St George’s Library Then & Now: 1953

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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.


The Library gets a very short mention in the 1953 St George’s Hospital Medical School prospectus:

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The Library, which is under the supervision of an Honorary Librarian, contains current textbooks and standards works of reference in Medicine, Surgery and allied subjects. It is open daily from 9.30 am to 8 pm, except on Saturdays, when it is closed at 12.30 pm. A book is kept by the Librarian for students to enter the title of any publication they may wish to be added to the Library.

These days, we’re a little less shy about promoting the variety of services and resources that are on offer to all our users, from traditional books and journals to databases, apps, point-of-care tools and visual e-resources. We’ve developed a series of LibGuides to introduce you to topics such as literature searching and reference management and well as subject guides that will help you find, manage and evaluate the information you need for your course.

We also offer embedded and bookable training sessions and drop-in services, run a literature searching service for NHS/SGUL staff and support researchers through the research life cycle, including Research Data Management and Open Access publishing. We still welcome resource suggestions from users, although through much more convenient web forms.

In short, we run a very busy service! We certainly need more hands on deck than our 1950s counterparts and the rapid technological advances of the late 20th century have helped to both alleviate traditional library duties and create new ones. We certainly wouldn’t be able to run any of the above services without the support of our wonderful helpdesk staff, who are on hand between 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday. While these are not dissimilar staffing hours to the library of the 1950s, the study space and computer rooms are now open 24/7 during term times. We wonder what the Librarian (and Honorary Librarian) would have thought of that.

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St George’s Library Then & Now: 1941

LibWeekRGB
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.


This excerpt from a 1941 edition of St George’s Hospital Gazette tells the tale of a very dedicated librarian who kept the library collection intact during the Blitz.

SGH Gazette 1941

Following bomb-damage to this part of the School in the early months of the year, all books were evacuated to the Small Lecture Theatre. With the books in residence the Theatre could not be used by lecturers; the Large Lecture Theatre, like the Library, was open to the sky and the weather, and also unusable. However, this unfortunate predicament could not be helped, and while the books were there the appalling amount of brick-dust and slime that coated the covers and clogged the pages was removed by the Librarian, Miss Bond. By July 16th, the damage to the building was repaired, and on that date the Library once again resumed its part in Medical School activities.

Many books now bear honourable scars, but very few were lost by enemy action: the Library is incomplete, however, as there are still some volumes at Luddington House.

Members of the Medical School are indebted to Miss Bond who, almost unaided, rendered fit for use, replace and re-catalogued all the books now on their accustomed shelves.

The conservation and repair of our print books is still very much part and parcel of library life and mostly takes place behind the scenes. While ‘brick-dust and slime’ aren’t high on our list of worries in 2018, spillages are usually the cause of irreparable damage – leaky bottles in backpacks being a particular culprit.

On average, our collection teams repair around 8 – 10 books per week; using specialist glues and tapes to restore pages and damaged spines. Our popular Oxford Handbooks are regular candidates for repair – their signature plastic covers are resistant to glue and have a tendency to break away from the spines with regular use.

One of our Information Assistants, Georgina Coles, takes us through a simple book repair in the images below:

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Cataloguing and processing books so that they are ready for the shelves is another important part of managing our collection. While we thankfully haven’t had to re-catalogue any bomb-damaged books, our Collections Team have been kept very busy this summer accommodating the large volume of radiography resources being transferred from Kingston University Library. This has involved a large-scale weeding project to remove old and rarely used items from the shelves, before reclassifying the radiography books under our classification scheme. The team have so far processed over 670 books and there are more to follow!

We think it’s lovely that Miss Bond’s efforts were recorded in this way – managing the library in some extraordinarily difficult circumstances is no mean feat. We’re left wondering if there are any other mentions of her or other dedicated librarians in the Archives…

 


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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.

 

 

St George’s Library Then & Now: 1894

LibWeekRGB
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.


This rather damning excerpt from an 1894 edition St George’s Hospital Gazette highlights a perennial problem for libraries: managing noise.

SGH Gazette 1894

“If we were asked by a reading student to choose some familiar quotation for each room in the School, that to our mind most suited to the Library would be, “All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” For reading in the Library, becomes, at certain seasons of the day, a matter of impossibility. We cannot even hope that our present admonition will result in improvement. Swing doors will slam, loquacious students will converse in stage whispers, pellets will fall from choreic hands, even though an Embryo dwells in our midst. Yet there is room for great improvement without attaining complete perfection.”

We’re not short of ‘loquacious’ students these days either, but in the intervening 124 years methods of teaching and learning have changed which libraries have evolved to support. One of our ‘great improvements’ to the library has been zoning the space to cater for a variety of study preferences: from quiet, independent reading to collaborative group work.

Arguably, we’ve not attained ‘complete perfection’ either. While you won’t find us ‘sssshh-ing’ users these days (a stereotype library workers aren’t always fond of), we are still on hand to politely remind users to keep the noise to an acceptable level.

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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.

 

 

New text service for reporting noise

We have introduced a new texting service to enable library users working in the Computer Rooms or Library to anonymously report noise and disturbances by way of a text message to a specified mobile phone number.

You can text: 07856 183309  with the following information: location and description of the problem.

This service will run from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week. Texts will be sent directly to a member of security or library staff who will patrol the area and approach users who are behaving inappropriately.

Text service 2017

The rules and regulations for using the Library are available on our website.