Where There’s A Will…

shakespeare by tonynetoneFittingly for World Book Night, today marks the 450th birthday of the world’s most famous writer, William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

His work, which includes 38 plays and 154 sonnets, has been translated into virtually every conceivable language, is studied comprehensively in schools, colleges and universities and is performed daily in theatres around the globe. He’s often considered to be Britain’s greatest cultural export, and his influence on modern drama and literature is beyond description – so I won’t attempt it!

Within our own ”quick forge and working-house of thought” we have a wealth of Shakespeare related books and resources, including copies of all his works, along with famous adaptations of work on DVD. We also have access to the British Universities Film & Video Council‘s exemplary online Shakespeare resource, an authoritative  database of Shakespeare-related content in film, television, radio and video recordings which currently holds nearly 8,000 records dating from the 1890s to the present day. To read or to view, that is the question…!

Shakespeare portrait by tonynetone, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Databases on Trial this Month

Pilkington library after refurbishment

We have three databases on trial this month that may interest English, History and Social Sciences staff and students alike.

Artemis Literary Sources brings together Gale’s premier literary databases in a new digital environment that allows researchers, faculty and students to search across these resources to discover and analyze content in entirely new ways. No other publisher offers this unmatched combination of uniquely rich literary content, dependable metadata, and intuitive subject indexing – all enriched by features and design that breathes new life into the study of literature.

To begin searching please go to http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/loughuni?db=GLS – access is via IP address or from off-campus login via the VPN.

The Chatham House Online Archive contains the publications and archives of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), the world-leading independent international affairs policy institute founded in 1920 following the Paris Peace Conference. The Institute’s analysis and research, as well as debates and speeches it has hosted, can be found in this online archive, subject-indexed and fully searchable.

To begin searching please go to http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/loughuni?db=CHOA – access is via IP address or from off-campus login via the VPN.

The Financial Times Historical Archive delivers the complete searchable run of the world’s most authoritative daily business newspaper. Every item ever printed in the paper, from 1888-2010, can be searched and browsed article by article and page by page. The archive is an essential, comprehensive and unbiased research tool for everyone studying the public affairs and financial history of the last 120 years.

To begin searching please go to http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/loughuni?db=FTHA – access is via IP address or from off-campus login via the VPN.

All three trials end on 5th April. We welcome feedback – good or bad – on these trials, so please contact Steve Corn with your comments.

Have a Slice of Pi…

pi by tj blackwell

As today is National Pi Day, what better time to remind you of some the magnificent mathematical resources we have at the Library?

Aside from all the books and journals we have on the topic down on Level 1 and online, we have access to a host of mathematical databases, including MathWorld – the web’s most extensive mathematics resource – and PlanetMath, a collaborative virtual community which aims to help make mathematical knowledge more accessible.

If numbers aren’t quite your thing and you’d like a quirkier interpretation of the theme, why not pop up to our Leisure Reading Collection on Level 4 and borrow a copy of Yann Martel’s Booker Prize winning The Life of Pi?

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th around the world.  Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

To find out more, visit the Pi Day website here.

Pi image by T.J. Blackwell, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Come Fly a Kite with Club 790!

kite runner by earthwormClub 790, our own student book club, meets once more before the Easter vacation, when the book under discussion will be Khaled Hosseini’s highly popular and thought-provoking The Kite Runner (a personal favorite of ours too!)

We’ll be meeting up in the Library on Wednesday 19th March at 5.30pm. We’ve still got some copies of the novel available to be borrowed for the meeting from the main Customer Services Desk on Level 3 – just ask a member of staff on duty there for a copy.

Club 790 meets up every six weeks during term time in the Library. It costs nothing to join and all books will be provided free-of-charge (although we do ask that you return the books to us after the meeting). All you have to do is read the book and turn up!

For more information email Sharon Reid: S.D.Reid@lboro.ac.uk, or why not join our Facebook page?

The Kite Runner cover image by Earthworm, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Shades of Booker Top Public Library Borrowing

hilary mantelHilary Mantel has become the first Booker Prize winner to break into the Top 10 most borrowed books from British public libraries according to new Public Lending Right (PLR) figures released this week.

Bring Up the Bodies, the 2012 winner of the prestigious literary prize, was eighth in the list, which was dominated (no pun intended!!) by Lee Child, whose popular Jack Reacher novels The Affair and A Wanted Man occupied first and second spot, and with E.L. James steamy bondage romance Fifty Shades of Grey third. Last year’s top favorite, crime writer Lee Patterson, slipped down to fourth.

The Public Lending Right was established in 1979, ensuring that all lending income goes directly to the author. Presently the top rate in £6600 for the top-lending authors.

We’re quite well represented by these authors ourselves among our Leisure Reading collection up on Level 4, including Bring Up the Bodies, Lee Child’s Killing Floor, and, perhaps appropriately for Valentine’s Day, Fifty Shades of Grey – with or without plain brown wrapper!

Debut Novelist wins Costa Book Award

costa book awards logo

A former mental health nurse confounded the odds last night to win the much-coveted Costa Book Award.

Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall is a harrowing but moving account of schizophrenia and grief as seen through the eyes of a boy growing up in the aftermath of his brother’s death. He becomes only the fifth debut novelist to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1972 (then known as the Whitbread Award until Costa took over the sponsorship in 2005).

Filer beat four other writers to the award, including previous winners Maggie O’Farrell and Kate Atkinson, who had been the bookies choice for the £30,000 prize for her novel Life After Life. The other losing finalists were Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Michael Symmons Roberts.

A copy of The Shock of the Fall is on order for our stock, and we already have quite a range of Award-winning novels among out Leisure Reading collection on Level 4, including last year’s winner, Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Why not pop up and have a browse?

Bestselling Authors at the Loughborough Public Library

lesley pearse book cover dunedin public librariesAvid readers are in for a treat this coming month when Loughborough Public Library plays host to three bestselling authors who will be talking about their lives and works.

On Saturday 8th February from 6.30pm Graeme Simsion will be present to discuss his latest novel, The Rosie Project, which has topped bestseller charts in both the UK and his native Australia.

Then on Thursday 20th February from 7.30pm Lesley Pearse will be talking about her varying literary career, including the popular Belle series of novels (pictured opposite).

Finally, fans of detective fiction with a classical twist certainly won’t want to miss a visit by Lindsey Davis on Thursday 6th March (7pm), whose popular Roman Empire-set Marcus Didius Falco series of novels has won her a multitude of awards, including the Crime Writers’ Associations’ coveted ‘Dagger in the Library’ award.

Pre-booking for all three events is strongly advised, and you can find the full details for the events here. And while you’re at it, why not take a peek at some of the other services the public library provides and think about becoming a member… it’s free!

These events are part of the Leicestershire County Libraries’ Words on the Street programme of author visits. For the full range of these visits, visit this site:


Belle cover image courtesy of Dunedin Public Libraries, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Database Trials – Drama Online & Digital Theatre Plus

drama online logo

We’re currently trialling two new electronic resources that should prove of vast interest to students of English & Drama, or indeed anyone with an interest in theatre and the dramatic arts.

The award-winning Drama Online introduces new writers alongside some of the most iconic names in playwriting history, providing contextual and critical background through scholarly works and practical guides. This constantly growing collection meets the full range of teaching needs for theatre studies, literature courses and drama schools. From the epic to the monologue; ensemble to one-person plays; comedy to tragedy; the historical to the contemporary; and from the highly political to the profoundly personal, there is plenty to discover. The databases’ unique Play Tools with Character Grids, Words and Speech graphs and Part Books offer a new way to engage with plays for close study or for performance.

To begin using Drama Online please go to www.http://dramaonlinelibrary.com – access is via IP address or from off-campus login via the VPN. This trial will end on April 13th 2014.

On a similar theme, we’re also trialling Digital Theatre Plus, which is the home of unique films of leading British theatre productions for schools, colleges and universities and represents a bold new approach to experiencing and learning about theatre online.

To try this database out, visit www.digitaltheatreplus.com. This trial is active only until 27th January 2014.

We welcome feedback – good or bad – about either or both of these trials, so please contact Steve Corn (s.c.corn@lboro.ac.uk) with your comments.

World War 1 Soldier Diaries Online at the National Archive

drbexlA unique personal record of life in the trenches during World War 1 have recently been made available online for the first time by the National Archive.

The archive holds 1.5 million pages from diaries and journals penned by soldiers serving in the front line and has so far digitised over a fifth of that collection. The first batch of over 1900 diaries detail the experiences of the first wave of British soldiers deployed when the war began in July 1914.

The project is part of the government’s World War 1 centenary programme, and forms a significant piece of a scheme also involving the Imperial War Museum and the research website Zooniverse dubbed Operation War Diary, which has the ultimate aim of enabling people to find out more about the conflict, and will prove invaluable to people hoping to find out more about ancestors who fought in the war.

We have a huge amount of books examining every facet of the First World War among our history collection on Level 2, as well as a wide range of works by the famous war poets from the conflict, including Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen among our poetry collection downstairs as well. You can also get day-by-day reportage of the entire war through our extensive online newspaper archives available on Library Catalogue Plus.

To view the War Diaries Archive, visit the National Archive website here.

World War 1 recruiting poster by drbexl, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Costa Book Award Nominations Announced

kate atkinson at the mosman library

Some famous names are among this year’s crop of nominees for the 2013 Costa Book Awards announced earlier yesterday.

Kate Atkinson (pictured) and Maggie O’Farrell, previous winners in 1995 and 2010 respectively, are up for the Best Novel Award  again along with Evie Wyld and Bernadine Bishop, who receives a posthumous nomination for Unexpected Lessons in Love.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s controversial biography of the philandering Italian poet and politician Gabriele D’Annunzio, which earlier won the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize, heads the list for the Best Biography Award, while veteren Australian writer and broadcaster Clive James is up against 2004 winner Michael Symmons Roberts in the Poetry Award category for his translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

Last year’s £30,000 top prize went to Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, which remarkably won the Man Booker Prize in the same year. Since the introduction of the award in 1985 (then known as the Whitbread Prize), it has been won 11 times by a novel, seven times by a poetry collection, five times by a biography, four times by a first novel, and once by a children’s book. For the complete list of this year’s nominees, and to find out exactly who previous winners were, visit the Costa Book Awards site here.

We have quite a range of Award-winning novels among out Leisure Reading collection on Level 4, including last year’s winner. Why not pop up and have a browse?

Kate Atkinson at the Mosman Library, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.