Friday, 26 April 2013

The most playful libraries in the world!

Something to appeal to your inner-child on a Friday afternoon - take a look at some of the imaginative designs in libraries and reading spaces from across the globe, which is your favourite?

For me, I love the quirky idea of a slide in a library, equally the birdcage hideaway!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Happy birthday Mr Shakespeare!

Shakepeare's Birthplace and garden in Stratford-Upon-Avon
(photo by Hannah Meiklejohn at Townhill Library)
Yes, today is William Shakespeare’s birthday. Well, the 23rd April is the date traditionally given as his birth. It’s a bit hard to check the records for the 16th century! We do know that he was baptised on 26th April 1564, so he’d be 449 this year. Expect to see some special events across the country to mark his 250th birthday next year! (Incidentally, the 23rd April is also the day he died, but we won’t dwell on that!) If you’d like to find out more about Shakespeare’s life, our database Oxford Reference Online, where we found this information, is an excellent place to start.

We have lots of books and other resources if you’re a Shakespeare fan, or think you’d like to be. Take a look at our catalogue to see what’s about! You’ll find the bard’s plays mostly on the ground floor of Townhill Library, though there are a few up on the first floor in the Teaching Practice collection too. We’ve even got a few which have been adapted forchildren, so if you fancy Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Henry V or Romeo and Juliet, but you aren’t quite up to the original, give those a go! If you don’t even feel up to that, you could always take a look at our DVDs. (You’ll see Shakespeare in Love in our collection too!)

There are also lots of resources online for you. Our databases Literature Online and JSTOR are excellent places to find journal articles about Shakespeare and his work. You’ll even find online links to his poetry and plays on Literature Online! On the web, you might like to take a look at the RoyalShakespeare Company’s website. There’s a fab section of Education resources where you’ll find material for early years right through to grown-ups!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Read all about it! Infotrac Newsstand and Welsh Newspapers Online offer online access to 1000s of newspaper articles

Looking for newspaper articles? The written press is an excellent way to keep up to date with current affairs, whatever subject you’re studying. Many newspapers offer articles free to view on their website, but with big names like The Times and The Telegraph introducing subscription services, it’s not always possible to read the articles you want for free…or is it? Here at Swansea Met libraries, we’ve just introduced the Infotrac Newsstand database, which offers full-text access to articles from thousands of newspapers. It’s really easy to search through these different newspapers for articles on any topic you’re interested in. So, trainee teachers can keep an eye on the latest proposed changes to the National Curriculum and Business students can monitor the latest economic news. You’ll find Infotrac Newsstand listed with our databases and accessible on and off campus. Give it a try!

If your interest in newspapers lies more in their historical value, why then we have a database to help with that too! Well, actually, we’ve got the National Library of Wales to thank for this one. Welsh Newspapers Online is a free resource which offers access to millions of newspaper articles from the NLW’s collection. The database mainly covers newspapers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and is available in English or Welsh. It’s also accessible from our databases page. You can find out more here, including a list of the newspapers in the collection, everything from the Aberdare Leader to Wythnos a’r Eryr. There’s also a video about this collection on the NLW’s You Tube channel. It’s available in Welsh and English and has some beautiful shots of the National Library, as well as information about the collection!

Friday, 12 April 2013

It's National Pet Month!

Muzzie the rescue dog having a snooze in his new home
This year, National Pet Month runs from the 1st April to the 6th May, so it’s well underway by now. It aims to encourage responsible pet ownership, draw attention to the work of pet care professional and companion animals, and raise money for pet charities. You can find our more on the official website, which also includes lesson plans and information for schools wishing to take part as well as some tips on getting a classroom pet.
We love our furry friends here at the library, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to highlight some of our recent new books which have dogs as their stars. (We’ve got nothing against other pets, but as it happens we’ve had a lot of books about dogs recently!) These are great for the kids and rather lovely for the grown-ups too!

Oh no George! by Chris Haughton
This fun picture book is about George, a pet dog who desperately tries to be good when his owner leaves him alone for the day, but is met by temptation at every turn! Will he manage to resist eating the cake and chasing the cat? Only one way to find out – read the book!

Black dog by Levi Pinfold
This beautiful picture book deals with themes of fear and perception. A big, black dog, which gets bigger as each family member spots him, appears outside a house one night. Only the littlest child is brave enough to go out and meet the beast. The illustrations are stunning and the story great for stimulating discussion with children. Wonderful!

A greyhound of a girl by Roddy Doyle
We have a few Roddy Doyle books in the library and they’re all to be recommended, but this is his most recent. The pets in this don’t feature very heavily, but it’s such a good one that we’ve snuck it in anyway! Don’t be put off that this is primarily aimed at children as there’s plenty for the more mature reader too! It centres round four generations of the same family – one dead, one dying and two living. It’s a beautifully told story about coming to terms with loss and the power of family. It will probably make you cry!

A dog called Homeless by Sarah Lean
Another weepy! This one centres on Cally, who’s trying to come to terms with the loss of her mum. She can’t help but feel that the mysterious Irish wolfhound she keeps seeing offers some link to her mother. Meanwhile, she struggles to fit in at school and makes friend with the boy downstairs, who is deaf and blind. This is really rather a gripping tale!

Sid and the Cwmhendy dog show by Tanya L. James
A lovely, fun one to end with! Sid is a good natured but mischievous Jack Russell, based on the author’s own dog. In this delightful story he’s been entered in a dog show and needs to stay clean and out of trouble. You’ve probably got a good idea of what happens, but it's very charmingly told!

Do any of these grab your fancy? Remember, as with all our books, once you’ve read them, you can give them a five star rating on our catalogue so other library users know how good or bad they are. (Strictly speaking, you can rate them without reading them, but we’d prefer you passed on an informed judgement!)