Hillcroft LRC

Archive for August 2015

Mavis Cheek in the literature section

Mavis Cheek in the literature section.

We’ve currently merged popular fiction with our literary fiction. It has always been difficult to maintain a distinction between the two for a long time. Popular fiction is usually easier to read and newer books whereas literary fiction are more demanding to read and could be considered classics. The writer KW Taylor suggests that it comes down to what the reader thinks.

We moved the books and weeded out the tatty and unborrowed ones (they have gone to a good home through Better World Books). Because literary fiction is classified using the Dewey Decimal system it makes it easier to browse on the shelf as it distinguishes between languages and countries where it has been written. For example, our biggest section of the literary shelf is now 823, which is shorthand for ‘English fiction’.  It makes it more obvious which fiction we need more of, such as our world literature (other than North American) which is a quite small collection at the moment. We aim to grow it to better suit our international focus and interests as a college overall.

We’ve also come across some gems again. We have more than 10 books by author Mavis Cheek who came to Hillcroft College in the 1970s. If you are in need of a good book to read or to be inspired by her creativity and humour then you could try reading her books.

We mostly turn to Google when in need of a piece of information.

What is the date for the next bank holiday? (factual information) Who is my MP? (current information)…What is the definition of psychology (subject specific information)?

What did people do before Google? Often they went to the library quick reference shelf. This section of a library or LRC is for consultation only. The books are often heavy tomes because they include many many lists and indices. You have dictionaries, encyclopaedias, almanacs, atlases, handbooks and more. The books on the quick reference shelves aren’t intended to be read cover-to-cover. Instead you can find specific information by looking up a key word (such as date, name or place) in the index which points to where the information is in the main pages (which then may point you to other books to be found elsewhere in the library).

One key thing to bear in mind about Googling is that companies can make a lot of money when you click on the link to their website, there are some extreme examples as to how Google results are not to be trusted. Many of the links are commercial and the information may not be that relevant or authoritative enough for study purposes. Quick reference books are more reliable sources of information than most of the results that Google conjures up. This is because, in getting published regularly, they have gone through a very careful selection and editing process by experts. However you have to keep your critical thinking hat on when looking at all information sources.

Quick reference books need a bit of getting used to again. Most people have forgotten how good a reference book can be and the skills to use them. Although a bit old, a really useful book is the ‘Guide to the use of libraries and information sources’ which offers great advice on using reference books. One illuminating idea is that: “…research begins when the first encyclopaedia the student consults fails to provide the information needed to answer a question or to carry out an assignment, and it becomes necessary to consult several sources.”

We have lots of dictionaries and encyclopaedias on specific subjects with new ones arriving every day at the moment. Don’t be put off by library terminology, the quick reference shelf could be thought of as a starting shelf much like we turn to Google to answer quick queries.

Book shelvesThis week we’ve been busy ordering new material in for the library before our learners return in September.

For our Diploma in Massage Therapy students we’ve added a new dvd Health and Beauty: Aromatherapy Massage to our collection of resources.

We’ve been busy ordering in more from one of our favourite series entitled Very Short Introductions from Oxford University Press. Why do we like them? They are great for getting to know a new topic in an easy to read and succinct format. Plus they look at the latest research in the topics too. They are brilliant for linking in with equality and diversity issues as well as academic subjects from Access to Higher Education/A-level and beyond. Plus they are a great way of swotting up on a topic for a debate or dinner conversation! A number of these are now available as ebooks from Dawsonera. This has an added benefit for learners who can use them when they are offsite. Here’s what our collection of these looks like so far – though there’s more yet to arrive!

Plus for a bit of inspiration for learners doing documentary film making there’s a new DVD Les Invisibles directed by Sébastian Lifshitz which  spotlights the lives of gay women and men who were born between World War I and World War II. It charts their experience of living as individuals/couples in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s when there was less acceptance of homosexuality.