In parallel to our work with tutors, our Fair Outcomes Champion for the Library and Learning Services, Kaye Towlson, has been working to promote and further develop the diversity of library stock, as well as making sure to include more diverse library displays of books and other information.
Diverse displays can be found on the Kimberlin ground floor and combine images, text and a display of books which users can borrow, which prove to be very popular. The women of colour activists display, which was inspired by and coincided with the Rights for Women exhibition at the Senate Library in London, is just one example of the displays relating to diversity shown in the library. Previous themes have included Bollywood, Harlem Renaissance, fashion designers and figures in history.
Another example is a photography display curated by Ann Collick in the Library’s Displays Team, in a series which celebrates diversity in the arts. One of the featured photographers was Carrie Mae Weems, whose work focuses on portraits and the family lives of African Americans. Passionate and political, she received a camera as a birthday present at the age of twenty, started taking pictures straight away, went to college to study photography and design, and has never looked back. She has won many awards for her work, and her projects include ‘Family Pictures and Stories’ (1981-2), ‘Dreaming in Cuba’ (2001), ‘African Jewels’ (2009) and ‘The Obama Project’ (2012).
Other contemporary photographers featured include Jamel Shabazz, from Brooklyn in New York, who documents African American lives, and Zanele Muholi, a South African artist who focuses on black LGBTQIA+ and gender-non-conforming people. Artists from the past are represented too, such as Jonathan Adagogo Green (J.A. Green), believed to be Nigeria’s first indigenous professional photographer, and Howard Bingham who captured iconic shots of Muhammad Ali.
LLS staff had a great time talking to students at the DMU Shelfies event about reading for pleasure, showing them the library’s collection of leisure reading books, extolling the virtues of the wide range of genres written by authors from around the globe (Kimberlin Colour Full reads, a scheme to encourage reading and to stress the diverse nature of our collection). Staff enjoyed some great conversations with them about what they liked to read, if they had any favourite authors and if they found time to read during their studies. One student recommended leisure reading linked to your programme of study – as a politics student she loves to read political thrillers and biographies of iconic contemporary political figures. Others recommended fantasy fiction, thrillers, horror, “chick lit” and classic texts.
There were also many discussions about reading for leisure during National Libraries Week and how it can be a fun and relaxing activity during the intensity of study. The Kimberlin leisure collection includes many relaxing reads and now, with auto renewal, unless wanted by another student, users really can read them at their leisure. Book recommendations during this event included Black Sheep by Sophie McKenzie, the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and One Child by Torey Hayden. Students can suggest books to be purchased for the library.
CLaSS (Centre for Learning and Study Support) works with all students to provide help and advice with their studies. Common issues students face throughout their studies include learning strategies for planning first assignments, approaching critical analysis in academic essays, dissertation support, and advice about making use of postgraduate study. Resources for students can be found HERE, and information about tutorials, assignment drop in and booking can be found HERE. Upcoming workshops can be seen and booked HERE.
Coaching Corner is a new drop in initiative taking place on the ground floor of Kimberlin Library, offering top tips for students on using the library, technology and assisitive software. See the calendar of events for this month HERE. The weekly 500 Word Club allows students to bring along an assignment and aim to write 500 words during the meeting, and get support and advice from staff. Assisistive technology is also available during these sessions.
The DMU Writing Circle are a community of staff and research students who meet weekly to work towards improving their writing in a social environment. While the focus is on writing, there is an opportunity to discuss writing practises and attend seminars. Find out more about the writing circle HERE.
Students can also make appointments with the Royal Literary Fund (RLF) Fellows Debjani Chatterjee and Leila Rasheed for help with writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – to contact them and for more information, click HERE.
More information on the library at DMU on a whole, as well as accessing student email accounts and other I.T. services, can be found here: