Black History Month Badge-Making -Pop-Up Creation Station
Date: Wednesday 19 October
Location: Outside the Library (Hunter Wing, Level 1)
Come and celebrate Black History Month 2022 at our creative badge-making station. Create Black History Month badges using sample artwork or your own designs! Student ambassadors and staff will be there to guide you. No need to book, just turn up – all equipment and material will be supplied.
Black History Month Book Display
Come and browse and borrow from our collection of black-authored fiction and non-fiction titles- many of the titles highlighted in our display are listed in our new collections discovery service.
The World Digital Preservation Day theme for 2021 is ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ and focuses on how digital preservation supports digital connections, unlocks potential and creates lasting value. In this post we’ll look at the work we’ve been doing to identify areas in the university holding records of interest for long-term preservation. By connecting with people and areas of the university who previously were not involved in the project we are unlocking the potential of the records and creating lasting value.
This blogpost has been written by St George’s Records Manager Kirsten Hylan, Archivist Juulia Ahvensalmi, Records Manager Kirsten Hylan and Research Data Support Manager Elizabeth Stovold. You can engage with the day and find out more about our work on the Museum and Archives Twitter account, and using the hashtags #WDPD2021 and #SGULwdpd2021.
Breaking down barriers
St George’s, University of London (SGUL), is a specialist health and medical sciences university in South-West London. Since 2016 the Archivist, Research Data Support Manager, and Records Manager have worked together to advocate for digital preservation, successfully winning funds for a system, and identifying areas that hold records that require a long-term storage solution.
But how do we reach people outside our networks to broaden the digital preservation conversation and demonstrate how it has relevance to those people who hold the records? And how do we identify records for preservation in areas that previously held none?
Two approaches have so far helped us broaden our scope:
Our Covid-19 story and the Executive Board. During the pandemic we have attempted to collect all Covid-19 material produced by SGUL, including communications, social media, governance records, and research. However, to date we were conscious that we weren’t capturing or having sight of all the material produced. Our Executive Board has oversight of strategic and operational matters at SGUL. In May we took a paper regarding our work to the Executive Board and as result several members of the Board highlighted areas in the university generating education, equality, diversity, and inclusion, and REF submission records that should be considered for permanent preservation. The move to online education, for instance, has been a huge change and the records documenting the transition should be preserved.
We expanded our project board to include representatives from External Relations, Communications and Marketing and from Joint Research and Enterprise Services. By inviting new voices on the board we obtain different perspectives and reach across barriers.
Reaching out to people has led to new insights, for us and hopefully also for those we have spoken with. We have for instance had conversations about how the use and the perceived value of records can change over time. Depending on circumstances, records that may not be considered of archival significance actually have consequence beyond their normal lifecycle and are of lasting value to the university.
We have demonstrated this in our time capsule – another idea that came about from our lovely new board members. We hold records in the archives in various formats: there are manuscripts, printed books, typescript minutes, photographs, audio cassettes, LP records, microfilm, floppy disks, emails, as well as various digital renditions of each of these as .pdf, .jpeg and .wav files. Often it is easier to see the value of an old manuscript letter, but it is equally important to take steps to preserve emails, tweets, and any other digital material we now create. The time capsule showcases records throughout the history of St George’s, from a letter from Edward Jenner and minute books discussing Victorian remote communication systems to tweets and Teams meetings.
Bringing it all together
People and the knowledge they hold of an organisation and what makes it functions and the issue it cares about can be seen as key to making connections and identifying digital content for preservation ultimately unlocking the potential of the records. Digital preservation should not be seen as a record keeping issue or an information technology challenge. Instead, we need to create a community working together to highlight digital objects for preservation to the preservation team.
We continue to look forward for advocacy and outreach opportunities to promote digital preservation and chances to work with areas of the universities we haven’t had an opportunity to work with previously.
If you are interested in learning more about digital preservation at St George’s, or would like to get involved, please contact email@example.com.
For the third year, St George’s University is organising its very own Big Read. What is the Big Read? We’re so glad you asked…
The Big Read is a shared reading project, aimed at bringing new and returning students, academic and professional staff across the university together to foster community and belonging. Each year, we pick a book we think makes for an engaging read, with lots of interesting topics to discuss with colleagues and friends.
We are very excited about having chosen The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, the debut novel of Okechukwu Nzelu for this year’s Big Read. It is a coming-of-age story set in Manchester and Cambridge and it explores topics like going to university, race, class and sexuality. The author has managed to discuss complex and at times difficult themes with humour and warmth.
You can find out more about the book and watch the author’s message for everyone participating in the Big Read here on our website.
How to get your free copy
If you are a returning student or staff at St George’s, you can now pick up your copy from the library helpdesk between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. But be quick – there is a limited number!
If you are new to St George’s, you will get your copy when you enrol. Our Big Read team will be on hand to give out books and answer your questions at the enrolment hub.
We are busy preparing a range of exciting events for you including discussions with experts around themes such as transitioning to university, race and LGBTQ+ identities. There will be book clubs, creative writing workshops and the author will come to St George’s for a live event too. We will publish the schedule of events soon. In the meantime, why not sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about what’s on offer.
St George’s welcomes people from a range of healthcare specialties to share their lived experiences about staying well in the workplace, coping with their careers and highlighting the issues relating to mental health and the importance of seeking help.
The focus is on workplace well being.
Keynote speaker is renowned speaker, Dr Ahmed Hankir, presenting the keynote on The Wounded Healer, bringing his personal story of mental health challenges in the medical profession.
It will be a great opportunity to network as well as manage your workplace well being.
The Library is also celebrating Careers Week by having a themed book display around well being at work, mindfulness and stress and career development. Have a look at our curated collections of books around Health and Wellbeing, Careers and Professional Development and Women in Leadership. If you have got any recommendations for us to include, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring your old winter coats to the Library for WrapUpLondon by Thursday 21st November and the Library team will take them all to a drop off point for you.
Have you got an old winter coat (or two) at home you no longer wear?
As the temperature is dropping, we are all wrapping up warm
for winter and perhaps you even got yourself a new winter coat for the start of
university. Not all of us are that fortunate though and many people are left
without proper clothing for the winter.
To help tackle that issue, WrapUpLondon collects your old,
unwanted coats and gives them to charities that support people in need. You can
find out more about their amazing work here.
This year the Library team has thought we would make it even easier for you to contribute by organising our very own drop off point. You can bring your old jackets and coats to the Library help desk. Please bring your coats in by Thursday 21st November and we will take them to the drop off point in Clapham for you.
If you are based elsewhere, WrapUpLondon have many other
drop off points across London. Find out more about the drop off points here. They also have Safestore
Locations available from Monday 11th to Sunday 24th
November in Chiswick, Clapham, Notting Hill and Kings Cross.
WrapUpLondon will redistribute your old coats so they have a
second life, keeping the homeless, refugees, children living in poverty and
people fleeing domestic violence warm this winter! According to the Social
Metrics Commission (SMC) around 14.3 million people are living in poverty
in the UK, that is about 22% of the population and many people struggle buying
warm winter clothes.
If you have any other unwanted winter clothes (i.e. hats, scarves, jumpers, etc.), they can be left in the box in the social learning space where the ISoc is collecting for SPIRES, a charity running a day centre in South London to help homeless and disadvantaged people.
Do your part, reduce the amount of unwanted clothing going
to landfill and help keep some vulnerable people warm and toasty this winter.
The idea behind the Big Read is for everyone at St George’s to come together over a shared reading experience. This year The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce was chosen and every first-year student receives their own SGUL copy of the book.
The Big Read project centres around making students, returning or brand-new to St George’s, feel welcome. It will help those of you who are feeling slightly nervous about being in a whole new environment, possibly away from home for the very first time and meeting lots of new people. As everyone takes part in this big book club, you have a conversation starter ready-made.
This year marks the first time St George’s University has
its very own Big Read Project and to celebrate the occasion, Library staff have
got together to discuss Harold’s pilgrimage over a cup of tea and a biscuit (or
two). We had a lively discussion about Joyce’s novel and as in any good book
club, we found that we all had slightly (or very) different opinions on the
protagonists and key themes.
Below you can read our (spoiler-free) thoughts on the novel.
Beth, Liaison Support Librarian (IMBE)
It’s easy to see why The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was picked for this year’s Big Read title: it’s packed full of big topics that readers from all backgrounds will be able to relate to in some way. As the plot unfolds, it tackles (among many others) themes of grief and loss, loneliness, kindness, addiction and friendship. It’s an enjoyable easy read too, despite some difficult subject matter, as we accompany Harold on his pilgrimage across the UK. When I originally sat down to gather my thoughts for this post, I found myself wondering whether this had quite as profound an impact on me as previous Big Read selections. However, I was forced to re-examine that opinion after getting involved with our staff book group – this is certainly a story that deserves some unpacking and discussion. I’ve found myself revisiting and reappraising the way in which this book tackles these big issues and actually, it appears it’s definitely left its mark.
Anne, Liaison Support Librarian (Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education)
The themes in Harold Fry are universal to the human experience and include loss, regret, dysfunctional relationships and ageing. However, for me the power of the narrative lies in the portrayal of seemingly more minor topics, such as the importance of spending time outside in nature, mindfulness, and connecting with others regardless of how different they are from us. Along with Harold, the reader learns, or rather is reminded, that we are all unique and yet the same. We are often struggling with very similar problems, but ordinary human life is also full of wonders and human connection, which are always around us if we take a minute to appreciate them.
While the book unquestionably addresses really big topics, and can be emotionally challenging at times, it is a real page-turner.
Jenni, Research Publications Assistant
I thought that the portrayal of the beginning of Harold’s pilgrimage was very effective: he increases the length of his journey to post his letter by increments, unable to truly admit to himself that he doesn’t want to return to the home that represents his emotional stagnation, and once the idea of the pilgrimage occurs to him, giving him the excuse to keep going, he seizes on it. His inability to think about the practical reality of his pilgrimage, or to make any active plans other than to continue it, worked well as a mirror for his inability to entirely face his own emotions and past all in one go: like his pilgrimage, he has to tackle it piece by piece, at an angle, without admitting that’s what he’s doing until he’s already doing it
Dan, Information Assistant
I enjoyed Rachel Joyce’s book. There are many themes running through like isolation, grief and loneliness. However, my favourite chapter in the book is when Harold on his pilgrimage meets with Martina a qualified Doctor from another country and although she has problems of her own to address she nonetheless dresses his wounds from excessive walking and takes care of him for a few days when he clearly is exhausted. It highlights one of the major themes in the book which is the unexpected kindness of strangers when you most need it.
Michelle, Research Data Manager, had a different take on the novel
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is an inspiring book about illness, suffering and loss, and how these expressions of human existence transcend the various skins that hold them. Unfortunately, for a book about the fragility of skin and the universality of the human condition, Harold is hard to relate to. Harold is of a particular time and place and even as he challenges his own lens he is caught within them, making this a conflicting read at times.
At the end of the Library’s own book club, we couldn’t agree whether the protagonists have more to celebrate than to mourn or whether Harold’s journey has a “happy end” or not, so get reading today and join the discussion on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter today.
Previous years’ books
Organised since 2015, Big Read has been growing every year. In 2018, Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine was picked, which proved very popular with Library staff. This and previous years’ short-listed titles are available on loan from the Library, as well as all the winning titles of course. You can read our thoughts on the books from previous years by clicking on The Big Read tag.
Current students and SGUL staff can pick up a copy of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry from the help desk in the Library.
Join us on 6th November for the Big Read Author talk at St George’s where Rachel Joyce will speak about her book and signs your copy! Find out more here. Booking is essential!
To complement our welcome talk and online induction we’ll be running tours of the Library where you’ll get the opportunity to meet one of our Liaison Librarians and explore our study spaces. Everyone is welcome and there’s no need to book – tours will be leaving from outside Blossom at the following times:
Wednesday 28th August: 10am 11am 12pm 1pm
Thursday 29th August: 10am 11am 12pm 1pm
Friday 30th August: 10am 11am 12pm 1pm
Tuesday 3rd September: 10am 11am 12pm 1pm
Wednesday 4th September: 10am 11am 12pm 1pm
Tuesday 10th September: 10am 11am 12pm 1pm
Wednesday 11th September: 10am 11am 12pm 1pm
If you can’t make any of these dates, we’ll be running more tours at the end of September for our new undergraduate intake, so expect to see some more dates published on the blog nearer the time.
In the meantime, your can familiarise yourself with the Library and its rules, services and resources by checking out our Library Essentials Libguide.
If you have any questions about the inductions, tours or using the Library, you can email us at email@example.com
Every year St George’s Library welcomes our new undergraduates and postgraduates with a Library induction: this year we’re changing things up… we’re moving our Library Inductions online!
As well as meeting your Liaison Librarians at your welcome lectures, all new starters will be enrolled onto the SGUL Library module in Canvas, your VLE at St George’s. Here you’ll be able to access course-specific information about Library resources, teaching and learning materials and most importantly for now, your Online Library Induction. You can also find a link to it here (SGUL Login required).
As keen new St George’s students, we hope you’ll be interested in exploring the Library module regardless, but appreciate that an incentive or two might entice you! Therefore, any student who completes their online induction will be automatically entered into a very generous prize draw…
Local businesses have come out in force to show their support for St George’s, so you could be in with a chance of winning the following:
To mark World Book Day on Thursday 7th March, we’re hosting a lunchtime pop-up library outside the University reception. Come by the stall between 12pm and 2pm to borrow books, hear library staff book suggestions or make your own. We’ll have a range of books from fiction to medical bestsellers, with a particular focus on female writers in fiction and science to celebrate Academic Book Week (4-9 March) and International Women’s Day (8 March). Make sure you bring along your ID card to borrow a book.
Libraries Week takes place between the 8th – 13th October 2018. Over the course of the week we’ll be exploring our Archives to look at how the library has – and hasn’t! – changed over time.
In this final retrospective look at the Library, we’ve delved into a really interesting commemorative brochure produced by library staff to celebrate 21 years of being based in Tooting.
Back in the early 1990s staff were singing the praises of their “several CD-ROM machines, word processing facilities and a scanner” which warranted instating an enquiries desk where library staff could be on hand to answer IT related questions.
It’s interesting to note that even with the differences and improvements in technology over the past 20 years, many of the enquiries that helpdesk staff answered back in 1998 will be very familiar to users and helpdesk staff today!
Needless to say the type of enquiries facing the library staff are mainly computer related. The most common ones are
‘My Printer is not working’
‘The printer has stopped printing half way through’
I can’t open my file on the computer’
The rest of the commemorative brochure makes for an interesting read: it captures a pivotal point in the development of modern academic libraries as the way we access information began to rapidly change. Technology has streamlined many library services whilst also generating new challenges – especially over the two decades that have passed since the publication of this brochure.
For example, the move from print to electronic journals has had a fairly dramatic impact on the physical layout of the library. With most journal subscriptions now online, we no longer require the rows and rows of shelving to accommodate print copies and can offer far more study spaces, which is of real benefit to our users.
The Library now manages access to thousands of journal titles, far in excess of what we ever could have accommodated physically in print, giving staff and students at St George’s access to far more content than before, with the added convenience that in most cases it can be accessed from anywhere and at any time.
However, with online journals the Library typically licenses the content for a specific period of time, whereas with print journals we owned the volumes and issues of the journals we purchased. Our Journals team must negotiate the terms and conditions of these licences with our suppliers each year, making these transactions far more complex.
Supporting access to online subscriptions also requires maintaining a number of key systems, such as our link resolver, which generates the links through to the full text of articles we have access to; either from search results in Hunter or our other healthcare databases.
The Library also needs to manage the process of authentication: whereby journal sites identify a user is from St George’s and entitled to access that particular resource. The Journals team work hard to make this process as smooth as possible and provide the necessary support for users where difficulties arise. Responding to the pace of change as technologies develop is a real challenge for library staff and will undoubtedly continue to shape the academic library of the future.
On a final note, the brochure also offers interesting snippets of social history too. Present day staff thankfully have much more input over their own sartorial choices!
…and female staff are now permitted to wear trousers for the task.
If you are interested receiving updates from the Library and the St George’s Archives project, you can subscribe to the Library Blog using the Follow button or click here for further posts from the Archives.