Category Archives: Forum Library

“Taking a Break” scheme coming very soon

Watch out for cards and holders like these all around the Library

We know that the Forum Library can get very busy during peak times of day, especially as deadlines approach. We’ve listened to your comments and have already added 160 new study spaces since the start of term. But you also told us that it causes problems when other Library users take up more than one space or “save seats” by leaving their belongings and then going away.

In response, we have worked closely with the Student Guild Representatives and individual students to come up with guidelines for using study seats in our Libraries and study centres.

Together, we ask that you follow these basic guidelines when working for extended periods.

1)    Use one seat when working; leave enough room for someone else to sit and work

2)    It is OK to take a break for about an hour (60 minutes) if you are working in the library for a long time; but always use one of our Taking a Break cards so others know you are coming back and return promptly within one hour.

3)    Remember the Library is a public space! Always take valuables with you or lock them in a Forum Locker.

You’ll start seeing posters and Taking a Break Card holders all around the Forum Library from Sunday 24th November onwards. Please keep the scheme in mind and make our Library a better place to study for everyone by following the rules and using a card to indicate if you are taking a short break. It’s healthy to take a short break from study now and then and we do want support healthy study habits for all our users but if you plan to leave the Library for longer than 1 hour please be fair and clear the space for another student to use.

If you don’t leave a Taking a Break card, or do not return within one hour then your belongings may be moved to make space for other Library users.

Library staff are here to help, so always ask us if you’re looking for somewhere to study and we’ll help you find a seat.

The Taking a Break scheme has been developed in association with our users and with the Guild but we are keen for further feedback. If you have any questions or comments on taking a break while studying then let us know! You can , Tweet to us @Exeterunilib, comment on our Facebook page, or why not fill in one of the comments cards that can be found across all our Library sites and study centres.

We also offer more detailed information about what to expect in our library and study spaces on our web pages – so please do have a look and help make your Library a great place to be for everyone.


Forum Library ‘Highly Commended’ in National Awards

We’re very pleased to announce that the Forum Library has received the ‘Highly Commended’ award in the coveted SCONUL Building Design Award 2013.   

 The judges said:

 Citation for The Forum, Exeter University 

The award is made for a Library which, as an integral part of a larger development bringing together a range of student  support and retail services, has had a transformative effect on the campus creating a  ‘beating heart’ at its centre.

A flexible and technology-rich learning environment has been created with impressive sustainability and energy efficiency.  The inclusion of artworks plus careful thought to colour and design provides a pleasing visual experience and a creative buzz. 

Great care was taken throughout the development period and beyond to liaise with the student body which has voted with its feet by visiting in vastly increased numbers.  There is a definite feeling of student engagement and ownership, as one student said; ‘it makes learning fun again’

Michele Shoebridge, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Academic Services, commented:

‘This was a great outcome and we were up against stiff opposition’ 

Stephen Mossop, Head of Library Customer Services, commented: 

             ‘We’re delighted that the SCONUL judges considered the Forum Library worthy of such a prestigious award – but the judges we wanted to impress most are our customers, and we’re overjoyed that they clearly love it!’

Coming Soon – Even More Study Spaces!

We are pleased to announce that, in response to student requests, we are installing an additional 164 study spaces in the Forum Library.  This will bring the number of study seats in the Library to more than 1000, expanding to a massive 1300 during the exam revision periods!

We are conscious of the need to minimise disruption during term, so work is underway now to prepare areas of the Library for the new study spaces.  Some temporary desks will be in place shortly, with installation of the permanent furniture planned for mid-October.  We are grateful for your patience while work is ongoing.

We’ll let you know as soon as possible when the new study spaces are in place and we’ll also update you about the new locations of any items we move.

24/7 swipe access to The Forum Library available from 9th September

We are pleased to announce that…

The Forum Library will be available on a 24/7 basis from Monday 9th September

Library staff will be available to help daily from 08.00 – 20.00 Monday – Friday and 10.00 – 18.00 at the weekend. During these times members of the public and visitors from other universities are also extremely welcome to use our facilities. Outside of these times, the building will remain open with self-service facilities available 24/7 but in the interests of security overnight entrance will be for registered university staff and students via swipe card access only.

Have you got your Unicard? Always remember it if you are coming to the Library and make sure you keep it with you at all times, including if you leave the Library for a break – you will need your card to get back in again!

We are proud to offer 24/7 facilities in the Forum Library and in the 24/7 study room at St Luke’s.  We understand that you need spaces to suit your individual study and research needs, however if you are working late into the night do make sure you stay safe and healthy. Here are some tips taken from our Library behaviour webpages:

  • Take regular breaks, move around or have a drink. Vending facilities are available in the Breakout area
  • Do not leave valuables unattended; locker keys are available to borrow from the Forum Library
  • If you are working through the night please be sensible and maintain a healthy attitude and working habits.
  • Short power naps are helpful but the Library is not a healthy or appropriate space to sleep; if you’re very tired please head home to rest properly.
  • Stay safe: if you leave the Library in the middle of the night try to walk with a friend or take a taxi
  • If you have any security concerns overnight call Estate patrol on 01392 263999.

Maintenance in the Forum Library: advance warning

The Amory Study Centre, an ideal quiet study alternative while maintenance is undertaken at the Forum Library


If you are planning to visit the Forum Library tomorrow please note the following…

We are expecting some disruption in the Forum Library tomorrow (Monday 8th July 2013) while some essential maintenance is carried out on our toilet facilities. We are expecting the temporary closure of the Ladies and Gents toilets in the central block by the PC Cluster on all 3 floors of the Forum Library while maintenance is undertaken during the morning (from 08.30 onwards). During this period please use alternative facilities available on Level 0 (towards the rear stairwell) or across in the Forum.

There is likely also to be some noise disruption while the work is being undertaken. Library staff will be on hand to direct you to quieter study spaces that should be unaffected such as the Lasok Law Library, Learning Hub rooms or the Amory Study Centre.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this essential maintenance. We hope the work will completed within a few hours but please do ask Library staff if you need any additional support during this time.

Thelma Awards

Our nomination as Outstanding Library of the Year 2013 in the Thelmas




It was with great pride that Exeter University Library were nominated this year in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management’s Award (Thelma’s) for “Outstanding Library Team” of the Year 2013.

Though we were not successful we are very proud to have been in the running and three of our staff attended the event held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London on 20th June, 2013.

Why not borrow a Forum Netbook?

Need to work on the go? Why not borrow a netbook (slimline laptop computer) via the Forum Library? If you haven’t discovered the Forum netbooks already here’s a quick guide to how to borrow one and what you can with it.

What can I access?

Netbooks can be used anywhere with a connection to the campus wifi (but they will not work off-site or via a cable connection). Log-in to the device with your university username and password and to access the following: your U: drive file space, internet, email, Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader and the Student Print service.

Did you say I can print from a netbook?

Yes!  So long as you have sufficient credit on your account you can send your documents from the netbook to either the  Xerox_Student_Monochrome (for black and white) or  the Xerox_Student_Colour (for colour printing) queue then swipe in at the relevant printer to release the documents for printing in the usual way.

So if you just need to print and the computer clusters are busy why not borrow a netbook and print from there instead? You can find more information about printing on campus on the Student Print Service webpages.

How do I borrow one?

These loan devices are available through the self-service locker keys system in the Forum Library Express Collections area on level 0 of the Forum Library, just to the left of our main reception desk.

The green keys are for the netbooks, and there are 3 easy steps to borrowing one:

 1. Pick up a green key from the hanging display on the right-hand wall.






2. Self-issue the key using the machine in Express Collections. Follow the instructions on screen or ask Library staff for help if you are not sure how to do this. You will need your University card to borrow. Your receipt will tell you the date and time the item is due for return, so always take note of this. Locker keys issue for 24 hours at a time but they can be renewed online via your library record, so long as nobody else has placed a booking on them.








3. Now take the key to the bank of lockers on the upper level of the Forum. Northside lockers (1-118) are located by the Guild Consultation Rooms. Southside lockers (119 – 236) are opposite Costa Coffee.  Unlock the correct numbered door and the netbook is ready to go! Don’t forget lock up the door again and take the key with you while you are using the netbook.


What do I do when I’ve finished?

When you’ve finished using the netbook you need to do the following:

1. First return the device to its locker. Make sure you plug it in using the socket in the back of the locker space to ensure it’s fully charged for the next user.

2. Ensure the locker is securely locked then return the key to Express Collections. Always make sure you return the key on the machine and get a check-in receipt as proof of return.

3. You can then hang up the key fob back on the correctly numbered hook.

Things to remember:

  • Further guidance on using the netbooks and troubleshooting basic problems can be found on a laminated instruction sheet contained within each locker of this type.
  • Battery life is approximately 4 hours. A warning will appear when the battery is at 20% capacity or lower, but it’s always a good idea to save your work regularly. If the device does switch off unexpectedly you will need to log back in within half an hour to recover any unsaved work from your last session.
  • Netbooks will only work on campus; they switch off automatically if they lose connection to the campus wifi, so don’t take them off site!
  • To ensure fair circulation of these popular items fines are charged if you are late returning or renewing them (£1 for the first hour then 50p per subsequent hour overdue). To manage your borrowing responsibly and avoid fines always check your receipts  and  and contact Library staff as soon as possible if toy have any problems using the online renewal system.


Revision spaces and tips

The Summer term is nearly upon us which does, inevitably, mean revision. Good luck to all of you who are taking exams in the coming weeks. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of Library spaces and resources and – most importantly – looking after yourselves during this stressful time.

Quiet Spaces where you can study

The Main Reading Room in Research Commons is a haven for focused quiet study

We understand the importance finding a quiet space to study on campus, which is why :

  • The overall number of study spaces in the Forum Library has been permanently increased as of April 2013
  • Forum Seminar Rooms on Levels 0 and +1 will become drop in study rooms accessible through the Library from Sunday 28th April – Sunday 2nd June (inclusive)
  • Forum Library group work rooms will become quieter revision spaces for the duration of the exam period
  • Year round designated silent study rooms are available on all 3 floors of the Forum Library, as well as in Research Commons, St Luke’s Library and in the Amory Study Centre.
  • The availability of the Interview Rooms in the Student Services Centre is  extended during the exam period with  Rooms 3, 4, 5 and 7 available as drop-in study spaces from 8am – 9pm, Monday – Friday, and additional rooms (1 – 8) available on a drop-in basis 5pm – 9pm on weekdays and 10am – 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Studying late? Work smart and stay safe!

Quiet Study Room in the Forum Library Learning Hub (Level -1)

If you plan on studying long into the night then you can do so safely:

  • The Forum Library is open 24/7 (swipe access after 9pm on week days and 6pm at the weekend)
  • St Luke’s Library has a swipe-accessible 24/7 study room on the 1st floor
  • Amory Study Centre (currently open until 9.30PM daily) will stay open until Midnight during exam time (Sunday 21st April – Sunday 2nd June).

But if you are staying late then do look after yourselves. Please take note of the following tips:

  • You’ll retain more information if you take regular short breaks between your revision sessions
  • Don’t forget to eat and drink: vending machines are available in all our Libraries
  • Even in a heated environment you can get cold if you are sitting still for long periods: free blankets are available from the Library reception desk, just ask if you’d like one.
  • Consider your safety if you need to leave the Library during the night: always walk home with a friend if possible, or if not call a taxi. Try to make sure one of your friends or housemates knows where you are and what time you are heading home.
  • The Library is a public space, never leave valuables unattended. Storage lockers and laptop charging lockers are available in the Forum (you can borrow keys through Express Collections); please store your belongings safely in these while you take a break.

 Study skills and managing stress

It’s normal to feel nervous when facing an exam, and a certain amount of anxiety can inspire you to a better performance, but it’s important not to let anxiety overcome you. The University Wellbeing Team offer some useful tips on their webpages for how to keep calm and manage stress during exams that may be useful.

Here in the Library we also have a number of resources available to help you prepare for your exams. Why not consult one of the following titles, just a selection from the many we have available:



The Exam Skills Handbook by Stella Cottrell

Find it in the Forum Library or St Luke’s Library at classmark 371.26 COT




Essential Study Skills: The Complete Guide to Success at University by Tom Burns and Sandra Sinfield

Find it in the Forum Library Reference Section at 029.6 BUR or loanable copies at St Luke’s Library classmark  378.170281 BUR 





The Student’s Guide to Exam Success by Eileen Tracy

Find it in the Forum Library or St Luke’s Library at Classmark: 378.17028 TRA 






Passing exams without anxiety : how to get organised, be prepared and feel confident of success by David Acres

Find it in the Forum Library Reference Section at 026.6 ACR or at St Luke’s Library Classmark  371.30281 ACR 

Library Lounge Collection: Library Staff Top Picks 3

The third and final part of our series of Library staff recommendations from the Forum Library Lounge.

The Cosmic Verses: A Rhyming History of the Universe by James Muirden

Chosen by Janet Sandy, Information Assistant

Its dust cover says “This is the story of five millennia of  ‘head-scratching’ – of how humans have tried to make sense of the cosmos.  …. James Muirden’s wonderful new poem cleverly and humorously examines the quest for understanding of our universe. … The Cosmic Verses encapsulates and illuminates five thousand years of the greatest thoughts and thinkers…in brilliantly constructed couplets, cheerfully and copiously illustrated with David Eccles’s delightful line drawings.  … Wonderfully funny and extremely clever, The Cosmic Verses: A Rhyming History of the Universe instructs and clarifies even as it amuses.”

This book is great fun and extremely informative, being written in an historical time line from before 700 BC to after 1900.  I have giggled out loud while reading it, am enjoying it tremendously and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys poetry and enjoys learning.

Find it in the Library Lounge at 821.089 MUI


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Chosen by Viki Jones, Shelving Assistant

A young boy called Daniel is taken to a secret library called the ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ by his father and is allowed to take one book which he must protect. Daniel picks a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. He enjoys the book so much he looks for further books by the same author only to discover that a strange man calling himself Laín Coubert (after a character in The Shadow of the Wind who happens to be the devil) has been seeking out Carax’s books for years, buying them all and burning them. Intrigued, Daniel must find out why….

Full of mystery, intrigue and with a doomed love story this is a great book by a Spanish writer (translated into English by Lucia Graves). The plot has a story within a story and I was drawn not only into Daniel’s life but Julián Carax’s. I also love the idea of a secret location hiding and safe guarding forgotten books. Do we have one hidden in the basement of the Forum Library?

Find it in the Library Lounge at  868.6/RUI-10 


Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Chosen by Kerry Pankhurst, Collections Manager

This is a gripping debut novel about obsession, domestic abuse and the psychological impact of both. It is not a comfortable read and I found it really quite chilling, but unputdownable. The narrative jumps between two timelines which is incredibly effective at building the tension. It definitely made me double check if my front door was locked at night!

Find it in the Library Lounge at 823.92 HAY



Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl

Chosen by Imogen Ward-Smith, Information Assistant

These stories are macabre, dark, twisted and wonderful; Roald Dahl’s unique imagination in an adult outlet. The book contains eleven varied tales with a common thread of the sly and slightly sinister side of human nature. Think horror, revenge, lies, cheating, murder, and theft. If any of the above appeal to you, then give this book a go! Not necessarily recommended for bedtime reading, at least I couldn’t (I don’t like scary movies or roller coasters and these tales definitely count as nightmare-fodder) but they gave me a delightful satisfying shiver that wasn’t at all unpleasant.

The bit that most stuck with me….


…. There is a brain kept alive in a bowl!!

Find it in the Library Lounge at 828.9/DAH-4 


State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Chosen by Roxanne Crabb, Forum Library Supervisor

This is a challenging book both in terms of its pacing (after a slow start it gets more and more gripping as it goes on) and the mighty ethical questions with which it grapples, but it’s well worth a read. Dr Annick Swenson is a field researcher working in the Brazilian rainforest, studying a tribe whose women continue to bear  children long into old age. She is being funded by a pharmaceutical company to produce a miracle fertility drug, but progress is slow and Dr Swenson is becoming increasingly elusive. When her colleague, Anders – sent to the jungle to report on the project’s progress – is reported dead in rather ambiguous circumstances, the scene is set for Patchett’s heroine, Dr Marina Singh, to make the trip herself.

This is a great pick for the armchair explorer: Patchett evokes the beauty, danger, and above all the strangeness of the Amazon in a way that is truly mesmerising. Twists abound too, some of which I had anticipated and a few of which left me breathless. State of Wonder is a walk on the wild side, both in the way it takes you into the steamy heart of the rainforest and in the way that it is not afraid to needle, albeit gently, at some of the big moral problems in Western society.

Find it in the Library Lounge at 813.6 PAT


If you missed the earlier posts in this series check out Part 1 and Part 2.

As you’ll see, the Library Lounge offers a wide variety of recreational reading material. We hope something from our selections will appeal to you. If you’ve read any of the books Library staff have chosen this week why not let us know if you agreed or disagreed with our verdicts? You can Tweet us or leave us a comment on Facebook.


Library Lounge Collection: Library Staff Top Picks 2

Have we inspired you to borrow a book from the Forum Library Lounge yet? Here’s the second part of our series of staff recommendations for books we enjoyed from this diverse and growing recreational reading collection. Perhaps one of these titles will tickle your fancy…


The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Chosen by Rachel Dawson, Shelving Supervisor

This book was so well written that I ‘had’ to locate the sequel (Tandia) from the public library, and work out if this book was in any way autobiographical, as it was written with such warmth and depth that I was sure it couldn’t be ‘just another novel’. It turns out that the author was born in South Africa, so this is why he is able to write with such understanding of the culture and superstitions of the people there.  A bit like The Kite Runner this book has some disturbing scenes, but they are appropriate and character driven.  Whilst the Kite Runner was made into a film of the same name, The Power of One was made into a film in 2009 and was also used as a basis for ‘Rocky’ – the main character ‘Peekay’ becomes a boxer.  There are plenty of messages the reader can pull out of this book – things like adversity making you stronger, but readers can also pick up some knowledge of South Africa as a country and its history.

Find it in the Library Lounge at 828.9 /COU


Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Chosen by Viki Jones, Shelving Assistant

This is the debut novel from Rosamund Lupton. The story revolves around Bee an English woman living and working in New York, whose sister Tess is missing in London. Bee gets the first flight back to the UK to help in the search.

I found this a compelling read as Bee tries to find out what has happened to her sister. There is an amazing twist that I didn’t see coming! You will have to read the book to find out what it is!

Find it in the Library Lounge at 823.92 LUP



Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Chosen by Anne Dinan, Subject Librarian for Education, Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology

‘Good King Richard’ or an evil usurper? Maligned king or tyrannical monster of Shakespeare’s play?  “Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority” ( Francis Bacon).  An interesting view is provided in this book, written more than 50 years ago, but published here as a reprint. This novel sheds new light on the mystery of the Princes in the tower and on the role of Richard III – particularly topical given the recent discovery of the skeleton in the Leicester car park having been identified beyond reasonable doubt as that of the last of the Plantagenet kings. The novel is written as a detective story, where the clues are discovered and debated, and a conclusion finally reached.  It is written with humour, and is very thought provoking.  I read it years ago and have just re-read it after the recent news story.  I recommend it; it will certainly ask you to re-think your view of history – not just about Richard III.

 Find it in the Library Lounge at 828.9/TEY


I’m not scared by Niccolo Ammaniti

Chosen by Hilary Norris, Information Assistant

An Italian thriller (translated into English by Jonathan Hunt) told through the eyes of a young boy. During a hot summer nine year old Michele stumbles across a secret hidden in a dilapidated farmhouse. What he finds will threaten to destroy his community, his family and his life. I recommend this novel because it is a story that kept me gripped all the way through.

Find it in the Library Lounge at 858.9 /AMM-2



Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Chosen by Imogen Ward-Smith, Information Assistant

Lee Fiora is a girl from small town Indiana who takes up a place at an exclusive finishing school in New England; this story recounts her experience. Curtis Sittenfeld, writing as Lee, describes so accurately how it really feels to be a young adult navigating the social quagmire that is college/university life.

There are elements of how I felt about life and relationships during my years at school and university that I hadn’t even recognised until seeing them mirrored in the main character. Anybody who has ever been socially awkward, felt like an outsider, or simply been through the experience of trying to fit in needs to read this book, whether you are in that place now or if you left it behind many years ago, in which case it will take you back! Prep had me at different times chuckling, cringing and exclaiming “ that’s me! I felt like that!” I’ve read this book twice and I’d read it again. It’s an ‘easy’ read in that it doesn’t require a huge amount of concentration or effort, it’s the perfect distraction and escape.

Find it in the Library Lounge at 818.6 /SITT


Part 1 of our Library Lounge Recommendations can be found here.

The final part in this series will be published on Friday!