Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Spooky reads (and films!) at The Griffith Library, Dynevor


For some Halloween-inspired reads, or scary films, look no further than the Griffith Library at Dynevor! We've put together a little display (complete with a book-eating pumpkin!) highlighting some of our choice films and books for this spooky time of year. The display will be up until Saturday, and you are welcome to come in and choose something from there, if you dare...

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Memoirs of part-time study (and a few words of encouragement too) - Philippa

Today we hear about Philippa Price’s experiences as a part-time student. Philippa is an Assistant Librarian in Townhill Library, offering subject support to Education staff and students. She enrolled on the part-time PGCE in post-compulsory education here at UWTSD Swansea in October 2011 and graduated in June this year. Here are some tips she picked up along the way:-

Philippa Price
Enrolling on a part-time course whilst working full-time was certainly a daunting process, particularly as I know the lecturers who teach on the course quite well and was keen not to ‘show myself up’ in front of them! As it turns out, though, with some organisation and forward planning, the course was hard work but manageable and very rewarding. I wondered why I hadn’t done it years ago!
The most useful strategy I adopted along the way was to do ‘something’ every week. It didn’t have to be a big ‘something’, but I found just reading and making notes from a chapter or a journal article each week really helped me to keep on top of things without my studies taking over my life.
In my undergraduate days, I was definitely a pen and paper girl, handwriting notes and essays when I could. Since then, though, I’ve come to see the benefit of keeping notes on a computer, even if it means typing them up from my notebook. It makes it so much easier to move them around and group them together into different arguments when preparing for an assignment! I find it helpful to write in full sentences and paragraphs when writing notes from reading and to keep assignment questions and topic areas in mind so I don’t go off on a tangent. Quite often, when it came to gathering my notes together for an essay, a significant chunk of it would already be practically written. That’s a good feeling!
My other top tip would be to keep up with your referencing as you go along, especially if you start cutting and pasting notes to organise them. You don’t want to forget where you came across that insightful comment or useful quote, so cite as you make notes! Writing your reference list or bibliography as you go along also saves so much time at the end of the assignment.
If you're not sure how you should be referencing your reading, you'll usually find a set of guidelines on your course handbook. We also have lots of books in the library that can help you understand how and why to reference.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Memoirs of part-time study (and a few words of encouragement too) - Caroline

This term, we’re sharing some of our experiences of part-time study with you. We hope you find some useful tips to help with your own studies, or at least take some comfort in the fact that we’ve been through it too! Following on from Hannah earlier in the week, we continue our series with Caroline Mitchell, our Clerical Assistant who is based at Swansea Business School Library. Caroline studied her HNC in Business right here at this university (though we were known as Swansea Institute of Higher Education back then!) and found it a really rewarding experience. Here is her reflection:-

Caroline Mitchell
September 2006 was the start of something new for me… I enrolled on the part-time HNC Business Course. You could say it was a scary first day with lots of doubts and questions - would I be able to do this? Will I enjoy the course? Will anyone else talk to me? Can I do this? I had not done anything since a BTEC Business course when I was 19, but recently my husband had completed his MA Photography course which made me think maybe I could also gain a new qualification.

I got through the first day and found I enjoyed it, the other students were nice and friendly and the lecturers were lovely too. Pam Murray was an inspiration and made the lectures fun and informative. I found it tough when assignments were due, but with the help and encouragement of the staff and my family I managed to get through them. It is definitely worth finding a good spot to get comfortable and relaxed in, which will help you get in the correct frame of mind to write the assignment. The Library has lots of resources available, whether it is a book or journal, or even the online databases. I am one of these learners that are easily distracted so it would have to be complete silence for me to concentrate and get the work done. As the term went on I looked forward to each week to see my class mates again and in anticipation of what the lecturers would be like.

Sometimes I did wonder if I would be able to complete the course as it could be tough, but I stuck with it and did plenty of research (maybe too much at times) and was successful in obtaining my HNC Business Studies award. My graduation ceremony was my proudest moment and was well worth the hard work and determination.

I had planned to continue studies and get the full BA Business qualification, but this had to be postponed due to family commitments. I still hope to pursue the achievement of a BA Business qualification in the not too distant future…..

It can be tough returning to education after quite a long break, but as Caroline found the rewards are well worth it. If you're struggling to settle back in to academic work, don't forget we have lots of study skills books in the library which can help you. You're also very welcome to call in to your campus library and ask to speak to your subject librarian about accessing and using library resources. You'll soon get the hang of it!


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Memoirs of part-time study (and a few words of encouragement too) - Hannah

It seems we’re quite a learned bunch in the library. We recently got to thinking about how many of us have enrolled in some sort of part-time study course whilst also holding down a job and juggling other commitments. Many of you will be in the same situation, feeling as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that you need to, so we thought it might be helpful to share a few ‘survivor’ stories. Over the next few weeks, some members of the library team will be letting you know about their experiences, offering a few pearls of wisdom along the way and hopefully reassuring you that part-time (or full-time) study can be really rewarding and that it’s all worth it in the end!

Hannah Meiklejohn
We’re starting our series with Hannah Meiklejohn, who has actually just left the library to join the team in Art and Design as Assistant for the School of Visual Communications. Prior to that, though, Hannah was a Library Assistant in Townhill Library and one of our most prolific part-time students! She originally started out as a full-time student, studying for a History degree at Swansea University, but changed to part-time in the second year to accommodate a full-time job (with us!). Hannah obviously caught the education bug because the year after graduating with her BA (Hons) in History she enrolled part-time for a diploma in creative writing. As if that wasn’t enough, she completed a short introductory teaching course last year and is currently in the second year of an MA in Philosophy on UWTSD’s Lampeter campus. It’s fair to say that Hannah is quite the expert in part-time study! Here are her thoughts:-
The Challenges
The biggest challenge for part-time students is finding time (quality and quantity) to study.  People who have spent time away from the education system may find the process of starting an essay again a very difficult and daunting task.  Even if essay writing is not a problem, fitting university work in and around your working life is the biggest area of concern for most people about to embark on a part-time course.  This could be caused by many things, such as difficulty in effectively organizing their time; job demands; family commitments; competing demands of hobbies and other interests etc. All of these things can make part-time study difficult.

You need to already be thinking about likely problems and their potential solutions in advance.  Some people find it useful to make precise plans or a personal timetable.  This is a good idea as long as it is made flexible. Understand that life sometimes gets in the way and some days you might not be able to do the work you had set out.  Be prepared for some tasks take longer than you had planned. You will need to be able to make adjustments to your study plans.

As well as finding time to study I need to make time for hobbies and interests, family and friends, and any other personal projects, all with a full time job.  It’s hard to fit it all in, but I find it gets easier with time.  I have been a part time student for so long that it’s almost second nature to me now.  For me it helped that I went straight from full time education, into continuing with the course part time, and I have continued to study ever since.  I think the best piece of advice I can give to new part time students is to simply try it out and see what works, and then stick at it. Once the right balance has been found it becomes a lot easier. 

Most of my history classes were on a Saturday morning which, after working a full week seemed like a horrendous way to start the weekend.  However, I got along well with the group and I was passionate about the subject so after the first week I realized it was actually an enjoyable experience.
For most people, leaning new things and enhancing career prospects are huge benefits to studying.  Making new friends, and using your mind in a different ways are also appealing aspects of studying.  You will not only gain a qualification, but you will gain confidence; satisfaction; respect from your peers, and a sense of achievement. 

If you’d like to read more of Hannah’s thoughts on part-time study, take a look at her article on page 14 of the current issue (no. 40) of Grad Mag.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Read a book, or watch tv...?

"Please, oh please, we beg, we pray
Go throw your TV set away
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall"

Taken from the poem 'Television' by Roald Dahl.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Silly old Bear

It’s Winnie the Pooh’s birthday today! Well, sort of. Winnie the Pooh was first published on the 14th October 1926 and told of the adventures of A. A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, and his toys: Pooh Bear, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Roo and of course Owl, Rabbit and all of Rabbit’s friends and relations. The book and its sequel, The House at Pooh Corner, are still firm favourites with children and adults alike and have even received the Disney seal of approval with various cartoon adaptations. The original books are surely the best, though, and E. H. Shepherd’s beautiful drawings are hard to beat.

You'd have to take a trip to the New York Public Library to see Christopher Robin's original toys (minus Roo, who is still missing in action in the real-life Hundred Acre Wood!), but the books are available for all to enjoy. You won’t be surprised to learn that both titles are available in Townhill Library’s Teaching Practice collection, as are Milne’s poetry books When we were very young and Now we are six. Well worth another read as they are just as engaging for adults as for children! You might also like to take a look at The Pooh perplex in Townhill Library at shelf mark 823.912 MIL. It’s an irreverent look at literary theory and criticism with some help from our astute and useful bear. Very funny!

Friday, 11 October 2013

T. Llew Jones Day

Tying in nicely with Children’s Book Week, it’s T. Llew Jones Day! The prolific Welsh writer and poet, who wrote for both children and adults, is celebrated every year on his birthday, 11th October. He was born in 1915 and died in 2009, but his English and Welsh language books remain as popular as ever. He was committed to addressing the shortage of Welsh language books for children in post-war Wales and became involved in conferences and competitions to generate new works as well as helping the shortfall by writing his own books! You can find out more about T. Llew Jones from the National Library of Wales’ Welsh Biography Online and see what the Welsh Books Council has to say about T. Llew Jones Day on their website. If you’ve yet to discover T. Llew Jones yourself, we have a number of his books in Townhill Library.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Children's Book Week

Yes, it’s Children’s Book Week from today until Friday! You can find out all about it on the Booktrust’s web page. To celebrate this year’s book week, the Booktrust has selected 100 books to read before you’re 14 (and well worth a read if 14 is but a distant memory too!), handily broken down into different age categories. You can even vote for your favourite children’s book in each of the four age ranges – 0-5 years, 6-8 years, 9-11 years and 12-14 years – so if you want to cast your vote for Matilda over Harry Potter, or Princess Smartypants over the Jolly Postman, now’s your chance!

You’ll find many of those top 100 children’s books, as well as a whole lot more, in the Teaching Practice collection on the first floor of Townhill Library. Come in and have a look, or use our Catalogue to find the book you want and ask for it to be sent to your home campus library!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A reminder - why use your university library?

Again, this is a re-post of a recent post, but what with returning students now back at university, we think it's a good opportunity to remind everyone of what your university library has to offer!

Take a look at this video that was produced by CyMAL to promote university libraries in Wales - you may even recognise one of the locations, as it was filmed here in Swansea!

It gives lots of reasons why you should use your university library - including saving you time and money, providing you with expert help from library staff, as well as access to a vast range of print, and e-resources! So take a look and hopefully you'll be inspired to use your university library this academic year - we look forward to seeing you soon :-)

Find out more about your fantastic Swansea Public Library service!!

This is a re-post of an article we originally posted earlier in the summer, but feel is relevant to all UWTSD Swansea students who may wish to find out more, and use their local public library service here in Swansea!
This week we're delighted to introduce another special guest blogger for you - Lizzy Evans, one of the assistant managers at Swansea Central Library! Lizzy started to work for the library service in December 2007, in time for the New Central Library opening. She started working as an Assistant Manager in 2010, having graduated from Swansea University in 2005 with a BA hons in History and Politics. She then went to Aberystwyth to study a MA in Film Studies and has recently submitted her dissertation for the BSc Library and Information Management degree. When not writing assignments or working, Lizzy spends time travelling and going to the theatre.

Your course has finished for the summer, so why not take this opportunity to try a different type of library experience?

At this time of year, Swansea Public LibraryService is inundated with requests for travel guides, guides for days out, starting new hobbies, cooking, crafting, dress making etc. and the beach holiday read… all for FREE! Swansea libraries have a lot to offer you, not only throughout the summer, but all year round.

We hold a variety of events for adults & children. Literacy skills being at the heart of most libraries, Swansea is no different. We hold many events for children which encourage language skills through a variety of activities:

oRhyme times

oWelsh Rhyme Times

oDress Up Story times

oHomework Clubs

o‘Story and Stuff’ craft events

oWii Games

oFamily film showings

oTeen Film Club

oTeen book groups

Throughout July & August we will be holding special events for children like our ‘OZ, The Great and Powerful’ Party on 25th July and the annual children’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Feel you’re a little old for this? We have a lot to offer you too! We hold a wide variety of events for adults, from guest author events and Family History sessions, to INK our writers group and our book group for which we are holding a special session in August where we are linking up with Radio Wales to join their book group (for more details, click here).

As technology advances, so must libraries, we now have WiFi in the central library and offer a free ebook and e-audio book download service. Libraries still anchor their work in books, be them physical or electronic, however this is no longer a library’s sole purpose, libraries are now so much more.

So, here’s the low down on Swansea’s libraries:

oWe have 17 branch libraries, a mobile service and a housebound service

oFree internet in all branches

oFree ebooks and e-audio books available to download

oOnline catalogue

oOur enquiry service Library Line (@LibraryLine) can help with the most basic or complex of enquiries

oTwitter:Swansea libraries (@Discovermore) and Library Line (LibraryLine)

To join, all you need is to bring down some proof of address and we can register you immediately, once registered you can use all 17 branches and all the facilities. Alternatively, you can register via the Libraries Together Passport scheme. If you’re reading this, you’re more than likely already registered with the Swansea Metropolitan University Library, and therefore you have access to many more libraries both academic and public from Pembroke, to Aberystwyth, to Neath Port Talbot. This is available via the passport, for more information visit

For more information about Swansea Library go to or call (01792) 636464.

Hope to see you soon!