Tag Archives: SALCTG

Visits: RCPSG Library and Bridgeton Mediatheque

4 Mar

I went on a couple of visits with other organisations recently. SALCTG visited the RCPSG Library (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow) – some beautiful historic books and artefacts (including an amputation set and a 19th century enema kit) in an equally beautiful and historic building. Read more on the SALCTG blog.

With MmITS, I went to Bridgeton Library, specifically to learn about the Mediatheque, but we toured the whole building. In the Mediatheque’s purpose-built booths you can access a digital jukebox of over 2000 items from the BFI Archive, including Scottish material. Read more on my own blog, Adventures of a Retired Librarian.

Do either of these sound good for future tweetups? Ideas always welcome!


#GLTU10: Glasgow School of Art 28/6/13

2 Jul
Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of Art

Nine of us gathered in the magnificent Mackintosh Building (pictured above) for the latest GLTU visit, to @GSALibrary, and the second in collaboration with SALCTG. The Glasgow School of Art is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s foremost university-level institutions for creative education and research in fine art, design and architecture. The school was founded in 1845 as a centre of creativity promoting good design for the manufacturing industries and since then, has continuously evolved to reflect the needs of communities and embrace technological developments.

Unfortunately, the Mackintosh Library itself is closed for refurbishment, as is the present day library, but the Archive was a more than acceptable substitute. First of all, there was a tour of the archives by Archivist Susannah Waters, taking in the School’s heritage and the growth of the archive. After tea and cake (no library gathering is complete without them) Graduate Library Trainee Jennifer Higgins gave a presentation on how the Library supports students and researchers to interact with, and use, the range of resources available to them. There was a particular focus on the use of InfosmART, the School’s portfolio of online interactive modules in information and research skills which has been specifically designed for creative practitioners.

Jennifer herself (@matildawoodworm) has written a comprehensive account of the visit on the GSA Library News blog, so I’ll restrict myself to a few (of the many) points that particularly appealed to me.

  • GSA started out in what is now Tinderbox on Ingram Street. I knew it had once occupied the McLellan Galleries, but didn’t know this.
  • Archive items which might sound dull on the face of it have extra layers of interest in an art school. Prospectuses have beautiful covers. Inventories, dating from the 1850s, can include everything from books to plaster casts. Student registers throw up some very well-known names. (It was quite a thrill to see the page with entries for Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret and Frances MacDonald and Herbert MacNair.) Correspondence can throw up gems about which kind of animals should be used for life-drawing (not lions apparently).
  • Magnificent artwork can be casually produced from a drawer, for example, a picture of an Italian farmhouse by Joan Eardley which she painted while on a travelling scholarship in the 1940s.
  • The information seeking behaviour of art school students is different from others in HE – it’s very visual, with a heavy reliance on browsing. No getting irritated with the student looking for a “red book”! (This was actually quite familiar to me from working at Jordanhill where it was common to find piles of discarded picture books in which students had searched for just the right illustrations to take on teaching practice.) However, eventually, they WILL need information literacy skills, hence InfosmART. This looks like a very well-constructed programme which students from any institution could use.
  • In addition to being useful, material for art school students has to be visually arresting to be credible. InfosmART fits the bill. Wimba Create, a tool to convert Word documents into course content, was recommended.
  • The Library has just launched The Hatchery, a site to showcase how artists, writers and creatives have used its collections to inspire, challenge or expand their practice. This is an excellent idea which other libraries might want to investigate for their own areas of expertise.

At the end of the afternoon, we were sent off with a lovely goody bag. GLTU events have normally finished up in a pub or restaurant, but numbers for post-event socialising fluctuated and eventually dwindled to zero – until I went outside and came across Lynn (@lynncorrigan) who had missed the visit but was game for a curry. We can recommend Rawalpindi on Sauchiehall Street.

The pictures in the gallery below (other than the two of the goody bag) are by Michelle Kaye of GSA and are used with permission. There is also a Storify of the event.

For more information about GSA’s collections, follow the Library news blog linked to above and see their other blogs:

GSA Archives and Collections

Treasures of GSA Library

Architecture Resources

Art and Design Resources

Thanks to Jennifer, Susannah and Michelle for a fascinating visit.

#GLTU9 review: City of Glasgow College 23/5/13

24 May

Twenty members of GLTU and / or SALCTG met on Thursday afternoon at City of Glasgow College Library for a tour by Librarian Tony Donnelly. The College was formed when Central College, Glasgow Metropolitan College and Glasgow College of Nautical Studies merged on 1st September 2010, and the library has been extensively refurbished, Level 1 in 2007 and Level 2 in 2012. It was interesting to see the changes in thinking between the two – Level 1 was attractive but felt more like a traditional library with separate IT suite. Level 2 was a more open and integrated space. Rather than describe everything, here are some of the things that struck me:

  1. Tony himself! He kept us interested throughout and his passion for the library shone through.
  2. The best money you can spend is on good design – preferably design that doesn’t look like design.
  3. Level 1 was project managed by Estates and was 3 months late. Level 2 was project managed by a librarian. It was one year in planning, nine weeks in execution and finished on time and on budget. Keep as close to the project management as you can.
  4. Invest in good materials and students will respect them. Expensive easy chairs were still in good condition six years later.
  5. Keep soft seating areas where you can see them and they will not become “rogues corners”. The library does not have behavioural problems. On Level 1, there was a comfortable area in front of the desk big enough to take all of our group. On Level 2 there were the “lily pads” (see pictures). These areas are also great for informal inductions.
  6. The artwork on walls and shelf-ends was attractive. There were also four sculptures created for the library in a competition for stonemasonry students, a great way to utilise in-house talent.
  7. Simple ideas that work! The cutting table – standing height with a suitable surface and all the equipment needed such as paper-cutters and staplers. The branded card wallet containing credit-card sized leaflets on the library and ICT services (and an extra space for a train or subway ticket).

I had to rush away at the end to attend another meeting, but most of the group were still there asking questions. This was the first visit arranged jointly between GLTU and SALCTG and it seemed to work out well in terms of attendance, and everyone seemed to find a lot to interest them. The photos below were taken by me except the first three on the bottom row which are used by permission of, and with thanks to, Erika Jagielko (@ErikaHeather). Donna Nicholson Arnott (@bookpluscoffee) has written an excellent account of the visit on her blog – thanks to her too. If anyone else has anything to add – pictures or blog posts – please let me know so that I can link them in.

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