Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘Libraries

Books can be heavy, notes get lost and eyes get tired. On all these issues, ebooks can help. Reading a book on a screen may not have the same satisfaction as holding a physical copy.  Yet there are benefits to having access to books stored in the “cloud“.

Differences between ebooks and reading apps

What makes a reading app an app rather than an ebook? There aren’t many differences between reading apps and ebooks. For those who are curious about such things, one distinction is that ebooks tend to be downloadable and have copies exist in physical form, whereas reading apps are more likely to be ‘born digital’, that is, having no physical manifestation (at least to begin with). Reading apps and ebooks these days might mix text with interaction and features of other media such as video, audio and games.

Benefits of ebooks and reading apps

  • not needing to carry a book around,
  • having a choice of things to read between,
  • being able to read without hands with the help of a screenreader such as the freebie Natural Reader or VoiceOver on Macs,
  • have your device record how much you’ve read.

We have two ebook platforms available through the catalogue for subjects including maths, social sciences and English.

If you are after fiction you may want other apps on your smartphone for easy access.

3 Free Reading apps

There are a number of reading apps to add to your phone for free, much of the content is free too. It depends on how you like your reading experience but it’s always good to have a book available on your smartphone if you’ve got one.

Perhaps try The Pigeonhole which releases ebooks in installments so it’s more digestible for on-the-go reading.

There is also the Kindle reading app so you can get all the out-of-copyright ebooks downloaded on your phone or tablet or desktop.

I’ve also heard of the app Hooked which present stories as a chat conversation.

Like, you know, super spooky.

Don’t forget your public library will have ebooks available to borrow.

Let us know what reading apps you’ve heard of or would like to try out. What combo of apps vs print works for you?

 

 

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In our last week in the mini library (Phoebe Walters Room) I thought it was a good chance to reflect on the culture and ethos behind the LRC at Hillcroft.

Librarians have high ideals which explains why there are so many rules and strategies:

  • always use the self-checkout machine,
  • return books on time even if there isn’t a fine,
  • don’t make notes in the margin of books,
  • search by surname of author,
  • don’t rely on Google.

Nancy Graham (a librarian from the London School of Economics) brought up the important point back in a summer workshop. It might appear that we are trying to turn students into mini-librarians. Using the LRC shouldn’t be a chore or restrictive. You don’t need to wear a librarian’s hat all the time (except if you’ve a wish to become a librarian). We’re here to provide and help you find good information. Say you want to find a productivity tip or a more informed research method. Bingo! LRC to the rescue!

There are times and places to think more librarian-y. Evaluative, investigative, organised, caring, responsible, imaginative. But don’t take our word for it. What words would you use to describe thinking more critically? Does the LRC help you get in the right mindset and find information?

 

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Film festival figures by Lacy Landre (2012) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

At the risk of being very unpopular just before Summer begins, a reminder: You’re never done studying. Thinking about careers and building employability skills brings to mind the question often asked of children: What do you want to be when you grow up? An astronaut, a business person, a teacher, a dancer, a doctor. It’s usually a one word answer or “I don’t know”. Perhaps more useful is to ask: What would you like to continue learning?

In ‘What Color is Your Parachute?’ they suggest listing all the jobs you’ve ever dreamt of doing. In those jobs are clues to what kind of career would suit you. Sometimes I dream of being a diver, a fashion designer and a home-schooling mum. Yet I don’t really want all that comes with those jobs, I want the best parts – as they seem to me. Designing something new, exploring new places, teaching and learning with interesting human beings. So there are many careers that could suit those interests, that also make the most of the skills and knowledge I have chosen to develop through passion, hard work and luck.

An article by Raghav Haran provides some wonderful career advice – all very applicable to lifelong learning: take a different approach to the norm and don’t put limits on your ambitions. Many women know how to achieve against all odds.

You can always find out more, and most people stop short of that, so in seeking out answers and information you are already getting ahead of the rest. Here’s where the LRC and libraries really comes into play – we are the home of the ‘find out more’ mindset.

If you’re looking for ways to cultivate that mindset check out ‘Independent Thinking’ by Ian Gilbert who brings the mindset to life through stories and observations on education. The Phoebe Walters Room has inspiring career books and university prospectuses.

Letter N by Josh Filhol licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Libraries A-Z Letter N by Josh Filhol licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

It was National Libraries Day last Saturday with lots of events going on all over the country to celebrate libraries. Libraries are often unappreciated because people don’t know much about them. What actually goes on behind the scenes in virtual, academic, public law, company, art and museum libraries to make them so important? Are libraries in different countries different from those in the UK? You can browse the international library collections online though the World Digital Library.

So for our part, we have been thinking of fun ways to promote our resources and services to our staff and students. We want to make sure what we do day-to-day and overall is not a mystery. Plus it is fun to share the library love and talk to students and staff.

  • We are having a book vote for new books on the VLE. The 11 titles we selected came from awards lists and feature some challenging themes and most are written by women.
  • We are also displaying what staff and students are currently reading in the LRC which we hope will inspire everyone to borrow not just from us but from your friends and tutors too.
  • At lunchtime on Wednesday (11th Feb) we are holding a live Padlet session where everyone can post to our virtual wall to share what makes libraries special. On the day we will email everyone the link so you can post from your smartphone or computer wherever you happen to be. Or come into the LRC and post on one of our iPads.

We would love to know what you think here too. If you would like to leave a comment with a question about resources or libraries in general. For example, you can ask us about: ebooks, textbooks, reference books, DVDs, pdf versions of books, using the VLE, referencing, study skills.

Six Book Challenge promotional material

Back in October the Learning Resources Centre (LRC) team submitted their work with the literacy and English as a Second and Other Language (ESOL) lead tutors and their learners around literacy and the Six Book Challenge (6BC)  for a Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) Best Practice Award. This week we heard that CoLRIC had received a large number of LRC entries and we were fortunate enough to gain a Commendation.

The awards were running for the first time  and were open to COLRiC members around the United Kingdom which the team discovered at the Northampton College roadshow. The team had worked with tutors and learners in selecting graded readers and fiction that learners could vote on and suggest which the team then ordered for use as part of the 6BC programme.

The selection was informed from research the team did before the autumn term began visiting London bookshops for graded readers, graphic novels and fiction. The Learning Resources Assistant had created a 6BC scrapbook to help learners on these course understand what type and level of reading could contribute to the six items which 6BC participants could read and review in their reading diaries. Our main focus was to encourage reading and not to put learners off by the level of the material.

Through the challenge the LRC team discussed the reading diary reviews with the learners and found out valuable feedback from them which they could use for future stock selection and how the students rated the material. We introduced stickers to add to the reviews to encourage learners to take part. The feedback from the learners showed how much the programme boosted their reading and one of the learners enjoyed it so much she bought stickers for the students to place in their diaries.

The team also worked closely with the ESOL learners in looking at themes in the plots and characters in the books.

Catalogue displayLike most Learning Resource Centres (LRC) in colleges and university libraries we promote our services and material to our students using social media  through our WordPress blog and Twitter. Many of our students are new to social media so we are building up their digital literacy knowledge by using these tools to promote our services.

This week we read in the Wikiman blog about a handy tool the Student Guide to Social Media created by the libraries of the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and York. It’s under Creative Commons licence so you can share it with others. The tool explains what social media is and why the different tools are important and explains how you can use different social media tools. This will help our students understand what social media is and how they can get the most from different social media tools.

Library display at Northampton CollegeLast week the Learning Resources Centre (LRC) team attended the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) roadshow on Information Literacy at Northampton College. As well as having a tour of the Beacon award winning Library we took part in some practical sessions on referencing material.

Back in the day of the LRC team referencing was easy – books, journals and newspapers. These days our students need to reference not only their tutors notes but also blogs, images on the Web, wikis, discussion forums and more!

Our session by Abigail Cuthbertson from Huntingdonshire Regional College  on Using Xerte for esafety and information literacy got us being the students working our way through how to reference and avoid plagiarising material. Abigail put us on to Anglia Ruskin University Library’s Harvard System – a handy web page guide to referencing your research. Find out more about the work Abigail has done on information literacy on her Slideshare presentation Huntingdonshire Regional College’s Journey with Information Literacy and  E-safety.


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