A (Global) National Emergency Library

The Internet Archive is a huge resource, used by many students and researchers across Durham University (we suspect some without realising what a treasure trove they have stumbled upon). It provides immediate access to:

But during the current Global Covid-19 Pandemic, their services for displaced scholars globally have temporarily removed a further barrier to access to one of their services…

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“Isn’t that something! Magnificent sight out here.”

Fifty years ago today, the Apollo 11 mission saw the first two humans – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – land on the surface of the moon (whilst Michael Collins, remaining on the command module overhead, momentarily experienced a solitude unparalleled as he disappeared, alone, in orbit round the dark side of the moon and out of contact and sight of every other known living creature).

Most of us here in the University Library were young children or but glints in our parents’ eyes. But we have many primary sources available to Durham staff and students to explore these and other momentous (infamous or obscure) events in our shared history. Snapshots of how they were reported, the views of those who observed or experienced them, the discussion, commentary or argument that followed.

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On serendipity and libraries…

Earlier this week, my son’s school played host to a visit from Martin Longstaff, who performs under the moniker of ‘The Lake Poets’. For any fans of quality football, this name may not be familiar – but for those who, like my son, support Sunderland AFC, you may recognise at least one his songs – “Shipyards” – which has been used as the theme song to the Netflix series “Sunderland til I die.”

In an interview a few years ago in the Guardian, Martin noted that the name for his musical persona came from a moment of serendipity whilst studying at a university not too far from this esteemed establishment.

“One day in the library at university Longstaff noticed a book, “It was called Recollections of the Lake Poets that explored the works of 19th century romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Coelridge, Southey… I read it and thought “The Lake Poets” would make a great band name.”

Brinnand, E ‘The Lake Poets – New Band Up North #37’ Guardian (30 Oct 2013)

A chance encounter in the library with a real world impact on the direction of a student’s trajectory through life.

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