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The LRC Blog

This series shares stories, resources and helpful information from our LRC team! Our friendly team of staff are always on hand to help and offer advice.

 

The facilities in the Learning Resources Centre at both campuses cater for different styles of working and include group work, quiet study and silent study areas as well as open access work stations and laptops which are fully integrated with the College’s IT network. 

 

Get In Touch: 01932 797 906 | library@brooklands.ac.uk | @BCLibraryWA 


It really has been quite a year for us all. As we count down the days to the end of term (4 - just 4 - left!), maybe now is a good time to reflect on the situation we now find ourselves in.
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A rather well-known, well-respected author caused a little bit of a (Twitter) hoo-ha among her fellow writers last week. Jeanette Winterson was so unhappy with the cover, especially the blurb, of her latest book that she felt the need to burn her copies of it - as is clearly her right. She proceeded to post a picture of the burning pyre on social media.
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It’s not surprising that as a nation we have been as impatient as To Kill a Mockingbird’s Scout whilst waiting for summer to arrive but it is here - finally. As the first draft of this blog entry was being written, summer seemed quite elusive as the dark skies were threatening yet another rainshower, and we seemed to be experiencing all four seasons in one day. It’s been a long year for our staff and students with the gloomy weather adding to the general feeling of moroseness.
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Quick Reads are back. The 2021 QR collection should be making its way to the LRC to be added to our ‘New Book’ display later this week. This initiative, currently organised by The Reading Agency, began in 2006 as a government funded scheme to improve the rate of adult literacy.
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It has been widely reported that 2020 was a bumper year for booksellers. Someone at the BBC certainly had a light-bulb moment when early on during the first lockdown the corporation commissioned a TV book club show to be hosted by Sarah Cox. Between the Covers launched in October 2020 with a simple concept. Each week a panel of guests and the host would have read a book which they then proceeded to have a discussion about.
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For the first time in over 12 months, the LRC is turning out a display on site, with proper books and everything. Creating displays from posters and offerings from our book and DVD collections was a regular activity for all LRC staff. Displays were created to promote national holidays, awareness days, weekly and monthly national initiatives - basically anything worth celebrating we highlighted.
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You would think that, as a college, having just completed our own walking challenge lasting 101 days that we had had enough of walking. Captain Sir Tom Moore’s birthday on 30th April saw our walkers complete a collective grand total of over 7700 miles, raising £1,032 for NHS Charities Together.
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12th April proved to be an eventful day across England. After a tentative testing of the waters in March when all students returned to school, Step 2 of the ‘roadmap to freedom’ came into being. More customer-based services (including public libraries) were allowed to open as were shops selling non-essential goods. 
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The start of this new term is looking very different to the previous one - in fact very different to the last 3! For starters, all students are back on campus which in turn means staff being on site too to support them. Working from home for LRC staff will no longer be an option (we’ve customers to serve!) especially as we’ve lost almost 50% of our work force over the last 12 months. Covering the Issue and Help Desks if - no, when! - we get busy again - will be a challenge.
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In last week’s blog entry, there was a brief mention of the tutorial topic being rolled out to our students regarding ‘County Lines’. This is an important issue for our young college community to be made aware of and still be addressed, just slightly later than planned. It has, however, been replaced by an equally weighty subject - mental health and dealing with grief.
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Much to the relief of the Brooklands College community, the majority of our students have returned to campus after two very long lockdown months. Carpenters, bricklayers, hairdressers, motor vehicle mechanics, etc - all back in workshops and salons learning their practical skills. A few courses are offering a hybrid of onsite and remote learning but the emphasis is still on having the students in a physical classroom where possible.  
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Having previously discussed how readily available e-books and audiobooks are, it would be remiss not to reinforce the value of the printed word. As much as we like to embrace the modern world and technological advancements, there is no way really that we can compare the clicking of an icon on a homepage and the tap, tap tap of a finger to the sheer pleasure of opening the front cover of a book, and then feeling the texture of every single page between your fingers as you turn them, listening to them as they rustle. Books also have their own smells. Reading does encompass nearly all of the senses.
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We have a road map at long last. Whilst there may still be a few detours along the way, there was a good deal of positivity stemming from our PM outlining a way forward through the pandemic at long last. It’s almost been a year since the start of our first full lockdown. Today sees the start of restrictions being lifted as step one of that road map comes into action. Schools and colleges are allowed to fully reopen.
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As a community, the College is doing a lot of walking. One of our team mentioned how much they enjoy audiobooks whilst they’re out and about. As with many other media, accessibility to audiobooks has been made very, very simple. We’ve progressed a long way from the cumbersome Walkmans of the ‘80s with an equally cumbersome physical stash of cassette tapes.
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It may have been mentioned once or twice over the last few weeks that the College has a fundraising challenge running (walking!) at the moment. It’s a simple idea – to walk 101 miles for 101 days, starting on 19th January with the finish line of 30th April – Captain Sir Thomas Moore’s 101st birthday – whilst raising funds for NHS Charities. The challenge became all the more poignant with the recent passing of the man himself.
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The College community are just a short way through their #The101Challenge - 101 miles to be walked each by a number of staff and students in the 101 days from 19th January to what would have been Captain Sir Tom Moore’s 101st birthday. The fundraisers have already reached their target with donations going to NHS Charities and are now feeling more inspired in their endeavours as they’re now walking in the gentleman’s memory.  
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Since the beginning of the first lockdown, our HR Department has been keen to establish what staff feel they need to help with their well-being whilst working remotely, and has offered a variety of activities over the last few months. A little while ago, a survey was sent out to the staff to see what else they felt they needed.
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Last week (Sunday 17th January) saw the start of a new series on ITV called Finding Alice.  Why is this worthy of a mention? you may well ask. As it happens, for the few weeks preceding lockdown, one of the car parks of Brooklands College was being used as a base for the TV crew whilst filming was taking place around the area. This was accompanied by a flurry of reports on social media of Keeley Hawes being spotted in the vicinity as much of the filming was taking place in and around the Weybridge area, as well as other Surrey locales.
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Anyone else feel there’s a certain apathy in the country right now? This is the third lockdown, necessitated because of rising case numbers and hospitalisations of people unlucky enough to suffer complications having caught Covid-19. During the initial lockdown, a vast percentage of the population complied with not going to work, maintained social distancing, and generally only had close contact with people in their own household.
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Monday, 11th January 2021 When the “welcome back” blog for 4th January was written in mid-December, it was kept deliberately brief and vague because who knew what we would be facing as we entered 2021? Which is just as well as I doubt many of us would have predicted the introduction of Tier 4, the […]
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Many of us will be grateful that 2020 is finally over. It’s been a very trying year for all of us and now that the seasonal festivities are over, we are about to see what 2021 will bring. A rocky start perhaps but with a few promises of better things to come? Let’s hope so.
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Well it’s been an interesting year to say the least. As we head towards the end of term and finally being able to say goodbye (and good riddance!) to 2020.
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It’s that time of year again, that single day of the year when we quite freely and without recourse are allowed to wear what some would consider to be the most atrocious knitwear, all in the name of charity.
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It is almost December and we are starting to think about Christmas. Like so many other events this year, the 2020 version will be somewhat different to those that we have previously known.
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Monday 23rd November 2020 Last week, we highlighted the charitable efforts of the organisation BookTrust during the run up to Christmas, where this year more children than ever will be living in poverty and the value of escaping into a book is appreciated more than ever. BookTrust isn’t the only organisation to recognise this. We […]
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Monday, 16th November 2020 And so we are back to lockdown for a few weeks. This time around though it feels very different. There was a certain amount of peace as we went through spring into summer – largely attributed to people not driving to and from their places of work. That’s missing this time […]
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Monday, 9th November 2020 The opening to last week’s blog was completely out of date before it was even published, courtesy of the UK government seemingly leaking like a sieve. Had journalists not reported that the PM would be addressing the nation on Monday afternoon to announce a second lockdown, then it would have been […]
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Monday, 2nd November 2020 Welcome all to the second half of this autumn term, As an LRC, we have settled into our new normal – service levels have been adapted to meet college safety guidelines, rotas have been tweaked, and more e-resources have been added to our Google Classroom. Our levels of service are still […]
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As librarians, we have watched the enormous efforts being made across the board to maintain library services - whether libraries have had to limit opening hours, offer click & collect services, move their parts of their collection to an online platform - valuable changes have been made.
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Last week was Libraries Week, and up and down the country, and with a worthy presence on social media, libraries and their users celebrated the valuable yet humble services that they offer. One writer, Ann Cleeves - creator of Vera Stanhope and Jimmy (Shetland) Perez - is a huge supporter of public libraries. Unsurprisingly many other writers are too. 
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It’s Libraries Week. Every year, libraries around the UK celebrate the best that they have to offer for the communities that they serve. This year’s theme is recognising the part we play in the building of a Nation of Readers...
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It’s been interesting over the last few weeks watching how libraries have managed their reopening and any perceived risks. The plans that we were putting in place for reopening changed over the summer. Then changed again at the start of September, and now it looks as if the goalposts are shifting again. The primary aim is obviously to keep our staff and students as safe as possible so we’re busy focusing on maximising our online facilities and resources.
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What a strange few months it has been for us all. Throughout the country, many key workers continued to offer their services so that the rest of us could stay safely indoors and away from the dreaded Covid 19. To all those doctors, nurses, shop assistants, bus drivers, care assistants, delivery van drivers, and so many, many more - a huge, huge thank you. 
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Monday 14th September 2020 Did everyone have a nice summer? It has been a very unusual one for most of us. Firstly, we found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, then there were the baby steps of opening society back up and a glimmer of what the ‘new-normal’ may be for this year. Then, […]
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Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Rating: 5/5 I’ve done a couple of reviews for the LRC and I’ve realised I must be a bit picky. As much as I’ve enjoyed previous books, I’ve never quite thought they deserved top marks. A 4.5 perhaps but there’s always been something that’s stopped my handing out […]
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Closer You Are: The Story of Robert Pollard and Guided by Voices by Matthew Cutter Rating: 5/5 Robert Pollard (born 1957) is one of the most prolific, unique and creative individuals in music history. He is known globally, but isn’t a household name despite the 100+ albums he has appeared on. In many respects he […]
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Fingersmith by Sarah Waters Rating: 4/5 I read this after being recommended it by a friend. Initially I was not hopeful. I didn’t really like the style and thought it was a bit “naff”. However, trusting my friend’s recommendation, I persevered as was more than rewarded. The story was gripping and the twists in the […]
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The Whisper Man by Alex North  Rating: 4.5/5 From the start of the book, you’re never quite sure if you’re reading a mystery, a psychological thriller or something verging on horror. (Only verging thankfully otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten past the first chapter). It’s the story of Jake, his dad Tom, the eponymous Whisper Man […]
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At Home: A Short History Of Private Life by Bill Bryson Rating: 5/5 Not long after moving to an old rectory in Norfolk, Bill Bryson needed to go into his attic to fix a leak. He discovered there was a mysterious door on an external wall that was not visible from outside. This got him […]
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Cry Baby by Mark Billingham Rating: 5/5 Loved it. Absolutely loved it.  For this reader of a certain age, Cry Baby is one big nostalgia trip – and thankfully not always a rose tinted one. It’s set in 1996 at a time when England were hosting the UEFA Euro Cup (coinciding with my own early […]
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Monday 22nd June 2020 Good news. Library doors are about to reopen. No, not our doors. Summer term for us ends in a few days. This will be our last blog of the academic year and we will spend the next few weeks preparing for the huge welcome back to our students in September. The […]
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Monday 15th June 2020 Who doesn’t love a visit to a good bookshop? As Mary Ann Shaffer indicates in the quote above it’s so easy to come away with more books than you went in for, having browsed the central displays and the 3 for 2 stands. Over the years, bookshops have reinvented themselves, from […]
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Monday 8th June 2020 Book Clubs For the most part, reading is a solitary activity but there is a lot to be said for sharing the joys, thrills and disappointments that can be found in a book. And if anyone has ever thought about joining a book club to share these thoughts then maybe now […]
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Monday 1st June 2020 LRC staff can’t quite claim credit for this week’s theme. That lies firmly at the feet of our Marketing department who placed this wonderful quote from American author Jhumpa Lahiri on their Twitter feed a couple of weeks ago.  It is so fitting for current times. Although it appears that some […]
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Monday, 18th May 2020 When we first started this blog, it was very short and to the point – just an introduction to say “Hello, the LRC is here if you need us”. We are still around to help our students if they need us but we have since expanded our content a fair bit.  […]
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Monday 11th May, 2020 For centuries, music has been an essential key to combating fear, loneliness and isolation, especially during pandemics. And it’s no different now. Who could miss the scenes of Italian apartment building residents performing rousing renditions of folk songs and operas? Even people sitting alone at home can find comfort in the […]
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Monday 4th April, 2020 So said our own Queen Elizabeth very recently in an address to the nation during these very strange and testing times. And so Vera Lynn sang to the troops in the midst of World War II. Although fighting with Japan continued for several months until 2nd September, Victory in Europe was […]
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Monday 27th April, 2020 How did you spend Reading Hour on World Book Night? So, Thursday 23rd April was St George’s Day in many countries across the world, it was the Bard of Stratford’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Will) and it was also World Book Night. Oh, how we would have celebrated in the LRC. We […]
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A huge (virtual) welcome back from the Easter break for the start of the summer term. Thursday 23rd April is a big day for celebration. Not only is it St George’s Day and the birthday of William Shakespeare, it’s also World Book Night. In our last blog entry, we mentioned that we had successfully applied […]
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Welcome to week two of our new blog! Spring Reading Challenge In February, the LRC received an email from the Reading Agency to say that we’d been successful in a bid to win multiple copies of the book ‘Things a bright girl can do’ by Sally Nicholls to give away to some of our students […]
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Welcome to the Learning Resource Centre weekly blog! We are here for our students during this remote working period and will be offering hints and tips on using our e-resources, posting links to new resources and adding some leisure activities. We love… Audible Audiobooks – If you need some time out Audible has free access […]
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