COPAC has new look and feel

August 10, 2009

COPAC has a new look and feel, so why not try it out today?

Copac enables you to search the merged catalogues of many major UK and Irish Academic, National, and Specialist libraries, including the British Library.  A list of the libraries is available, so you can double check whether COPAC with be useful for you.


How to survive your exams

June 1, 2009
Exam cram. Copyright: Elaine Faith,

Exam cram. Copyright: Elaine Faith,


It is generally agreed that exam time can be stressful. Stress can be a positive thing, helping you to stay motivated and focused but too much can make you feel weary and anxious.

If it is all getting too much for you there are some things you can do to improve the situation.

Remember to eat properly, it is a fact that too many students live on takeaways, snacks and convenience food. In a recent investigation by a student newspaper, “The Oxford Student” into diet and lifestyle it was  found that nearly three quarters of the 100 respondents said they felt less healthy during term time.  According to Anna Denny a nutritional scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation “Food has a massive impact on the body and mind function … so problems arise if students consume a limited diet”  Try to eat the recommended five fruits or vegetables a day and avoid too much fast food.

Limit your caffeine intake – taking too much coffee and coke make help you to stay awake but too much can make you unable to sleep or concentrate properly. You study better if you take regular breaks and get enough sleep.

Clear your mind by taking some exercise – it doesn’t have to be too vigorous. You can take a walk around the campus or go for a swim in the lovely pool and you’ll find that  you go back to your studies feeling refreshed and able to absorb some knowledge.

 But if you cannot control your anxiety and feel overwhelmed by the prospect of revision and exams,  remember that staff in the University Counselling Service are there to help you through this time. You can phone or e-mail them  to make an appointment.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

June 1, 2009
Shakespeare at Stratford. Copyright Salerie,

Shakespeare at Stratford. Copyright Salerie,

Poets, critics and readers have been wishing Shakespeare’s sonnets a happy 400th birthday. They are considered to be among some of the greatest love poems in  English literature and have given such lines to the English language as ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun’ (Sonnet 130) and ‘When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes/I all alone beweep my outcast state’. (Sonnet 29).

Many readers have detected the outlines of a story as they read through the Sonnets. The early ones address his patron who is  a beautiful, powerful young aristocrat.  The young man betrays their friendship when he has an affair with the poet’s mistress and  witholds his patronage from him, deciding to bestow on it on a rival author.

Among the great themes of the sequence of sonnets is  that of time and its ravages: ‘When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defaced /The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age’. The transitory nature of love also preoccupies the poet:’ Against that time when thou shall strangely pass/And scarcely greet me with that sun, thine eye’.

During the course of the sequence the subject matter moves from the “lovely boy” to the “dark lady”. There has been a lot of speculation about the identity of both boy and lady but no conclusions have been reached. The critic Jonathan Bate  in a recent excellent article warns about reading too much of Shakespeare’s biography into the Sonnets noting that  it is possible that the characters who appear in them are invented and that it is better to enjoy the poems than spend too much guessing about who was whom.

You can listen to Sir Ian McKellen and others reading the Sonnets on the BBC Radio 3 website.

Strike A Light!

March 31, 2009
Strike A Light!



Following the Easter vacation the Library shall be participating in the European Union’s new ‘Strike A Light!’ energy saving programme. To help counter the grave ecology crisis by conserving energy, the library shall be switching off the lights on all of its levels. Users will instead be issued with hard-hats equipped with miner’s lamps to help them light their way!


Eschewing the standard, environment damaging nickel-cadmium batteries, these lamps will be powered by solar-batteries. The wearer will be required to stand outside the library in direct sunlight for a minimum of 30 minutes to provide 10 minutes illumination time. On rainy days, sun lamps shall be set up in the library foyer for users’ convenience. Either way, it’s a good excuse to top up your tan!


In a statement to accompany the launch of this scheme, Flora Lopis, the head of the University’s Health & Safety Department, said:


“We heartily endorse and encourage this new programme. Besides the shrinking of the University’s carbon-footprint through the switching off of the library’s lights, there is also the added safety bonus of the hard-hats. In the last academic year alone, 27 students and members of staff were injured by books falling off shelves onto their heads. These hats will ensure that never, ever happens again.”


Hard-hats and further information can be collected from the Library Reception Desk on Level 3 from April 1st.


You may also find these links of use:


Europa Environment Homepage


The UK Environment Agency


Health, Safety & Environment at Loughborough University


Strike A Light! Homepage