Mind Over Matter

psychic powers by jared zimmermanThe Library will be hosting a ground-breaking psychic experiment this Easter that may have a profound effect on the whole Higher Education learning experience for generations to come.

In conjunction with Doctors Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz and Egon Spengler from the Parapsychology Department at Colombia University, New York, the University’s own Parapsychology Department will be aiming to move a single chocolate Easter Egg from one end of Open 3 to the other – using only the power of student’s minds!

“There is such a lot of vast, untapped potential in the average undergraduate mind that is simply bursting to be unlocked,” explained Prof. Flora Lopis, the Head of Loughborough’s Parapsychology Department. “If we can achieve this simple experiment, then who knows what else we can accomplish? Conceivably, students could, in future, summon books off the shelf without moving from their desk, pay for printer credit with a single thought, or even place a food order at the cafe without standing in any tedious queue. Today an egg, tomorrow the world!”

Student participation in this experiment is vital, which is where YOU come in! Therefore on Sunday April 20th, we will be asking all visitors to the Library for their help by following these simple steps at the appointed hour of 12 Noon:

  • Rest your forehead on your computer keyboard (you may use your own laptop)
  • Speak aloud the following mystic incantation: Ievah Oothcum Eerfemit Noymsdnah
  • Roll that Egg!

Users at home wishing to participate can do so by downloading the App contained in this link.

Please note: the Library cannot be held accountable for any dry-cleaning bills that may result from misuse of the above incantation and the accidental summoning of any evil Library spirits in consequence. Should such an apparition appear, please contact Dr Venkman, Dr Stantz or Dr Spengler immediately using this link.

Psychic powers image by Jared Zimmerman, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.


Watch the Skies!

x-ray delta one

Google’s latest doodle celebrates the 66th anniversary of an event beloved of conspiracy theorists and science fiction writers the world over – the infamous Roswell UFO crash.

The event took place during the evening of July 7th 1947 when a mysterious aircraft crashed in farmland near the sleepy New Mexico town of Roswell. Rumours that this vessel was not of an Earthly origin were ignited by a hasty press release issued from a local airbase, but the US military subsequently moved quickly to quash this story and claim the vehicle was nothing more than top secret surveillance balloon and not visitors from another planet.

Yet the rumours would persist over the decades, culminating in the ‘discovery’ in 1995 of alleged military footage taken shortly after the crash purporting to show an autopsy of one of the dead alien pilots (but subsequently revealed to have been a hoax in 2006).

The Roswell Incident has had a substantial influence not just on the science fiction genre – most notably the popular TV series The X-Files (1993-2002) – but on American and world culture in general, with ‘Roswell’ becoming something of a by-word for government and military cover-ups the world over.

Budding Mulder & Scully’s on campus may find our own extraterrestrial resources limited to the SF/fantasy novels among our Leisure Reading collection, but those with a more scientific interest in space will find plenty of stars to gaze at among our science and engineering databases, including RealClimate, the National Aerospace Laboratory, and a range of NASA resources including their Scientific & Technical Information Site.

And of course, if during the current refurbishment of the Library our builders stumble across anything extraterrestrial in the basement, we’ll be the first to let you know… honest!

UFO comic cover image by X-Ray Delta One, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Libraries in Space: The Next Generation!

It was announced today that the Pilkington Library is going to be at the forefront of the next stage of Great Britain’s space exploration program – by boldly going where no library has gone before by putting the first librarian into space.

Loughborough University’s brand new space exploration department, Astronautics, Planetary Research Information Logistics & Fundamental Operations Office Loughborough, proudly unveiled plans for its Space Exploration Module Orbiting Library Information Network Astronaut  project (or SEMOLINA for short), with the aim of launching a member of Library staff into orbit some time during the Spring of 2014.

Flora Lopis, the head of the SEMOLINA project, exclusively revealed to us how this will be happening. “A launch pad will be incorporated as part of the new Level 4 work that will be undertaken in the Library during 2013, and Holywell Park Lake has already been approved as the location for the splash-downs of our space capsules. I can’t tell you how excited we all are by the prospect of beating the American, Russian and Chinese space programs by launching a librarian into orbit first.”

No official confirmation has yet been made as to which member of the library team has been selected for this singular inter-galactic honour, but staff have been quick to nominate who among their number they’d most like to see taking the Library into the realms of ‘the Final Frontier’. A member of the Academic Services Team, who wished to remain anonymous, remarked on their own nominee:

“We can think of few better candidates we’d most like to fire into space. And, incidentally, I call dibs on his stapler and brand new set of Dewey Decimal 23.”

For updates on the project, visit this website.

Rocket logo copyright Jen Montes, reproduced from Flickr under CC Licence.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Pumpkin by Tasitch, reproduced under CC License from Flickr

It’s that time of year again, for ghosties and ghoulies and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night… also for dressing up, eating lots of sweets and watching horrible old movies on TV!

Halloween is generally considered to be an American tradition (not least the bit about dressing up and eating sweets!) marked by an annual holiday in the States on the 31st October, though its origins stem from the venerable Catholic festival of All Saints Day, or Hallowmas, which is celebrated by Catholics  throughout the world (albeit in a rather more sober fashion!).
Indeed, the eponymous Jack-O’-Lantern carved out of pumpkins actually stems from the ancient custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory!
Contemporary culture has welded Halloween with the horror & supernatural genre of literature, cinema and television, and many famous characters of page and screen – such as Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster – have become as much indelible icons of the Halloween season as the ubiquitous pumpkin.
The Library is well stocked with suitably ghoulish material for the occasion; we have a wide range of horror fiction from the literary classics of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to the shorter supernatural works of M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft, up to the more contemporary novels of Stephen King, as well as a wealth of critical and cultural studies of the genre in print, on stage and on screen, all easily searchable via Library Catalogue Plus.
If it’s movies you’re after, we also stock a variety of horror films on DVD in our High Demand section, including the classics Night of the Living Dead, Aliens and The Shining. We are obliged to point out that we are in no way responsible for any nightmares you may suffer afterwards…! 

The Phantom Paper Sculptor of Old Edinburgh Town!

Mystery paper sculpture left at the Edinburgh Book Festival (image copyright chrisdonia)

Libraries and exhibitions in Edinburgh have been attracting a spate of mysterious visitations… striking paper sculptures from an anonymous artist!

So far seven sculptures have been ‘donated’ to Edinburgh-based arts groups. The first was found in March at the Scottish Poetry Library. Then the National Library of Scotland staff discovered a delicately crafted gramophone in June. Later in the month the city’s Filmhouse found a tiny cinema made of books. In July staff at the Scottish Storytelling Centre found a paper dragon’s egg hatching on a windowsill, and last month two more were discovered at the Edinburgh Book Festival and one more at the Central Lending Library.

No-one knows who, or indeed why, these sculptures are being left, other than that the artist is obviously a fan of libraries – even if they’re not a fan of the books they’ve cut up to create their work!

There’s a blog site that’s been set up following these ‘arrivals’ as they appear, which has already attracted the attention of the national press. Why not keep tabs with it as the mystery unfolds…?


Missing Books: A Paranormal Explanation?

They're here!

There’s nothing more frustrating for staff and students alike than finding that the book you’re looking for on the library shelves has gone missing. But is there a more unearthly explanation? The University’s Paranormal Studies Department thinks there is!

Flora Lopis, the Department’s newly appointed director, explains.

“Over the last year we’ve been receiving a lot more reports of sightings of strange phenomena and peculiar activities across all levels of the library. These reports seem to increase particularly during the 24-7 opening period, notably during the small hours after the Union bars close, for some reason.” 

Flora’s team have recently set themselves up in the Library to try and record some of this activity, but have had little luck so far.

“First thing this Monday morning we had a report of a terrifying groaning, pasty-faced apparition that had manifested itself at the Enquiry Desk on Level 2, so we rushed over. But this turned out to be a member of Library Staff recovering from a weekend attack of spirits of an entirely liquid, rather than supernatural, nature. Serves him right, too.”

But Flora’s convinced there is evidence.  Especially where missing books are concerned, and certain books in particular.

“Well, they seem particularly drawn to copies of David Jobber’s Principles & Practices of Marketing, 6th edition. Certainly I’ve never been able to get a copy, and this can only be because of the ghosts. Can’t it?”

Have you witnessed supernatural or paranormal activity in the Library? Has a book you’ve been looking for on the shelf suddenly and inexplicably vanished? Can you really stop a Vampire with Kung-Fu, like in Buffy The Vampire Slayer? If you can answer these questions, Flora and her team would like to hear from you. Why not visit their site and find out how to contact them.

Have You Seen the Worm?

Those of you who regularly use the road near the Engineering buildings may have noticed the presence of an unsual visitor lurking in the flower bed. No, the Chemical Engineering department haven’t been breeding Triffids, it’s simply a harmless Bookworm!

The Bookworm comes on loan from our seasonal bedding plant supplier R.C.S Plants Ltd. It is a metal frame filled with moss and planted with Sedum rosettes. The company has many sculptures available but the Bookworm was considered quite apt for a learning institution!

The University is also looking to get the loan of one or two other statues, including one of  the Loch Ness monster which was considered appropriate by the side of Holywell Park lake (I hope the real Holywell Park Lake monster doesn’t get jealous…!) Hopefully sufficient interest will be shown for the University to buy, rather than loan, future statues.

The Bookworm has already been featured in the Loughborough Echo as part of the Loughborough in Bloom campaign, details of which you can find here, and you can find out more about the worm’s friends here at Artopya’s site. You may also find a wealth of information on the subject of garden and landscape design among our Art & Design databases on Metalib.

So why not pay him a visit and say hello?

Happy Friday the 13th!

What does the date Friday the 13th conjour up in your mind? Ill omen and misfortune? Superstition? Or maniacs in hockey masks pursuing hapless teenagers (and I’m not just referring to the Loughborough Students Hockey team during Freshers Week).

Friday the 13th has long held an infamous quality in western society, even before the advent of that series of dreadful horror movies with the aforementioned maniac. Folklore is full of allusions to dreadful things happening on this day. Indeed, so rooted is it some people’s psyche that it has a profound effect on their day-to-day routine; people are known to avoid taking long trips on planes or trains in case some dreadful accident befalls the journey. Some even take the entire day off and spend it in bed so as to avoid any misfortune (which sounds like a good idea most days anyway).

This phobia of anything connected with the so-called ‘unlucky 13’ can be traced as far back as Norse mythology (the evil Norse god Loki apparently turned up at a shindig arranged by the other 12 gods and, true to form, embarked on massacring them like our friend with the hockey mask), and other instances such as Judas arriving as the 13th guest at the Last Supper, and of course astronaut Tom Hanks having all those problems with that rocket in Apollo 13.

Of course, we in the Pilkington Library have no such truck with such base superstitions, proudly belonging, as we do, to the cutting edge of 21st century technology, with which absolutely nothing can ever go even remotely wronggGGGGGGGHJKFDRERLXxxxxUIOOOP.