Issue date: 18 May 2004

ISSUE DATE: 18/05/04

In a scheme launched today [Tuesday 18 May 2004] at the University of the West of England, specialist information and resources on a whole range of subjects is to be made available to the public thanks to a new initiative which opens up university and college libraries to people in the region.

Specialist and academic collections at libraries in the Bristol and Bath areas have always been available to the general public but the scheme has never been widely publicised before. Now, as part of the Government’s commitment to widening access to life-long learning the libraries are seeking to publicise this more widely. Through the ‘Access to Libraries for Learning’ initiative anyone studying for a qualification or for enjoyment can now tap into the knowledge and resources stored in college and university libraries in the area.

The scheme is available through the public libraries, and Judith Stewart of UWE’s Library Service explains how it works, “There are 60 public, 4 university and 5 college libraries in this area. The public libraries offer general collections where books can be borrowed. But libraries in the colleges and universities have more specialised material which can help with learning and research. People won’t usually be able to take these materials away to work at home but many libraries now have on-line catalogues and web pages so people can check what is available before they visit and when they can use the library. Staff in the public libraries will also be able to advise users about the specialisms of different libraries. For example someone interested in history, technology or languages would be able to consult a much wider range of materials than those available in public libraries.”

University, Further Education, and Public Libraries have worked together to produce a leaflet which gives contact details for all the libraries, how to gain access to their resources and how the scheme works. In some cases the individual will need to contact the libraries in advance of the visit to get permission and materials will have to be viewed in the library concerned. Other restrictions may apply and full details of how to use the scheme are in the leaflet.

Copies of the leaflet will be available in all Public Libraries in South Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and North Somerset. Also in FE College Learning Resource Centres at Filton, City of Bristol, City of Bath, Weston and Norton Radstock. Participating Universities are Bath, Bath Spa, Bristol and University of the West of England.

The leaflets and posters were produced with financial assistance from the South West Museums Libraries and Archives Council.

Martin Thomas, Head of Development for Access and Learning at South West Museums Libraries and Archives Council (SWMLAC) will launch the programme in a special event at UWE today. Martin Burton, Head of Library and Information in South Gloucestershire, who helped to set up the scheme, will also attend the launch.


Editor’s notes

The launch for this new initiative will be at 11.30 am on Tuesday 18 may 2004 in 2D11 at Frenchay Campus.

Today’s event will also be attended by Heads of Public Library Services, and executive members of the local authorities, representatives of the Colleges and Universities, John Loosley representing Doug Naysmith MP, UWE Vice-Chancellor, Alfred Morris, and Deputy Vice Chancellor Rob Cuthbert.

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