October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom, when we pay special attention to the often untold history, experiences, and contributions of black people to this country and to the wider world. The Black Lives Matter events have brought to the forefront the issues of systemic racism and social inequalities. Whatever our skin colour, it is important to understand the background of these events, and to listen to the experiences of people who have suffered and continue to experience discrimination in many areas of their lives for no other reason than the colour of their skin.
Due to current circumstances we can’t have a book and information display in the physical space of the Library, but there is genuinely a wealth of resources and opportunities out there to learn, listen, and be together. Continue reading Black History Month
As you might have noticed from the colourful flags on Library Help Desks, celebration of LGBT+ History Month at CityLibrary is in full swing. So why not look behind the flags and find what else we have in store?
If you are at Northampton Square Library this February, stop by the book display on Level 5 to browse some of the LGBT-related print books in our collection. You can also search for more books at all Library locations on CityLibrary search, or request a new book on LGBT+ or other underrepresented topics to be purchased for the Library’s collection via Liberating CityLibrary. If you are a distance-learner or simply prefer to read online, CityLibrary Search will help you find lots of exciting e-books, too, some of which you can see in the book carousel below.
And finally, if you just feel like having a break with a good film, don’t be a stranger to our DVD collection which is right next to the Help Desk on Level 2 of Northampton Square Library: Call Me By Your Name, Carol, God Loves Uganda, The Crying Game, and many more fantastic films are there for you to borrow and enjoy. Or, if you are a distance-learner or don’t have a DVD player, Box of Broadcasts (or, as we lovingly call it, BOB) will be your best ally to find recordings of films and TV shows online.
Summer, for many students, has now arrived, and for others, it is not far off.
Before you go, don’t forget to return your library books and settle any outstanding library fines. You can check your account on the CityLibrary website.
Working through the summer? We are open throughout the summer too.
Northampton Square Library will begin summer opening hours from Monday 2nd July:
Monday-Friday 09.00 – 22.00
Saturday and Sunday 10.00 – 22.00
Staff services will be available Monday-Friday 09.00 – 17.00
Detailed opening hours for all sites can be found on our website.
Members of Alumni can access City libraries with an Alumni card. This includes use of books for reference in the library. For a small annual fee you can borrow up to five items at a time. Alumni can access several online resources when they visit the library from walk-in access computers located in the library.
If you’re in London over the summer, don’t forget that we have more than just academic books. Have a look at our fiction collection or DVDs for some much deserved rest and relaxation time.
Whether you’re in the City this summer or enjoying it elsewhere, have a fantastic time.
Christmas is a great time to bring together everyone, to wrap up warm, open a big tin of sweets and enjoy a cracking film. Whether you like modern comedies or classic weepies, we’re got something for you.
Samantha loves this film. She “has a detailed list of reasons why”. Another member of staff loves the scene with sneaky love rat Alan Rickman buying some jewelry in a high end shop up west, “best scene in a Christmas mover ever – handsdown”.
For some Christmas means one thing: Christmas themed TV specials. Nothing brings people together better watching than sitting around the box watching emergency births, surprise reunions and timely snow falls.
You can research the TV of Christmas past with this selection of excellent TV chosen by library staff.
“Whilst not the best ever episode of the show it has the key ingredients of a dysfunctional family, a bad Christmas party, and awkward moments, all put together with the running jokes that the series is famous for”
“No idea if it’s still going but I’ve always liked their Christmas Specials- mainly because it caters to the humour of both my parents, which makes it an easy one to watch as a family, which is rather lovely.”
It is still going. Recently one of the younger characters announced his engagement.
“Have wanted to see if for a few Christmasses now but been unable to because my Christmas companions have thought of it, a funny name, but I absolutely love the book. I’m looking forward to getting a big plate of cheese, a well aired Burgundy and watching this one day”.
You’ve seen what they read, you’ve seen what they watch on the small screen. Now we delve further into the library staff’s cultural beach bag.
In our latest CityLibrarySummer instalment we thought we’d share our favourite films and which films in particular mean summer to us. We’ve also highlighted where you can borrow films from our DVD collection or Box of Broadcasts [BoB].
Don’t you forget about… the Breakfast Club (dir. John Hughes) [BoB]. These kids did weekend detention in style while discovering a bit about each other (and themselves). This film reminds Jonathan of being a teenager.
Lynn loves that 90s classic Parenthood (dir. Ron Howard). “Family clashes, crazy parents and kids, teenage tantrums and old rivalries shown with humour. It always makes me laugh and it all turns out right in the end.”
Lynn’s favourite summer themed film is Something Wicked This Way Comes (dir. Jack Clayton). “The oppression in the film is not only caused by the heatwave but a sinister set of characters rolling into town. A lovely view of the eternal summers experienced as a child.”
Samantha is keen on The Princess Bride (dir. Rob Reiner) because “Swashbuckling. And the bit where they roll down the hill and end up with the RoUS. OH and the bit when he’s dead but not completely dead.”
Nobody is putting Samantha in a corner this summer as she has the time of her life watching Dirty Dancing (dir. Emile Ardolino) [BoB] “The music and the dancing is awesome, but mostly because it looks like a sweet entertaining cult chick flick but it’s actually a treatise on why you should trust your children and the importance of women’s healthcare and reproductive rights.”
This staff member’s favourite summer film is A Bigger Splash (dir. Luca Guadagnino) “Sunshine, singing and death all on the tiny Italian Island of Pantelleria.”.
Catie has recently been impressed with Baby Driver (dir. Edgar Wright) but she’s not thinking about films at the minute “When good weather blesses you with its presence as much as it has this summer, watching films is sacrilege.”
Nevertheless, her favourite summer films are Fast Times at Ridgemont High (dir. Cameron Crowe) or Wet Hot American Summer (dir. David Wain), “They are institutions. For real though they evoke the specific feeling of freedom and infinite possibility you get in the summer when you’re an adolescent that summer days could stretch on forever.”
Their summer favourite is Do the Right Thing (dir. Spike Lee) which “takes place on the hottest day in summer. This is one of the greatest films of all time, it was inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress who deemed it “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant””.
A Librarian recommends: Canterbury Tales (dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini) and A Canterbury Tale (dir. Powell and Pressburger) [BoB] – which is a very different film. The Twin Peaks prequel Fire Walk with Me (dir. David Lynch), which has a great David Bowie cameo, and Dazed and Confused (dir. Richard Linklater) – have you seen this one? It’d be a lot cooler if you did.
There are 3 films on this list starring Keanu Reeves, this has been duly noted and the data will be updated.
What’s your favourite film? Is there a film which makes you feel particularly summery, let us know in the comments section.
Normally the last thing you want to be doing over summer is to be cooped up in inside. You want to be out and about meeting friends and having fun in the sun. But let’s be honest, there’s going to be quite a few rainy days this summer. Quite a few? Okay, a lot.
We asked members of library staff for their favourite TV shows this summer. Some of these are available through Library Services on Box of Broadcasts and our DVD collection.
Catherine likes The Young Ones because she says it makes her laugh. It’s also a great introduction to the world of UK higher education.
Better Call Saul “The backstory to Breaking Bad and the Saul Goodman character. It’s like visiting an old friend.”
Grey’s Anatomy A superlative TV show about the lives and loves of a great team of brilliant surgeons; very similar to working in a library but not as high pressured.
The A Team “I like the car chases and the shoot outs, BA Baracus and Templeton Peck and Colonel Hannibal Smith and Howling Mad “HM” Murdock”.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Samantha likes this because “she’s a vampire slayer and there’s monsters and she slays them all and she has stylish yet affordable boots and she has Spike and it’s a perfectly allegory for what life can throw at you and Slayerspeak and everything and we have academic books in the library about Buffy and related Buffy fanfic because she’s awesome and ‘The Body’ [Season 5, Episode 16] is hands down the best episode of any TV show ever to portray grief”.
Catterick One librarian is often caught quoting from this “underrated piece of genius from Vic and Bob. You’ll never say tupperware in the same way again.”
Catie’s been “watching and loving the TV adaptation of The Magicians (based on a book by Lev Grossman) is like Harry Potter for adults”.
Curb your enthusiasm “It’s pretty, pretty, pretty good”. With a new series on the way, this TV show is hot property at the moment.
House of cards an insight into the world of UK politics. You can draw your own comparisons between this and contemporary politics. You might think that, we couldn’t possibly comment.
What we librarians also have excellent taste in is our selection of online resources, which is why for Library Staff Love #16 Alex, our Subject Librarian for Arts, has chosen to highlight Rocks Backpages.
“Rock’s Backpages lets you explore rock and pop music history with over 30,000 articles of music journalism including interviews, feature articles and reviews. The articles are sourced from magazines such as Rolling Stone, Cream, NME, Mojo and Melody Maker with all genres covered from Country to Glam Rock and Trip-Hop. Coverage goes back to the early 1950s and is updated every week.
Some of my own personal favourites from the archive:
For anyone researching popular music or music writing this database is an essential resource. Search for “Rock’s Backpages” via City Library Search, then select the link to go directly to the site where you can browse and search by artist, publication, genre or journalist. The website itself also includes bonus audio and visual materials.”
When you access the link to Rock’s Backpages you’ll be prompted for your City Username and Password and then… hallelujah! You’ll have access to a treasure trove of musical matter.
Thanks for the suggestion Alex (such a good egg, definitely not a bad seed…)
With the 89th Academy Awards on Sunday the end credits will roll on another year of tearful acceptance speeches, surprising snubs and red-carpet wardrobe disasters. To mark the occasion we’ve crunched the numbers on our DVD collection to discover your most popular movies based on usage.
Here are your all-time top ten. The results might surprise you…
Does it prove the theory that sequels are always better than the originals (Aliens, The Empire Strikes Back) and that third instalments are always much, much worse than their predecessors (Godfather: Part III, Superman III, Richard III…)? The Godfather: Part II certainly took your Marlon Brando, raised you Robert De Niro, and walked off with 6 Oscars including Best Picture.
Catalina Sandeno Moreno was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar at the 77th Academy Awards for her performance as a Colombian teenager who gets pregnant and then winds up becoming a drug mule. She also won Best Actress (Silver Bear) at the Berlin Film Festival where the movie was nominated for the Golden Bear. Seriously, the Golden & Silver Bears. Brilliant.
Nominated for 3 Oscars, the film stars John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener and of course the eponymous Mr Malkovich himself and is about, well, people getting inside someone’s head. Literally. It’s probably easier to watch than to describe.
Legendary filmmaker Mike Leigh’s film was overlooked by the Academy, but was recognised at a wide range of other ceremonies and film festivals worldwide, including at Cannes where it scooped Best Director and Best Actor for David Thewlis. Described as a comedy-drama, its adult content and themes means it’s, well, not for faint-hearted; and there’s not a cheesy-pineapple stick in sight.
This French romantic comedy, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is definitely at the more joie de vivre end of the cinematic spectrum, and delighted audiences mondialement back in 2001. The story about a girl whose mission in life is helping others to be happy earned itself 5 Academy Award nominations, but sadly went home empty-handed.
Set against a backdrop of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, this German film about a young man pretending to his unwell mother that East Germany still exists was lauded at award ceremonies pretty much everywhere except the Oscars, and lost out at the BAFTAs in the Best Film Not In the English Language category.
Shane Meadows’ take on skinheads living in 80s Britain helped launch the careers of several British actors including Stephen Graham, picked up the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the BAFTAs and spawned several television sequels. Nothing at the Oscars though, despite posting positive critical reviews stateside.
“Can men and women ever just be friends?” That’s the key question in this classic Rob Reiner rom-com written by Nora Ephron (who picked-up the film’s only Oscar nomination for her screenplay). With charming performances by a cast including Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal and the late Carrie Fisher, even the curmudgeonliest individual will want what they’re having after 96 minutes.
Neurotic writer? Check. Awkward romantic entanglements? Check. Diane Keaton? Check. The ‘overrated’ Meryl Streep thrown in for good measure? Indeed. Despite winning Best Film at the BAFTAs Woody Allen’s classic didn’t even get shortlisted at the Oscars, with the Academy only nominating it for Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress (Mariel Hemingway): it won neither.
4 Oscar nominations (including one for Meryl Streep), 1 win (Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Chris Cooper) and a whole host of other awards, Charlie Kaufman’s film is about a writer hired to adapt a book for the screen. Oh, and that writer happens to be Charlie Kaufman, who wrote Being John Malkovich (see, no.8)…