Your Top 10 Films of All Time..!

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…

10: The Godfather: Part II (1974)

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.

9: Maria Full of Grace (2004)

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.

8: Being John Malkovich (1999)

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.

7: Naked (1993)

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.

6: Amélie (2001)

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.

5: Goodbye Lenin! (2003)

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.

4: This is England (2006)

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.

3: When Harry Met Sally (1989)

“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.

2: Manhattan (1979)

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.

and, at number one…

1: Adaptation (2002)

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)

The Curious Case of Library Staff Love #14

Rather excitingly, and in typical crime fiction fashion, this month we received an anonymous tip-off. It seems that there’s something worth investigating on Level 5 of the Northampton Square Library and, luckily for us, our unnamed online-form-filler left some vital clues to help us take a closer look:

Clue 1: “It’s got loads of great new contemporary writings and photos.”

Hmm, how mysterious. Could it be an online resource? We’ve got so many, including LION– but you don’t need to be on Level 5 to access our e-resources, you can do that from anywhere with an internet connection. No, it must be something else…

Clue 2: “You can just curl up with a big Galaxy bar and sail away to loads of different worlds.”

Hmm, well I know that Bloomberg (available on PCs in the Financial Resources Suite) does a cool thing with little ships, but I don’t think it’s that. What does Clue 3 say…

Clue 3: “It is a great way to discover new writers. You can pick the most recent copies up from Level 5 although our collection goes back to 1979.”

Ah, I think I can see where this is going. Recent copies? A longer back catalogue? I’m thinking Journals, of which we have many in both print and digital form. But which one could it be? It must in print as we were told to look at Level 5. Let’s look at the final clue…

Clue 4: “It publishes work from a lot of hot new things including work by one of our talented alumnae: ‘Strange Heart Beating’ by Eli Goldstone will be published in June 2017 and then be available from all good bookshops and libraries.”

Aha! Time for a little process of elimination: if I Google ‘Strange Heart Beating by Eli Goldstone’ I get a results list, and the top result says Granta has bought the rights to this book. Now, maybe, if look for Granta on CityLibrary Search… huzzah! I can see that we stock… Granta Magazine!

Now, if I head to Level 5 and inspect the scene carefully…

Granta Magazine, on Level 5 of Northampton Square Library

Mystery solved! Us Librarians, we do love a bit of sleuthing. Thanks anonymous tip-off person!

5 ways to take a break: Library-style

It could be because it’s exam season. There could be a coursework deadline looming. Either way, you’ve decided to camp out in the Library: you’ve remembered your water, cold snacks, laptop, and those fluffy slippers to keep your feet comfortably cosy. You’re ready-to-go with an all-night revision-a-thon. Your referencing is going to show Harvard who’s boss. It’s on, people.

But you also know that having a break is ESSENTIAL to successful exam survival and coursework preparation. Rest is important. Burning yourself out will not help anyone.

So, with this in mind, here are 5 things you can do in the Library that will help you take your mind off things:

  1. Look out of the window. From a glorious sunrise, to a spectacular sunset, looking out of the window can be awe inspiring; and inspiration is key to good studying. On a bright sunny day gaze at beautiful blue skies and puffy clouds. On grey rainy days, watch as other people get drenched. Bliss.

    Sunset from Level 6
  2. Go for a walk. We have 5 floors, stairs, lifts, doors to open and close- plenty of promenading possibilities. Plus, you never know who you might bump into
  3. Browse. Seriously, not only does it add a whole new exciting dimension to promenading (see: 2, above) but browsing can be serendipitous for the soul. We’ve got loads of things you can browse, books (pick up a floor guide at the desk, choose a section, off you go…) journals, newspapers. And once you’ve found something which sparks your imagination, grab a comfy purple chair, sit back and expand your mind.
  4. Hang out with BoB. BoB could be your new best friend. BoB will listen to what you want and try to give you what you want, when you want it. BoB’s great like that.
  5. Talk to a librarian. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even the good old fashioned way, in person, at the Service Desk. Topics we’re good at include: library essentials, resources, referencing, knitting, board games, TV and cake.

And remember: you will get there in the end- just make sure you look after yourself on the way.

Northampton Square bookable silent study spaces return for 24/7 Opening

Bookable silent study spaces will return for the January 24/7 period at Northampton Square.

Students can book a space to study on weekdays from 3rd – 20th January.  Sessions of two or three hours are available between 9am and 9pm and users can book one session a day, with a maximum of two per week.  Each session can be booked up to one week in advance.  The full terms and conditions are on the bookings page.

The spaces themselves are on Level 5 and can be found on the Spencer Street side just beyond the help desk.  They are even specially decorated to show which is which too!

Some of the Bookable Silent Study Spaces waiting to be booked
Some of the Bookable Silent Study Spaces waiting to be booked

Invasion of the pod people

Did you guess what was in the huge pile of boxes on Level 3? It wasn’t, as suggested by many, an indoor tennis court for giants, although 10 out of 10 for imagination.

Instead, the library elves have been busy putting together our stylish new top-of-the-range study pods. Combining comfort and practicality, the new seating allows up to six people to study together on soft comfy chairs, complete with desk and electrical sockets.

pod1

Choose a pod with a higher or lower back for your own level of privacy.

pod2

We think they’re rather snazzy, but we’d love to know what you think. Tweet us a picture of you using the pods to @CityUniLibrary .

Library Staff Love #9: GSLC

Here’s a thing. We try not to use abbreviations unnecessarily because unless you know what they stand for it can be really unhelpful. But, OMG can they be fun too, especially if you’ve got a GSOH (IMHO).

They’re also ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Do you live on a ‘Ave’? When was the last time you RSVP’d someone, watched ‘ITV’ or looked up an answer to a question on an FAQ section?

So, for this month’s Library Staff Love feature (topic suggested by Kathryn in our user Services Team) I’ve thrown caution to the wind and engaged in some experimental abbreviating:

Welcome to the “GSLC”, AKA the Graduate School Library Centre.

Students at work in the Graduate School library

Kathryn’s a big fan of the GSLC and here’s why:

“When I was studying for my MSc at City, I found the graduate library a very useful study space. Everyone in there is there to work, so there are few distractions and I could really get my head down and concentrate. Now it has moved to Sebastian Street, it feels even quieter, and the separate rooms on the site are cosier.”

If you’re a City PG or PhD research student and you’re looking for an alternative location to study, the GSLC could be the place for you.

Information on the GSLC including opening times can be found on our website and if you’re in there studying keep an eye out for a member of our Roving Team dropping by from time-to-time to check that everything’s working OK.

FYI: nobody as far as I’m aware actually refers to the Graduate School Library Centre as the GSLC but who knows, maybe it’ll catch on? Probs not.

PS: See, I told you abbreviations could be fun. LOL.