Sunday, 5 August 2012

A London Thing...

Thing 14 (referencing tools) of the 23 Things to follow below but first off it can't have escaped the attention of anyone reading this that the Games of the XXX Olympiad are now in full flow! Even before Danny Boyle's suitably bonkers Opening Ceremony, there was a buzz of excitement here in London which has been tangible and this has just grown and grown ever since!

If any blog readers are in town for the event and wondering what else to check out during their stay, you could do a lot worse than to visit some of the brilliant libraries we have here in London! I have put together a handful of libraries which are putting on activities and exhibitions linked to the Olympics in some way:

Hackney Central Library

No. 1 Reading Lane (the single best address for a library ever?!!). This is the home of Hackney's main branch:

Hackney Central Library & Museum underwent
a major refurbishment in 2001
Olympic events are being shown on a big screen TV in the library
The library is attached to Hackney's Museum which contains permanent exhibitions charting the growth of the borough, ever since its very first inhabitants arrived in log boats!There is a great temporary exhibition on at the moment all about the Games which includes some frank views from residents on their opinions of the Olympics being on their doorstep. The views expressed were not all entirely positive, it has to be said(!) but overall, Hackney residents are a sporty bunch - I learnt there are more cyclists in the borough than anywhere else in the UK!:  

Hackney Museum includes an Olympic Exhibition with some
fascinating facts and figures about all 30 Olympic Games
Nearest station: Hackney Wick (London Overground). Website. 

Just a quick mention too for the new Dalston C.L.R. James Library, also in Hackney. This opened earlier this year and is evidence of real efforts to regenerate the area, with much of this North East London borough being developed as a positive outcome from the Games. It is also opposite the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, which is a fantastic new community garden, created from the remnants of the former Eastern Curve railway line.

Photo extracted Delphine's blog post in her Paradis Express Blog
Nearest station: Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction (London Overground). Website. 

The Wellcome Library

The Wellcome Collection encompasses a unique and technically sophisticated collection of health artifacts. This outstanding collection manages to take in the old and the modern, the physical and the virtual all in the one building. It contains a range of exhibition spaces, museum spaces and library spaces which contain something for every type of user. The library is one of my favorites in London and can be found on the second floor of the building:

The main reading room at the Wellcome Library includes the names
of prominent scientists on the gallery wall above the staircase
One of the things I like about the collection is that it is constantly changing. For the Olympics, the Wellcome Collection has given pride of place to a 'Superhuman Exhibition'. There's a trailer about it here:

The exhibition is on until 16 October at the Wellcome Collection more details here: 

Interactive exhibits, forums and activities are
also part of the Wellcome Collection
Nearest stations: Euston (National Rail + Northern & Victoria Line)/Euston Square (Metropolitan Line). Website.

The British Library

A few hundred yards' walk down the Euston Road from the Wellcome Library is Britain's National Library. Ok - it's an obvious choice but at the moment the library is adorned with Olympic banners banners for the third London Games

The British Library is embracing the London 2012 Olympics
The Library is hosting a free 'Olympex' exhibition profiling some of the collectibles from each of the previous 29 modern Olympic Games. These include a large selection of stamps, letters and postcards, as well as books from the 1908 and 1948 London Olympics. You can also have your photo taken with the Olympic Torch!

If the Olympics are not your thing then I would recommend having a look around the Writing Exhibition: Wastelands to Wonderlands which is on until September. The exhibition features draft manuscripts of famous works about Britain in the writers' own hands, for instance an early draft of 'In my Life' by John Lennon which included some of his most intimate memories of growing up in Liverpool (many of which disappeared in the completed version, although some were later used in 'Penny Lane'). The real focus of the exhibition, however are the landscapes which have shaped literature in Britain, from the heathlands to the waterways to the suburban and city streets...

British Library poster - available here.
 (Seemed appropriate!)

The exhibition is on until 25 September 2012.

Nearest station: King's Cross (National Rail + Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines). Website.

The University of the Arts, King's Cross

King's Cross is a transport hub for Games visitors and this is the third of three libraries I would recommend visiting within a mile of the train station. Through my work, I had the opportunity to visit this new building last Wednesday and was amazed by what has been achieved and by the sheer scale of development in this area. It is the largest development in London for 150 years, in fact and the library (seamlessly integrated into a Grade II listed Granary building) offers great views over this part of London. 

The University of the Arts impressive list of Alumni includes several British designers involved in the Olympics, such as Stella McCartney (designer of the Team GB kit) and Anish Kapoor (creator of the bold and equally bonkers 'Orbit' Olympic statue which sits beside the Olympic Stadium). Located just outside the library is one of over 700 public table tennis tables which a company called Ping has been putting up all over the country in conjunction with the Olympics (there is another of these in the British Library's courtyard - nestled in-between Paolozzi's Newton statue and the Anne Frank tree):

A large atrium space connects the library with the rest
of the impressive University of the Arts building
A view from the library to the vast King's Cross development below

Nearest station: King's Cross (National Rail + Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines). Website - Please note: visitors to the library are required to make an appointment.

British Film Industry (BFI) Library

Further South and in the very heart of London, the new BFI Library offers more social space and longer opening hours than previously, as well as a sleek new design, following suggestions from the library's users. To coincide with the Olympics, this has been accessible since June 2012 but will formally open in September:

The entrance to the library at the BFI has an appropraitely cinematic look

Lamps in the study area are evocative of Pixar's logo
 The library has released a video from the first London Olympic Games, held in 1908, with events including Tug-of-War:

The BFI Library is also currently giving out free Oyster Card wallets (just what I needed as my existing card holder fell to pieces recently!):

Help yourself to a souvenir Oyster Card holder at the BFI Library!
Nearest station: Waterloo (National Rail + Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern, Waterloo & City Lines). Website.

There are literally thousands of libraries in London, of course (I haven't even started on South London!) so this list could go on and on.. These were just a few suggestions which might make for an interesting visit as an alternative to all other exciting Summer 2012 events happening all over town. 

As this week's Thing is all about referencing, I've tried using the tools suggested (Zotero, Mendeley and CiteULike) to create a list of references for the citations mentioned in this blog post. I found Mendeley the most useful of the three as it enables the easy collection and transfer of references. I found both CiteULike and Zotero to be heavily focused upon the referencing of academic papers. I think I would find this frustrating as sources of information I have used for assignments (and which I will use in my Chartership) are so varied nowadays and generally are not centred upon academic literature alone. Mendeley offers the option to save citations and references in a number of different formats too, although often these did not come out in the format I had anticipated. I tried using the Harvard Style in the list  below, for instance but looks quite different to the Harvard style which I used during my studies:

List of references 

The British Film Institute, 1908. The 1908 London Olympics, Available at: [Accessed August 5, 2012].

The British Library, 2012. Writing Britain poster 1. Available at: [Accessed August 5, 2012].

Delphine, 2012. paradis express: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, London. Available at: [Accessed August 5, 2012].

Ivanovic, V., 1936. Archives - Information Services - Kingston University London. Available at: [Accessed August 5, 2012].

Wellcome Collection, 2012. Superhuman Trailer (HD), Available at: v=FGjojbh6-Hg&feature=player_embedded [Accessed August 5, 2012].

(Compiled using Mendeley)

At Kingston we recommend students use RefWorks as it enables them to create references which automatically comply with the various styles specified by the University's five faculties. RefWorks is another tool which can handle a range of different document types and users can usefully sign in using their existing University login details.  

We have also been showing off our very own slice of Olympic legacy at Kingston recently, pride of place in which is this picture from the 1936 Berlin Games - signed by the likes of Jessie Owens and Harold Abrahams & Evelyn Aubrey (of Chariots of Fire fame). It's a remarkable piece of memorabilia and the charismatic Vane Ivanović (whose collection this is extracted from) must have gone to a huge effort to compile all of these signatures!

Well done to all of those who are also still blogging away for CPD23 Things, by the way. I'm still enjoying reading about some of the unique things people have been up to in their libraries. Please do comment if you have been doing your own events tied into the Olympics!

A view of the main stadium from the Olympic Park's gardens. The wildflower
gardens inside the park were co-designed by a Kingston University Student


  1. your blog is excellent....I really liked your blog, appreciate the great information ..Gardening London..many thanks

  2. Cheers Dany! Those are some stunning gardens!!

  3. An interesting tour of libraries, leading to a unique way of looking at the referencing tools for cpd. Thanks!

  4. Thanks Rebecca. I've enjoyed reading about your library travels too!

  5. Your blog is great, worth reading Good luck
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