10 CityLibrary hacks for new students

Planning on venturing into the Northampton Square Library for the first time? Here are 10 hush-hush hacks only those in-the-know know….

  • (1) There’s a lift from the main entrance direct to Level 2

    Accessible lift from main entrance

Our Library is accessible which is great if you use a mobility aid, and even greater if you just don’t like stairs. There’s a mirror in it too, so before you exit through automatic doors, heralded by the sound of happy elevator beeps, you can also make sure you look fabulous (or check you haven’t got chocolate smeared across your face, whichever is more likely).

  • (2) Our Entrance and Exit Gates want to be your friend

Turn left at the Library Service Desk to enter the Library. Our Library Essentials Guide has a great example of how to gain access using your City card.

Exit gate marked ‘Exit’

To exit, use the middle gate marked ‘Exit’. No need to swipe, just walk through calmly and let the magic happen. “Is this really a hack?” I hear you cry. All I’ll say is, you’d be surprised at the amount of people who experience what’s known as MBF (Major Barrier Fail). Don’t be one of them.

  • (3) The right-hand lift is superior to the left-hand lift

    Better right-hand lift

Reason being it has a window, so you can gaze out at the eastern cityscape as you’re whisked to your chosen floor:

Okay, it’s not quite the London Eye, there isn’t any muzak and there’s some sort of mysterious blob hindering the view, but, you know. (Think the left-hand lift is better? Tell us why).

  • (4) The water fountain is on Level 3

Possibly our greatest acquisition ever (marginally ahead of the purple chairs) the water fountain brings refreshing hydration joy to Library users all year round.

Water fountain on Level 3
  • (5) Experience a corporeal mediated experience on Level 3

    Our dynamic rotational display device

Engage with the Fourth Estate in the classic format by reading an actual newspaper live: you’ll find them on our dynamic rotational display device, along with supplements including the THE.

  • (6) Not all the Group Study Rooms on Level 3 are the same

Some rooms have whiteboards (you can borrow marker pens from the Service Desk), some have I.T. and some offer a little more legroom. Take Room 3J for example:

Not only is it roomier, judging by the panorama picture quality it’s also built on top of some sort of temporal vortex. Exciting.

  • (7) There’s a secret vending machine on Level 3

    ‘Secret’ vending machine

Well, it was secret. Regularly stocked with all your favourite snackage (including some new and interesting variants) the Level 3 machine is tucked away in the corner near the printers.

  • (8) The most exciting shelving is on Level 4

Arguably, the first shelving bay on Level 4 is the most exciting in the whole Library:

Exciting Level 4 shelving

On the left, we have the Careers Collection with items specially chosen with your professional development in mind. To the right we have reference heaven with a plethora of dictionaries in multiple languages; and then on the end, immediately as you enter the floor, you can see the new titles display shelf which showcases our most interesting and eye-catching acquisitions.

  • (9) Catch Subject Librarians Live on Level 5, Weekdays 11-5

The Level 5 Helpdesk is regularly staffed by our Subject Librarian team during term time:

Library Helpdesk on Level 5

This means from Monday to Friday you can drop in and chat to a subject specialist about all of your Library and research needs. No appointments necessary (although you can make them too, if you prefer).

  • (10) There’s a PC Lab on Level 6

    Level 6 PC Lab

Tucked away in the far corner of the room, the Level 6 PC Lab benefits from a quiet location, comfortable amount of desk space and south-facing windows which fill the room with wonderful natural light- plus transformative blinds, for those that prefer a little shade.

(Share your own #CityLibraryHacks by posting a comment below or via Social Media)

Library Staff Love #6: BoB

When you think of Bob, do you think of:

Bob the Builder (Bob the Builder Balloon by Brian & Jaclyn Drum)


Bob Marley
Bob Marley (via Google Image Search)

Maybe even:

By Anna_Wintour_&_Alexa_Chung.jpg: LGEPR, Cropped by Daniel Case, 2010-06-10 derivative work: Daniel Case (Anna_Wintour_&_Alexa_Chung.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Anna Wintour’s Hair Cut (photo by Daniel Case)


Well, it’s time to think again people.

Because when we talk about Bob, we’re really talking about BoB:

Blackadder II
Blackadder II on Box of Broadcasts

Box of Broadcasts (or BoB) is a fantastic archive of material recorded off-air allowing you to watch programmes, schedule to record shows and compile playlists of your TV and Radio favourites. You can even create clips to be included in your presentations or teaching sessions, as well as reference clips in your assignments and literature reviews.

As an educational resource only made available to UK higher and further education institutions, BoB opens up a tremendous avenue for research, especially as its scope extends beyond the UK and into several foreign language channels.

BoB features in our collection alongside a range of other brilliant a/v resources, more details of which can found via CityLibrary Search or our marvellous Library Guides.

Alex from our Acquisitions Team is a fan of BoB and wanted to recommend it as a favourite Library resource:

“When I’ve missed something on TV, and it’s too late for iPlayer/catch up, I check to see if it’s on BoB… I was annoyed when I just missed the new series of Happy Valley recently, and then saw that it was on BoB. Great! And I could revisit the first series too if I wanted…”

Obviously, Alex was using BoB as part of his commitment to continual professional development, keeping up to date with key Library resources.


Streaming Video Collections: Alexander Street Press

We currently have unlimited access to Alexander Street Press’s complete suite of academic video titles (more than 43,000 titles!) for a year. The most watched videos will become part of our permanent collection. 

The videos cover a wide range of subjects and topics. Collections include:

  • 60 Minutes: 1997-2014
  • American History in Video
  • Medical Imaging in Video
  • Human Resource Management Online (video content)
  • Human Rights Studies Online (video content)
  • International Business Online (video content)
  • Meet the Press
  • Opera in Video
  • The BBC Video Collection 

All of the videos can be accessed via CityLibrary Search, just search for your topic then narrow your content type to ‘Streaming Video’ and click ‘Apply’.

Features include searchable transcripts and the option to share videos, make clips and create playlists. 

asp 2

If you have any feedback on this resource or would like more information please contact your Subject Librarian.