National Libraries Day 2015: Alexander Gard-Murray’s thoughts on Nuffield College Library

National Libraries Day

Nuffield College Library is celebrating National Libraries Day, an event where libraries across the UK are celebrated. This year we have contributions from our library users. We asked them what it is that they like about the library and to nominate their favourite book/an influential book. We’ll be posting throughout the week with our readers’ thoughts leading up to National Libraries Day itself on Saturday 7th February. First up is student Alexander Gard-Murray:

Nuffield’s library is one of the College’s best features.  It has all the traits you would think to ask for in a great library: a wide selection, generous borrowing terms, an accommodating policy on acquisitions, and the longest possible opening hours.  But it also has some fine traits you might not think to ask for, but which are very nice once you have them.  One such trait is that due to its unorthodox layout, patrons can choose exactly how much contact they want to have with their fellow scholars.  You can labour side-by-side on the first floor, have your own semi-private desk on the second in case you still want a little oversight, or you can have a whole floor to yourself in the tower.  A floor for every mood.

Book Nominations:

Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellJonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Oxford alumna Susanna Clarke.  Clarke has accomplished the rare, and possibly unique, feat of combining an engrossing story with an academic literature review (albeit of a masterfully fabricated discipline).

Golden ruleGolden Rule, by Thomas Ferguson (shelf mark JK 467.F).  The book presents a needed counterweight to standard accounts of voter-driven policymaking.

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About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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3 Responses to National Libraries Day 2015: Alexander Gard-Murray’s thoughts on Nuffield College Library

  1. I’m no a student but my history might interest you. I worked at Nuffield College Library as a humble library assistant in my late teens and early twenties. My colleagues at the time were Christine Kennedy, Gill Woolven, Antonina Rach and Alex Wedell. Max Hartwell was the Fellow Librarian. Whilst there I was given the opportunity to study for the Library Association Entrance Exam at a class held at the Bodleian Library. Subsequently I went on to become a chartered librarian and, later, to study for various qualifications terminating in a PhD. I worked in several libraries, finally ending up as Deputy Librarian at Sunderland University. Later I engaged in research in information services, talking about use of libraries and information technology by students, researchers and staff in academic libraries. I have Nuffield College Library to thank for inspiring me to undertake a career in the information world and to want to inculcate a love of libraries in students of all ages. I am retired now but shall be celebrating National Libraries Day by remembering happy times spent as a student poring over documents and making serendipitous finds in an arena that somehow manages to be stimulating and relaxing simultaneously!

    • How nice to hear from you, Pat! As current librarian of Nuffield, I’d like to thank you on behalf of my colleagues for your interesting and inspiring tale. Curiously, I was heading in exactly the opposite direction (geographically) as you went north: I lived in Sunderland and went to school in Newcastle, then ended up in Oxford via Cambridge and London. There are currently six of us in the Library and we like it very much as a place to work. Although there have been many changes in Nuffield over the years, I’m sure you would recognise a lot of things about the library. You’re most welcome to visit if you are ever in Oxford.
      Liz Martin

  2. *I’m not a student… (sorry typo – fat fingers!)

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