To book, or not to book…

If you’ve visited the Library over the past year or so, you’ll have no doubt become quite familiar with our Space Booking system.

This is still playing an important role for our libraries, ensuring that users can have the opportunity to book in advance and ensure they have any resources they need, such as a PC or an individual study room. However, since Welcome and Orientation Week at the end of September, we have also been offering study spaces in Bill Bryson Library that don’t require a booking. For the more spontaneous users, I’m sure this will be good news. It means you don’t need a booking to just browse the shelves, pop in for a coffee, or come in to use the printers.

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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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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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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 comes back to life

As the country moves slowly back to normal, and pubs, shops, and hairdressers reopens their doors – so has the Bill Bryson Library building! A small team of staff  have been working hard onsite to provide users with the resources they need through Scan and Deliver. If, however, you would like more than one chapter of a book then over July we launched three new and alliterative services: Click and Collect, Browse and Borrow, and Stay and Study.

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University Library & Collections Staff @home in Durham, Barnard Castle and other world famous locations.

As with so many of our colleagues across the University, over the last couple of months (has it really been that long??) many University Library & Collections staff have been getting used to saying hello to each other through a computer screen, rather than over a cup of coffee in the staff room or across a desk at the start of the working day.

Whilst we miss our conversations with staff and students within our libraries and museums, and across university sites, we hope you’ve been making use of the range of expanded online services we’ve been able to offer over this period. This post offers a reminder of some of those services we provide, alongside a sneak peak inside some of our working-from-home lives.

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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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#DULibIntroducing… Dr Richard Pears

In the next of our series introducing members of the team who you might meet at our sites or across the University, #DULibIntroducing welcomes Dr Richard Pears who you may meet in your own department if you work or study in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, delivering workshops & inductions or meeting staff and students. Or you may find him doing the same, amongst many other things, at the Bill Bryson Library. Do Say Hello!

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