Thursday, 22 December 2011

Three sleeps to go!

Christmas day is nearly upon us and SMU will soon be shutting down for the festive period. In line with the rest of the university, the libraries will be closed until the 3rd January. That's no reason not to catch up with your studies on Boxing Day, though, as our online resources are available from our website throughout and can be accessed anytime, anywhere, just as long as you have an internet connection and a valid username (the P-number on your ID card) and password.

We wish you all the very best over this vacation period, however you choose to spend your time, and look forward to seeing you all back again in 2012! Good tidings to you all!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Gwen John – lost watercolours discovered

A collection of 23 paintings by Welsh artist Gwen John (1876-1939) have been discovered in the archives of Princeton University Library. You can find out more from this BBC News article and this blog entry from Princeton’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. This is a significant find, particularly as Gwen John’s work was rarely exhibited in her lifetime. The watercolours are currently on display in the university’s Firestone Library, but only until the 31st December, so you’ll have to hurry across the pond to New Jersey to catch them before the end of next week!

It’s unlikely that many SMU staff and students will make it to Princeton to see this collection, but it provides a perfect excuse for us all to find out a bit more about the woman herself. During her lifetime, Gwen was somewhat overshadowed by her artist brother Augustus John, but in recent times she has risen in status. She led a fascinating life – taught by Whistler, she modelled for and became romantically involved with Rodin for a time – so why not look her up on our databases Oxford Reference Online or Art Full Text? You’ll also find lots of books about Gwen John and her brother at Griffith Library on our Dynevor campus – just look them up on our catalogue, Talis Prism.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Introducing your subject librarian...

Image: Idea go /

Hello, my name is Erica Fothergill. I am the Assistant Librarian who specialises in looking after the academic information needs of the students and staff within the Faculty of Applied Design and Engineering here at Swansea Metropolitan University. My qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Information and Library Studies. I am based at the Owen Library on the Mount Pleasant Campus and my contact details are shown on the subject areas for Applied Design and Engineering, Built and Natural Environment, and Computing which are shown on the Library web pages. You are welcome to contact me to find out what resources and services are available to help you with your coursework and research.

Monday, 12 December 2011

What the Dickens?

Charles Dickens, that is! The Victorians contributed a great deal to our idea of a traditional Christmas – cards, trees, and even the ubiquitous Christmas robin can all be traced back to nineteenth-century Britain. Arguably, no Victorian has had a bigger influence on our notion of Christmas than Charles Dickens himself, so it seems appropriate to think about the man and his work at this time of year. He was born in 1812, so 2012 will mark his bicentennial. There are sure to be lots of celebrations and events to mark the occasion, including a Dickens season on the BBC this Christmas. Look out for lots of film and television adaptations, new and old, of the author’s novels and stories!

If you’d like to find out more about Charles Dickens’ life and work, try our databases Oxford Reference Online and Literature Online. Many of Dickens’ novels are available to borrow from Townhill Library, including a collection of his Christmas stories – A Christmas Carol (the ultimate festive tale!), The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man. Perfect for getting you in the mood for some seasonal cheer! If your tired eyes are feeling a bit over-worked this late in the term, BBC Learning has an audio version of A Christmas Carol available on their website: For you budding primary school teachers out there, there are even teacher’s notes available to accompany the reading!

All this is sure to get you in a festive mood and banish any “Bah! Humbug!” feelings brought on by a busy term! Enjoy this final week, and in the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us every one!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

On this day in history...

...the world was shocked by the fatal shooting of Beatle John Lennon, outside his New York home in 1980. Though quite a young child at the time, I personally recollect seeing the story on the news and I'm sure they played one of his songs as a tribute, 'Woman'.

If you are interested in seeing videos of news stories or programme scripts relating to this story and others, take a look at our database 'NewsFilm Online'. It is a JISC funded service from the ITN and Reuters archive and contains over three thousand hours of footage and around sixty thousand stories.

SMU students and staff can access NewsFilm Online via the library web pages then click on the 'Online Resources A-Z' list, and then 'Databases'. You'll see Newsfilm Online on the list, and if you click on the title it will take you into the resource. Lastly, you can access it both on campus, and off-campus also with your current network login details.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Christmas opening hours...

Image: Simon Howden /

It's the end of term next week (is that cheering I can hear?!) but did you realise that all SMU libraries are still open during part of the vacation as well? All three libraries will be closed from December 23rd until January 2nd, but for the rest of the vacation period we'll be open for business. For full details of our festive opening hours at all three libraries please check the library website...oh, and don't forget, all our online resources will still be available even when we are closed! Happy Christmas everyone!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

SCONUL Access survey

SCONUL (the Society of College, National and University Libraries) wants to understand better the requirements and expectations of students, researchers and staff for library use away from their ‘home’ institution - and how they are being or might be satisfied. So this survey is about identifying and providing the services people need.

This survey is a key part of this work. It is open to any person currently involved in higher education in the UK or in Ireland, running from Wednesday 16th November to Friday 9th December. The survey is being conducted for SCONUL by Sero Consulting.

The survey is relevant to any HE library user even if you never used an access scheme. It covers your expectations as well as your experiences of actual visits

- Your reasons for visiting another library
- The resources, facilities, services and support you’d be hoping to access
- Satisfaction factors that matter when visiting another library
- Your suggestions and recommendations

It should only take 5-6 minutes of your time and so it is set up to complete in one sitting – you cannot return without re-starting. Please go to to take part, and by doing so you could even win one of six £30 Amazon vouchers!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Help JISC TechDis to choose a voice

Some of you might be familiar with the 'read aloud' feature for some articles on our EBSCO and Art Full Text databases (see our blog post for more details). It can be really helpful for students who prefer, or need to, hear information rather than reading it. JISC TechDis, an advisory service in technology and inclusion in the education sectors, is keen to make this sort of feature more widely available. First, though, they need to choose some voice actors to form the basis of the voices for their synthetic speech voices. That's where you come in! They'd like as many students as possible to listen to and rate the seven voices up for consideration. It'll only take a few minutes, but the deadline for feedback is Monday (5th December), so you'll need to get in quickly! Follow the link if you'd like to take part:

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Library Closures Wednesday 30th November

As a result of the UCU and Unison strike scheduled for tomorrow, the Griffith Library at Dynevor and also the Townhill Library will be closed due to staff shortage.

Please note however that the Owen Library at Mount Pleasant will be open, and you can use their resources/facilities from 8.45am – 9.00pm. Any items borrowed that are due for return tomorrow can be renewed online, in person at the Owen Library, or by telephone (01792 481 141 – Owen Library) subject to the normal library rules and regulations.

You will also have access to the library e-resources as normal.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Julia Donaldson MBE, OOF (One of Our Favourites)

Julia Donaldson has had a very good year, what with receiving an MBE and being made Children’s Laureate. We at SMU Libraries think that sounds like a jolly good excuse to discover or re-discover her excellent books, many of which are available in our Teaching Practice collection at Townhill Library.

Donaldson is probably most famous for The Gruffalo, the story of a clever mouse who manages to outwit a string of predators whilst on a walk through the deep, dark wood. Well worth a read! You might have seen the star-studded television adaptation that has been shown on the BBC for the last two Christmases, in which case you’ll know what a charming story this is. You can find out more about this animated version here: Hopefully we can all enjoy it again this Christmas, but until then, come and borrow a copy of the book from Townhill Library!

However, there’s more to Julia than just the Gruffalo. Not only has she written many more picture books for children (Room on the Broom is probably my favourite), but she’s also been very busy this year speaking out in support of libraries as part of her role as Children’s Laureate. Find out more about Children’s Laureates past and present on the official website (, which includes some blog posts on Julia’s thoughts about libraries: We knew she was our favourite for a reason!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Introducing your subject librarian...

Hello, my name is Emily Hywel and I look after the Business Studies resources with Alison Evans. I have a degree in English Literature from Bangor University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Studies from Manchester Metropolitan University.

I was a bit of a late starter academically, so after leaving school at 16 I did a secretarial course, then worked as a temp and waitressed over the next few years. It wasn’t till my mid twenties that I decided to do an Access to HE course at my local FE College in Sheffield.

I found studying again after working full-time a real shock to the system. I was also a terrible library user, I didn’t use the catalogue, I wasn’t sure what a journal was for ages, and I never asked for help! Through my own experiences I understand how confusing libraries can be, but it was partly because of these experiences that I decided to train as a librarian after I graduated. My advice to any students who are getting frustrated with their research is please come in and ask us for help. That’s what we’re here for!

As for outside of work, I spend most of my time running around after my 18 month old daughter, who has just learnt how to run, and my three and a half year old son. I also passed my driving test last month - first time! So we’re making the most of the beautiful Gower beaches on any dry days we have!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Winners of Library iTunes vouchers!

Once again, during library induction at the start of the academic year, new students were given the opportunity to win iTunes vouchers by correctly completing library quizzes. The winning entries have recently been drawn, and our 2011 winners are: Laura Newman (Art & Design), Richard Renfrey (Education) and Adam Tsang (Public Services). Laura and Richard are pictured each receiving their £15 worth of vouchers, from Alison Scanlon at the Griffith Library.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Introducing your subject librarian...

Hello, my name is Alison Scanlon, and I’m one of two Deputy Heads of our Library & Learning Resources service here at SMU. I’m based at the Dynevor Campus, and have been looking after the library requirements of Art & Design students and staff since the campus opened in 2005. Prior to that I was based at the Owen Library from January 2000, so I’ve worked for this organisation for quite a while now!

Qualification-wise, I have a joint-honours degree in Information & Library Studies with Education, and I’m also a CILIP Chartered Librarian and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. As well as working in the University sector, during my career to date I’ve also worked in a couple of libraries in the FE sector. In my current role, I’ve had the opportunity to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, singer/songwriter Cerys Matthews and author Joe Dunthorne! You never know who you might see in a library!

On a personal level, I’m married and live on the outskirts of Swansea with my husband and a recent addition to the family – a rescue kitten we’ve named ‘Hank’. In my spare time I like reading, gardening, eating out (who doesn’t!) and travelling - the attached photo was taken last December in Kitzbuhel, Austria on my first skiing trip. I also love nature, animals and am concerned about our environment. I’m on the University’s Environment Committee so hopefully am contributing to improvements on a local scale at least. I’m also on various Art & Design committees representing the library and liaising with staff and students.

So if you are an Art & Design student (or member of staff), and need any help using the library resources at the Griffith Library at Dynevor, or have any questions about our service please don’t hesitate to get in touch! I look forward to seeing you during this academic year.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Successful author visit!

SMU students and staff were delighted to welcome Swansea-born author, Joe Dunthorne, to our Townhill Library last Tuesday afternoon.

Joe spent a wonderful hour with us, talking about his work as well as reading extracts from his novels 'Submarine' and 'Wild Abandon,' and some of his poetry. Afterwards, he answered questions and signed copies of his novels.

The event had been organised as part of the South West and Mid Wales Regional Library Partnership 'Reading Roadshow' campaign, to promote books and inspire reading.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Introducing your subject librarian...

Hello. My name is Suzanne Taylor and I’ve worked in Townhill Library for five years, two as a Library Assistant and three as a Trainee Assistant Librarian, prior to which I was a primary school teacher. The subject areas I support are: Performance & Literature, Counselling & Psychology and Educational Studies. To become a fully-fledged Assistant Librarian, I’m doing a Master’s degree in Economics and Library Information Studies via a distance learning course with Aberystwyth University. I’ve just completed enough modules to qualify for a postgraduate diploma and remove ‘trainee’ from the sign on my office door. I do however have a few nail biting months ahead waiting for the Examining Board to confirm my results. Then there’s a fifteen thousand word dissertation in front of me!!!

My favourite things...

Listening to live music from bands covering the sixties. One of the bands I saw last year was New Amen Corner and they were fantastic! I’m a fan of the Beatles, so standing on Mathew Street and hearing the song Eleanor Rigby floating up the steps of the Cavern was a truly magical moment. I also have a soft spot for Elvis.....especially as he was in the ‘68 Comeback Special’.

My two favourite TV programmes are: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (Sheldon is brilliant!) and ‘The Dog Whisperer’ with Cesar Millan (Cesar is a genius!). I’m looking forward to having a dog in the New Year, as by then the garden will be securely fenced and a dog basket will have been bought, so any ‘choosing and looking after your dog’ advice in advance will be gratefully received!

I love my job and can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be. Being able to look out of the window and see the sea still makes me feel as if I’m on holiday, even though I’ve been living in Swansea now for five years. That’s it really, except to say, I’ve enjoyed meeting so many new and returning students this term and hope to see you all again soon.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

In Memoriam...

To mark Remembrance Day this coming Sunday, our University Records and Archives officer has once again put together a small display to commemorate the bravery of our students who gave their lives for their country during the first and second World Wars. It is on view in the Owen Library, Mount Pleasant Campus until November 21st if you would like to come and take a look. We also have Royal British Legion Poppies for sale at the ground floor main desk.

If you are feeling particularly inspired by this why not borrow something topical from our vast library collection...some war poetry maybe? We have The Poetical Works of Rupert Brooke at Townhill Library (shelfmark 821.912/BRO), which includes this classic poem:

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Image: Evgeni Dinev /

Monday, 7 November 2011

Would you like to brush up on your Internet research skills?

Of course you would! There is a wealth of good academic resources available online, but finding it amongst the mass of unreliable, biased and / or irrelevant information can be tricky. Your SMU librarian will be happy to help you identify the best online resources for your subject area, but if you'd like to hone your skills further, you could try the Internet Detective. It's part of the Intute Virtual Training Suite and was created as part of the Learn Higher project.

Internet Detective is a freely available, online tutorial designed to help you evaluate the quality of websites and point you in the right direction when it comes to selecting academically sound sources of information for your assignments. (Your library website is a good place to start!) Most of us think we're on the ball when it comes to Internet searching, but you might be surprised at what you learn. Were you aware that search engines don't search the whole Internet? For instance, there's lots of information in library databases that doesn't show up in a Google search. Internet Detective will help you find good information online, offer tips on evaluating that information and give advice on referencing and avoiding plagiarism. You can access the tutorial here: Definitely worth a look!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Introducing your subject librarian...

Hello, my name is Alison Evans. I am a part-time Assistant Librarian based in the Owen Library, and I look after the business subject area with Emily Hywel. I have a degree in history, and qualified as a librarian by completing an MA in Library and Information Studies at Loughborough University. I have worked in academic libraries at the universities of Kent and Reading. I have also spent some time working as a childrens' librarian - a very different experience, at the other end of the education environment and great fun. I'm still trying to figure out how I can sneak a few stories, glue pots and glitter into our user education sessions here at SMU!! I first came to SMU when it was still Swansea Institute of HE. I was then based in Townhill library and helped look after the education and art subject areas. I took a break from (paid!) work when my children were small and came back to SMU in 2009.

I love reading and riffling through books! I get through a huge range of material - anything that takes my fancy, from the big prize winners through to the potboilers I read on the bus. I'm a sucker for history and historical fiction tomes. I'm currently working my way through C J Sansom's Shardlake series - fab writing, with lots of historical mystery, and high (generally grisly) body count. What's not to like?? I've also been known to sneak a peek at my childrens' reads. Having spent two weeks travelling round Scotland in the summer, enclosed in the car with the whole family and a cache of Horrible History CDs, my current party trick is to be virtually word perfect in the wonderful spoof songs from the BBC series. If you've not yet encountered The Viking Song, have a look on YouTube...

Monday, 31 October 2011

IEEE/IET Electronic Library (IEL)

Are you looking for information on technology that is relevant to your studies?

Whatever course you are studying, try searching the IEEE/IET Electronic Library (IEL). The IEL can be accessed on the Online Resources - A-Z listing, and on the subject areas for Applied Design and Engineering, Built and Natural Environment, and Computing at (select Databases).

Access is available for use on and off campus, so take a look!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fiendish fiction and devilish DVDs at SMU Libraries

It's Halloween on Monday. Get yourself in the the mood with a suitably spooky book or DVD from your SMU Library. There's plenty of horror fiction to read at Townhill Library, from Bram Stoker's Dracula to Daphne du Maurier's Don't Look Now. For younger readers, or young at heart adults, how about Winnie the Witch, or Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak? You'll also find Hammer Horrors and Hitchcock classics in the film sections (that's 791.4372, Dewey Decimal fans) of Townhill Library and the Griffith Library on the Dynevor campus. Mount Pleasant staff and students needn't miss out as you can visit and borrow from any SMU library, or ask to have items sent between libraries for you to collect.

We're not the only ones thinking about a good read for Halloween. Author Neil Gaiman is encouraging people to give scary books as a Halloween gift. You can read about his plan in this blog post from the Guardian. You can also borrow some of his books from your SMU library!

Let us know if you have any favourite creepy reads. I like a bit of Edgar Allan Poe myself.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Just a reminder...

...that the closing date for the Newsbank competition to win an iPad 2 is a week today, Monday 31st October! See our blog post from 3rd October for more details - you can pick up an entry form from any of our SMU Libraries.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

And the winner is...

The Sense of an Ending! Yes, the 2011 Man Booker prize has been awarded to Julian Barnes for his story of a man coming to terms with his past. Barnes has previously been shortlisted for Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert's Parrot (1984), but this is the first time he has won the prize. Find out more about these titles and keep up with the latest Man Booker news on the website:

We blogged about the 2011 shortlist back in September. The winner and runners up are now available to borrow from Townhill Library (except for Pigeon English, which we're still waiting for at the time of writing!). You'll also find the Julian Barnes titles mentioned above and winners and shortlisted books from previous years. With those autumn nights drawing in, now's the perfect time to get stuck into a good book!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

SMU students and staff - come and meet author Joe Dunthorne!

Joe Dunthorne, author of the novel 'Submarine' (set in Swansea and released as a film earlier this year) will be coming to our Townhill Library on Tuesday 8th November as part of the CyMAL Reading Roadshow campaign taking place in south and mid Wales libraries this autumn.

So...if you would like to meet Joe, and listen to him talk about and read from some of his work, do come along to the Townhill Library that afternoon at 2.00pm. In the meantime as a taster, you can borrow 'Submarine' or his latest novel 'Wild Abandon' from the Townhill Library, or watch 'Submarine' on film, available from the Griffith Library at Dynevor.

So make a note in your diaries ready for the 8th November - we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hospitality & Tourism Complete

Image: sixninepixels /

A brand new library database is now available for all SMU students and staff to use - Hospitality & Tourism Complete. This is a FULL-TEXT database providing extensive access to journal articles, industry reports, conference proceedings and news within the subject areas of hospitality and tourism. Coverage dates back to 1965 with almost 1 million records indexed, of which more than 490 different publications are available in full-text.

You can access this new resource via our library website.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Introducing your subject librarian...

Hi, my name is Sam Scoulding and I'm an Assistant Librarian here at the Owen Library on the Mount Pleasant campus. I look after the subject areas of Leisure, Tourism & Sport, Public Services, and I have plenty of variety! I've been working here for 15 years now (not that I'm counting!) but I haven't always been a librarian...

Having got my B.A (Hons) degree in English Literature from Swansea University in 1996, I first started off as a Library Assistant for Swansea public library service, working in Gorseinon, Pontarddulais, and eventually Swansea Central Library. That was followed by 8 years as a Library Assistant here at SMU (or Swansea Institute of Higher Education as it was then!) until I eventually decided to take the plunge and study for my Postgraduate Diploma in Information and Library Studies as a distance learner with Aberystwyth University. During that time I worked as a Trainee Assistant Librarian here, before I finally qualified in December 2008. So having done my fair share of studying, I like to think I'm in a good position to understand what our SMU students are going through!

Outside of work I enjoy going to the cinema, theatre, walking, and travelling to new places - just as well since I'm a tourism librarian. In fact, I've just got back from a fantastic trip to Croatia and have already got holiday brochures for next year! I could probably get struck off as a librarian for saying this but, I'm not an avid reader...unless you count celebrity gossip magazines!! I am, however, a big fan of social media and am very active on Facebook and Twitter, and also contribute to our official library blog.

So, that's me! Pop in and say 'hi' sometime soon, I look forward to meeting you.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

SMU Sustainability Questionnaire

Pop into any of our three Libraries and complete a short SMU questionnaire on sustainability, for your chance to win a prize (to be confirmed).

You can also pick up a free pen and bag in the process!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Win an iPad 2!

SMU Libraries are taking part in a Libraries Together scheme 'Reading Roadshow' competition funded by the Welsh Government, which gives you the chance to win an iPad 2!

Call in to any of our libraries and pick up an entry form - you'll just need to answer a set of 3 easy questions based on the online resource NewsBank. This database can be accessed both on and off campus via the library website, and contains thousands of full-text articles from more than 370 UK daily and weekly newspapers.

So come in and collect a form, and please note that the closing date is Monday 31st October 2011! Good luck!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

New SMU students - see you at Freshers Fayre!

Some of the library staff will be attending Freshers Fayre at the Townhill Campus tomorrow, so do come over to our stand and have a chat with us about our many services and resources to help you with your course. We'll also be giving away some freebies such as bookmarks, and chocolates...mmm!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Have you collected your SMU ID card yet?

Calling all new (and returning) students...if you have completed the enrolment process, either online or in person, we should have your SMU ID card ready for collection at the library on your designated campus. You will need to bring some appropriate photo ID with you, such as your passport or driver's license.

Your SMU ID card will be required as proof of ID when on campus, it will also be your library card, printing and photocopying card, provide door access to certain buildings, and the P number on the front doubles as your username for computers and online access to library e-resources.

Your card will last for the duration of your studies here at SMU and there is a £10 charge for replacement of lost cards, so keep it safe! Also, due to the microchip technology embedded within your new card we request that you don't punch holes in them (to attach to keyrings etc) and keep them as flat as possible. To this end (and because we're feeling generous!) we'll give you a free lanyard and card holder as well.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Happy birthday F. Scott!

If he was still alive, American author F.Scott Fitzgerald would be celebrating his 115th birthday this Saturday, the 24th September. His novels chronicle the Jazz Age of good times and fast living for the social elite in America. His tales of wealthy, glamorous people spiralling towards self-destruction feel just as relevant today as they must have done in the 1920s! Townhill Library has a number of Fitzgerald's novels and collections of short stories available for loan, as well as the DVD of The Great Gatsby, starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow and a very young Patsy Kensit. Come in and borrow something!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Nice to meet you!

It was nice to meet some of our new international students at the International Student Welcome Event this morning, held at the Townhill campus. We look forward to seeing you again when you come for your library induction sessions.

Library staff will also be at Freshers Fayre a week tomorrow and we look forward to having the opportunity to chat to all new students there. You will also have the opportunity to ask us any questions about the SMU Library service and resources, that perhaps you haven't thought of before...and we'll be giving away free chocolates! See you there...

Monday, 19 September 2011

Introducing your subject librarian...

Welcome to the first in a series of posts in which we will introduce you to the SMU librarians who are here to support your subject areas. First of all, we have Philippa Price who supports Swansea School of Education on the Townhill campus.

I have been an Assistant Librarian at SMU for nearly six years now. This is my first librarian position, but not my first job in a library. I spent a brief time as a library assistant at Swindon College, a further education college in, wait for it, Swindon. Before that, I was a library assistant on Five Valleys Mobile Library, based in Stroud. This was an idyllic job that involved being driven round the Cotswolds area and drinking cups of tea provided by our lovely patrons while I helped them choose their books. As wonderful as it was though, overall I prefer working in the higher education sector. Townhill Library is certainly much busier than the mobile library ever was!

To become a librarian, I gained a Masters in Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University. Aberystwyth is something of a home from home for me as I also read American Studies there as an undergraduate. It's wet and windy in the winter, but it's a lovely town and I try to go back for visits when I can. Aber gave me a taste for living by the sea, so I'm very pleased to have ended up in Swansea, especially with such a stunning view of Mumbles from work!

Outside of work, I am, of course, an avid reader. (What kind of librarian would I be if I didn't like books?) I've just finished The little stranger by Sarah Waters, which I very much enjoyed. Aside from books, I go swimming a couple of times a week and go to the cinema fairly regularly. In the evenings, when I'm not swimming or at the pictures, I tend to veg out in front of the TV. I'm very excited about the return of Strictly Come Dancing and will be rooting for Jason Donovan to win!

That's me in a nutshell. I've already met some PGCE students at their library inductions and am looking forward to meeting many more Education students over the next month or so. I hope you've enjoyed this little insight into my life. Don't judge me too harshly for being a Jason Donovan fan!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

It's Roald Dahl Day!

This celebration of Dahl's work takes place every year on the 13th September, the author's birthday. This year is extra special as it's also the 50th anniversary of James and the Giant Peach. Find out more about Roald Dahl Day and the man himself on the official website:

Come and rediscover Roald Dahl in Townhill Library, where we have a number of his books available to borrow. Choose from his children's books, his autobiographies or some Tales of the Unexpected. You're bound to find something you like!

Has anyone got any favourites they'd like to share? I remember enjoying Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes as a child. For anyone who hasn't come across it, it's a wickedly funny collection of poems based on some classic fairy tales, retold in Roald Dahl's unmistakable style. Brilliant!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Townhill Library open evenings and Saturdays

For most of you, the start of term is still a week or two away, but with the arrival of the Secondary PGCEs cohort today (welcome!), it's almost back to business as usual for SMU's Townhill Library. We aren't quite back to a full term-time service yet, but opening hours for this week are as follows:-

8.30am - 9pm Monday to Wednesday
8.30am - 5pm Thursday
8.30am - 7pm Friday
10am-4pm Saturday

Please note the 5pm closure on Thursday. This may continue for a few weeks due to staff shortages. Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause. Keep an eye on the Notices section of the library homepage for updates on opening times.

Owen Library and Griffith Library are still operating vacation hours, but Mount Pleasant and Dynevor students are welcome to use Townhill Library, so please feel free to call in and take advantage of our extended hours.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Welcome to our new Foundation Art students!

We'd like to extend a warm welcome to all Foundation Art students who are beginning their studies at SMU today!

Your Library induction session will take place next week, when we will introduce you to the wide-ranging resources and services that your SMU Library has to offer, to help you with your course. You will also be able to collect your University membership card at the same time.

In the meantime, if you are on the Dynevor campus please feel free to come and take a look around, you'll find us next to main reception. We look forward to meeting you all soon!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

2011 Man Booker shortlist

Back in July, we told you about the books that had made it on to the Man Booker longlist for 2011. The list has been whittled down even further and the shortlist of six titles has now been announced! They are:-

Julian Barnes The sense of an ending (Jonathan Cape - Random House)
Carol Birch Jamrach's menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt The Sisters brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan Half blood blues (Serpent's Tail)
Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)
A. D. Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic)

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 18th October! Find out more on the Man Booker website: Have you any favourites from the shortlist? Or any others you think should have got through but didn't? Let us know!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Welcome to our Primary PGCE students!

This week sees the arrival of our new Primary PGCE students on Townhill Campus. It's a sure sign that the new academic year is upon us! The library staff would like to welcome you to SMU and wish you all the very best in what is sure to be a hectic but rewarding year on the PGCE course.

Your library induction is booked for Thursday. This is when we'll tell you about our resources and let you know how to get the most out of your library service, but feel free to call in for a wander before then. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have. If you get a chance, you might like to have a look at our Teaching Practice section on the first floor of Townhill Library. This collection offers a selection of picture books, fiction and non-fiction books for children which you're sure to make use of in the year ahead.

We look forward to meeting you all!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Dynevor Library to be re-named

The Dynevor Library is to be re-named 'The Griffith Library at Dynevor', in memory of Sue Griffith, Art & Design lecturer, who sadly passed away at the end of July.

Sue was also our Art & Design library representative, and was a great advocate of libraries, and indeed was instrumental in the development of the Art & Design library stock over the last twenty years. She will be missed as a colleague and friend at Dynevor, but hopefully this is a fitting tribute to her, and during the autumn term an official naming ceremony will take place.

I'd like to leave you with a quote from Sue, taken from a blog post earlier on in the year...

"I love the atmosphere of libraries and the whole concept of sharing books (knowledge)... libraries are luscious."

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

You've got mail!

Image: jscreationzs /

Exactly 29 years ago today, on August 30th 1982, email as we know it was born (I'm suddenly feeling very old!!). Although many claim to have invented email, V.A. Shiva actually began developing it in 1978 as a 14 year old. He was responsible for transforming 'office mail' into the very first email system, for which he won a science innovation award in 1981, eventually obtaining the first U.S Copyright for 'Email' in 1982. Have a look at this infographic by Shiva to see a timeline of the history of email.

Your SMU libraries offer access to a whole host of IT facilities, including email, so why not pop in and make the most of the technology at your fingertips!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Bank Holiday closure

Please note that our three SMU Libraries will be closed over the bank holiday weekend, including Monday 29th August. We re-open (still on vacation hours) on Tuesday 30th August, and any books and other items that you borrow will still not be due for return until October!

So have a nice long weekend, and make the most of your SMU Libraries during the rest of the summer vacation!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Quote for the day

Once again, we've been looking through The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (available via the database Oxford Reference Online on our library web pages) for words to inspire you. Here's the latest in our semi-regular series:-

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
Richard Steele (1672-1729), Irish-born essayist and dramatist, in The Tatler no. 147 (18th March 1710)

So if the weather leaves something to be desired this bank holiday weekend, don't worry about being stuck in the house, just pick up a book and give your mind a workout instead!

Friday, 19 August 2011

World Photography Day

For all you SMU photography students, and everyone else who appreciates the medium, today is World Photography Day! For more information and to see some great pics, take a look at their website:

(The attached photo of Castle Square Gardens, Swansea city centre was taken by our very own SMU photographer, Rob Mitchell)

Lastly, for a great range of photography books and journals, come and check out our Dynevor Library!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Kindle Dilemma...

Many SMU bloggers have joined me in praising the new reading experience which Kindle offers. However, have we stopped to consider the likely impact this will have on the future of the good old high street bookseller?

I can't remember when I last bought from Waterstones. I used to spend a fortune there. I visit the Cardiff branch at least once a week. Yet, I'm ashamed to say I use my visits to choose the books I eventually by from Amazon. Does this sound familiar?

Last week, the entire Waterstones fiction stock was included in their 3 for 2 offer. I was in a righteous mood and determined to make a purchase. However, they didn't have the titles I wanted. Instead, I whipped out my Kindle, had a fnatastic time surfing the more extensively stocked Kindle store and snapped-up 3 more downloads. Even better value than 3 for 2!

It pricks my conscience that as a new Kindle devotee I am further helping Amazon increase its iron grip on the book market. Bookshops are likely to suffer in the long term. And I would hate not to have a well stocked bookshop for browsing.

So, is Kindle bringing us closer to that dreadful scenario - the bookshop-free high street? Borders has disappeared and if Waterstones foundered, we'd be left with just WH Smith. Perhaps I should take an ethical approach and split my purchases evenly between Kindle ebooks and print copies bought in a bookshop? Realisitically, it boils down to the fact that I'm not prepared to pay the higher prices levied by bookstores. I am not alone. Many would mourn the demise of the high street bookseller, but in the interest of their pockets are exclusively patronising online suppliers.

To safeguard their future, bookshops need to change, though I'm not sure how. Some bookshops already sell ereaders. Should they have instore download stations for purchasing ebooks? But then, why would you bother going into a bookshop to buy downloads when you can do this at home or on the move with the new Kindle 3G?

The 'book' will survive but I am not so confident about the longevity of the non-virtual bookseller. If Kindle changes the nature of book retailing, I'm not convinced this will be for the better. I certainly feel uneasy about contributing to this trend. Sadly, I know I will not be changing my behaviour. I will continue to buy my books online and most of these will now be Kindle formats. I also know that in doing so I may well be shooting myself in the foot. How do other blog readers stand on this issue? Over to you...

I'm going to sign off now. Thanks to my ex-colleagues at SMU for inviting me to contribute to their excellent blog and thanks for all the interesting responses. Happy Kindling!!

Nigel Morgan

Monday, 8 August 2011

Cast your votes for World Book Night 2012

World Book Night first took place on the 5th March this year, two days after World Book Day. On that night, one million books were given away for free by 20,000 volunteers across the UK and Ireland. The idea was to read the book and then pass it on to someone else (in your own time, not all on the same night!). People gathered in shops, libraries, pubs and other meeting places to share their love of reading and pick up a free book or two. You can see 2011's 25 chosen titles on the World Book Night website.

The event will be back in 2012, but this time on the 23rd April to coincide with UNESCO's International Day of the Book. The organisers need our help in choosing next year's titles and are asking members of the public to contribute their top ten favourite books to the website ( You've got until the 31st August 2011 to cast your votes, so get cracking. While you're on the website, you'll also be able to see the top 100 books chosen so far and find out how to apply to be a World Book Night giver. Famous authors have contributed their top ten to the World Book Night blog, so be sure to take a look at that too.

Once you've made your choice, why not share it with us? It would be interesting to see if there are any trends in the SMU community!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Appy Days!

Image: Idea go /

According to a report published today by the telecoms regulator Ofcom, 1 in 3 adults in the UK now use smartphones as part of their daily lives. This number will surely increase as more and more information becomes available via downloadable 'apps' or in mobile compatible format. You may be reading this blog on your phone right now!

As an avid iPhone user myself, I was excited to learn that many of our SMU library databases are now available as apps, downloadable from the iTunes store. Click on the links below to find out more from our database supppliers on how to download and activate their apps...

Science Direct - Supplier Instructions / App details (via iTunes)

Ebsco (includes databases such as Business Source Premier, Sport Discus & Education Research Complete) - Supplier Instructions / App details (via iTunes)

* Please note that all apps are created and maintained by external database providers, not SMU. Any applications downloaded to your personal mobile devices are done so at your own risk. *

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Welcome to all our international students!

This week has seen the arrival of some of our brand new international students, some of whom we'll be meeting later this week for introductory library tours here at the Owen Library in Mount Pleasant. The library staff would like to say a big 'welcome' to you all, we hope you enjoy your time here in Swansea!

Did you also know that we have many items which may be of interest to you here in the library whilst you are getting to know the area...

Why not borrow the Rough Guide to Wales (shelfmark 917.290486/WAL) to find out more about your surroundings and local places of interest? Or you could try the Visit Wales website for more tourist information online.

If you would like to brush up on your English language skills you could also borrow our multimedia pack Teach Yourself English as a Foreign Language (shelfmark 428.24/STE).

Finally, for those days when you're feeling a bit homesick and just want something more familiar as a reminder of home, why not relax with a film from our World Cinema Collection (shelfmark 791.4372). We have a great selection of films in French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and other languages, so hopefully we'll have something for everyone...

We look forward to meeting you all very soon!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

2011 Man Booker longlist announced

The 138 books under consideration for the 2011 Man Booker prize have now been whittled down to just 13 titles. They are:-

Julian Barnes The sense of an ending (Jonathan Cape - Random House)
Sebastian Barry On Canaan's side (Faber)
Carol Birch Jamrach's menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt The Sisters brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan Half blood blues (Serpent's Tail - Profile)
Yvvette Edwards A cupboard full of coats (Oneworld)
Alan Hollinghurst The stranger's child (Picador - Pan Macmillan)
Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)
Patrick McGuiness The last hundred days (Seren Books)
A. D. Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic)
Alison Pick Far to go (Headline Review)
Jane Rogers The testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press)
D. J. Taylor Derby Day (Chatto & Windus - Random House)

In September, the judges will announce a shortlist of six books from this selection, with a winner chosen in October. We'll keep you updated every step of the way, but if you'd like to find out more, take a look at the Man Booker website:

We have a number of previous winners and shortlisted titles available in Townhill Library. Find titles on the Man Booker website, or just come in and browse our English fiction section at shelf mark 823 on the ground floor. Don't forget, books borrowed over the summer won't be due back until the 6th October 2011.

Has anyone out there read any of the books on the longlist? Or have you got any favourites from previous years? I know Emma Donoghue's Room from last year's shortlist was very popular with library staff. Let us know what you think!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Horrid Henry

Have you come across Horrid Henry yet? He's the loveable scamp from Francesca Simon's popular series of children's books. Think Generation Y's answer to Just William or Dennis the Menace! Henry has been a fixture on the small screen for some time with a cartoon series on CITV, but he is now to make his live action, 3D debut on the big screen too. Horrid Henry: The Movie premiered in London on Sunday and will be released nationwide on Friday.

Henry, though, is ultimately a literary character. You can read all about his adventures with Perfect Peter and Moody Margaret in Francesca Simon's books, some of which are available in the Teaching Practice section of Townhill Library. We've even got some translations of Henry's stories, so you can brush up on your Welsh as you read about Henri Helynt!

If you just can't get enough of Horrid Henry, why not take a look at the official website? You can find out all about the books, get the latest news and read about Henry's friends and enemies. You can even find out your Horrid Henry name! ("Lippy Library", since you asked.) Hours of fun!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Cool library quote!

Whilst flicking through one of the latest library-type magazines that made its way to my desk, I came across the following quote:

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library," Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian short-story writer, poet and critic. You can find out more about Jorge Luis Borges from our Oxford Reference Online database, via the library web pages.

Do you have a favourite library-related quote you would like to share with us?

Monday, 18 July 2011

What we are reading

Submarine, by Joe Dunthorne

Submarine, set in our very own Swansea, is a coming of age novel infused with honesty and humour. It deals with some dark issues - depression, adultery, death, alcohol abuse - but manages to keep the laughs coming without dismissing those issues. Oliver, our unreliable narrator, emerges as a very likeable character, but depictions of the earthier aspects of teenage existence can be quite graphic, so approach with caution if you are easily offended! Critics' comparisons to Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) and Adrian Mole are fair, but Oliver and his experiences are firmly rooted in Swansea. Born and brought up here, Dunthorne's book is peppered with recognisable characters and locations which all add to the pleasure if you know the area.

I enjoyed this book enormously and would recommend it to anyone who is not of too sensitive a disposition. The insight it offers into the mind of a teenage boy is touching, amusing, and somewhat educational! The novel is available for loan from the Teaching Practice collection in Townhill Library.

Friday, 15 July 2011

A National Museum of Art for Wales

Wales now has its own National Museum of Art, housed in the existing National Museum, Cardiff!

It has been open for a week, and comprises a single series of integrated galleries containing a mixture of fine and applied art, both historical and contemporary. The opening display includes work by artists Josef Herman, David Hockney and Rachel Whiteread, amongst others.

For further information about the collection, or if you are thinking of taking a visit for an excellent day out, please see the National Museum's website

You can even vote online for your favourite work of art in the galleries!!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Happy Graduation!

Congratulations to all those SMU students who are graduating this week! Wishing you all a happy and prosperous future...

For those of you who will continue to live/work/study in Swansea or the locality and want to be able to borrow from our SMU Libraries as an 'external borrower', please come and speak to one of our librarians for more information.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Rekindle your love of reading - Part 2!

It's the return of our guest blogger, Nigel Morgan from Cardiff University library! After a few weeks of getting to know his new Kindle e-reader he's back to share his musings with us...

A great response to my blog entry on Amazon Kindle last month! So, I thought I'd let you know how the Kindle and I (great title for a musical!) have been getting along.

I've now read 4 complete books and it's been a generally positive experience. Once the eye gets accustomed to a smaller amount of text per page, it is easy to adapt. I can understand why Kindle is so popular with many of those who commented in the blog.

And what fun it is linking to the Kindle store for browsing and buying. I get tempted like a child in a sweet shop. The problem is, it's so easy to just click away and make multiple purchases, magically delivered to your device in an instant. I've gone a bit mad buying a series of CJ Sansom books which I really didn't need. I've also found that it's easy to accidentally purchase a book, though thankfully it's very easy to 'unpurchase'.

I'm disappointed that many of the titles I want to buy are unavailable in Kindle format. I was unable to buy one of my favourite classics Ulysses. Also, Paul Scott's popular Raj Quartet. I've also found that certain books don't fit well into Kindle format: I 'returned' a complete works of Shakespeare in which the alignment of the text was dreadful.

The disadvantages are obvious. I agree with Sue Owens that in dim lighting conditions a standard printed book is better. Though of course you can enlarge the text - I'm wondering whether to get one for my 83 year old mum who will only read large print these days.

Sadly, Kindle isn't great for displaying images. The maps in those Sansom books are illegible - as far as I can tell, You can't zoom into them. And everything is in monochrome. It's not difficult to see the areas in which Amazon will need to make improvements. Another disadvantage: I'm a nosey parker and love seeing what other people are reading on the train or station platform. Kindle doesn't facilitate this. Though, I guess if one is reading something really trashy it is a definite boon!

A welcome surprise is that you can actually 'lend' books to other Kindle owners. Ideal for book groups. And as with all ebooks, searchability is a key advantage. If like me you are a bit of a dope and need to recap on earlier passages, the ability to tap in a keyword and home in on relevant passages is brilliant. I guess this is useful if you are reading something racy and want to home in on the naughty bits!

Well, I certainly intend to carry on using my Kindle though I will not completely forsake printed books - I'm currently wading through a print copy of Name of the Rose, another popular title unavailable for Kindle.

I'll be back to give my final blog entry soon to share some thoughts about the wider implications of Kindle for reading and book production in the future. Happy reading!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Show you care - give your National Library a cwtch!

Your National Library needs you! On Friday 15th July the National Library of Wales is celebrating 100 years since the laying of its foundation stone by King George V. To mark this historic event they are calling upon their many visitors and supporters to form a human chain around the building in Aberystwyth. They have estimated that they will need approximately 450 people to encompass the entire building, so they will need all the help they can get! If you can spare the time and would like to show your support you will need to be there by 2.15pm and wear something red...the lovely people at NLW will reward you with drinks and cake afterwards!

Happy centenary from all your colleagues at Swansea Metropolitan University libraries!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

CIPD Case Studies Extra!

CIPD have released an expanded and updated version of the Case Studies Club - CIPD Case Studies Extra.

This is a more up-to-date interactive service which has information and resources tailored to CIPD qualifications. The resource is relevant for use as a part of the CIPD Level 3, 5 and 7 qualifications. It is primarily a teaching resource which will help you to access the best resources for your teaching and it still contains all the original case studies.

The new package includes:

- module specific and easy access, saving you time and effort when planning your lectures

- new video content featuring interviews with leading practitioners centred around real-life situations giving a range of perspectives from the real world

- clips from training DVDs presenting real-life situations encouraging discussion and promoting critical thinking

- practical, downloadable quizzes helping students to think about their subject in more detail

- regular updates and new case studies keeping things current, helping students stay engaged

- all areas of subjects covered including international HR

To access this resource go to the Library website and click on the Online Resources A-Z link, then Databases and select CIPD Case Studies Extra. From here you will see a link to the resource, and the username and password you will require for access.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Hot on the heels of Canada Day on Friday, today is American Independence Day. Fourth of July celebrations will be taking place today in the United States and all over the world. Once again you can get yourself in the mood for the festivities with the help of your SMU Library. We have an extensive collection of American literature in Townhill Library: Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Jack Kerouac, Alice Walker... We've got them all! Dynevor Library has a superb collection of DVDs, so you can enjoy Hollywood classics like 42nd Street or more modern thrillers such as The Bourne Identity. (Remember, during the summer vacation, even the two-day loans will be issued out to 6th October 2011!) As ever, Owen Library is the place to go for tourism resources, so head to Mount Pleasant for travel guides and information on the USA and its cities and states. Go on, tuck into some of mom's apple pie and immerse yourself in some American culture. (Please don't get any pie on our resources, though!)

Friday, 1 July 2011

O Canada

1st July is Canada Day. It's the day when the people of Canada rejoice in all things Canadian (and their independence from Great Britain), so why not celebrate by rocking out to Summer of 69 and then settling down to watch Back to the Future? (Bryan Adams and Michael J. Fox are both Canadian, you see. ) The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate and Wills, are joining in with events on the second day of their Canadian tour, but you can still mark the day if the furthest you're going is your SMU library. Introduce a Canadian theme to your borrowing - Townhill Library has a selection of books by Canadian author Margaret Atwood (I can heartedly recommend The Blind Assassin), find out more about the country with a travel guide from Owen Library at Mount Pleasant, or find out more about Canadian art and artists at Dynevor Library. Happy Canada Day everyone!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

You've got us in the palm of your hand!

We've gone mobile! If you use your phone to access the internet, you'll be pleased to know that you're now able to read our blog in a mobile friendly format. You don't need to do anything, our blog will adapt to whatever device you are using, just open your browser and enjoy! Now you can take us with you in your pocket and catch up with all the latest library news anytime, anywhere!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Children's literature prize winners announced

The 2011 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals were awarded last week. Patrick Ness has won the Carnegie Medal for his book, Monsters of Men, which is the finale to the Chaos Walking trilogy. Grahame Baker-Smith is the Greenaway winner for the picture book FArTHER.

These prizes are awarded annually by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and are highly respected in the publishing industry, as well as by us librarians! The Carnegie Medal, awarded to the writer of an outstanding book for children, was established in 1936 in memory of Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy philanthropist who used his fortune to establish over 2800 libraries all over the world. Kate Greenaway was a popular children's illustrator in the nineteenth century. The medal that bears her name was established in 1955 and recognises distinguished illustration in a children's book.

You can find out more about the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals on the website: You'll also find lists of past winners, many of which are available to borrow from the Teaching Practice collection in Townhill Library. You'll find lots of popular authors amongst the prize winners. Many of these books are classics which are well worth a read or a re-visit, even if you're all grown up! Don't forget, books borrowed during this summer vacation won't need to be returned until the 6th October 2011.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Just a reminder - SMU Libraries are open during the summer vacation!

As it's the last day of term, this is just a little reminder that your SMU Libraries will be open right through the vacation. Please see our website for further information on opening hours - we look forward to seeing you during the summer months!

Telephone system maintenance - disruption on Monday 27th June

Essential maintenance work is going to be carried out on the telephone system at Swansea Metropolitan University on Monday 27th June.

This is going to affect the Dynevor campus, the BBC building and some phone extensions in the Cadogan Building and Alexandra Road for most of the day.

As Dynevor Library will be affected, if you need to ring us please can you alternatively phone either the Owen Library (01792 481 141) or the Townhill Library (01792 482 113). Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Rekindle your love of reading!

This week we have invited a special guest blogger!

Nigel Morgan (pictured above) is a subject librarian at Cardiff University. He will be sharing his thoughts and experiences of the Amazon Kindle e-reader with us (please feel free to add your own comments too!). Here's his first instalment...

Having been surrounded by people obsessed with gadgets on my daily train commute, I'd resisted the temptation of Amazon's Kindle. However, with no space for extra IKEA bookcases to house my growing collection (I'm a sucker for those 3 for 2 offers!) I finally succumbed. And very smart it looks too in its flashy navy and scarlett fabric jacket (a £5.99 budget version of the official protective case). But what a palaver linking it to my wi-fi. With a 26 digit code to enter and lots of fiddling with buttons on my router, I felt drained of energy and enthusiasm before I'd got the thing running. I was hopping mad!

Now that I've chilled, I'm proud to tell you that I've downloaded my first books. Firstly, "Smith" by Leon Garfield (a kiddies book from the 1960s - I'm in a book club and it's this month's choice). Also, "Mr Chartwell" (about a rather nasty talking dog) and "The Crimson Petal and the White" (a ripe 'n racy tale of Victorian vice to get the heart pounding). First impressions: mild irritation. I wasn't aware that when you advance a page, a negative of the new page flashes up briefly like an X-ray burning into your eyeball. Hmm. Not the seamless transition I'd envisaged. Hope I'll get used to it.

My Kindle will be accompanying me on my commute for the first time this week. Very risky, as I've absentmindedly left enough paperbacks on trains over the years to stock a small branch of Waterstones. I don't relish the prospect of losing a £111 piece of kit. Perhaps I should chain it to my belt? My first read will be the riveting "Smith". Was I right to abandon my print paperbacks? Will I look a bit geeky? Will let you know how I get on.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Yale Center for British Art

We now have a link to the new website of the Yale Center for British Art, via the Art & Design websites link from our library webpages

The Yale Center for British Art is a public art museum and research institute for the study of British art and culture, and houses the largest collection of British art outside the UK!

From the site, you can search across the Center's entire collection of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, rare books and manuscripts. You are then able to download high-resolution images of objects in the public domain with no restrictions, free of charge.

So take a look, and let us know what you think!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Summer Travels!

It's that time of year again when we're all starting to think about our summer holidays and, given the unpredictability of the great British summer, it's no wonder that we have thoughts of more exotic foreign climes!! If you've already booked your trip, or if you're simply looking for some inspiration, why not pop into the Owen library and take a look at our extensive range of travel guides? Whether you're going for a relaxing beach holiday, a road trip across America, or backpacking your way around Europe we've got all the information you'll need to make your trip a success! Try searching our library catalogue now.

Maybe you'd like to tell us where you're off to on your hols this year...or if you have a fantasy holiday destination you've always dreamed of visiting? Share your favourite/funniest holiday memories with us, we'd love to hear them!

Oh, and in case you were favourite holiday destination is Italy (hence the photo of me in Venice!), my dream holiday would be a trip to the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights...but this year I'm off to Croatia for a week in September!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011

The winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011 has been announced as Tea Obreht, first time novelist and the youngest author to win the award in its sixteen year history!

Her debut novel, The Tiger's Wife, saw off competition from five other shortlisted writers including Emma Donoghue, with her outstanding novel Room. Obreht's book is set amid the horrors and aftermath of Balkan civil war; Obreht herself was Belgrade-born but is now living in the USA.

We will be purchasing a copy of The Tiger's Wife for the fiction section of our Townhill Library, but in the meantime, if you'd like to get your hands on the novel, Swansea public library service has several copies available - check their online catalogue for details!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Summer Vacation - SMU Libraries Are Open!

All three SMU Libraries will be open right through the summer vacation if you wish to use our services and facilities! Please see the individual Library information on our website for further information on opening hours:

Also, any 'ordinary loan' items now issued or renewed are not due back until 6th October! Weekly loan items issued/renewed from Saturday 18th June will also be due back then, with two-day loan items 'rolling over' from 23rd June, and overnight loans from 24th June! If you have any queries regarding this, please just ask a member of library staff for clarification.

So if you are living in or staying in Swansea over the summer months and want to use our libraries, we are open, and look forward to seeing you!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Trial of IEEE/IET Electronic Library (IEL) and IEEE Xplore® Digital Library

Are you looking for information on technology that is relevant to your studies?

Whatever course you are studying, try searching the IEEE/IET Electronic Library (IEL) and IEEE Xplore Digital Library and let us know what you think! For a trial period from 6th June - 5th July, the resource can be accessed from the A-Z listing of Online Resources at (select Databases and then IEEE/IET Electronic Library).

Access has been made available for use both on and off campus during the trial, so take a look - this package may be more than you think it is!


Our blog has received more than 10,000 pageviews since its creation last July!

The top five most popular individual posts to date are:

1. World Book Day 2011 (386)
2. I'm a Celebrity Librarian...Get Me Out of Here! (331)
3. Titanic Anniversary (293)
4. What do you love about your SMU Library? (255)
5. New e-books available (132)

Thank you to all our followers and viewers!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Wales’ new children’s poet laureate announced

Eurig Salisbury is the new Welsh-language Children's Poet Laureate (Bardd Plant Cymru), charged with the task of promoting poetry to the children of Wales. He takes over from Dewi Pws Morris and will hold the title for two years. The announcement was made right here in Swansea at the Urdd Gobaith Cymru National Eisteddfod. Check out the Welsh Books Council website to find out more about our new laureate and his role. Da iawn, Eurig!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Reminder to final year students!

Please remember to return all library items, and clear any library debts before you leave the University.

And wishing you all the very best for your future as SMU graduates, from Library & Learning Resources service!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Congratulations to Swansea's Wembley Winners!

Whether you're a sports fan or not, if you live in Swansea you couldn't have escaped the football frenzy of the last 24 hours! With a nailbiting 4-2 victory over Reading at Wembley yesterday Swansea City Football Club finally acheived their hard earned promotion to the Premier League. As fans prepare to welcome the team home with a victory parade through the city tonight, why not keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in the local news via our Newsbank database, which includes Welsh regional publications such as the South Wales Evening Post and the Western Mail.

Congratulations to the Swans from all at Swansea Met Libraries!

Image: digitalart /

Friday, 27 May 2011

Library opening hours over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend

If you are looking to use our libraries this long weekend, tomorrow (Saturday May 28th) all three will be open as normal from 10.00am - 4.00pm.

On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, both the Owen and Townhill Libraries will be open each day from 12.00 midday through to 5.00pm. So you are welcome to come in and use our facilities!

All we need now for the long weekend is some nice weather...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

SMU Library & Learning Resources service is now on Facebook!

If you have a Facebook account, and would like to follow SMU Library we now have our own page! You can find us on Facebook as Swansea Metropolitan University - Library and Learning Resources

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

SMU Library Satisfaction Survey - Prize Winner!

Thank you to everyone who responded to our annual library satisfaction survey back in March! We're currently working through the responses and noting your comments.

As part of the incentive to give us feedback, we offered SMU students and staff the chance to win a USB flash drive, and Richard Madigan was chosen at random from all the completed entries. He can be seen in the photograph receiving his prize from Philippa Price, Assistant Librarian!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Are you missing Teachers TV?

Teachers TV was a government funded service that supplied free, downloadable videos on professional development and classroom resources. The Department of Education decided to discontinue the service and it closed down last month. However, all is not lost, since TES has just announced that all 3,500 programmes in the Teachers TV archive will soon be available from the Resources section of the TES website. Twenty of the most popular programmes are already available to view and download.

The Teachers TV archive will also be available from SchoolsWorld.TV ( and Teachers Media (

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Olympic torch date for your diary!

The route the Olympic torch will take on its destination to London next summer has been announced, and Swansea has been revealed as one of the locations it will stop at overnight! Saturday 26th May 2012 is the scheduled date, and more details about the route will be announced later on in the year.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Olympic Games, whether it's the history of the event, the environmental impact, or you just fancy watching 'Chariots of Fire' take a look at our library catalogue for a comprehensive range of titles. We also have e-resources on the subject, for example both journal and newspaper articles are available through the databases JSTOR & Newsbank, and images through the Bridgeman Art Library Digital Image Database.

If you won't be in Swansea next May, you can view the other UK destinations where the torch is heading via the BBC news website - in total it's estimated that it will travel 8,000 miles before reaching London on 27th July, 2012!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Are you looking for past papers?

You can access a selection of previous years’ exam papers from our web pages. From the library homepage (, just scroll down to the Choose Your Subject Area section and click on your subject. The page you’re taken to will have a link to Past Papers on the left hand side (you might have to scroll down a bit to see it).

Don’t forget, the library has lots of books to help you with your study skills too! Just come in and have a look.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Fed up of revision?

Looking for something nice to read between study sessions? Then come and have a look at the Teaching Practice collection in Townhill Library. Our Junior Fiction section has a range of books suitable for ages from children to young adults, so you’re sure to find something to your taste. We have books by Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Joan Aiken, Mark Twain... The list goes on! Discover a new writer, or revisit an old favourite from childhood. You might find just what you need to unwind and de-stress during this period of assignment deadlines and exam revision. However, if you feel you can’t tear yourself away from your textbooks just at the moment, don’t forget that at the end of term, students who are returning next year will be able to borrow books over the summer vacation. That’ll give you enough time to read the whole series of the Chronicles of Narnia!

What are your favourite books from childhood? Let us know! I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith, is a favourite of mine from our collection. It's a wonderful story of a girl growing up in a dilapidated old castle, surrounded by her eccentric family. I first read it as an adult, though, so I'm not sure it counts!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Best of the Web

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

With so much information available on the Internet it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack when you're looking for something specific. It's also difficult to judge the quality and currency of a lot of the information you come accross. This is where your SMU library can help you! Did you know that our library webpage has a listing of recommended websites that you can trust? We've done the leg work for you and made a complete A-Z listing of some of the best sites around...we've even divided them into subject areas for you! Here's just a small sample:

London 2012 Visit Britain Office for National Statistics Department of Health

So, if you're struggling to find your way through a maze of online information why not let us point you in the right direction!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

New book in stock - 'Creative CV Guide' by Jan Cole

We have a new book in stock at Dynevor Library which I wanted to draw your attention to, especially if you are in your final year of study on one of our creative courses.

'Creative CV Guide' by Jan Cole is an easy to read, practical book containing advice on putting together a CV. It also gives examples of different types of creative CV's and provides other useful information on finding employment.

We have one reference copy in stock which currently can be found on the 'new books' shelves, and another two additional copies are on order which will be loanable once they arrive.

So if you are starting to think about your career after leaving university, hopefully this is the book for you!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Library opening hours this royal weekend!

As Royal Wedding fever grips the country in anticipation of the 'big day', just a reminder that if you wish to use a SMU library for study tomorrow, both the Owen and Townhill libraries will be open from 12midday until 5pm.

On Saturday, all three SMU libraries will be open as usual from 10-4, then the Owen and Townhill libraries will be open again on Sunday, and Bank Holiday Monday from 12midday until 5pm. Normal term-time opening for all three will recommence on Tuesday 3rd May!

So whatever your plans are for tomorrow...whether you will be glued to the tv watching the proceedings, or if you would prefer to escape from it all, a SMU library will be open near you!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Classic literature selection now available at Dynevor Library!

If you fancy reading a classic novel, we now have a selection available for this term at Dynevor Library! Titles including 'Heidi', 'Frankenstein', 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' and 'Pride and Prejudice' can be located on our fiction trolley, next to the daily newspapers.

These titles normally reside at Townhill Library, which has a wide range of fiction both modern and classic, to suit all tastes.

So if you are looking to temporarily escape from your studies and immerse yourself in classic literature, hopefully we have something to tempt you!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

“I do” want to visit a SMU Library on 29th April!

Firstly though, a reminder that all three SMU libraries will be closed Good Friday to Easter Monday, and will then re-open (on term-time hours) on Tuesday 26th April.

Friday 29th April is going to be a big day on the Royal Family's calendar, but if you need to use our library facilities, both the Owen Library at Mount Pleasant and Townhill Library will be open from 12 midday through to 5pm. So if you wish, you can watch the wedding in the morning and still come in to study in the afternoon! Good luck William & Kate...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

SMU e-resource of the day - Bridgeman Art Library Digital Image database

For those SMU students looking for good quality images to use within essays/assignments etc look no further! The Bridgeman Art Library Digital Image database contains over 350,000 images from museums, galleries, private collections and contemporary artists, all copyright cleared for educational use.

Searching the database is easy, and the images retrieved can be zoomed to see intricate detail, all in superb quality. Additionally, SMU staff and students can access the resource both on and off campus with your current username and password. Just go to the library website, choose 'Online Resources A-Z' from the top menu bar, then click on the 'Databases' link on the left-hand side. This will bring up a list of all of our databases in alphabetical order, and from here you can click on the link to take you into 'Bridgeman'.

So have a look, and let me know how you get on! I'm hoping you will be impressed with the choice and quality of the images on there. And if you need any help using this resource, just ask one of our SMU Librarians.