Bradford College Library: a place of diversity, equality and inclusion

By Asif Rashid, Library Assistant

The role of the academic library is to create a place of study where students and staff can work independently to achieve their academic goals. Bradford College Library is playing an important role to achieve these goals by collaborating with different departments, and supporting the vision and mission of Bradford college towards its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

How we are helping out?

1.Library Induction

Our Library induction programme supports students and staff to build up their confidence, and contributes to retention and achievement, especially for students attending Bradford College for the first time.

2.Inclusive Learning

The Library team is keen to ensure that all students have equal access to Library resources. There are two Library sites; one is situated at 2nd Floor in David Hockney Building which is the main Library, and there is a second library at Trinity Green.

The Library team support students both studying at the college or from home. There is a team of specialist Librarians and dedicated Library assistants to help out with their information needs.

If students don’t visit Library regularly, there are many ways they can access library material and support for their studies online. Students can contact us on askalibrarian@bradfordcollege.ac.uk, through Teams or via our Library Chat service. More information on ways to contact us can be found here  library.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/contactus

For up to date information about the Library Service you can visit our Library News page where you can find latest information about our Library.

Bradford College Library seeks to ensure that it complies with the Bradford College Statement on Equality of Opportunity and Diversity in all areas of its operations, through good practice, anticipation and practical adjustments.

3.Library’s displays

The Library supports events promoting equality of opportunity and diversity. Examples include displays on Windrush, Black and Ethnic Minority authors, famous Black people, support for learning difficulties, mental health issues and celebrations of cultural and religious events. There is a dedicated page on our Library Online page which provides links to resources supporting events in the Library, College and the wider environment. You can access this page via the link https://library.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/unitedvalues

4.Great selection of Physical and Online Resources

We offer a great and diverse selection of physical and online resources in the form of books, e-books, online journals, and databases. All these are available via our Library Online pages  https://library.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/homepage

5. One-to-one Support

Passionate Academic Liaison Librarians are always willing to welcome any student to help and identify relevant resources, offer refresher or advanced sessions on using library catalogue, databases or e-books, help using journals, and help with study skills. You can email them at askalibrarian@bradfordcollege.ac.uk or phone on (01274) 08 8257 to book a one-to-one session or group session for any help.

6.Best selection of Entry Readers

In collaboration with ESOL tutors, the ESOL Librarian has procured a great selection of easy read books for Entry 1 through to Level 2. These are in the form of physical books and also a good selection is available online via Moodle. Dedicated Library Assistants are helping ESOL students in their reading to improve their reading skills through reading groups, either online or in college.

 

At the end, the Head of ALS, SEND and Library Chris Thornton, and Senior Academic Librarian Laksh, our dedicated Academic Liaison Librarians, Senior Library Assistant and Library Assistants are very passionate to increase the literacy rate at Bradford college and are always willing to help student and staff to achieve their teaching and learning goals.

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.

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.

Collaborate to Innovate: library assistants work with librarians to plan for a safer library

During the many months of lockdown, we always kept one eye on our return to work. At each virtual library get-together, we’d swap stories of our experiences in shops and supermarkets, things we’d read about other libraries, how we were supporting students, what we thought about coming back to college, how a covid-safe library service would look.

During these early discussions, a plan began to form. Firstly, how would we capture all the information and ideas that were sharing? We wanted to keep track of the guidance from government and our professional organisations such as CILIP and Libraries Connected. We took part in webinars, discussion lists and training sessions. We talked to lecturers, managers, and other librarians.

And secondly, how would we turn all the knowledge gained while sitting in front of our computers, into practical guidance for our return to work? Our first step was to set up a Padlet that everyone could access, add ideas or links, comment on other posts, link ideas together.

We then asked each of our library assistants, working closely with a ‘project sponsor’ – a member of the Library Management Team – to design and deliver a project focusing on a particular aspect of the return to work. Each library assistant identified an area of interest to them, produced a project initiation document which outlined their aims and what they hoped to deliver. They then researched independently, meeting regularly with their project sponsor to discuss their findings. Projects were: how to ensure staff safety at the information desk, setting up a ‘triage’ service and creating a guide to the ‘reference interview’, handling acquisitions, marketing our new click&collect service, and how to arrange the physical library.

Some of the library assistants have kindly offered to write for this blog about these projects and how they were able to plan from a distance. I’m sure many of their ideas will be useful to other library staff in similar situations.

Ensuring Staff Safety – Ashley Choudry

In my Library Project, I set out to find appropriate ways of protection from Covid-19 for the library assistants when working throughout the Library and dealing with students and other staff. To complete my project, I conducted research on the methods of protection used by various libraries in colleges and universities throughout the world, looking at three main methods: perspex screens at the desk; 72-hour book quarantine; and separate collections of equipment for use by each staff member. I looked on their websites specifically for protection methods, whilst also looking at the overall UK protection guidelines that libraries needed to follow to be allowed to open once again.

In my research I found that many libraries had decided to use perspex screens to protect library staff at help desks from students and other staff. The majority had also implemented a 72- hour book quarantine to ensure any traces of the Covid-19 virus would have disappeared from recently returned books before they could be shelved again.However, I could not find much information on the use of equipment throughout other libraries and protection against Covid-19 when using it.

At the conclusion of my research and when presenting my findings to my colleagues, I recommended that we continued with the 72-hour quarantine while marking out a specific area to hold the books (there hadn’t been one before) and making collections of equipment for each individual library assistant with name labels on each piece. The perspex screens had already been added to the help desk, however I did recommend we add a couple more to cover all computer stations. 

I enjoyed doing this project as it gave me not only an insight into how other libraries operate but also a chance to have a vital say in the protection for my colleague’s and my own roles in this uncertain time, overall making me feel more satisfied and safer to be back in work.

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