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