Friday, 26 June 2015

A-Z of UWTSD Libraries...

Image courtesy of: Josh Filhol / Library A-Z

Only a few more installments of our of our UWTSD library A-Z left now! But there's still a few highlights to mention before we reach the end! This week we've reached the letter U...

U is for: Using other libraries!

Students and staff of the University may be able to use selected other libraries across the United Kingdom through one of the following schemes...

  • Libraries Together Passport
Students and staff can use public libraries and many other university and college libraries in South and Mid Wales through the Libraries Together Passport scheme. Please ask at your nearest UWTSD library / public library for further information and to collect a Passport, or download and print the passport here: Libraries Together Passport 

  • SCONUL Access
SCONUL Access is a reciprocal service supported by most of the higher education libraries of the UK and Ireland, and provides borrowing privileges for most:

 academic staff on open or fixed term contracts

postgraduate research students registered for a PhD, MPhil or similar qualification

part-time, distance learning and placement students

full-time postgraduates

SCONUL Access also provides for a reference only service for most:

full-time undergraduate students

staff of a few higher education libraries not participating in the reciprocal borrowing arrangements

Membership of SCONUL Access is open to all full SCONUL members and most of the publicly funded higher education libraries in the UK and Ireland are now members. Please note that some libraries do not offer borrowing to all the types of user listed above. Please consult the list of participating libraries before you travel. Computer access is available at some institutions.

To apply for membership visit the SCONUL Access website and complete an application form.

Further details:
Carmarthen / Lampeter students and staff:
Swansea campus students and staff: 

  • National Library of Wales
Anyone with a home address in Wales can apply online for a reader ticket to access the collections of the National Library of Wales. Visit the National Library of Wales website for further details.

  • British Library
Anyone can apply for a reader pass to access the reading rooms of the British Library. Please visit the British Library website for further details.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A-Z of UWTSD Libraries...

Image courtesy of: Josh Filhol / Library A-Z

We may be near the end of our Library A-Z but there’s still lots of useful information and fun facts to share with you. Today we’ve reached the letter T...

T is for:

·         Trusted – Your UWTSD libraries are a reliable source of high quality print and online resources. You can put your trust in us to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for your projects, assignments and dissertations. Google is great but libraries are better!

·         Teaching – We’ve got all aspects of teaching, whether you’re looking for education resources and teaching practice materials, or a subject librarian to teach you the basics about how to conduct online research, you’ll find everything you need at UWTSD libraries!

·         Twitter – We have thousands of followers on social media. Twitter in particular is a great way for us to share important information, publicise new resources and interact with staff and students quickly and easily. Follow us on Twitter now and you’ll always be up-to-date with all the latest library news!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A Backstage Pass to the Hay Festival...

“Imagine the World” proclaims the Hay Festival strapline. It is an imagination borne out of the writings, thoughts, ideas and philosophies of authors and speakers, which never fails to inspire and entertain. And to provoke thought. One aspect of imagination though which gets little coverage during the event, is the creation of the festival site itself. In the five weeks leading up to the opening, a grassland field is transformed into a tented village, replete with marquees and carpeted boardwalks. Where Friesian cows once grazed, lively audiences now break out into applause and laughter. It is truly a staggering metamorphosis. Passing by the site on a November morning many years ago generated a sense of disbelief, in that a place which had created so much energy and emotion a few short months before had simply vanished. It was quite a surreal experience and has stayed with me. It was almost a magical moment. But evidence that human imagination can work in many different ways to inspire and create.

 Ten days before the Festival opens technical staff move in to set up power supplies and sound systems. During the event itself all technical responsibilities are shouldered by one full time member of staff, with further support provided by 60 temporary workers. This mix of full time and short term paid staff together with a small army of volunteers is characteristic of the staffing profile at Hay……across most departments. University interns are also extensively used too. Within “commercial” areas though (food outlets; retailing/merchandising areas) staff are on hourly paid contracts and tend to return each year like migrating swallows, drawn by the lure of not just financial gain, but also by the buzz of working within a stimulating environment. As one employee put it, “it sort of gets into your bloodstream”. The short term paid staff at the Hay Festival Bookshop for instance work on average for 4 weeks. Two weeks is spent setting up the bookshop before the event opens with the remainder of the time spent working during the Festival itself. Some staff take annual leave from full time jobs “in the outside world”, simply to enjoy working within a festival which embraces a lifetime passion. Not unlike other hobbies and interests, literature is like that.

Cancellation of the proposed Bank Holiday rail strike brought gasps of relief to the Festival “drivers”, who occupy much of their time collecting and returning visiting speakers from and to Hereford railway station. This transport interchange plays an important, yet understated role in the success of the Festival. As so many luminaries travel by train, using the time no doubt to perfect their lines, any industrial action would have caused much disruption. The announcement transformed moods and led to the abandonment of contingency planning schedules. Dining Room talk amongst the drivers was now less about improved Network Rail pay offers but more about the Lords Test Match (well, England for once were playing well). This group of backstage workers are always good value to have lunch with, reciting and replaying shared car journey conversations with the great and the good. Nothing like an insider view or some hot gossip to accompany the midday ham sandwich! Much as though I would like to relate some of these anecdotes to you, my knowledge of litigation prevents that!

The focal point for all staff working at Hay is the staff dining area. It is a haven of relative tranquillity away from the “madding crowds”; a social hub where talk is invariably about speakers and talks. The standard of food is exceptionally good and meal vouchers are gratefully exchanged for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Perhaps it is something about the effects of fresh air, or working outdoors, but food consumption seems particularly high. Do people usually eat this much during their normal lives? It is yet another happening at Hay that provokes a thought. Without doubt it is a most popular venue and the atmosphere within is always upbeat. Food production operations are managed by “Colin” – and have been for the past 27 years. He is as much a fixture at this event as the Florence family and may euphemistically be termed a character. His undoubted culinary talents and experience are matched by a colourful personality which echo loudly within the tent. He and his small team will serve 8,000 staff meals during the course of the event. For the statistically minded six tonnes of food will be ordered to meet this demand, all from local suppliers. The catering operation in itself is quite some accomplishment.

Management of food waste, emanating from both the tented staff canteen - and from the main festival site is a major logistical exercise. It falls under the remit of the Hay on Earth environmental programme, which covers a number of sustainable festival operations. The eight strong Waste Disposal team on site will be taking 9 tonnes of food to compost and will be collecting for recycling purpose, 6 tonnes of cardboard, 4 tonnes of glass and 4 tonnes of dry mixed recyclables. The figures in themselves reflect the magnitude of the festival and reflect in real terms the tangible impacts of 200,000 ticket holders. In their green uniforms (no surprise there) the team are a constant feature of the site, always working stealthily to keep public areas clean and pristine. Not unlike visitor management duties carried out by festival stewards, it is the understated nature of these type of duties which enhance the visitor experience.

Feedback from Hay 2015 has been particularly positive. The weather played its part with minimal rainfall, so wellingtons were a rare sight. It was correspondingly therefore a bad year for deckchairs as they were used so much. Free ticketing for school children proved to be a popular draw judging by the combined attendance of 5,500 over the two days. Much comment was also received about the site layout which in floor area terms was slightly bigger than 2014, providing more space for eating/drinking; for entry and exit points into venues - and for general access around the site. Again issues and developments relating to managing the visitor experience.

Driving away for the last time from this delightful part of East Wales, I played my usual game of selecting personal highlights; speakers and performances for instance, or shared conversations, moments of humour perhaps? The irony of a talk about the English and their history being delivered on the Wales stage, or endless political reflections about social welfare cuts and austerity taking place within the Daily Telegraph Tent both made me smile…or was it something completely different? Something over and above such things? Well this year it was. With profuse apologies to the stellar celebrities, my selection surprisingly related to a design highlight that consistently influenced the festival atmosphere...wider boardwalks! Their introduction had a marked impact. From a backstage perspective, easier visitor mobility around the site led to reduced congestion and happier visitors, which just goes to prove once again the disproportionate effect that small changes can have upon raising levels of enjoyment. 

That’s it for another year. Well at least in Wales. Another Hay Festival will take place in Ireland at the end of June and then subsequently across other continents. Time enough yet to organise a few more backstage passes!   

Andrew Campbell

Monday, 1 June 2015

A-Z Of UWTSD Libraries...

Image Courtesy of: Josh Filhol / Library A-Z

We’re fast approaching the end of our library A-Z now, only a few more weeks left...we’ve been doing this since February! There’s obviously a lot of great things to say about libraries! Let's continue with the letter S...

S is for:

·         Special CollectionsThe RodericBowen Library & Archives (Lampeter Campus) houses the Special Collections of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the University's oldest printed books, manuscripts and archives. Acquired over the last 200 years, largely by bequest and donation, the Special Collections include over 35,000 printed works, 8 medieval manuscripts, around 100 post medieval manuscripts, and 69 incunabula.  Material from the Archives includes the early student registers and photographs from the mid nineteenth century onwards.

·         SubjectLibrarians – Whatever course you are studying here at UWTSD you will find a team of dedicated Subject Librarians available to assist you with subject specific information and research enquiries. Check our website or call in to your nearest UWTSD library to find out which librarian is responsible for your subject area...they will be invaluable during your time here! 

·         Self-Service – All our libraries have self-service facilities, so if there is a queue at the main desk, or if you are in a hurry between lectures, you can quickly and easily borrow or return books yourself at the designated self-service points, without needing to wait for a member of library staff to become available.

·         Study Space – We allocate study spaces in all our libraries, for both groups and individual study. So if you need somewhere convenient to go and finish off your assignment, do some last minute revision, or practice a group presentation, pop in to your nearest UWTSD library, there’s plenty of room!