Brooklands College
Facebook Twitter Instagram Call
Call us 01932 797 700
Accessibility & Translation

Simply Books

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. 

Like most staff in libraries up and down the country, when not serving our users, we spend our time with general admin and housekeeping tasks. We also, in my opinion, create wonderful and informative displays that adorn the walls and shelves of our everyday working environment. Over the last few weeks we’ve been translating some of our display work to the virtual world of this webpage. 

We’ve also looked at a wide variety of activities and initiatives going on around the country that are keeping people connected, looking at virtual gallery tours, streaming of live performances, musical collaborations but this week, we’re expanding on our first blog entry and looking at books. We are a library after all.

Book Awards
Summer usually heralds the arrival of the book festival season and the awards that go along with them. Although pretty much every festival has been cancelled or replaced with a new programme to be delivered digitally, the longlists of books for the various awards are starting to appear. It’s fantastic that these are carrying on under current circumstances. So virtual book award presentations here we come!

Being a library with many teenage students, we do look at the annual YA Book Prize for guidance. The winner is usually announced at the Hay Festival at the end of May. The shortlist of books selected for the 2020 prize have recently been announced. More details of the books with links to Q&As with the authors can be found in this article from The Bookseller.

In the meantime, the Hay Festival is going digital. Many other festivals have been cancelled but the organisers of Hay have put together a relatively full programme of events that can be accessed from the comfort and safety of your own home. Take a look here to see what’s on offer.

Ten Young Adult books to consider
It has to be pointed out that this list of YA books has been written by someone (me) whose own young adult days have long since past. However, age shouldn’t be used to define anybody’s reading habits.

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  3. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  5. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  6. The Outsiders by SE Hinton
  7. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
  8. Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman
  9. Shelter by Harlan Coben
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas



Some people are finding it hard to settle down and read at the moment. There’s a certain sense of restlessness during lockdown that makes concentration on the written word difficult at times. Many people have turned to the audio versions to get their literary fill, and most new print releases from well-known authors these days are accompanied by their audio equivalent.

At the start of lockdown, Audible, the Amazon-owned audiobook subscription service, announced it would make certain childrens and YA books, and literary classics free.

JK Rowling has been hard at work recruiting some celebs – most from the wizarding world of Harry Potter but not all – to narrate her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. So far, Harry himself, Daniel Radcliffe has read chapter one, the original West End Hermione from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Noma Dumezweni chapter two, and now Newt Scamander himself, Eddie Redmayne, is set for chapter three. 

Each week, there’ll be a new chapter and a new famous “Potterhead” to listen to. Click here to check out Harry Potter at home.

One actor decided to use his talents to read live online in exchange for donations to charity. Andy Serkis began reading “The Hobbit” on VE Day at 10 with a brief pause at 11 for the two minute silence and finished a mammoth 11 hours later. Take a look at this article for more details Andy Serkis reads the entire “Hobbit” online live for charity.

Authors during lockdown
A favourite author with LRC staff is Mike Gayle. During lockdown, he has taken to Facebook each week to feature a live reading from one of his books and a Q&A session with followers. The discussion doesn’t always centre around books. There are currently 8 weeks of these sessions to view now, and he’s adding more each week. There are sure to be other authors doing this but his live interactions are natural and entertaining.    

National Thank a Teacher Day 20th May
Please join us this Wednesday as we say a virtual thank you to all of our teaching staff. It’s not been an easy few months and some heartfelt appreciation via social media will be sent their way. #ThankaTeacher

Mental Health Awareness Week 18th-22nd May
This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, whose chosen theme this year is kindness. Random acts of kindness have become all the more important during the current coronavirus pandemic. Spending so much of our time at home with limited access to friends, family and the outside world has meant that mental health has been the focus and talking point of many news articles, twitter feeds and podcasts. 

We have seen many acts of kindness in recent weeks. Captain Tom Moore’s walk for the NHS captivated the hearts of the nation. The 99-year-old Army veteran walking laps of his garden for charity gave the public a story of kindliness at a time when people were desperate for positive news. 

From their research, the Mental Health Foundation have found that by doing something kind towards yourself and others helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships.That is why they want to encourage acts of kindness this week. If you have carried out or reflected on an act of kindness recently, take a photo or video using the hashtags #kindnessmatters #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and post on social media to show that kindness matters.  

Sarah, one of our library assistants, has put together a slideshow of images provided by the Mental Health Foundation.

The holy month of Ramadan – where Muslims fast during daylight hours to celebrate and reflect on their faith – ends at sundown on Saturday 23rd May and for the following 24 hours, Eid-al-fitr is celebrated. Let the feast begin! Paola, another of our library assistants, has compiled this slideshow.

Book Review
The Streets of Darkness by AA Dhand
Rating: 4/5

It’s a bit grim up north. Sometimes.

This is the first book in a series to feature DI Harry Virdee, a policeman in Bradford currently on suspension, who stumbles across a body whilst out on a morning run. The body is a local businessman and councillor who is Asian, a Muslim, and the crime appears to be race related.

As Harry is currently not officially a policeman, he is tasked by his boss to seek out Lucas Dwight, a recently released BNP member and prime suspect, for a quick resolution, in order to pre-empt any racial tensions.

All is not as it seems and the motive behind the murder isn’t this clear cut.

Race as a subject features quite heavily in this book. Harry himself is Sikh but is estranged from his family following his marriage to Saima, a Muslim. The events of the book also occur around the Eid festival, which becomes a plot point in its own right.

All in all this is a great but dark story. One character even likens the setting to Batman’s Gotham. It’s very entertaining with a great plot and there are more than a few plot twists along the way. A very good read.

I read the full version of the book but the LRC does have a Quick Read version, issued by the Reading Agency, as part of its World Book Night promotions.

– Alison M 

Haircutting tips from your friendly librarian?
Is somebody in your family starting to look a bit unkempt during lockdown? Need a good haircut but all hair salons and barbers are closed at the moment? Don’t despair, the LRC has a solution for you – get yourself some scissors and some clippers and take a look at JISC’s hairdressing training guide.

It’s full of videos and step-by-step guides to follow to help you to achieve that perfect hairstyle.The end result  may not look as good as your usual salon visit but it will certainly look better than using a pudding basin! 

We love…

World Meditation Day 21st May
Life can often feel overwhelming – especially in the current climate. Meditation is a way of stopping still for a moment and taking time to reflect. World Meditation Day celebrates this across the globe, giving everyone the opportunity to pause and reboot. You don’t need to have any previous experience and if you are not a meditator, you can spend a few minutes of your day to close your eyes, relax and reflect. Sarah, one of the LRC Library Assistants has recently completed a 21 day meditation challenge sent to her by a friend which explored abundance in her life. Sarah found it extremely enjoyable and motivating. She found herself looking at things in her life more positively and looked forward to her 20 minutes a day of switching off and listening to the day’s audio session on her headphones. There are many apps that you can easily download and try: Headspace, The Mindfulness App and Calm to name a few. Perhaps you too would like to download one and reap the many benefits of mindfulness?

Sarah also recorded her thoughts about her 21 day meditation in this video.

Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 19th-23rd May
Chelsea Flower Show – which should have been taking place this week – will go digital this year. The RHS are planning on bringing the world’s greatest flower show into all our homes with the use of technology. This may mean that those of us who wouldn’t normally get to visit in person can benefit from their daily updates, videos and articles with world leading garden designers and plant experts. Have you been outside and appreciated your surroundings more during lockdown? Mind, the mental health charity, certainly believes exposure to nature can benefit your mental and physical wellbeing. 

BBC Lockdown Orchestra
Last week we highlighted the BBC Lockdown Orchestra’s request to the public asking for music, vocal and dance contributions to their rendition of Candi Staton’s You Got the Love. Here’s the finished and rather wonderful video.


Spring into Reading
We would still love to receive some reviews of books from our students. – the more reviews the better. So don’t forget our Spring into Reading challenge. Read a book, write a review and return this form

Further reading and resources
The FT have recently extended their free access to schools programme to now cover FE Colleges. This covers all standard content online and via their app. All staff and students are now eligible to access for free by registering here.

Access our virtual library online
You can search for e-books on the library catalogue or directly through our e-book providers Dawson and Proquest. Click on the Shibboleth login if requested and select Brooklands College. 
Heritage Online | Proquest | Dawson

If you need a little help with ebook access, check out a guide to Dawsonera and a guide to Proquest

LRC Subject Guides
LRC staff have created subject guides for all courses – they are  located in your Tutorial Hub on Google Classroom. Here you will find links to e-books, online databases and useful websites.

Book Loans
Worried about fines? No problem. All loans have been renewed and fines waived while the LRC is closed.

Don’t forget to follow us on @BCLibraryWA. We will be posting useful information on a regular basis.

Please contact us at if you need support with e-books, e-resources or anything else.

Contact Us

Brooklands College Weybridge Campus

Heath Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8TT

Brooklands College Ashford Campus

Stanwell Road, Ashford TW15 3DU