The Birmingham Triennial Musical Festivals

We have been looking at a collection of Birmingham Musical Festival programmes in our Conservatoire Archive.

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The first Birmingham Musical Festival took place in 1768 and was performed at St. Phillip’s Church (now Birmingham Cathedral) to raise funds for the construction of a new General Hospital.  From 1784, it became the Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival, running performances every three years.  The aim of the festivals continued to be to raise funds for the Birmingham General Hospital.  Early Festivals were performed in St. Phillip’s Church or the Theatre Royal in New Street but due to popularity, soon outgrew these venues.

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Forever Green

Spring is just around the corner and we can look forward to spending more time outdoors and enjoying our gardens.

We’ve chosen some items from our special collections with a garden theme.  All of the items are from our collection of art treasures.

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This delightful image is of a design for Attingham Park, Shropshire by Humphrey Repton.  Repton was a landscape gardener in the eighteenth century, widely considered to be the successor to Capability Brown. He produced a series of Red Books to show clients what he envisaged for their park. The books are beautifully illustrated with watercolours and explanatory notes. The pictures have overlays to show ‘before’ and ‘after’ views of the park.

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LIKE event – January 2019

We had another LIKE meeting on Wednesday 30th January. This is an informal get together of library staff, where we share visits, conferences and any other information that might be of interest to the team. We were joined this time by our former colleague Alison, who now works for the NHS library service. It was great to see her and hear the goings on in NHS library world!

We talked about lots of topics over the course of two hours, but briefly:

Space!

A hot topic in the university at the moment, we touched upon it when discussing visits to Nottingham Trent University, University of Birmingham, and a conference attended about digital and physical library spaces.

We talked about the different ways universities are using, monitoring and evaluating space, as well as how library space is used by different people.

We were also interested in seeing space monitoring solutions in action – systems that can tell if a space is being used, which can also then display that information on screens for library users.

We enjoyed Nottingham Trent’s roof garden and thought we could look at promoting our own for the University’s Go Green initiative.

Resources for health students

It was great having Alison in from the NHS. Health students on practice are usually able to register with their trust library, and get access to physical and electronic resources in addition to what they get with the university. Alison updated us on what students have access to, and we discussed how we can promote these services more to our placement students. We also talked about the impact various different changes to resource access within the NHS might have on the services we provide.

Presenting data

One conference attended was about statistics and stories. One thing we’ve often mentioned doing is following up some of our queries/sessions to get a sense of their usefulness in practice, and this is what Public Health England have done to assess the impact of their service on users. Another is using images to present data in a more visual, manageable way, which might be a good way of helping a wider audience digest some of our service/collection statistics.

And finally…

The library contributed to International Women’s Day on 8th March (but celebrated throughout the month) – this was discussed at the LIKE event.

Your library never sleeps! Improvements at Curzon.

Here at Curzon Library we’ve spent the summer looking at ways we can improve the student experience.

The biggest single improvement we’ve made to the library itself is to install a brand new printing system. Extensively trialled, the HP Multi Functional Devices that can be found throughout the library are quicker, easier to use and even better at processing a high volume of jobs than the system they replaced.

We’ve also made changes to the layout of the library. Cash loaders, for adding credit to printing accounts, are now available next to the printers on the ground floor and near the atrium on the first. In addition, we’ve responded to feedback from students and replaced the café area on the ground floor with yet more study spaces suitable for both individual and group learning. And don’t forget, all of this is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Lastly, we’ve been working hard on improving the user-friendliness of the library website. It is now possible to search the Summon database of electronic resources (ebooks, journal articles etc) at the same time as looking for books that we hold in the library: simply choose the ‘everything’ tab on the library’s homepage. This is just one of the improvements we’ve made to the website – to find out more, please ask at the Helpdesk, or take yourself on a virtual tour!

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The changes we have made to the library complement perfectly the first class facilities of the recently opened Curzon B. These include study spaces designed to fit the individual learning needs of all of our students, an increased number of PCs and printers and areas for relaxation as well as study. Not forgetting a well-earned coffee and slice of cake at Starbucks of course!

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The result is a City Centre campus that has one of the best student-Study Space ratios of any university in Birmingham and enhances BCU’s reputation as one of the most student-friendly institutions in the UK. Why not come and give it a try?

National Libraries Week – Your Virtual Library

With so much available electronically, the virtual space occupied by library resources is huge! Today’s blog is going to focus on the gateway to these resources: our new library website.

We launched this new site in September 2018, and it is a hub for you to find all of your library resources, your library account, and information about borrowing and visiting the library. We also highlight services for disabled users, researchers, and those studying away from campus.

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Searching for books, journals and other resources

We’ve tried to make it easier for you to find resources.

The basic search on the homepage does what it says on the tin! Enter your search term and select an option.

If you’re confident with searching, or want some more advanced options, the ‘more ways to search’ section underneath gives you access to our A-Z lists of Databases, eJournals and the Digital Library, as well as a direct link to Advanced Search via Summon.

Use the ‘Find Resources’ menu to find out more about these resources, as well as some of the specialist ones, such as printed music.

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Managing your account

On the home page you’ll find quick links to your library account and paying charges.

Under ‘services and support’ you’ll find information about borrowing, including how to reset your PIN.

Supporting you using the library

On the home page you’ll find a link to our referencing guides, including the full Harvard guide which you can use online or download. We’ve also supplied one for screen readers.

There’s also links where you can book a tutorial with a subject specialist librarian, as well as a link to book a study room in Curzon Library.

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We hope you enjoy the new site!

^Laura