Friday, 3 December 2010

Christmas is coming

The Christmas vacation is approaching so here is an update on our arrangements for the vacation and the college closure.

The Library will close at 16.00 on Thursday 23 December 2010, and will re-open at 08.30 on Tuesday, 4 January 2011. The College is also closed during this time.

As of today we are issuing, and renewing, 3 week loan items until after the Christmas closure. We will be issuing 1 week loan items over the holiday from 17 December. There will be a rolling process of adjusting the due dates for items to avoid everything being due on the same date.

Don't forget that you will be able to renew items throughout the holiday via the library catalogue. We don't charge fines for closed days but do try to keep your account up to date and remember to renew your items if you are going to be away on holiday and out of reach of an Internet connection. No email reminders or notices will be sent over the holiday.

Whilst we do try to monitor our systems (e.g. library catalogue, proxy server etc) to make sure that they are available we do not monitor the library's email accounts, so if you email us you should not expect a reply until we re-open.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Welcome & welcome back

A very belated welcome to all new and returning students, and apologies for the hiatus in news and updates from this particular corner of the Birkbeck Library web presence. There have abeen a few changes and developments over the past couple of months and we will be featuring some of these in a series of blog posts over the next few days.

For today however just a quick reminder that we are open 8.30 - 23.45 each and every day during term-time. Some these are hours are self-service with no library staff on duty - although there will be security staff present. You can check our full opening hours at:

Good luck for the term ahead!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Electronic document delivery is changing

Do you use the inter-library loans service and request Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) of articles?

The British Library is changing the software you will need to read articles sent to you via this service. You will now need to download FileOpen, which works with any operating system and any version of Adobe Reader.

We hope that this will overcome the problems some of you have had with the previous software, Adobe Digital Editions. More information on FileOpen is here.

Any questions just ask the interlibrary loans team

Friday, 2 July 2010

Self service at weekends over the summer and on Friday 9th July

Just a reminder that the Library is open from 10am-6pm at weekends over the summer and is self-service only all weekend .
Please make sure you have your ID card with you to activate the turnstile. You can borrow books using the self issue machines on the ground floor and level 1 and you can return books by placing them in the book return bins or checking them in at the self service machine on the ground floor.
There will be no access the Reading Room Collection due to the building works and there will not be a fetching service at weekends. Phone calls and emails will not be answered during self service periods.
On Friday 9th July, we will be open from 10am - 8pm on a self-service basis only

Friday, 4 June 2010

Looking forward to the summer

If you had exams we hope they went well, and if you still have exams ahead of you - good luck! The same applies to essays & dissertations. Remember that we will be open 7 days a week throughout the summer - but that at weekends it will be self-service only. As usual you can check our full opening hours on the library web site. On Friday July 9th we will be open on a self-service basis as the library staff will be attending their annual staff development day.

If your studies are ending don't forget to return any items once you have completed your exams or handed in that last piece of work. We hope that you don't owe us any fines but if you do then now is a good time to settle your debts! If you are coming back next year you don't have to return all your books but please remember to keep them renewed, especially if you are going to be going away for pleasure or on business. Other readers will still be able to request items which may prevent you from renewing. As usual we will be sending out emails to remind you when items are due back or if they have been requested.

Photocopying & printing changes
We will be getting new photocopiers over the summer which will also be used for printing. We will no longer have copy cards as paying for copying will be done in the same way as paying for printing. If you have a copy card please do not add any more money to it than is necessary for immediate use form now on. More information about this will be available soon and notices will be going up by the card dispensers.

Building works
The area where we keep our videos and DVDs, along with the Assistive Technology Centre is going to have a make-over during the vacation which includes the dismantling of the old issue desk - for those of you who can remember our old entrance. Final plans are still being drawn up but this will give us a better layout of study spaces and a bigger area for users of the ATC. It is also intended that the toilets just outside the library will be brought into the library space which is something that we are often asked about. All of this work means that there is going to be some unavoidable disruption and noise. The main effect will be that the Reading Room will be inaccessible so we will be offering a fetching service during the work. We will temporarily relocate the computers in the ATC. Again more details will be given when the plans are complete.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Give us your views and win £100 in John Lewis vouchers!

The Library is conducting a survey of students and wants to hear what you think of the Library and its services. This will help us to improve what we provide to you. Those who complete the questionnaire will be entered into a prize draw.
First prize - £100 in John Lewis vouchers
2nd prize - £50 in John Lewis vouchers
Five prizes of £10 in John Lewis vouchers.
The survey is available until 25th. June 2010 at:

Monday, 22 March 2010

Mobile access to the catalogue

Ever been on the bus, out shopping, or attending a sporting event when you suddenly had the urge to find out if the library has a book in stock? Well with our new AquaBrowser catalogue help is at hand. The accessible text-only option also seems to work very well on a number of mobile devices and being text-only it loads very quickly which is handy if your connection to the internet is not very strong.

We would be very pleased to hear any comments about using mobile devices to access the catalogue this way. Please note that if you want to place a request on an item that is out, or want to look at your record you will be passed to the old-style catalogue which is not mobile friendly.

The full URL of the accessible version is : but there is a shortened version which might be easier to enter on a device without a keyboard: (please note that this is case sensitive).

We will be working on the new catalogue interface over the next few weeks so would welcome any comments about that as well. There is a feedback form linked from the standard version of AquaBrowser or you can go straight to it here:

Easter disruption - update

Well as the more observant of you will have noticed the library system is still very much working today with full access to the catalogue. Due to some issues encountered in testing the migration to our new server the work has been delayed for a week in order to make sure that when we do move over it all goes smoothly and with as little downtime as possible. The work is now scheduled for Monday 29th March.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Easter vacation 2010

Having seemingly only recently got through the Christmas vacation we are now looking forward to Easter, and with luck an improvement in the weather.

First the good news - we will continue to be open from 08:30-23:45 each day. The exceptions to this will be over the Easter weekend when our hours will be as follows:
  • Thursday 1st April 10.00 - 20.00
  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 2nd - 5th April CLOSED
  • Tuesday 6th April 10.00 - 20.00
Please note that the College is officially closed from 18:00 on Wednesday 31 March 2010 to 09:00 on Wednesday, 7 April 2010. Full details of the official dates are at:

Now for some news about disruptions to services.

We are replacing the server that runs the library management system, the system that controls the catalogue and the circulation of material plus many other things besides. The current server is now some six years old and is on borrowed time. The scheduled date for the migration to the new server is Monday 22nd March. We hope that the process will be relatively straightforward but we have been advised by our suppliers to be prepared for the work to take two days. During this time we will be using a back up system to issue items and although we will try to keep the catalogue going it will inevitably start to be less accurate with regard to the loan status of items. Renewals and requests will not be possible, but we will not charge any fines on those days. As the work progresses we will keep readers informed about progress.

There is also going to be some work carried out on the Costa Coffee counter in order to make it safer for staff working there. This will create some noise which will affect the library, although we have been informed that this will be kept to a minimum. The dates we have been given for this work are: Wednesday 31st March, Thursday 1st April and Tuesday 6th–Thursday 9th April from 0700 – 1600. Rooms 151, 152 and 153 have been booked on 1st–6th April for readers who wish to study away from the noise.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Extended opening hours start tomorrow

We will be extending our opening hours from Saturday 27th February until Friday 11th June inclusive.

We will be opening earlier at weekends (from 8.30am) on Saturdays and Sundays and staying open later on weekdays (until 11.45pm).

For our full opening hours and details of staffed and self service times, please see

Monday, 11 January 2010

Help with using the Library

If you are a new student starting this term, or if you would like some help with using some of our resources then the following may be of interest.

Introduction to the Library sessions
We are running a half-hour session for new students each evening this week (11th-15th January) at 17:00 in the Library Seminar Room. These cover the things you need to know about getting started on using the library and include a demonstration of the library catalogue. There is no need to book, just turn up. The Library Seminar Room is on the first floor of the library, but if you are not sure please ask at the Issue Desk or at the Help Desk for directions.

Saturday sessions
We will be running sessions during January and February on some of our resources. These are as follows:
  • 16th January - Introduction to using the library catalogue and e-journals. 12pm, repeated at 2pm
  • 30th January - Introduction to legal information. 12pm, repeated at 2pm
  • 6th February - Searching the Psychological literature. 12pm, repeated at 2pm
  • 13th February - Using the Citation Indexes. 12pm and 2pm (For this topic, the 12pm session will be Introductory and the 2pm session will be Advanced)
  • 20th February - E-resources for Philosophy. 12pm, repeated at 2pm
  • 27th February - E-resources for History of Art. 12pm, repeated at 2pm
  • 13th March - Finding company information. 12pm, repeated at 2pm
Please note that you do need to book a place on these courses. You can do this via the form at:

Friday, 8 January 2010

Happy New Year?

A belated Happy New Year to all our readers.

It has been a bit of a week here but compared with much of the country Bloomsbury seems to have got off quite lightly, although some of the local pavements and road surfaces are still rather treacherous.

We were quite pleased with ourselves that on Wednesday we managed to stay open until 22:30 whilst most other university libraries were closing - although to be fair some were almost cut off and term hadn't started unlike here. The weather has however had an effect and we decided to close early yesterday as we didn't have enough staff to open, or not enough who could then get home safely.

This evening we will be open to 22:30 as usual but this will be on a self-service basis from 17:00. Again this mostly due to the difficulties staff, especially those who rely on overground rail services to the south of London, would have in getting home.

We anticipate that the library will open as advertised over the weekend and with luck things might return to normal next week, although the weather forecast is not terribly promising. If you are making a special trip to the library please check our web site for the latest news. We also try to post information on the library catalogue and of course via Twitter. News about cancelled or postponed classes can be found via the college web site and we try to get any changes to our hours included there as well.