Ben Li

The Brotherton is a good ‘traditional ideal’ of a library in its appearance and I use it a lot because that’s where the English books are kept. When I visited on an open day, I remember that I was impressed by the décor of it and the sheer amount of books and the resources that they had. 

During my first week, we were given a tour of the Special Collections which was very helpful – you’re encouraged to use the Collections and not to be afraid to access it. The tour was an introduction to the Collections and to show us how to find and get out resources; we looked at obituaries of people from the 19th Century, looking at how they died. We were asked to interpret what we had seen and how we thought they were relevant to the period they were written in and the effect they might have had on a different culture.

I use online journals quite a lot and I’ve benefited from the fact we have access, not just to UK journals, but ones from around the world. The English department have got a lot of partnerships with other universities so we also have access to their journals and the department has a good catalogue of resources available that complement the physical resources in the library. It’s useful to have books, journals and the computer access all in one place in the library so if something slips your mind, or you need more resources, you can go and search the catalogue there and then. 

Getting hold of books has never been an issue; there are often online versions of the books I need which is really helpful and another worry taken away – it isn’t an issue if the hard copy is out. The library also has multiple copies of the staple books they recommend for the course so there are plenty of versions to go around. 

Things were done slightly differently here than the way I’d been taught during my undergraduate degree at another university, and I’d had a gap between by studies as I’d worked for a year, so I’ve done the online tutorials through skills@leeds to help me get back into the way of writing and researching. I learnt the rules for withdrawing books, and referencing. It was helpful in making sure everything was correct and eased my concerns. 

When I’m doing my research and reading I come into the library, then I’m not distracted. I find the environment pleasant to work in especially on the upper levels; it’s quiet and it’s an atmosphere that I can knuckle down and get on with my work without disruptions. But it’s also good to have people around you studying. It’s a comfort.