Japanese July

By Ashley Choudry

One fact about film is that it isn’t just American, it isn’t just British, it’s a far-reaching industry with outlets all over the world. One such outlet, which has continued to grow exponentially over the last 60 years, is Japanese film. Having started producing films in 1897, the Japanese film industry is now the fourth largest in the world and has won more Oscars for ‘Best International Feature Film’ than any other Asian country. From starting out producing traditional black & white features, Japan has since become synonymous with one of the most popular film styles of the Twentieth Century so far, Anime (a type of animation often based off of Manga art).

From it’s conception, Japanese film has had a profound influence over Western Films.

From its conception, Japanese film has also had a profound influence over Western films (particularly Hollywood productions), as you will find out later in this blog. Whether we notice or not, Japanese film techniques are used in many American and even British films we watch every day, which is why it is time we learned more about their own films. In this blog, I will focus on two classical films and two more modern Anime films, to explore the development over a significant period of one of the world’s biggest film industries. Watching these films will help you to learn about and relate to Japanese culture and maybe even encourage you to discover a new language during your holidays.

We start with one of Japan’s most notable films, Tokyo Story (1953).

This undeniable classic was one of the first motion pictures to put Japanese film on the map. A realist piece on working class people, it is regarded as prominent director Yasujiro Ozu’s masterpiece. The Story itself concerns an ageing couple (Shukichi and Tomi Hirayama) returning to Toyko to see their grown-up children, having migrated away some decades prior. What follows, is a tale of two contrasting behaviours from the couple’s children and their daughter-in-law (married to Shukichi and Tomi’s son, whom had been presumed dead prior to the events of the film), the children who are rude and inattentive and the daughter-in-law who is kind and caring. The film chronicles the couple’s attempts to reconnect with their children and conveys strong themes from growing apart from your parents to the westernization of the traditional Japanese family. Overall, this film is a wistful but important and very relatable narrative which is a must watch for anyone who loves a classic, especially film students. After all, it wasn’t voted the best film of all time in a 2012 poll in Sight and Sound magazine (which can be found within the library’s journal collection and online) for no reason. We have it available on DVD in the Library , and you can watch the trailer below:

Our second classic Japanese film, is one that has had even more influence on Western cinema, Seven Samurai (1954).

The original inspiration for the American western (and remake of this film)The Magnificent Seven (1960), it became the 2nd highest grossing film in the industry at the time and thus cemented its place in history, as one of Japan’s greatest ever films in the eyes of the rest of the world. Much like it’s eventual remake, it centres on a mountain village continuously raided by bandits, once the villagers become tired of the pillaging they decide to hire seven samurai to protect their homes and people (after they had seen other villages succeed using the same method). The film’s story and even many of its scenes mirror The Magnificent Seven, but its influence goes far beyond the several films in that collection.

The samurai epic is famous for inspiring the now well-used ‘assembling a team’ trope, with more than a few popular movie franchises borrowing that and other elements of the film, including; The Lord of The Rings (2001-2003), The Matrix (1999-Present), The Avengers Films (2012-2019), Justice League (2017) and many more. Seven Samurai was nominated for two Oscars and three Baftas and is available to watch now on DVD or e-stream.  Whether you love a good old classic western, samurai flick or action-comedy, it’s another great film with which to start your Japanese journey, watch the clip below to find out why;

Now we come to the first of our two more recent entries in Japanese cinema, both of which are popular Anime products. As I alluded to earlier, Anime is a hand-drawn and computer animation that originated in Japan and is often linked with Manga art. It has seen a gradual rise in popularity over the past three decades to become one of the most-watched types of animation in the industry (Over 60% of the world’s animated television shows are anime based).

One of the most popular examples of this is, Grave of the Fireflies (1988).

The second release by the renowned Studio Ghibli, it is ranked high among the greatest War films of all time. The notion that it is part non-fiction is undoubtedly a large part of the reason it stands so vastly recommended, for it is based on a short story by Akiyuki Nosaka on his experiences in World War II. It tells of two young siblings (brother and sister) who struggle to survive through the final months and immediate aftermath of World War Two in Japan. Although labelled as a war film, it focuses mainly on the devastating effects war can have on a country’s people. Make no mistake, it is a gruelling but powerful tale made all the more poignant by its origins, and even though there is little light until it’s end; I still implore you to give it a viewing. A last word of warning, even if it is an animated feature, it is by no means a film for children’s eyes! Teens and adults however can enjoy at their pleasure on DVD or e-stream anytime. Watch the trailer in the link below:

The second of our more modern Anime films also happens to be this month’s only recommendation from the 21st century (which is by no means a bad thing). Released in 2001, the Oscar and Saturn Award winning Spirited Away ushered in a new age of popularity for Japanese Anime features.

Directed by the revered Hayao Miyazaki – co-founder of Studio Ghibli and a pioneer in Anime and Manga Art – this film was named the fourth best of the 2tst Century in a list compiled by the BBC in 2016, and second best by the New York Times the following year. Spirited Away focuses on a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro, whom in the process of moving to a new home with her parents is transported into the spirit world and must fight to escape it’s grasp whilst trying to save her parents’ spirits (after they had committed something untoward in the eyes of the world’s inhabitants). Though the premise may sound simple enough, there are underlying themes of supernaturalism, western consumerism and environmentalism all represented within the story.

It no is surprise that this film is the only hand drawn & non-English language entry to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, as the film continues to be lauded for its incredible animation to this day. But the animation is far from its only selling point, with the story contrasting seamlessly between adventure & discovery to realistic and important issues; because of this the film has been compared to Alice in Wonderland and praised for its exploration on matters such as the effects of greediness. Overall it is a bustling sceptical of vibrant pictures and excellent representation of traditional Japanese culture, that it not to be missed by anyone. Suitable for those aged 9 and above, it is available on DVD in the Library’s film collection. Not invested enough yet? Watch the trailer by clicking the link below:

Start your Japanese journey now! In Japanese with English subtitles or simply with an English language dub, either way they are just as enjoyable.

The Importance of Library Displays by Asif Rashid

The Library team promote our services and collections in a variety of ways to attract customers and improve information literacy among the students and staff at the college.

Library displays play an important role in helping draw the attention of customers (students and staff) to new books, special collection material, the items that are under-circulated and especially the items those are important for reading and studying but often left unseen.

Our displays may show off new books, celebrate important days such as Remembrance Day, or promote themes in line with college united values, vision and mission. We created the dsiplay below on Yorkshire Writers to celebrate Bradford Literature Festival.

We select books to go onto our display stands, and create striking posters to display and also post onto our social media pages. The poster below accompanied a display of books on mental health, positive thinking, self-image for the college theme of ‘self-care’.

Poster for our display supporting the college ‘Self-care’ theme.

We took part in the School and College Festival of Arts day, creating a poster and display using books from our Art collection.

The displays are changed regularly, and attract lots of customers to fulfil their interests (reading for pleasure) and information needs (information about particular topics). We believe that they have played a pivotal role in engaging reluctant readers through these displays.

Also, I would like to mention in particular the collaboration with ESOL tutors which has really flourished the idea of Information literacy and I can tell the pleasure lots of these books on the displays are attracting ESOL students to borrow these books and enjoy their reading as well.

Summer Reading poster

Playing the Game

By Ashley Choudry

Summer is upon us! And what comes with summer? Sports! While it may be the end of regular seasons of sports, this Summer will be host to two of the biggest events in the Sporting calendar, Euro 2020 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (both of which were held back a year). So, why not get in the mood for viewing these events by watching some great sport-related films.

Where better to start than one of the most popular sports films of the last two decades, Bend It Like Beckham (2002).

A story of a teenage girl with a massive obsession with Manchester United football club and one particular star player, this flick is sure to grab your notice and ignite a new passion for football inside of you. Behind the sport however is a story of a young woman’s fight to rule over her own life and not be judged by her family’s religion, traditions and gender stereotypes; something I’m sure many of you can relate to. A blend of comedy, sport and romance, this is definitely a must-see for all. While we may not always have a DVD of this in our film collection, it is alternatively available to watch anytime on Estream, in addition we also have a copy of the book within our Reading collection. Enjoy a snippet of the excitement by clicking the link below:

An even more apt film however, is the quintessential Olympics centred film, Chariots of Fire (1981).

A definitive classic of the genre, it focuses on two British athletes as they prepare for and participate in the 1924 Olympics, though competing for very different reasons. Winner of Four Oscars; including one for its ever-iconic theme tune; this is no ordinary sporting tale, but a true story with an inspiring backdrop of fighting prejudice and embracing religion. The inspiring ending is sure to get you excited for the run up to the delayed Tokyo 2020. However, though The Olympics may still be at the heart of this film, there is so much more too it. Find out for yourselves by viewing the trailer within the link below, you can watch this epic now on DVD or on Estream:

Now I want to draw your attention to a lesser known film, but one with more heart than most sports related films you will ever see, Here Comes the Boom (2012).

Starring the incredibly funny Kevin James as a high school teacher desperately trying to save his schools music program by raising money as an MMA fighter, it’s more heart-warming and inspiring than overtly hilarious like his usual repertoire (Hitch, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) but worth a watch nonetheless. Perfect for teachers looking to inspire their students and perfect for those with families (It even featured in a Top 10 List by moviegoers in 2013 of best family films), this film is bound to light up your summer. Also available on both DVD and Estream, find out more with this trailer:

If anything, involving physical contact is your preferred type of sport, you may also enjoy watching The Wrestler (2008) directed by the acclaimed Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and starring Mickey Rourke (nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars).

While the debate over whether wrestling can be classified as full-fledged sport or seen as mere entertainment rages on, there is no doubting this films excellence. A solemn and tragic tale of an ageing man’s attempts to return to the limelight in the wrestling ring and regain his younger fame, this film represents many a sportsperson’s struggles throughout life once they retire. It perfectly symbolises the danger of sacrificing everything for the thing you love to do most, even when you can physical do it no more. The short clip below may not show any action from the film but demonstrates the main core of the story seamlessly. Watch the whole film now on  Estream:

Lastly, we have my personal favourite of this collection, the first two entries in Disney’s Ice-Hockey based The Mighty Ducks Trilogy (1992-1996). The Mighty Ducks (1992) & D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994), can currently both be found on Estream and will cool you and your family down nicely during the recurring heatwaves while bringing boundless amounts of fun to the start of your summer. The first film focuses on a young lawyer, washed out by Ice Hockey as a young teen, he finds himself reluctantly thrust back into its world following a series of misguided events. What ensues is an amusing narrative that conveys a message of moving on from the regrets of your past and using those memories to inspire others in a different way.

While Emilio Estevez’s Coach Gordon Bombay maybe the main character, it is The Ducks themselves that truly endear you to this franchise. Wayward but comical, this odd bunch of kids are quite simply too lovable for you not to want to follow them through their journey (throughout both or all 3 films). Whether you are looking for something to reignite your memories of your 90’s childhood (albeit the US version) or share the iconic era with your children, this set of films will become a firm family favourite in no time! These fun-loving films are also some of the only films to have had a genuine impact on real-life sport, inspiring the creation of an actual NHL Ice-Hockey Team, The Anaheim Mighty Ducks! See how the Mighty Ducks originally got their peculiar name in the first film in the clip below:

Whatever your sport(s) of choice maybe, why not give all of these films a try to get you in feeling active as we near the end of the academic year? Whether it be inspiring adaptations of true stories, heartfelt comedies or powerful dramas, we have it all right here in The Library or online with Estream.

Spotlight on… MacMillan Explorers Social Work collection.

Explore our online library of Social Work books

MacMillan Explorers: Social Work Collection provides students and academics with unlimited access to a range of 200 high quality eBooks for Social Work and Study Skills books in the following areas:

  • Social Work Practice,
  • Social Work Skills,
  • Social Work: Theory and Methods,
  • Social Work with Adults,
  • Social Work with Children and Families,
  • Ethics and Values,
  • Human Development and Psychology,
  • Social Work, Disability and Mental Health,
  • Social Policy and Social Work Law. 

Unfortunately for students, eBooks from MacMillan Explorers do not easily download into our library catalogue. This means that you can’t currently access the eBooks in the usual way, via the library catalogue and then logging in to the individual title. Instead, at the moment you have to access the collection using the MacMillan Explorers link, and search or browse the books from there.

How to log in

Go to https://www.macmillanexplorers.com

Click on the blue Login button

Ignore the Personal Account option. Choose the Select Your Institution option and select ‘Bradford College’ from the list of institutions.

Log in using a your college ID and password 

You will be prompted to enter an email address (one time only) – use your college email address. 

You will receive a confirmation email – this may go into your junk mail. 

Copy the verification link within the email and paste it into a browser. 

You should then be taken back through to the explorers platform and be logged in.

Browse books within a collection

Click on the Social Work tab at the top to view the list of topics. Click on one of these to view the books in the collection.

You will see an image of the cover, the title and year of publication, and a short description. Click on the book title to see the contents and choose whether to View or see the Table of Contents.

From this screen you can also search within the contents of the book, share the book link or print the details.

Search books within the whole library

You will see the Search box at the left hand top of the screen.

As you type you will see some suggested terms come up – you can click on these or continue with your own keywords.

The results screen will bring up results where your terms were found in the full text of the book, or just in the book description. You can narrow these down to selecting the Media Type button and choosing Chapter or Book. You can narrow by date, list results by relevance or date, or select a book title to view.

Books are regularly updated

The advantages of MacMillan Explorers is that each time a print book is updated, the eBook will be updated automatically. This means that you should get quicker access to new editions. We are expecting to receive some new editions in August.

Accessibility

There are some excellent accessibility functions including selecting different colour backgrounds, ability to change the font size, and change the read-aloud voice and speed of reading.

Click on the Enhanced Formatting button which looks like this: Aa

You have the choice to change Text Size (4 options), Font, Mode (background colour and font colour), Margins, and Line Height.

The Margins can be very useful on some of the books as they sometimes display as a webpage rather than a book (ie across the width of the screen). This can be harder to read in my experience, so I often narrow the margin to be more like a print book.

Multiple devices

Access is unlimited, and books can be read on phones, tablets, laptops, PCs and Kindle Fire. 

We’d love to know what you think of MacMillan Explorers. Let us know, or if you have any questions, by emailing us at askalibrarian@bradfordcollege.ac.uk, finding us on Teams or going to our Online Chat at library.bradfordcollege.ac.uk.

Looking to the Future with Films

By Ashley Choudry

As a former film student, I find that film is a great way to escape reality and delve into new worlds. However, they are also a device that enables you to dream of possible futures. I cannot think of a time when the need to escape or look to the future has been so pertinent than throughout the current pandemic.

Though we may hopefully be on our way out of this devastating period, worry still looms for the future of this nation and the world, but could an escape into film be the perfect immediate solution to those worries? The cinemas may only just be getting back on their feet after a while away, but never fear, The Library is here! To solve all of your movie needs with its ever growing collection of DVDs.

What better films with which to look the future, then Science-Fiction films. I know a lot of you may think that the ‘fiction’ part of this genre means that all films under this banner are simply make believe but a growing number in the last decade are at least in part based around real science and distinctly possible futures. I would like to draw your attention to four particular science-fiction films which I think are perfect in some ways for looking to the future.

Firstly, many of you probably know that May is seen as the month of Star Wars (May The 4th Be with You etc.) in the science-fiction world. While the Star Wars franchise (1977-present) may be extremely popular, almost as popular is its older rival the Star Trek franchise (1966-present). Another advantage Star Trek has on its greatest rival is that more of its technology and knowledge is based on scientific facts and possibilities rather than pure fiction, especially with what has been and can be achieved in the current age. From the Holodeck, the Communicators, Sensors and Tricorders; to the U.S.S. Enterprises (the main space vessel and setting of the series) computer system, Cloaking devices and Phasers. These concepts either already exist now or could certainly come to exist in the not too distant future.

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Within the Library’s collection we have the first entry in the reboot (2009) of the long-running franchise, which if you like Action-comedy’s, Suspense thrillers and Alien films is perfect for you. It’s also a film with a lot of heart, and while fans of The Original Series may not find it quite so loveable, it is the perfect film to introduce new fans to the franchise and get you hooked on a succession of TV series and films that will fill up countless hours of your spare time should you so wish. Get a glimpse of that action yourself by viewing the trailer in the link below.

Next up we have Christopher Nolan’s space exploration epic Interstellar (2014). Now while quite a long entry (clocking in at 2hr 49 mins), it is certainly more than worth the watch. The Award-winning stunning imagery alone is enticing enough to draw you in but once again it also represents real science and a possible future for space exploration and colonising of new worlds.

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Even though the story is still a little downbeat at times, there is still plenty of light at the end (as there hopefully is for us here in reality too). Overall, it depicts a powerful tale surrounding both the future and past; of Earth, Family and Time & Space. And if you are yet to be intrigued by the sheer sound of it, take a look at the clip in the link below, which take places relatively at the start of the main characters journey into the unknown.

Now if you find you’re not a fan of modern Sci-Fi films, why not try a classic such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)?

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Stanley Kubrick’s epic is widely regarded as the original and first great Sci-Fi film and lauded for its scientific accuracy and effects (of its time that is), winning an Academy Award (Best Visual Effects) and several BAFTA’s (including Best British Cinematography). Though it’s visual effects may be a little old it is still seen as the quintessential Sci-Fi film by many and its influence is still being felt decades later in films such as Contact (1997), Arrival (2016) and even Interstellar itself. It may feature a homicidal artificial intelligence as the primary antagonist (although the clip below shows HAL 9000 in his more mundane period in the film), however even that can/has become a reality in scientific breakthroughs although devoid of any violent tendencies. If you’re a lover of Science-Fiction, this film is a must-see or if you’re merely a beginner in the genre this is the perfect film to start you off. 

The final film I want to bring to your attention, is also the most recent yet probably the most realistic in the current age of space travel, Ridley Scott’s (also known for directing Alien, 1979) The Martian (2015).

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Starring the excellent Matt Damon (as well as an incredible supporting cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels and Sean Bean) The Martian is an endearing story of a man accidently left behind on Mars by his crew and his mission to survive until a rescue arrives. Even though it’s based on a novel by Andy Weir and set in the year 2035, both it’s imagery and it’s technology is extremely similar to the present day. NASA themselves were heavily involved in the production and script writing in order to achieve maximum scientific accuracy. It’s not just the dazzling special effects and iconic imagery that make this film so watchable however, the touching story at the heart of the film is just as if not more important, as this slightly humouros clip from the middle of the film shows: 

The message the film sends out is a particularly poignant one in the current climate, there’s always hope of a rescue in the gravest of times, making it a powerful watch now more than ever.

Overall, these films are some of the best you can watch to build your excitement for the return of big-screen Cinema or to give you hope and a sense of wonder for the future ahead as we continue to exit a most uncertain period in our history. So, why not check them out in the Library’s DVD section ASAP or simply anytime you feel in the mood for a good film!

Spotlight on.. O’Reilly Safari Learning Platform

by Haydn Clark

The O’Reilly Learning Platform is an online resource that provides you access to a huge amount of resources.  It will give you access to over thirty-five thousand different e-books and over thirty thousand hours of videos that are constantly being updated.

You also get access to Play Lists and Learning Paths that will take you all the way from being beginner in a subject to an expert level.

There is an Answer section, where you can ask questions of O’Reilly’s tech base.

O’Reilly provides resources on a huge range of subjects. While it mainly covers I.T. based subjects including Software Design, Programming Languages, Web Development, Mobile App Development, Software guides, Data Engineering, AI and Security

You can also find e-books on business, fashion design, that will help you to develop your career and get a job, travel guides, personal fitness, cookery books and photography. As well as many more subjects.

To access O’Reilly Learning Platform go to, www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/temporary-access

Choose Not listed Here from the drop-down menu of Institutions.

Now put in your College email

Then select

Shortly after the first time you log in, you will receive an email asking if you want to register and set up an account This will allow O’Reilly to save your progress through it’s Learning Paths and recommend books that you may find useful

A world of possibilities awaits, follow the link to find them.

Introduction to the Online Readers

Throughout the first lockdown I had a number of discussions with Marie, an ESOL tutor, about finding quality online resources for ESOL students. One resource that we both value is our Graded Reader collection, and after contacting a number of publishes I found out about the Online Graded ESOL Readers from the OUP. These are 4 collections of 25 online readers, each collection covering different CEFR levels from A1 through to B1. The access and authentication model was new to us – requiring them to be hosted on Moodle as LTIs, and deciding how many licences to purchase. Myself, Marie, and the Senior Librarian Emma then discussed how we could best promote these to students and ensure the collection was used. One of us came up with the idea of online reading groups, led by a Library Assistant and facilitated online using the Teams share screen option. Asif Parvez, one of our Library Assistants, has written the following account of what happened next…

Lakshmi Banner, ESOL Librarian



Reading Groups take to the Cloud! by Asif Parvez

I have taken on three reading groups at present. The first is Entry Level -3 teenage students from the 16- 18 cohort, and the other two groups are more mature learners and have an even mixture of both males and females and a diverse age group. I am using online books via Moodle which have been uploaded by library services onto the moodle facility of Bradford College. There is an incredible range of books from Entry Level-1 to Entry Level-3 and what I find amazing about these online books are that they are very interactive and easy to navigate. And there is an incredible list of old classical novels and many of these relate to the ESOL learners of my groups in terms of folklore and culture. A good example of this can be that for my younger learner group I am doing a novel Ibn Battuta a famous traveller who travelled the world a few centuries ago and is well known amongst Middle Eastern and North African people, and my students for my younger age group are mostly of Arab and North African descent. It makes it interesting for them and encourages them to confidently read from the pages of the book when designated to read a page by myself. Each student takes turns to read a page. And questions are asked from time to time by students about any new word they may come across and what is its meaning.

The online books have very lovely colourful pictures to add to the imagination of the readers and some amazing exercises like word searches, fill in the blank sentences and match a phrase with the part sentences to complete it. Students are really enjoying reading these novels and in some cases are enjoying to create links with novels where their own culture has historic links with certain novels like for Arabs being Ibn Battuta. There are some really interesting murder mystery novels too, and to date I have read with a mature students group Sherlock Holmes: Norwood Mysteries and this has helped given many students learning English as a second language the opportunity to imagine and picture British traditional society and the Police and also the pattern of life and its hardships in the 19th Century. I am currently also reading with groups The Picture of Dorian Grey again a novel that depicts 19th Century Britain and its traditional British Values and also The Secret Garden showing both traditional values of Britain and also giving a glimpse of British Colonial India. Again, the students enjoy making connections based of being related to certain regions of the world and at the same time learning new words and improving their reading and vocabulary.

I feel very rewarded in being given this opportunity which I have taken up voluntarily to help students improving their English reading skills and making a difference in their lives. I currently have three reading groups and am taking on a fourth group which is testament to my commitment to help students and also enjoying to build a strong bond with students and the library to help further their academic skills moving forward for their studies at Bradford College.

Spotlight on.. Social Work Toolkit

Social Work Toolkit really is a fantastic resource for students on the Social Work and Youth and Community degree programmes.

5 key modules

The Toolkit includes resources specifically for students, coving 5 key modules:

  • Communication Skills;
  • Ethics, Values and Diversity;
  • Professionalism in Practice (supporting you in placement);
  • Assessment and Intervention; and
  • Lifecourse Perspectives.

Each module is then subdivided into key topics – for example, the Ethics, Values and Diversity module divides into 4 topics: Your professional role and values; Ethics and Values; empowerment and partnership; and diversity and equality.

Choose one of these topics to find guides, expert opinions, activities with scenarios, case studies, video and audio.  Listen to interviews with service users, other students, practitioners and academics covering the topics you will be studying on your degree or in practice. Many of these resources are accompanied by questions to check your understanding, or reflective questions to improve your knowledge.

Ethics and Values resources – video, audio, PDF

Law and Policy

Students have reported that the Law and Policy section is very useful. This brings together laws and policies relevant to Social Work practice, organised by key practice placement areas, and overarching legislation that is likely to apply to placement settings. 

Legislation for key practice placement areas

Wide range of resources

The Toolkit also includes links to the Professional Standards for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, plus links to the main Government departments which impact on Social Work.

Finally, there is a library of 90 videos which can be filtered by one of the five modules, and link back to activities and reflective practice. 

The feedback we have had from students has been really positive so we would like all our students on Social Work and Youth and Community Development to take a look at see what you think. As usual, get in touch with askalibrarian@bradfordcollege.ac.uk, Library Chat or our feedback form to ask any questions or make suggestions.

Working from Home: a Library Assistant’s Point of View

 By Asif Rashid Library Assistant Bradford College Library , Sept 2020

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most of us are working differently to the way we usually would. At Bradford college Library , both of our library sites (Hockney Library and Trinity Green) have closed since March 2020 and we are providing online library services from home to the students and staff. Working from home is both a challenge and an opportunity.

At first it took us a few days to get comfortable into a new environment as it was a totally different scenario to previously working face to face with people and now working virtually.

Keeping in touch

Our library team has a video call every Wednesday via Microsoft Teams so that we can see each other. The library manager gives general updates from the Library management side and every member of the team shares what they are working on. This is really helpful because it enables us to communicate effectively and work together despite being apart. Working from home can also feel isolating so it’s nice to have this weekly catch up. The most interesting thing was a weekly Quiz mainly presented by David and Ashley. These quizzes were really interesting and increased our general knowledge.

Video conferencing graphic

Learning new techniques

Another good thing was a regular allocation of  work from Librarians to us. We learnt new techniques for researching and finding information by using the online catalogue and different websites such as Coutts Oasis etc. Another good thing I liked was that our Library manager mentioned that she would try to provide everyone in the team to learn and work equally on various online courses such as the Equality and Diversity course. The college training day in July was really useful and helped us in our professional development.

Interesting online courses

College as a whole organisation was really helpful in encouraging and providing of personal and professional development opportunities. Free courses on college skills academy not only provided the training and basic knowledge about personal and professional development but also these courses are beneficial in future while working at college or in daily life. For instance, a course on how to work with difficult people was quite interesting and I would recommend it to everyone in  our team. The main points I learnt when you are a manager or executive  or any member of team dealing with a difficult person you should listen the point of view of other person without bringing your personal ego into the matter. Also among three methods such as assertiveness, passiveness and aggressiveness described in this course, only assertiveness works good in most of the situations.

Staying positive

Encouragement from Christopher Thornton, Lakshmi Banner and Emma Luby was very helpful. They kept our morale high and we survived through this time and at the end I must say we are a good time and everyone in the team is so nice and helpful.