From Dickens to Doctor Who: The Lealan Collection

              Front cover of ‘The Lone Ranger Annual’ of 1958 (Manchester, 1957 or 1958). © 2018 Homerton College.

The annual pictured above is just one of thousands of items in the library’s exciting new special collection. The Lealan Collection was acquired by Homerton in 2013 from Mr Malcolm Lealan. Comprising a broad range of annuals, novels, anthologies and non-fiction from nearly 200 years of children’s literature, the collection is a valuable and significant addition to the resources of the library, and an important new part of the college as a whole.

I have just started the mammoth task of cataloguing these items, so whilst we have an Excel document list, most of them are not yet visible on our iDiscover catalogue.

Highlights from the collection include:

  • Four or five first editions of titles in the Biggles series of adventure stories, by Captain W.E. Johns.
  • An 1845 edition of The Chimes, an 1844 novella by Charles Dickens.
  • A rare first edition of Silver and Gold by Enid Blyton (1925).
  • A first edition of Five Have a Mystery to Solve, by Enid Blyton, rare in dust wrapper (1962).
  • A complete run of Playbox Annual, a children’s periodical from the first half of the 20th century.
  • A rare first edition of The Two Form-Captains by Elsie Oxenham (1921).
  • A fine copy of the first edition of Philip Pullman’s Spring-Heeled Jack, with original glazed boards (1989).
  • A complete run of The British Girl’s Annual of 1910-1934.



Our first edition of Five Have a Mystery to Solve (London, 1962). © 2018 Homerton College.

With around 7,500 items, including roughly 1,500 monographs and 6,000 annuals – enough to fill a standard shipping container – the Lealan Collection is substantial.

It also covers a broad time period, with the oldest item being:

The children’s friend, volume 13, by W. Carus Wilson (1836). An early children’s periodical published in London.

And the newest item is:

Babar and Father Christmas by Jean de Brunhoff (2002). A modern reprint of the 1940 English edition of this classic French children’s story.

If you would like more information about this collection, please come in and speak to a member of the library staff, contact me directly on or speak to me in person, on the first floor of the library.

James Brigden

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The tale of a fluffy tail.

Beatrix Potter and her pet mouse, Xarifa, in 1885. (Reproduced with the kind permission of The Lloyd E. Cotsen Collection of Beatrix Potter, Cotsen Children’s Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University)

Deep in the wooden bowels of the storage units of the Children’s Rare Book Collection at Homerton College Library is what may (slightly remotely, but possibly!) be the same copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit that Beatrix Potter and Norman Warne first picked up, hot off the press, in October 1902. The first in a series of books that occupies a momentous place in both children’s literature and the literary world as a whole, here we look at the story of its author and how the publishing of this book led her to love – and ultimately loss.

With his white fluffy tail and blue jacket, Peter Rabbit, the mischievous anthropomorphic bunny that gets chased away from Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch, was the brain-child of brilliant Englishwoman Helen Beatrix Potter. Born into a wealthy household in Kensington in 1866, famous writers and artists would frequent the Potter home, and Beatrix grew up enjoying regular visits to museums and lengthy holidays in Scotland. But she was also unhappy and lonely. ‘Entry after entry in her journal breathes a depth of gloom’, biographer Sarah Gristwood commented.

She spent much of her childhood and adolescence in isolation from her peers, spending time with her menagerie of animals (which included a hedgehog, mice and a frog), and her governesses, one of whom, Annie Moore, became a close friend.

Encouraged by her artistic family, she grew up sketching animals and still life with her brother, Bertram, and took exams at art school. Beatrix matured into a gifted naturalist and artist, and was ahead of her time in some of her work; even today mycologists consult her drawings of fungi, which were once presented to the Linnean Society. She studied relentlessly: she was, as biographer Linda Lear points out, ‘intellectually restless and keenly observant of both nature and society’.

In her mid-twenties she began to earn a modest income from illustrating, and in 1893 her famous picture letter to Annie’s Moore’s five-year-old son Noel (‘…I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits…’) would later form the basis of her first book, which she had privately printed in 1901 after being rejected by several publishers. One of the firms that rejected her was Frederick Warne and Co., and it was Norman Warne who wrote to Potter in December 1901 asking her to work with him on the ‘bunny book’. He wanted bright colour illustrations (and 32 drawings instead of 42) and a shorter text. Potter agreed, and Peter’s commercial publishing journey began in earnest.

Beatrix was passionate about her tale and its production. She wanted a book which stressed the equal importance of text and illustration: uncluttered and simple yet vibrant and powerful.


Mr. McGregor tries ‘to put his foot upon Peter’.

Her knowledge of printing processes and her critical eye – from commenting on galley proofs to her famous preference for ‘restful’ endpapers – endeared Norman. Their early correspondence was rather technical, though. A letter from Norman and Beatrix’s reply, from January 1902, for example, consist together of nearly 30 lines and essentially talk only of the specifics of printing blocks and colourings. Their letters reveal, though, a wonderfully – almost beautifully – constructive dialogue. In one, Beatrix suggests to Norman whether Peter should be facing towards the binding in the cover illustration. As we can see from the front cover, it remained as before.

Potter would agonise over the form and design of illustrations and binding, making light, for example, in a June 1902 letter to Norman, of some ‘white paint on the leaves behind the wheelbarrow’, suggesting Norman could ‘wipe it off’ if he didn’t like it.


‘[S]ince Beatrix Potter was willing to prepare coloured illustrations throughout, they decided to accept The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ – Linder.

After many months of work, The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published in 1902.

In their correspondence we can see not only frank business exchanges and agonisingly detailed technical discussions, but glimpses of Potter’s personal trials, a window into the life of a Victorian daughter-at-home in a cultured yet Unitarian household.

In a letter dated May 22nd 1902, for example, Potter speaks very candidly about her father and makes a reference to being 36 years old and still having him trying to run her life.

And even in 1904 she confesses to Norman that she ‘hardly ever [goes] out’ and that her mother’s ‘exacting’ way was wearing her out.

As well as a sound business relationship a friendship was clearly growing, too, and Linder comments that their letters were ‘becoming more personal’ around July 1902. They moved, perhaps tellingly for this era, from addressing one another in letters as ‘madam’ and ‘sir’ at the start of negotiations for Peter Rabbit, to ‘Mr Warne’ and ‘Miss Potter’ by the time a book deal was concluded in 1902. They conducted, according to Norman’s niece, Winifred, ‘the strangest courtship’, which consisted of almost constant letters and never at any time being alone together. It was, though, during their collaboration on Two Bad Mice that their fondness for one another became ‘increasingly intimate and loving’.

Norman proposed to Beatrix by letter in 1905, which she accepted. This caused a storm in the Potter household. They did not want her to marry ‘into trade’, as the Potters themselves were a family who’d made their fortune in trade and were eager to move away from their commercial roots. His death in 1905 – from a short illness, while he was in London and she was in Wales – hit her hard and she was ‘grief-stricken and solitary’. Shortly after this, she bought Hill Top Farm, in the Lake District, an area where she’d dreamed of setting up a marital home with Norman.

Letters to Millie, Norman’s sister, in the years following his death, indicate a painful longing for Norman which would never go away. Though she wore her wedding ring from William Heelis, whom she married in 1913, she also wore her engagement ring from Norman, and was buried with it.

She wrote to Millie: ‘I try to think of the golden sheaves, and harvest […] he did not live long but fulfilled a useful happy life.’

Beatrix Potter died in 1943, and to date her works have sold over 100 million copies worldwide.


Homerton’s first edition. The binding came in both brown and grey – ‘rabbit’-like shades.

Homerton’s copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit is certainly from one of the first three printings of the first trade edition, published between October and December 1902. There are several ways we can tell this from looking at our copy. Firstly, any copies with ‘Ltd’ after the name of the publisher date from a later period, as Warne was not incorporated until 1919. Secondly, the letters ‘o’ on the front cover should have dots in the centres. Our copy does. We can see, on page 51, the famous change in the text: the line ‘wept big tears’ was changed after the third printing to ‘shed big tears’. A photograph of this page in our copy is shown below.


Page 51 of our copy.

A product of the brilliant work of Beatrix Potter, publisher Warne and printer Edmund Evans, this scarce, valuable first edition of this major work represents a milestone in the history of children’s literature and book illustration.

If you would like to view this item or any other item in the rare book collection, please ask a member of library staff.


Gristwood, Sarah. The story of Beatrix Potter. London: National Trust, 2016.

Kutzer, M. Daphne. Beatrix Potter: Writing in code. London: Routledge, 2003.

Lear, Linda J. Beatrix Potter: A life in nature. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2007.

Linder, Leslie. A history of the writings of Beatrix Potter. London: Frederick Warne, 1971.

See also

The world’s largest collection of material by and about Beatrix Potter is the Beatrix Potter Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum:

Homerton has over 60 books in total either by or about Beatrix Potter, most of them borrowable. In the Children’s Rare Book Collection, in addition to The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Homerton also has a first edition of The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. We have several other early copies of some of her 23 Tales.

James Brigden, April 2018.


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When fact is stranger than fiction.

image posterSpanning two centuries of non-fiction, Homerton’s latest rare books exhibition draws on the curious inaccuracies, biases and assumptions found in historical non-fiction for a child audience. From the Herschel Planet to the Camelopard, there are plenty of familiar faces, if not names, to be found in the exhibition.

You can see the book that inspired the internet: ‘Enquire within upon everything’, in which recipes and marriage advice sit side by side with cures for common ailments, and ‘leaf printing’.

There is even a child’s autobiography in ‘Little Charlie’s life, by Himself,’ by the six year old Charles John Young. Published in 1868, this is the story of Charlie’s life, with illustrations and handwriting charting his development over the course of a year.

The exhibition can be viewed by arrangement, weekdays, from 9:00—17:00. Homerton students and staff can access the exhibition at any time. To make enquiries, drop us a line at



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Literature searching with aplomb

lego sherlock and watson

Becoming a pro at literature searching is a vital academic skill that will make your studying more effective, and ensure a more comprehensive foundation to your written work.

There are useful strategies you can apply to your information searches and referencing, that will help you get the best from your studies, and Liz Osman will be holding a session to give you advice about how you might approach this aspect of your work.

Pop along to Bamford at 3:30pm today to find out more, and have a look at this Literature search worksheet to give you a structure for your searching.

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There is no one alive who is Youer than You! – Dr. Seuss


It’s nearly 1st March, and #UniMentalHealthDay, but of course, our mental wellbeing deserves more than just one day of care and attention. Luckily there are many things we can do to protect our mental health, and while we’re at it, look out for the wellbeing of those around us too.

Homerton College Student Health Advisor, Sandy Chambers, has these top ten tips to beat stress, particularly for exams:

  1. Good food: Eat plenty of energy boosting foods e.g. complex carbs such as pasta, rice and potatoes and raw fruit and vegetables for vitamin and mineral content.
  2. Exercise: Stimulates the cerebellum, which is responsible for learning and known to be a stress buster. Exercise also helps the body use the extra adrenaline produced during stress and panic.
  3. Deep breathing: An effective way to stay calm. Take a deep breath in, put lips together to make a small O and let out a soft low steady breath, now take in a deep breath filling lungs with clean air. Repeat 2-3 times.
  4. Sunlight: Sunlight provides us with Vitamin D. Just 10 minutes a day will help you to feel cheerful and relaxed as it stimulates the pineal gland.
  5. Stay positive: Under stress it’s easy to feel negative. It may help to make a list of your top 5 qualities or top 5 things you are proud of.
  6. Visualisation: Try to use your mind to visualise that you are sitting at your exam desk, relaxed and completing the exam easily.
  7. Affirmations: Create a mantra and repeat it several times whilst breathing in and out slowly such as “I am relaxed, I am in control, I am confident, I can do it”.
  8. Sleep: Go to bed at a sensible time. Do not work right up until you go to bed, unwind and practice some deep breathing exercises. Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee and drinks containing caffeine. Too much caffeine will keep you awake at night and increase your heart rate.
  9. Relax: Try to find some time each day to relax, listen to calm, relaxing music or a relaxation CD and carry out some relaxation exercises.
  10. Don’t panic: Remember all the advice above and try to stay calm as panic reduces your performance in an exam. 

    The library also holds a great Wellbeing Collection, with over thirty books about mental health issues, from eating disorders to depression. Some offer general advice about maintaining good mental health, whilst others are targeted resources recommended by health professionals. For the full list, have a look at our Wellbeing Collection leaflets, located next to the self-issue kiosk. Don’t forget, staff are happy to help you find materials, or refer you to useful organisations for mental health support. Just ask.

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We want to pick your brains!

iDiscover feedback

We’ve now made the move across to iDiscover, and hopefully you will be getting to grips with using this platform to manage your Homerton Library books, and search the catalogue.

Understandably, people will have varying levels of experience with iDiscover. Some of you may already be familiar with it from your use of other Cambridge libraries, but to help anyone who is just beginning to use iDiscover as their main search platform, we would like to run some informal drop-in sessions on Monday afternoons. The aim of these sessions will be to demonstrate some of the key things you can do on iDiscover, and also to show you how to get the most from your searching.

Before we begin the iDiscover Sessions, we would like to pick your brains. We want to know what you think of the platform; how easy you find it to use; where you come unstuck, and what you would like to change. We’re also interested in the positive aspects. Has it made your searching easier? Do you like seeing everything in one place? Do you find it very intuitive?

In the library we have created a bright-orange feedback box for you to post your comments. You can leave them anonymously, or jot down your contact details and we will send you a response. We may not be able to fix all of the issues for you – although we will always try! – but we will build this feedback into our drop-in sessions, helping us to target the most pressing areas. We will also pass on your feedback to the developers for consideration.

So grab a pen, and scribble down your thoughts. You can post them in the box, or email them to We’re looking forward to reading them!

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The Future’s Bright

studyingTake it from us, we know that you’re really busy, and that life sometimes feels like a tricky balancing act, with lots of demands on your time. We know that adding an extra task to that long list you’ve been trying to ignore is probably the last thing you want to do. That’s why we want to tell you about the latest FutureLib project that’s signing up participants right now.

FutureLib run regular programmes that help to shape the way Cambridge’s libraries evolve to give you the best experience of studying during your time at the university. Their latest – the Digital Diary Study – kicks off on Monday 5th February, and runs for just 3 weeks. The great thing about this project is that you are already doing the hard work! The aim is to get a clearer picture of the study habits and patterns of students at Cambridge, with a view to improving support and services available to you, tailored to the things you really think matter. And to gather this information they just need you to spend 2-3 minutes a day recording your observations on a mobile app. Simple.

Taking part will of course give you the inside track on your own study habits, allowing you to get the most from your studying, find out what works and what doesn’t work for you, and realize just how much you’ve accomplished each day! It also has the added bonus of benefiting your fellow students, both present and future.

And if that wasn’t enough, everyone who completes the project gets a £25 Amazon voucher to spend as they wish. Perfect.

But don’t take it from us. This is what past participants say:

“It has been a pleasure participating in this innovative research. I don’t usually keep a diary (apart from typing on and off about some personal experiences), so it felt good to step into the shoes of a diarist with a particular theme in mind.” (Education PhD student)

“For me this study has opened my eyes to how important a sociable working environment is for me.” (History PhD student)

“Conducting this study has made me realise how much of a set routine I have! Also how dependent I am on making lists.” (Chemistry postdoc)

If you would like to know more about the project, or sign-up, please contact FutureLib at: or check out their website Alternatively, have a chat with staff, we are very enthused!


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The eagle has landed!


It has taken many months of work and preparation, but we can finally announce to you all that we have made the switch to the new library management system!

So what does this mean?

Heritage will shortly become unavailable for catalogue searching, and you will be unable to renew your books or place requests through it. Instead, this can all be done on the latest version of iDiscover, keeping all your library accounts in one place. Please use iDiscover from this point onwards.

Availability information should now be accurate on iDiscover, including Homerton’s holdings. Over the last couple of days we have been busy loading on all of the loan data for everyone, and aside from a handful of anomalies, we are now up to date, so if iDiscover says the book is available, it really is!

You may find that the way we get in touch with you about overdue books, or requests, is different. The new system sends out automatic notifications, and these apply to all of the library accounts you have across sites. So communication will be changing, but if you want to talk directly to staff at Homerton, the usual channels are still available (

We are waiting for some final set-up processes to take place in the library, so you may find that during staffed hours, you have to take your books out at the enquiry desk. This will only be a temporary measure, although you are of course welcome to bring your books to us any time. We’d like to thank you for being patient with us while we negotiate the new system. If we look a bit bemused, don’t worry, we are very determined to get to grips with this as quickly as possible, and to work out the teething problems.

Lastly, we want to urge you all to get in touch. Please do let us know if anything odd is going on with your library account; or if you’re having any difficulty finding your way round iDiscover. We are very happy to talk you through these resources, and tell you more about the changes that have been taking place. So, don’t be a stranger.


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Good things come to those who wait.


We promised you there would be a big switch-over in January as we migrate across to iDiscover, and wave goodbye to Heritage. It wasn’t a fib, honest! But like many good things, sometimes there is a bit of a wait to get them right.

We expected to ‘Go live’ last week, with minimal disruption for the beginning of term, but sadly that plan has had to be delayed slightly. This means that we are expecting the switch to take place at some point this week – date to be confirmed. A big team of staff is working very hard to get this switch-over right for us, and we are aware that this leaves a degree of uncertainty for everyone. We think it’s worth the suspense and delay to make this as seamless as possible, and are happy to answer your questions, and help you make the move across.

You may experience some downtime in other libraries, and some issues with iDiscover as data is moved across. At Homerton, you can still borrow and return books 24/7, and at present Heritage is still available for you to renew your Homerton items. We will shout loud and clear when this is about to change, so keep an eye on our social media feeds (Twitter @homlib and Facebook /homertonlib).

If you need to contact any libraries directly to renew books or ask questions, you can look them up here: Libraries Directory.

Thank you to everyone for your patience.


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The world is your snowball – see how it grows!


Christmas is a time of little traditions; moments that shape our celebrations. Many of these traditions we hold in common, like leaving a carrot and mince pie out for Father Christmas and the reindeer, to speed them on their way on Christmas Eve.

The Library team were discussing their Christmas traditions and found several festive themes. We like to play board games with our families at Christmas, and enjoy stretching our legs on a winter’s stroll to walk off that Christmas lunch. Some reveled in Christmas music every morning in December, whilst others postponed the Christmas exuberance until closer to the big day. Some recalled getting up early every year to watch a Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas morning; whilst others partook of Boxing Day bagatelle tournaments. And there was debate about the distribution of presents – whether each should be unwrapped consecutively, to allow everyone to savor each moment; or whether a simultaneous Christmas unwrapping frenzy was best.

There is one Christmas tradition that we would love to weave into our Christmas narratives however: Jolabokaflod!

This Icelandic tradition involves the gifting of books on Christmas Eve, at which point the grateful recipients retire to a cosy corner and eat chocolate and read for the rest of the evening! Sounds like a librarian’s dream come true! The Jolabokaflod (Christmas Book Flood) accounts for a huge surge in Icelandic publishing in the run-up to Christmas, with hundreds of new books being released in what must feel like a magical literary festival.

So in the spirit of this newly coveted tradition, we raise our cup of hot chocolate to you and wish you all a superb Christmas, and a very happy New Year!


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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

xmasIt’s finally here. The last day of term is upon us, and we can hardly believe it!

The library is looking all festive, in a homemade, spangly way, and we want to thank those of you who have added to the paper snowflakes that are be-decking Tracy the Library Plant. She looks much more jolly now! It’s not too late to get creative, so why not add to the festive display, or leave a Christmas message on the board?

Vacation loans have now kicked in, so anything you take out now will be due back on 19th January 2018. It’s a great opportunity to catch up on some leisure reading, or to indulge in a film or two over the holidays.

Don’t forget there will be some changes in the New Year. Heritage Online will be replaced with iDiscover as your go-to site for catalogue searching, and managing your library account. From January 9th, the availability information will be live, so you can trust that if iDiscover says the book is here, it really will be! If you have any queries about these changes, or notice anything odd going on, please do talk to library staff. We are doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make this transition as smooth as possible, and are more than happy to help.

We hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing break. Well done for your hard work this term, and for those of you who were new to Homerton, we hope you had a great start with us.

See you in the New Year!360H



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Heritage and iDiscover – The Big Switch


There have been rumblings for many months now, and a frenzy of behind-the-scenes testing, planning and contemplation. Now the time has finally come to make the switch to a new library system, and it will be arriving, shiny and fresh, with the New Year. You see, it’s time for Heritage to hang up its hat, leaving us to migrate over to iDiscover alongside our fellow libraries across the university.

So, what will this mean for you?

Hopefully, a seamless switch to iDiscover after Christmas, where you will be able to manage your library accounts for all of the libraries you use, in one place. You will no longer have to switch between catalogues to search for Homerton items; and from January, the information on iDiscover will be updated to reflect the true availability of books in our library. Renewals and reservations will all happen in one place, and there will be the option to pay charges online. So far, so good.

Counting down the days…

In the final countdown to the switchover, there are just a couple of things to keep in mind. Firstly, personalisation such as saved searches and pinned items will disappear from iDiscover around Christmas time, in preparation for the relaunch in January. These won’t be automatically restored, so if you need to hang on to this information, please do follow the instructions on the iDiscover homepage to print or export these details.

Secondly, the ‘behind-the-scenes’ parts of the library system are changing dramatically, so please do bear with us as we move across. All of the staff-side functions will be different, and whilst we are swotting up in readiness, there may still be some adjustments in the New Year. We will do our best to make sure the switchover happens with minimal disruption to our readers – but let us know if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Find out more.

You can keep track of this switchover here on our library blog, and also on our library Facebook (@homertonlib) and Twitter (@homlib) pages. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch.

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Sssh! The Silent Books are here!

October is a special month here in the library, as we host the IBBY Silent Books collection, for you to peruse and pore over.

The books in the collection may be wordless, but they certainly have lots to say! Originating from over twenty countries, the stories offer a peek into a multitude of different cultures, but it is perhaps their similarities that speak out the loudest. From the joy of a day at the beach; the warmth of a hug; the journey of a tiny balloon; to adventures that transcend the world as we know it – there is something here that speaks to everyone. There is a power in the narrative that eclipses language and cultural difference, and celebrates the world around us with a strong sense of fun.

This is perhaps unsurprising when we consider the origins of the collection. Established in 2012 in response to the refugee crisis on the island of Lampedusa, its purpose was to provide a collection of stories for local and migrant children on the island. Language could no longer be a barrier. Experience had to be shared. Wordless picture books were the perfect fit, offering narratives that the reader could infuse with their own discussions and ideas, and take pleasure from regardless of their home.

One set of books in the Silent Books collection became a travelling set, touring the world, and will be staying with us for the rest of October. It is a treasure and we urge you to take some time out to enjoy it. There are over one hundred books, and you may not have time to look at them all, but just dipping into one or two can brighten the dullest autumn day.

The books are on display from 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday, and there will be a special seminar about them on Thursday 26th October in MAB G06/G07.




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Finding your feet


A warm welcome to all of our new PGCE students who have arrived this week. We’re looking forward to meeting you all over the coming weeks, and have been pleased to see people popping in already to get their bearings and use the library.

There are no formal library induction sessions for PGCEs, simply because there is so much for you all to fit in. However, we urge you to come in and register to use the library. Your university card will give you door access, but in order to borrow books, you will need to speak to a member of staff to get signed up. It’s a quick and painless process, taking less than ten minutes, but will open up a wealth of resources to you. Once registered you can come in for a quick induction when it suits you, giving you the best chance to make the most of the library’s resources.

To get you started, there a few practical things to know…

  1. You will need your Raven login details to get access to the computers and printing.
  2. You will need to buy printing credits from the Common Balance Print eCredit website: You can do this remotely or on a library computer. Talk to staff if you’re unsure.
  3. The library is open 24/7 and staffed from 9:00-17:00 on weekdays.
  4. Once registered you can borrow and renew books on the self service machine at any time. You can borrow up to fifteen items at once.
  5. There are two library catalogues. Use Heritage to search for items in Homerton Library. Use iDiscover to search all other libraries in Cambridge University.
  6. Above all else – talk to us! There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so have a chat with staff if you’re unsure.

Good luck to everyone with their studies!

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Change is a coming…

We’re busy getting ready to welcome back our new and returning students over the next few weeks. Hopefully you’ve had a relaxing summer break and will be raring to go for the new term!

There are some changes on the horizon here in the library. From January 2018, the library will be operating a new system, which will allow you to manage your library account, and search the catalogue, all in one place. Further details about these changes will be released as term progresses, but in preparation for the switch-over, we have made some minor tweaks to the current system.

Firstly, you can still borrow up to 15 items, with a loan time of 2 weeks, however you can now renew your books as many times as you like, within a maximum period of 56 days.

Secondly, any items you request will now be held in the library for collection for 4 days, giving you more time to come in for them.

Lastly, if your library book is overdue, you will now be able to renew it, thus putting a stop to automatic reminder emails.

To manage your account, you still need to login at: and staff will be happy to talk you through the changes – just come and have a chat with us if you’re unsure.

We have also launched the new Homerton College Library Facebook page, and will be publicizing library news and updates on there.

Check it out at:

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The Great Summer Book Shuffle

With most students away over the summer, we have been rolling up our sleeves and having a book reshuffle. Sometimes this task seems like a Tetris-like feat of shelf engineering, but it’s certainly worth it to give the books a little bit more breathing space. Plus it’s a great way for librarians to tone their biceps.

You may notice a slight shift in the location of your subject’s resources, and we will be adding extra shelf guiding to make this easier to spot. Rest assured though, we are always happy to help you track things down.Shelves of books

We’ve also been pleased to see students from the International Summer School popping in to spend some time perusing the books and newspapers. We hope you make yourselves at home during your visit.

For those of you sticking around in Cambridge over the summer, don’t forget you can still use the library as a quiet space, or borrow from our fiction and DVD collections, with holiday loans running until 10th October. It’s a great opportunity to catch up on some leisure reading.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone in the autumn, and hope you’re all enjoying your summer break.

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It’s oh so quiet…

Annually during Easter term, a couple of changes occur to make the Library a pleasant environment for everyone to revise and study. With more people than usual using the Library during the Easter vacation, we have introduced these changes slightly earlier than normal in the hope that even more people feel comfortable using the Library.

Silent space: The Library is always kept as a quiet space throughout the year, but we are always especially keen to promote this during Easter term and the Quiet Period at Homerton. Posters have appeared in the Library as an added reminder to ensure your phones are on silent mode, message notifications are switched and conversation is kept to a minimum.

24 hours slips introduced for leaving books and papers on desks: Three-day ‘in use’ notes are being replaced with 24 hour notes, so we can monitor and clear desks more quickly, and prevent desk hogging. We also ask that you keep papers, books, folders etc tidy when using a slip, and leave room on a desk for someone else to use it whilst you are not there.

Back by popular demand, squash and biscuits will appear during full term so that you can take a break and refresh yourselves! Posters will appear soon giving full details.

If you have any questions about the 24 hours slips or have any suggestions to ensure the Library meets everyone’s needs, please email us at or speak to a member of staff.

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Springtime at Homerton Library

Spring has certainly arrived with daffodils appearing next to the Library and the ducks wandering past on their way to the pond. There has definitely been a daffodil theme to our recent Springtime Library display!

Despite the warm weather outdoors, the Vacation period has been busy in terms of Library use. Postgraduate students who typically work at a distance from Homerton are taking the opportunity to use the study spaces 24/7 to get work done before term time starts. Other students are finding their favourite seat and beginning to ‘nest’ so that books, stationary and piles of notes create their ideal study spaces. As during term time, 3 day desk slips are being used so make sure to fill them in so Library staff don’t re-shelve your books. After Easter, we will switch to 24hr desk slips so we can give all students the opportunity to use the desk spaces and book stock for exams.

Thank you again to everyone who completed the Library survey! It has provided us with great feedback with which to improve the Library facilities and services to benefit all staff and students at Homerton. We will be using a whiteboard in the Library to provide some feedback from the survey but more detailed response from staff will appear on the blog- watch this space!

Here are just a few of the new books that Alys and Robin have been busy cataloguing and labelling to get them ready for the next term:

Fenwick, Helen. Text, cases and materials on public law and human rights.  342 FEN

Dunn Cavelty, Myriam. Securing the homeland: critical infrastructure, risk and (in)security. 363.325 SEC

Squire, Michael. The art of the body: antiquity and its legacy. 709.38 SQU

Innes, Christopher. Modern British Drama, 1890-1990. D822.9 INN

Lots of books are bought from your requests so please continue to fill in the ‘Suggest a Book‘ form on the blog and we will get back to you!


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Want to borrow items over the Easter vacation? Of course you can!


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Homerton Library Survey 2017

amazongiftPlease take a few moments to participate in the Library survey, and get the opportunity to win a £20 Amazon voucher in the survey prize draw!

The survey will give you the opportunity to tell us about your experience of using Library resources and facilities and give the Library team the chance to act on your feedback. With your input we can help to ensure that your use of the Library is successful and rewarding.

The survey will only take about 5 minutes to complete. Please click the link below to go to the survey website. Paper copies of the survey are also available at the enquiry desk. All responses are confidential.


The survey will be live until 3rd March, which hopefully should give everyone (Homerton and external students, staff, Fellows) a chance to complete it, whether you currently use the Library or not.

Should you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact the Library team at or speak to a member of staff.

We will post any feedback from comments given in the survey on this blog – watch this space!








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