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University of Bath Library

Library of the Week: 20th September: This week we highlight the amazing University of Bath Library in this brilliant post by the Library Engagement Team. Find out more about the library, the collections and the many services available. Thank you to the University of Bath Library for taking part!

The University of Bath’s Library sits right at the heart of campus – in fact, most of the other buildings on campus are named after their position in relation to the Library.

The University of Bath library at night

The Library is spread across five floors, with the top three floors each devoted to a separate Faculty Engineering & Design; Sciences; Humanities & Social Sciences, and the School of Management. These floors house our print collection (the Library holds over 332,000 print books and 200 print journal titles) as well as being where our specialist subject librarians are based. However, this is only a small part of our collection. Even before the pandemic we were focused on growing our provision of electronic resources, and that has only accelerated in the last two years. We now have over 532,000 electronic books and 27, 000 print journals, and are acquiring more all the time.

We have made efforts to highlight reading for pleasure, including thematic online reading lists (‘Library Lists’) to support staff and student skills, wellbeing and ED&I initiatives. Library staff take it in turns to organise displays to promote these collections, which are always extremely popular and in previous months have highlighted topics such as Sustainability, LGBT+ History Month and Managing Exam Stress.

Some of our previous book displays

As well as the subject staff who provide specialist support to our students, we also have many other services available in the Library, including our reader services, inter-library loans service, copy and print service, and a facility for students to request scanned copies of chapters. The latter was especially important during the pandemic, when students were unable to visit campus and we adjusted our ways of working in order to offer them the best support possible. Meanwhile, our Research Services team provide open research support to our postgraduate students and researchers, assisting them in the publication of their research outputs using our publications repository and research data archive. We provide extensive support to researchers on the management of their research data, making articles open access, attracting citations, and analysis of bibliometrics. We have also recently opened our new SafePod, allowing researchers access to restricted datasets held by externally data centres from within the Library. The Library’s SafePod is one of a network of standardised safe settings hosted at universities across the UK. The SafePod Network is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and run by the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research as part of the ADR UK programme.

The Library manages and maintains a range of unique and richly diverse material, including rare books, archival resources, historical records and specialist publications, in support of the University’s learning, teaching and research activities, and those of the wider academic community.

The collections comprise both material created within the University, documenting institutional history, and material, donated or deposited by external individuals and organisations, relating more broadly to the University’s origins, development and interests.

From our archives

Art, Research & Adventure is an installation in The Edge Arts centre at the University of Bath inspired by Gerard’s Herbal or Generall Historie of Plants by John Gerard, c 1597 from the Archive’s History of Medicines Collection.

It was designed by Practice & Process, a collaborative design studio who developed the project with some of the people who know the building best, digging deep into the University of Bath’s archives.

The design process began with Practice & Process visiting the archives and looking through a selection of books with the archivists. They wanted the installation to reference the rich architectural history of the university as well as the natural environment. With this in mind the archivists presented books that cover early botanical studies of native and non-native plant species as well as documents that recorded the imagining and planning of a new campus here in Bath.

Recently, Library staff have been present at university-wide events such as our university open days, where we offer prospective students information on Library services plus the chance to win a prize with a free tombola. We also take part in an annual Campus Pride event. Members of Library staff gathered some books from the library’s LGBT+ collection to display at the event, where we talked to students to promote our collections, distributed stickers and watched the drag performances.

Last year’s LGBT+ history month display on ‘Art and Queer Culture’

Last November we held an online author event with Paul Mendez, as part of our Black History Month celebrations, co-hosted with Bath and North East Somerset Council. We are now in the early stages of planning another event for this year’s celebrations. As we rapidly approach the end of summer, we are preparing to welcome even more students to campus for the start of the new academic year.

You can find even more facts and figures about us on our web pages. If you’d like to see more of what our Library has been up to, feel free to check out our social media, where our Library Engagement team post regular updates on our activities:

If you would like to visit us, more information can be found via the link below:

Library Services for Visitors (

University of Bath Library Engagement Team

All images copyright of University of Bath, reproduced with kind permission of the copyright holder.

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