Don’t Just Relax With a Book – Relax ON a Book!

photo (23)The National Literacy Trust have just begun a leisure reading scheme that gives the expression ‘settling down with a good book’ a whole new meaning, as they have installed a range of benches across London designed after popular literary classics such as Peter Pan, Bridget Jones and James Bond.

In association with Wild at Art the Trust’s Books About Town scheme features a trail of benches shaped as open books, decorated by professional illustrators and local artists, allowing visitors an opportunity to explore and celebrate the capital’s literary connections and the whole idea of reading for pleasure, whilst enjoying the artwork of some of the country’s top artists – in a very novel way!

We do our bit to promote leisure reading here at the Library too, though our furniture is a little more ordinary, alas! We have a wide (and ever expanding!) range of popular fiction, autobiographies and graphic novels upstairs on Level 4 (pictured above is only a small sample of our collection!). So if you’re stuck for something to read over the long, drowsy summer days (and nights), why not pop upstairs and have a browse?

Visit Inner Worlds at the Loughborough Town Hall…

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Art lovers and fans of the science fiction dystopias of writers J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick are in for a treat at a new exhibition that has just opened at the Sock Gallery in Loughborough Town Hall.

For Inner Worlds: Tech Noir and The Gothic Leicester-based artist and photographer Wayne Mitchelson transforms the gallery into a strange and interesting world inspired by the novels of Philip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard and Edgar Allen Poe using digital photographic prints and hand drawn murals. Wayne will be drawing between the spaces of some of his photographs to create his own visual story and you the viewer are invited to watch him at work, as each photograph connects and the “Inner Worlds” emerge.

The exhibition runs for a month from today until 3rd August. For further details visit the Loughborough Town Hall site here.

Enduring War at the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoA new exhibition has just opened at the British Library as part of their contribution to the First World War Centenary. Enduring War examines how people coped with life during the war: from moments of patriotic fervour to periods of anxious inactivity, shock and despair. 

Through posters, poetry, books and pamphlets from the period, the exhibition considers attempts to boost morale at home and in the field, as well as presenting individual responses to the conflict, such as letters from Indian soldiers on the Western Front, schoolboys’ descriptions of Zeppelin raids over London and examples of the black humour expressed in trench journals.

The exhibition also showcases the Library’s work for Europeana 1914-1918, a major pan-European project to digitise more than 400,000 items from World War One through an audiovisual art installation, as well as a new World War One website, in which the user can explore over 500 newly-digitised historical sources from across Europe, with new insights by experts.

Enduring War is now open until October in the Library’s Folio Gallery and is free to visit. For further details visit the British Library website here.

World Cup Fever!

cattias photosFootball fans across the globe rejoice tonight as the 2014 World Cup Finals kick off in Brazil this evening, beginning a month-long sporting carnival featuring some of the finest football players in the world.

Hosts Brazil are the pre-tournament favorites and will be hoping to kick the ball running with a victory over Croatia in the opening game that kicks off at 9pm tonight. 30 other countries qualified for the tournament, comprising a total of 13 European sides, 6 South American, 5 African, and 4 each from Asia and North America. They’ve all been drawn into 8 groups of four teams. The eventual winner in the final, to be played on Sunday 13th July, can expect a prize of $35 million dollars, as well as the distinctive Silvio Gazzaniga trophy.

The tournament is being staged with a background of some controversy; there have been doubts about Brazil’s ability to stage a safe & secure tournment following recent and ongoing domestic and social upheaval in the country. And FIFA, football’s world governining body, is embroiled in a bitter dispute over the legitimacy (and wisdom) of the award of the 2022 Finals to Qatar.

You don’t have to look far in the Library for something to read about football; we have a growing section of books down in our sports section on Level 2 devoted to the sport and its history. You can also read all about previous tournaments via our electronic newspaper archives, which are available to browse via Library Catalogue Plus. Though for many England football fans, such a dip back into the past may bring back unwanted memories…!!

Brazil 2014 World Cup logo by Cattias Photos, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

School of the Arts Finals Exhibition

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School of Arts Finalists are proudly displaying their creative labours in an exhibition at the School of the Arts all this week.

This work ranges across the fine arts, including textiles, 3D design, graphic communication and illustration, and has been influenced not only by the students’ own experiences and imaginations, but also by live industry projects they’ve carried out with companies including Paul Smith, the V&A Museum and Radio Times. Some students have also taken inspiration from placement opportunities with national and international organisations, including Liberty’s, Adidas, Ford and ITV.

The exhibition is open  to the public daily between 10am-5pm until Sunday 15th June.

For further details visit the School’s website here:

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/sota/news/finals-exhibition/

Maya Angelou 1928-2014

maya angelou by york collegeAmerican author, poet and civil rights beacon Maya Angelou died today aged 86.

Best known for her best-selling autobiographical account of her childhood and early youth in 1930′s America, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, first published in 1969, Maya Angelou became a role model for the burgeoning Civil Rights movement in the US, in a career that also spanned writing, acting and music. She was a friend of both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and later wrote poetry for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration and in commemoration of the death of Nelson Mandela last year.

We have a variety of Maya Angelou’s works in our literature collection on Level 2, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and you can found out more about her extraordinary life and works by browsing our extensive collection of newspaper archives available on Library Catalogue Plus.

Maya Angelou portrait by York College, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Discovering Literature with the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoThe British Library has this week posted over 1000 of its greatest literary treasures online in a new website, Discovering Literature, including the manuscripts of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Austen, Dickens and Wilde, and other unique artefacts which shed new light on the life and works of these and many other legendary authors.

Discovering Literature features over 8000 pages of collection items and explores more than 20 authors through 165 newly-commissioned articles, 25 short documentary films, and 30 lesson plans, including William Blake’s notebook, childhood writings of the Brontë sisters, the manuscript of the Preface to Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, and an early draft of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. More than 60 experts have contributed interpretation, enriching the website with contemporary research. Designed to enhance the study and enjoyment of English literature, it should prove both an invaluable resource to students and a treasure trove to those interested in this classic period of English literature.

These works from the Romantic and Victorian periods form the first phase of a wider project to digitise other literary eras, including the 20th century.

Loughborough Literary Salon – Writing for Young Adults

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Loughborough University’s Department of English and Drama are delighted to announce that their next Literary Salon will be held on Tuesday, 13th May 2014.

The Literary Salons offer literary conversation, debate, and performance, and the focus of discussion for this particular evening will be Writing for Young Adults in the 21st Century. Aimed at writers, authors, publishers, creative industry professionals, university staff and students, and literary enthusiasts in general, the idea of the Salon is for everyone to network, share, and learn in an informal atmosphere.

Guest participants will include authors of fiction for young adults, Savita Kalhan and Maxine Linnell, literary agents Diamond Khan and Woods, and independent publisher Walker Books. There will also be an opportunity to buy their books.

The Literary Salon will be held in the Leonard Dixon Studio and courtyard of the English and Drama Department (Martin Hall) and will start at 7.00 pm until 9.00 pm. Tickets cost £10 or £5 for concessions and refreshments will be provided.

Tickets must be booked in advance and are available through Helen Relf (h.l.relf@lboro.ac.uk). You can also follow the Loughborough Literary Salon on Twitter for updates: www.twitter.com/LboroSalon2014

Eden Flix Presents ‘Future By Design’

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Next Wednesday afternoon (14th May) in the Cope Auditorium at 3pm Eden Flix is hosting a free showing of Academy Award nominated director William Gazecki’s acclaimed 2006 documentary Future By Design.

Future By Design shares the life and far-reaching vision of Jacque Fresco, considered by many to be a modern day Da Vinci. Peer to Einstein and Buckminster Fuller, Jacque is a self-taught futurist who describes himself most often as a “generalist” or multi-disciplinarian – a student of many inter-related fields.

Eden Flix are a series of highly acclaimed, thought-provoking and inspirational documentaries on issues related to engineering, design and social consciousness.

All staff and students at Loughborough are freely welcome to attend, though booking is necessary. To do that, follow this link.

Happy Birthday BASIC!

spectrum basic keyboard by matt  and kim rudgeFifty years ago today, in a darkened basement at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Jersey, was created a computer programming language that was to have a revolutionary effect on the science and industry of information technology – Basic.

BASIC – or Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code to give it its full title – was the brainchild of mathematics lecturers John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz, who wanted to create a universal programming language that students and computer novices alike could use with ease. So successful was it, that it became the primary programming language for the home computer boom of the 1970′s and 1980′s (including machines such as the venerable Sinclair ZX Spectrum, pictured above), on which many the industry giants of today cut their first IT teeth on, and it is still widely used today, albeit in a vastly evolved form, in languages such as Microsoft Visual Basic.

Programming buffs looking for a nostalgia kick may be amused by the range of books about the original Basic language that we still keep downstairs in our programming section, alongside books about its illustrious descendant – which you may find more useful, unless you keep a friendly old ZX as a back-up for your disertation!

ZX Spectrum keyboard image by Matt and Kim Rudge, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.