Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas break arrangements

As you know the library will close today at 15.45 and will reopen on Monday January 4th at 08.30. During this time there won't be any responses to emails sent to the Help Desk and other library accounts. We will deal with any messages after the holiday.

The Library IT Team will be monitoring library systems including the catalogue and the proxy server and we hope that all systems will be available throughout the holiday. Our colleagues in IT Services will also be monitoring the networks and other systems. Details of their holiday arrangements can be found here. Workstation room 536 will be available throughout the holiday.

If we have written to you about items requested items being held we will continue to keep these behind the issue desk for a few days at the start of term. If you no longer require a requested item please cancel your request on the library catalogue. No library notices will be sent out over the holiday until the weekend of the 2nd/3rd of January when we will send out reminder notices about items that are due for return along with notices advising readers if an item they have on loan has been requeted by another reader.

There will be study space available in Rooms B29 and B30 from Monday 28th December to Sunday 3rd January inclusive from 10.00am – 5.00pm. Last year the college buildings were unheated during the closed period so you may want to wrap up if you are coming in, and it may be a bit chilly when we open on the 4th! The library book bins will be accessible at these times so you can return items. We will take them off your record on the 4th. No fines are charged for the days we are closed.

And finally ... we would like to wish all our users a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The end of another term and the move of the store

As today is the end of another term we hope it went well and that you get a bit of a break from your studies over the vacation. As mentioned previously you can find our Christmas opening hours on the website. Note that during the first week of the vacation we are operating on term-time hours.

We are issuing 3 week loan material over the vacation now and these books are due back in the first week of January. One week loan items will similarly have their loan periods adjusted to to take account of our closed days in due course. Remember that you can renew your books, unless they have been requested, throughout the vacation and even when we are closed.

At very short notice we have had to stop fetching material held in the library store. We were asked to vacate the store in preparation for building works in the basement and the contents of the store are being crated and up and moved to their new home in Russell Square. As this was sooner than we expected we are not sure when the material will be available but as soon as we get a date we will advertise it and restore the requesting service as soon as we can.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Library web site survey - please give us your views

We will be redesigning the Library web site over the next few months and would like your help in planning the redesign. Please fill out our survey and you will be entered in a draw for a £20 store voucher.

Please note that this survey refers to pages with URLs beginning - other pages, such as our Library catalogue and ejournals platforms, are products that we have limited control over.

Click here for the survey

Thanks for your help.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Christmas is coming

The nights are now well and truly drawn in, and autumn is turning to winter so time to announce our Christmas vacation opening hours. The more observant of you will have seen these on our website for some time but here we like to try to delay the headlong rush into Christmas for just a little longer.

The important thing to note is that the library, like the rest of the college, will be closed from 24th December to 3rd January inclusive. We will be open on Monday 21st & 22nd 08.30 - 02.00 (self service 08.30 - 10.00 and 20.00 - 02.00) and on Wednesday 23rd 08.30 - 15.45 (self service 08.30 - 10.00).

You can check any details on our website and can find the college dates here.

Friday, 30 October 2009

More e-resource downtime

We have been informed that there will be further disruptions to some of our e-resources this weekend.

On Saturday 31st October IngentaConnect will be unavailable between 07:00 and 11:00 GMT. This downtime is due to essential maintenance.

On Sunday 1st November ScienceDirect will be unavailable due to scheduled maintenance for approximately 9 hours from 01:00 GMT to 10:00 GMT .

Friday, 23 October 2009

Weekend of e-resource disruption

Over this weekend, Oct 24th & 25th, there will be maintenance work on each day causing some disruption to access to e-resources.

On 24th Serial Solutions who provide our e-journals lists and create the links to them will be carrying out work on their systems from 7.oo am. The work should take about 2 hours but there may be several hours more or disruption whilst their changes take hold across their networks. This is having an impact around the world and we understand that Serials Solutions have been trying to time the work to cause the least problems not only here but in the Americas and the Pacific and Far East. There is more information about this at the Birkbeck eLibrary. The main impact is that our links to e-journals won't be working.

On 25th Thomson Reuters will be performing maintenance to ISI Web of Knowledge and EndNote Web from 13.00 GMT. During this time, there will be disruption of service and access to these products. We don't have a timescale for this work.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Moving around

We have been moving some of our books and journals around in order to try to ease some of the overcrowding of shelves in certain areas.
  • All journals are on level 4 (the top floor) apart from those beginning with "A", or B-Bioc.
  • All Bliss items (alphabetical shelfmarks) are now all on Level 3, these remain on Level 3.
  • Dewey items (numerical shelfmarks) 941-999 are now on Level 3.
  • Some work is continuing to spread the items out on Level 2 so that the overflow trolleys can be emptied onto the shelves. As usual if you can't find something please ask a member of library staff for help.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Changes for the new year

The new academic year is almost upon us so it seems a good moment to welcome back returning students and to mention a few changes. As usual you should check the library website for all the details. In order to smooth over the start of term we have extended the expiry date for returning students to 31st October. As soon as you complete enrolment this will adjust to the end of September 2010.

  • The library entrance has changed a bit following the development of the new My Birkbeck Helpdesk. Even more important to note is that the exit has moved, so to avoid getting trapped in here remember that the exit is now adjacent to the entrance!
  • We have extended our opening hours at the weekends so we will be open 10:00-23:45 (self-service after 18:00) on Saturdays and Sundays. Full details at:
  • Term-time hours commence on Monday 21st September.
  • Fines on One Week Loan items will increase to 50 pence per day from the 28th September. We are also introducing a £5 administration charge for non-returned items when we have to start ordering replacement copies. You can easily avoid these charges by keeping your library account up to date and renewing on-line or by phone as soon as we send you a reminder. Email reminders are sent out before your books are due back.
  • We now use the contact email address on your student record to send library notices to you, please make sure it is up to date and is enabled to receive messages from us.
  • We are updating the library PCs and installing Office 2007.
  • And finally - please have a go at using our new catalogue interface which is being tested and let us know what you think.
Good luck with your studies.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Welcome to Birkbeck

The Library will be participating in the College orientation event for new students which is taking place over the next two evenings (Thursday 17th & Friday 18th) and on Saturday. You can find more information here:

We will be open for students to come in and have a look around and there will be some guided tours.

You might also be interested in some of the induction sessions that we have arranged for the first few weeks of term. Full details are available here: or look for the posters in the library.

If you use Twitter please feel free to follow us - and you can also find us on Facebook and of course here.

Good luck with your studies.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Birkbeck Open Evening 3rd September

The Library will have a stall at the Birkbeck Open Evening today so if you want to find out what we have to offer please come and find us. If the wireless network is working we may be able to demonstrate some of the on-line services we have for students.

More information about this event and future Open Evenings can be found here.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Library Catalogue - new way of searching

We are pleased to announce that we have a new front-end to the library catalogue which is now available for library users to try out. This is called AquaBrowser and is in use in a growing number of libraries around the world. It is independent from the library management system but makes use of the catalogue data, and indeed links to the existing system to obtain up to date information about item availability.

You can find this at:

There is still some work to do as we make improvements and make sure that everything is working, but we would be very interested to hear what our users think of it. You will find that by default there is only one place to put your search (like Google) and that once some results have been returned there are ways of refining the results by date, format, language etc. You will also see that there is a graphical aid to searching with a spider's web of related terms. There is the option of an advanced (or Classic) search feature as well.

The catalogue also has a much improved accessible, text-only version, which you can use on mobile devices.

Please give it a go and let us know what you think. We will be using feedback for readers to help with an FAQ page about the new service.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Disruptions to service - 7th & 10th August

As a result of the developments taking place and the creation of the new Student Centre at Birkbeck there will be some disruption to services over the next few days.

Friday 7th August - there will be no access to public PCs during the morning whilst work on the network infrastructure takes place. This may also affect the coverage of the wireless network in the library. ITS workstation room 536 is suggested as an alternative. We have been told that the work should be completed during the afternoon and we will post updates when we get them on the library website, catalogue and via Twitter. Some demolition work is required so there will be some noise.

Monday 10th August - contractors will be moving the library entrance and exit gates. There will still be access to the library but readers are advised that this may be via alternative routes.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Library entrance update

The hoarding around the library entrance has been given a facelift and and coat of paint. There are also some explanatory notices about the new My Birkbeck Student centre which is being established opposite the library and coffee shop entrance, i.e. to the left as you enter Birkbeck from Torrington Square. You can see some pictures on our Flickr site but here is one to be going on with.
Access to the library is through the arch except at times when the contractors are doing things that might make it dangerous and then you can get to us via the attendants' desk.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Library entrance

The library entrance has been boarded off during the building works. We are still open and you can get to the library by going past the attendants' desk, turning right along the ground floor corridor and then right again into the short corridor that links the main corridor with the library and the coffee shop.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Over the summer

A few bits and pieces of information related to summer activities and also looking ahead to next year.

As previously mentioned we have the builders in creating a new Student Centre which will be to the left as you come into Birkbeck from Torrington Square. This work will have an impact on the library in terms of noise and changes to how you get to us whilst work is carried out. We will also be relocating our gates, but not very far and at the moment we don't have a date for this. We will try to take a few photos as it goes along so you can see what is happening.

On Friday 1oth July the library will be open 10:00-20:00 as usual, but only on self-service basis as this is our annual library Staff Development Day.

Don't forget to keep any books that you have on loan up to date, and if you are going to be away on holiday either return them before you go or make sure that they are renewed to cover your absence. We will continue to charge fines over the summer so please try to avoid these if you can. Remember that other readers can still place requests on items on loan and that we do expect you to bring such items back. If you have Internet access whilst you are away you can renew on line (provided an item isn't requested) and look out for any emails from us. Reminders have a note of your borrower barcode so it doesn't matter if you forget to pack you Birkbeck ID card.

On the subject of emails - from the start of September we will send all email notices to students to their contact address held in the student system. You can check this by logging into the My Studies at Birkbeck site. We will be emailing users about this in due course but this is early notice of this change which is being adopted as policy across the college.

Have a good summer and look out for further updates.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Tube Strike - library open

The library will remain open as usual during the tube strike, but if you are making a special journey (!) it would be a good idea just to check that nothing unforeseen has meant that we have had to close. We will try to update our website, the library catalogue, this blog and our Twitter page with any information.

At the time of writing (09:45) the library is open and is very quiet, as is Bloomsbury.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Bank Holiday opening and beyond

We will be open this weekend as normal, i.e. 24 hours, but please note that we close at 20:00 on Monday 25th.

Our overnight weekend opening will continue until 8th June. After this we will revert to vacation hours from June 13th meaning that we will be closed on Sundays. As usual full details can be found on our website.

You might also like to know that there will be building works in the college over the summer in preparation for the new student centre. The library entrance will have a small amount of remodelling but otherwise there will be little work actually in the library. However there will be works going on in areas adjacent to the library so we are anticipating a degree of noise and disruption throughout the summer. We understand that the works will be starting the week beginning the 22nd June. We will make every effort to keep readers informed about any disruption to services via our usual channels. We have no plans to close during the summer vacation.

Enjoy the Bank Holiday and if you haven't completed our survey please find a few minutes to do so.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Library Survey 2009

Birkbeck students are invited to take a break from writing essays and revising for exams and to complete the 2009 library survey.

We are seeking your views on the Library and the services that it provides. We will use the results to provide you with a better Library. As an incentive, if you complete the questionnaire, you could win store vouchers up to the value of £100.

The survey can be accessed here:

Thank you.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Quiet please - examinations

As many of you are only too aware the examination season is upon us, so we would like to wish all students the best of luck in your exams and with any coursework you have to give in. You can find past exam papers from the eLibrary web site -

The Library can get quite busy at this time of year as people look for a quiet place to study and revise. Please remember to turn your phone off or set it to silent and do not be tempted to use it in the library - this can be very distracting to other users. Laptops should also be muted, and must not be used in the Reading Room which is for silent study.

Thanks - and good luck!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Easter weekend and beyond

Just a brief reminder about our opening hours over the next few days.

Mon 6th - Weds 8th April: 08.30 - 22.30 (self service 08.30 - 10.00)
Thursday 9th April: 10.00 - 20.00
Friday 10th - Monday 13th CLOSED
Tues 14th April: 10.00 - 20.00
Weds 15th - Thurs 16th April: 08.30 - 22.30 (self service 08.30 - 10.00)

Starting on Friday 17th we will begin 24 hour opening over the weekend which will run through the exam period. The library will open at 8.30 on Friday and remain open until 22.30 on Monday (self service from 08.30 - 10.00 Friday morning and 22.30 - 10.00 Friday, Saturday and Sunday/Monday).

You can keep up to date with events at the library via the website and also via our Twitter feed. We now have well over 200 followers (OK not in the same league as Stephen Fry) but a very small number are Birkbeck students or staff. If you use Twitter and want to keep up to date with things here then please feel free to follow us - it is very unlikely that we will follow you, unless you are particularly famous! You can find us at: We are always looking at ways in which we can communicate with our users so would be interested to hear any suggestions. You can comment here or send us a tweet.

Enjoy the weekend, and don't spend all of it writing or revising!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Telephone renewals

We have introduced an automated telephone renewals system on 020 7631 6239 as an alternative to our on-line renewals done via the library catalogue. This enables you to phone up, hear a list of what books you have out and renew them unless they have been requested by another reader. There is also the option to talk to member of staff during working hours. However, we currently have a problem with this which we are trying to resolve along with our system suppliers and colleagues in the College. If you get stuck in a loop and need to talk to someone please call the library Help Desk on 020 7631 6063. This is a temporary measure whilst we sort the problem out.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Raise money for Comic Relief

Once again we are asking you to serve yourself and thereby raise money for charity. Last November we donated money to Children In Need and this time we will be donating 10p for each transaction done on the Self-Service machines on Red Nose Day, Friday March 13th, to Comic Relief. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to issue or return items and remember to take your receipt.

The wearing of a red nose whilst doing this is not compulsory - but might give the library staff a laugh!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Last Saturday eLibrary session this week!

The last Saturday eLibrary session of the series is this Saturday (28th) and will be on Finding newspaper articles. This session will look at the Library's newspaper databases showing you how to find recent articles (from the 90s onwards), followed by an introduction to historical newspapers from the 19th century. Please book your place on this session at

Monday, 2 February 2009

Monday 2nd February - Snow!

The Library is closed today due to the weather. Although some staff made it in there were not enough to safely offer a service or to know how long we would be able to remain open. Our on-line services are all available. Today has been marked as a closed day on the library system so no fines will be charged for today. We hope to open again tomorrow but please check our website and we will also endeavour to keep our Twitter feed up to date.

As this is being typed it is currently snowing in Bloomsbury.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

National eBooks Survey

If you make use of any of our eBooks then the JISC National eBooks Observatory project would like to hear from you, and even if you don't use eBooks you can still participate. The project is being undertaken by researchers at UCL and this survey is part of the evaluation - to take part in the survey please follow this link. If you leave your college email address at the end of the survey, you will be entered into the prize draw for £200 worth of Amazon vouchers

There is more information at the following sites:
For students
For academic staff

Thank you for your participation.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Weekend late opening

From January 31st the library will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 until 02.00 the next morning. From 20.00 until 02.00 this will be on a self-service basis. Our weekday hours remain the same. For full details see the library website.

Friday, 9 January 2009

A new term begins

A belated welcome back to a new year and a new term. The library is now warming up after a somewhat chilly start to the year.

We have of course gone straight into our term-time hours and there will be a further increase in opening hours from the end of January when we will be open at weekends from 20.00 until 2.00 in the morning on a self-service basis. This is in addition to the staffed hours of 10.00 to 20.00. For more details and to see all of our opening times check the library website.

If you borrowed items over the vacation please don't forget to renew or return them. Keep an eye on your email for reminders about books that are due back soon or that are in demand by other readers.

Those you who make use of our computers and printing will be pleased to hear that a replacement printer in the Open Area has been ordered and delivered this week and is being installed on the ITS printing service. The old printer suffered an terminal mechanical failure after several years of loyal service just before the vacation. In the meantime printing is being directed to the printer in the Seminar Room.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Saturday eLibrary Workshops

Do you need help with using the eLibrary? Our Saturday sessions may help. We are running a series of one hour workshops this term. Topics to be covered include:
Using eBooks, Exploring English Literature, Legal information for non-lawyers, Beyond Westlaw UK, Finding newspaper articles, Using the citation indexes and Searching the psychological literature. For more information and to book, please visit