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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Holocaust Memorial Day

On Holocaust Memorial Day, our blog post is written by Dan Lewis, Information Assistant at Bill Bryson Library, where she shares her thoughts and reflections on the holocaust and what she found when looking through our collections at Bill Bryson Library.

Further information about Holocaust Memorial Day, as well as university, local, and national events, can be found on the Durham University website – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion : Holocaust Memorial Day – Durham University.

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A review of ‘Liberate My Library’. Diversifying collections in a challenging year.

As we approach the end of the year we thought it would be a good time to look back at a new service we launched back in February. Wow talking about February seems like a lifetime ago now doesn’t it? So much has happened in 10 months and although not everything has been what we would have liked there have been things to celebrate. Our ‘Liberate My Library’ scheme we think is one of them.

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RLUK Collections: a virtual tour of our shared treasures

Durham University Library and Collections is a member of Research Libraries UK (RLUK), a consortium of the most significant research libraries in the UK and Ireland. As many members entered lockdown in March, Dr David Prosser (Executive Director of RLUK) took a virtual tour of RLUK member’s special collections via Twitter (#RLUKCollections), including those at Durham University, to highlight just a small selection of the extensive, diverse, and unique collections held within the member libraries and archives.

We have (with permission) highlighted here Durham’s brief entry, and provided links to each of the others, as an opportunity to quickly sample some of the many treasures held within the British Isles.

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Whose book is it? Books owned by the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre

The following post, by our rare books cataloguer Dr Aya Van Renterghem, first appeared in a longer form on the Early Modern Female Book Ownership blog in May 2020. We are grateful to the blog’s moderators for allowing us to share the content.

When considering the many shapes and forms in which early modern female book ownership appears, thoughts and discussions usually turn to the various types of books owned by different women or focus on the difference in ownership between social classes of women, for instance. It is, however, possible to broaden this view and also think about gradations of ownership and about the level of agency female book owners had. I mean by this that we could think about questions such as how much control early modern women had over their choice of books or over the type of books they owned. The Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre collection, currently being catalogued at Palace Green Library, Durham University, presents an interesting case study in this regard and is worth exploring here. Continue reading “Whose book is it? Books owned by the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre”

Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre library: spotlight on archives and special collections (1)

From medieval manuscripts to an extensive archive of materials relating to the Sudan via the historically important 17th-century Bishop Cosin’s Library, in this series of posts we focus on an archive or book collection held at Palace Green Library. In this first instalment, we travel to 17th-century Liège to take a closer look at the library of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre.

Pamphlet written by the foundress of the English community of Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre as a justification of their existence and an advertisement for other English Catholic women to join the community.
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Shining a light on community engagement

As the days shorten and the cold winter nights are drawing in, Hindus over the world celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Light.  For several years we have worked closely with the local Indian community to host celebrations at the Oriental Museum.

In 2019 around 350 people, including local families, international and home students, and members of staff came together to mark the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. People enjoyed delicious Indian food prepared by local chef, a shadow puppet performance of the story of Prince Rama and Princess Sita, and art activities.

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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

Continue reading “Pens, pencils, worms and dragons”

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