Monday, 7 August 2017

Plea for Locker Keys

The recent building work, and subsequent removal of some lockers to a different part of the library, has made us realise just how many of our lockers no longer have their keys - 32 in total!

We're consequently sending out a plea for our readers to check their bags and pockets to see if they've accidentally walked off with any of the keys after emptying the lockers. It's very easily done, so if you do find a key of ours we would be very grateful to have it back (no questions asked!)

If we don't get the keys back, then there is considerable cost involved in not only changing the locks and having new keys cut, but also paying for the labour to get both of those things done! It could easily work out to over £500, which, of course, we would much rather spend on books (or something similarly beneficial for the library.)

Locker numbers 6, 10, 13, 20, 28, 49 and 56 all had personal items in when they were cleared out for the move, so if you used any of those, and would like to return the keys at the same time as picking up your belongings, that would be wonderful.

The other numbers we are missing are:

Thank you in advance for all your help!
The Library Team

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Library Lobby Renovations 2!

As you will be aware if you've come to the library today, the lobby renovations have now begun and we have crowded our office into the Numismatics Room. Thank you to everyone who has borne with us as we try to get sorted (despite on-going technical malfunctions with computers, printers and telephones!), especially if you've had to go back and forth between Numismatics and the lobby due to a shortage of lockers.

On that note, however, we have good news!

The building contractors have confirmed to us that part of the lobby will be accessible during the renovation. This means that lifts will still go to the third floor, and the lockers will be placed there as a barrier, so they will still be available to use (provided they have keys - but that is another blog post to come!)

However, you will still have to enter the library through the Numismatics Room because the main doors will definitely be out of bounds. This means that when you exit the lift you should turn right (towards the Ladies' toilets - which should also still be useable!), go through the doors to the staircase, and straight across as if you were heading to Room 349. Then the route is as originally outlined on the new plan we drew up (copies of which are available at the library desk), but there will also be arrows on the wall.

Currently we can confirm that if the lockers in the main lobby are accessible in the morning then they will be for the rest of the day (i.e. nothing will be moved or emptied, and you will be able to collect your belongings at the end of the day). However, if there is some part of the works taking place that mean it is unsafe for the main lobby to be accessed, or equipment is being moved in, we ask that you would please bear with us, and come up via the stairs as originally outlined. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing when this might happen, but will send out notices if we hear of anything.

We have also just found out that, because of the lobby closure, the UCL post will have to be delivered via the library. This will involve two large cages of post coming through Numismatics, History, and Archaeology, then through the doors by the Tract volumes once each day. We are very sorry for any inconvenience and noise caused by this.

If you'd like to make any comments or queries about the works then please do send them to

Many thanks again for your patience!
The Library Team

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Library Lobby Renovations!

This summer the University of London is undertaking a refurbishment of the 3rd floor lobby area, including the library issue desk. Though the lobby will be closed for the duration of the work, the library will still be open as normal, so here is all the information you need to know to get you through the new access arrangements

When will the lobby be closed?
The refurbishment is scheduled to begin on 1st August, and should (all being well) be finished mid-September. We will provide a more definite end-date when we have one.

During this time the library will remain open in line with standard opening hours. The library will be fully closed during the summer closure period (6pm 18th August – 9.30 am 4th September).

How will I get to the library?
Lifts will not be going to the 3rd floor while the works are underway. To reach the library, take the lift to the 2nd floor, then climb the final flight of stairs to the 3rd. At the top of the stairs turn right, though some doors labelled ‘To rooms 347-355’, and follow the corridor round through several sets of doors. This will take you to the back entrance of the Numismatics Room, which will serve as the temporary library entrance.

We will put up signs to make the directions as clear as possible, and a plan of the new route will soon be accessible via the website.

So, is the Numismatics Room out of bounds too?
All the books in the Numismatics Room will still be accessible to readers, but, since we will need to move equipment there from the current issue desk, the room unfortunately cannot be used as reading space.

What if I am unable to use the stairs?
If you require step-free access to move between the 2nd and 3rd floors, please contact library staff in advance of your visit to give us notice of this. We can then arrange for access to a service lift to bring you directly to the temporary library entrance. Regrettably, this lift cannot be accessed unescorted, so we will need at least a day's notice to be sure of having a staff member available to help. Either ring the library desk on 020 7862 8709, or e-mail, to register this need.

Where will the nearest toilets be?
Since the 3rd floor lobby is completely out of bounds, you will have to go down to the 2nd floor to use the toilets there.

Anything else I should know?
 Yes! Please be aware that staff will be asking to see your library cards when you enter the library (since there will not be a security barrier there).

Also, please note that, although there will be some lockers available, the number will be greatly reduced from normal. Therefore please try to avoid bringing large bags to the library if you can.


If you have any questions about the refurbishment or these changes then please contact the library team and we'll do our best to answer! Thank you in advance for bearing with us as we do our best to keep everything running smoothly during the disruption.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Library Account Downtime - 18.7.17

This is a brief notice to make you aware that, due to maintenance taking place on our library system, you will be unable to log in to your accounts from 11pm on Tuesday 18th July (tomorrow) until 11am on Wednesday 19th.

This means that during that time you will not be able to renew or request books, but given that most of the improvements will be made overnight, we hope it will not cause too much inconvenience.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Former Librarian: Gertrude Rachel Levy

Late last month, the library received a very exciting envelope from Richard J.B. Stein, containing a book by, photo of, and postcard from, Gertrude Rachel Levy (1883-1966). She was a Classical scholar and archaeologist, but she was also librarian of the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies (there was no Institute at that time!) from 1939/40 until July 1949, when she retired. Several of the books she wrote are still on our shelves now, including The Violet Crown and The Gate of Horn.

The photograph we received is of her c.1900, so before her time as our librarian, but it is still wonderful to see her, especially with such beautiful books in tow!

Also in the envelope was a postcard from the Diyala Region sites of Tell Asmar, Khafaje, and Ishchali, in which she records that there have been "No exciting finds so far".

Needless to say that these finds have greatly excited library staff, and we are very grateful to Richard J.B. Stein for sending them to us. We will treasure them. If anyone knows anything further about G.R Levy, or her work at the library, please do get in touch, as we would love to hear from you!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Hellenic and Roman Societies' Sculpture Day

In honour of the Sculpture Day, held by the Societies on 28th June, our Deputy Librarian, Paul Jackson, raided the Rare Books collection and did a display of the library's sculpture-related treasures. Sadly such displays cannot become regular occurrences, as the cases were only loaned to us temporarily, so here are some highlights in case you missed the exhibition. Full details of what was shown can be found here.

One of the brightest treasures on display was this reconstruction of the Parthenon Frieze by Shirley Pickett (below), illustrating her theory that in ancient sculpture the male figures would be painted in darker colours and the female figures left pale.

Pickett, Shirley. The Elgin Marbles in Colour: a reconstruction of the Parthenon frieze (1997)
We were also very lucky to have two 17th century engravings on display, which form part of a recent bequest from Dr. P J Casey (1935-2016). The first shows the sculpture from the Arch of Septimius Severus, and the second from the Arch of Constantine.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Sculpture Day, and we hope you enjoyed looking at the displays as much as we enjoyed setting them out!

Deputy Librarian, Paul Jackson, setting out the first case!

Monday, 26 June 2017

New Vending Machine!

Just in case you haven't seen it, we wanted to make you all aware that there is now a vending machine in the cafe area on the Ground Floor. It is called 'Lisa', and stocks a variety of healthy crisps/snacks and soft drinks.

We thought this might be particularly useful for readers using the libraries on evenings and Saturdays, as they'll be able to get something to eat/drink even when the cafe is closed.

It (she?) takes coins, or debit/credit cards. However, be aware that if you use a card to purchase anything from the machine it costs 6% more than the hard currency price.

Happy munching (though, of course, not in the library!)