How to…find more than books on the library shelves



This is the second of our ‘How to…’ pop up events.

Last time we concentrated on Getting Started using the library, this month we are helping you find what else the library has beyond the books on the shelves.

Come along to one of our ‘How to’ sessions and learn more about:

  • Using Summon to find books, journal and newspaper articles
  • How to get the books you need, when another students has them out on loan
  • How to get books that are on the catalogue, but at a different campus
  • How to get books and articles that your library does not hold
Date Times @ Curzon Library Times @ Seacole Library
Mon 6th November 12noon – 1pm  10am – 11am
Tues 7th November 10am – 11am  11am -12noon
Wed 8th November 11am – 12noon  12noon –  1pm
Thurs 9th November 1pm – 2pm  1pm -2pm
Friday 10th November 10am – 11am  11am – 12noon


Location of the ‘How to…’ events

Curzon library: meet library staff opposite the entrance on the first floor of the library

Seacole library: meet library staff by the comfy seating area next to the self service machines

Look forward to seeing you there.




Library Customer Services team – Who are we?


We thought we’d stop by and introduce ourselves. We’re the Customer Services team within Library & Learning Resources. You’ll find us at each Library Helpdesk, roving within the larger libraries, and also answering your emails and live chats.

Customer Service Librarians

The Customer Services Librarians at Curzon Library – Bernadette, Laura, Keith and Janet

Our Advisors are the first port of call if you need any help with your library account, finding and borrowing items, using the equipment within the library space, and all general ‘how do I use the library?’ queries.

Our Librarians are here when you need help searching for books, journal articles, statistics, company information… anything which you might need for your assignments and research. We can help you with literature searches, database access, referencing, evaluation of resources, and plenty more!

In addition to our Helpdesks, we run a 24/7 virtual enquiry service! We have an extensive list of FAQs for you to search, as well as 24/7 live chat. We staff this service ourselves during core hours, and our partner libraries from around the world take over out-of-hours. In addition to contacting us via chat, you can phone, text or email us, or message us on social media. All our contact details are on the Library Help site.

We’re passionate about libraries, learning, and helping you get the most out of university. The Customer Services team works together with our library colleagues to make sure you have access to the resources you need, and the tools to use them effectively. Library & Learning Resources are the first department at Birmingham City University to have achieved the Customer Service Excellence standard, which we hope demonstrates our commitment to delivering the best possible service we can.

So, if you have any questions, or would like to find out more about how we can help you, please stop by your BCU library and have a chat with one of our friendly team, or send us a message online. We look forward to hearing from you!



National Customer Services Week 2016

It’s National Customer Services Week! Well, it was at the beginning of October – however as this is our busiest time of the academic year, we run ours a bit later than the official week.

Each day a different theme is celebrated:


We’ve uploaded some key information about these themes to our handy Libguide – why not take a look and see what we do to achieve our Customer Service Excellence Award, for example?

This is also the week for you to Have Your Say. Got any comments about the library? We’d love to hear them! You can pop into Curzon, Seacole, Conservatoire or Kenrick to add your comments to the boards there, or just add your comment online!


A day in the life of… an Enquiry Services Librarian

A day in the life of

I’m Laura, and I’m an Assistant Liaison Librarian in the Enquiries Team at Curzon Library.  We moved into Curzon Building in July 2015 and it was a busy first term of the year!

The Enquiries Team is one of three teams of librarians, the others being Learning and Teaching (the good folk who you’ll usually meet at inductions, literacy sessions and workshops) and Collection Management (they work hard to make sure you’ve got all the resources you need).  The Enquiries Team are normally the librarians you’ll see at the Help Desk and the people you’ll chat to online. We are a small team based at Curzon, Mary Seacole and Conservatoire Libraries.  We do our best to either answer your questions straight away or point you to the person who can help.

One of my favourite things about being an Enquiries librarian is that we’re a sort of jack-of-all-trades – at Curzon in particular we support a wide variety of subjects ranging from fashion to law, management to motorsports!  We run an online support service (Library Help) which means we can answer queries from any subject across the university.  It makes for an interesting day, especially when it’s busy.  The first two hours of my day are typically spent catching up with questions we received overnight both on Library Help and social media, scanning news and updates to make sure that we share important information with users, doing some of the behind-the-scenes admin work, and drinking plenty of tea (very important). The rest of the day is spent on the Help Desk or running the online chat service, and continuing the morning’s work.

I’ve got a keen interest in marketing and social media, so I’ve been working hard with colleagues to develop our Twitter account and this blog, and I’m seeing where else social media can take us in terms of engaging with users and marketing our services.  My colleagues have been experimenting with video and animation to improve this even further.  We run events such as the coffee and cake mornings, we produce publications, and we research to see what awesome things other university libraries are doing!

The sorts of queries we get asked are:

  • Where can I find information on…? This is where we need a good knowledge of different subjects and their resources. One minute you can be asked about company financial reports and the next you could be asked about images of rocks and gems – there’s a huge variety of subjects to deal with.
  • How do I reference…? Referencing can be tricky, but we can help with basic one-off queries and show students where to get in-depth support.
  • I’m writing an essay on… This is where we demonstrate the basic search tools that are available, explain different ways of accessing things, and try a few sample searches. For more in-depth assignment/subject help we refer to our Learning and Teaching colleagues for a longer one-to-one tutorial.

It’s a great job, and I’d like to think we spend much of our time trying to make things easier for our students. That way they can spend less time worrying how to find information for assignments, and more time enjoying the University experience.