Me Time Mencap visit

October 11, 2017, by Katherine Beers

Libraries Week Feature – A visit to Hallward Library from Mencap Me Time, Nottingham group

It’s Libraries Week which provides us with the perfect opportunity to tell you about a visit we hosted during the summer for the Nottingham Mencap Me Time group.

During the summer, a group from Nottingham Mencap Me Time group  enjoyed a visit to Hallward Library, organised by one of our Senior Library Advisers and Mencap Facilitator, Laura Conboy. The Me Time service provided by Mencap offers a variety of leisure and life-style activities to adults with learning disabilities. Laura Conboy explains why she thought a visit to Hallward would be a valuable experience to her group:

I have worked for Mencap as a facilitator of arts and crafts, office skills, and drama and gardening groups for 10 years alongside my post as a Senior Library Adviser in Hallward Library. I thought ‘how interesting’ a university library would be to people who come to Me Time Notts.  Adam Pickard-Brace, Librarian led the tour most informatively, and Emma Quance, Library Adviser, gave us a most delicious lunch, much enjoyed by all.

The Manuscripts and Special Collections iBook

Laura goes on to tell us some of the highlights of the tour:

Adam demonstrated the Manuscripts and Special Collections iBook and amazed the group with facts and figures, about our University Archives. Did you know that the oldest book in our manuscripts collection is the Wollaton Antiphonal? It is an extremely rare example of a late Medieval church service book decorated with illuminated miniatures, created in around 1430 and placed in the care of the University of Nottingham in 1974.

The group were fascinated looking at different illuminations in the church service book on the iBook, (now available to all users of Hallward Library on level 2). They loved the fact that technology allowed access to rare and unique books, usually hidden away in protected storage.

The Parchment and Pixels iBook

Viewing The Parchment and Pixels iBook

Library Collections

The group heard from Adam that the University of Nottingham Libraries hold over one million print books and journals in our eight libraries, and that our electronic collection has over 300,000 e-books and 20,000 e-journals:

During the visit, the richness of the Hallward Library collections could be seen in some of the over-sized Egyptology books, beautifully illustrated with pictures of pyramids and tomb paintings.  The Atlas Stand on level 3 contained many huge oversize atlases from places here in the United Kingdom e.g. the waterways in the Norfolk Broads, to as far away as the universe, depicted in a stunning atlas devoted to the planets.

Assistive Technology support

We visited one of the three Assistive Technology Rooms in libraries and found much technology and special programmes which can support people with different disabilities, including the visually impaired:

The Assistive Technology Room at Hallward Library

The Assistive Technology Room at Hallward Library

  • KURZWEILL 1000 reads text aloud so makes printed text or electronic text available to people who are blind or visually impaired.
  • TEXT HELP READ AND WRITE GOLD helps students with their reading and writing with features including text to speech and a speaking dictionary.

Adam also showed us that text can be magnified into much bigger sizes with some assistive technology called Zoom Text. Mark from the Mencap group said how much he liked the Assistive Technology room and all of the equipment to help people who are visually impaired like him.

Helping out to find missing books

The group also got the chance to gain some hands-on experience of finding missing books using the Digital Library Assistant which was great fun. We got a quick look at the Translation Suite and Screen Room too, which everyone was most impressed by.

What did the Me Time Mencap group think of their visit?

Me Time Notts Mencap were extremely enthusiastic about their insight into the workings of a University library:

Hallward Library Collections

Hallward Library Collections

Joseph said, ‘I did not expect it to be so big and I liked turning around the stacks. I would like to go again.’

Katrin said ‘I liked it when you had to beep the books, I liked the cinema where you can watch films and thought it was very big and liked the big green chairs where you read the books’.

Mark said ‘it is amazing, the University is so big. I liked all the study rooms and computers and thought the oldest book was amazing too.  I would love to be a student here you know. It would be an amazing place’.

The Hallward library tour was a great success and we all learnt much about the fascinating volumes contained in within our collections.  Joseph, Katrin, Mark and Julie had only been inside public libraries before and all remarked on the difference between the two types of library. We rounded off our visit with a fun feline farewell from Bertie the cat eagerly awaiting us outside the library entrance, who was fussed over by all and as always lapped up the attention … a purr-fect end to a purr-fect visit!

Posted in CollectionsEngagementGuest BlogHallward LibraryManuscripts & Special Collections