Woman ! A creature… who would probably be imagined as some strange kind of beetle

Browsing the Woman Teacher (the Journal of The National Union of Women Teachers), I chuckled my way though the article below, reviewing a lecture given by Rose Macaulay, who I can only assume was this Rose Macaulay, given the Chair’s endorsement. I have abridged it for the sake of brevity, the full version can be found here.

While many advances for equal rights have been achieved in the eighty years since the article was written, readers might recognise all too well the approach taken by some some media channels to Woman

“Miss Macaulay said that women were becoming a great and increasing nuisance. Someone made a pronouncement on something connected with women and immediately she was rung up to know her opinion about it ; should women study art, should modern women marry, should women smoke, should women cut their hair, should women’s clothes be short, &c.


The historians of the future, keenly interested in the history of the present time, in their research would come to the conclusion that a strange and new being was evolved at this period. Woman ! A creature continually mentioned in the writings of the time, who would probably be imagined as some strange kind of beetle.


Women seem to be regarded as a separate species and as a topic are a hardy annual, monthly, weekly, or daily. Their physical and psychological state is continually discussed. It is not so with men. Woman holds the field as a topic. ” Women have no sense of honour ” ; ” Can women think ? ” ” The surplus woman.” Possibly there are too many men also, but WOMAN is so interesting that it is also interesting that there are too many of them.


Numerous books had been written on Woman <…>. One recently published, she had read, a thing which seldom occurred. It was Pandora’s Hope ‘ by Austin Harrison, and purported to be a study of Woman. <…> Opening at random, we read, ” Woman has no sense of humour ” ; ” woman has no imagination ” ; ” woman is near the earth, man seeks the stars ” ; ” boys are taught that it is wrong to lie, girls are not ” (the author’s must have been a strange family). ” Man thinks out a thing, woman jumps at it.” ” From infancy woman is taught to think sexually.”

The historian will certainly conclude that woman is low in the scale although she attracts a lot of attention. The fallacy of this generalisation lies in thinking that all women are like each other and form one conglomeration—Woman.

When women were granted the franchise a noble lord, in the place where he belonged, said he could not bear to think of two million all voting the wrong way. And at election times startling headlines appear ” The Women’s Vote ” ; ” What will the women do ? “, the implication being that women are more likely all to act in the same way than men are—that women have many minds but a single thought–forming a kind of mental coalition.


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Using Graphic Novels to inspire reluctant readers

From Reluctant Reader to Comic Genius

On display in the Curriculum Resources section of the library we have a selection of work by pupils from St Peter’s Primary School, W9. The work is the result of a project run by NQT Maureen Pepper with a group of reluctant readers who met twice a week at lunchtimes and were introduced to graphic novels and supported to create their own work.

West End Comix, as the cartoonists chose to be known, produced an inspiring array of publications, and sold copies of them to raise money for the school (£180 to date). The artwork was used to produce badges too, and Maureen explains ‘this was very effective as the entire school was wearing them and children who previously were proud to state “I don’t read books” were now saying “Hey, I wrote that comic”’.

Of the project overall Maureen says ‘The structure of graphic novels and comics allows the child to create a story one step at a time with a clear visual focus. This seems to help some children unlock their creativity.’

And we are very privileged to be able to enjoy that creativity in the library. The graphic novels used by Maureen to launch the project are listed in the display, and examples of them, along with other graphic novels from the Curriculum Resources collection, are available to borrow.

Come and have a look. The display is at the far end of Level 4 and runs until the end of February.

Comix 1       Comix 2

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Social Justice: Information Literacy Training at UCL’s Institute of Education

This blog post was adapted by the Chartered Institute of Information Professionals (CILIP) and published on 11th February 2015 as ‘Why teach information literacy in an academic library?’

IOE Back

Image source: “Institute of Education” by Philip James, used under CC BY 2.0

Founded in 1902 as a teacher training college in London, today’s UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a world-class research and teaching institute whose mission is rooted in commitment to social justice.

As the world’s premier school of education, with academics and alumni active across every continent, the Institute’s reach is truly global.

The IOE provides training and consultation to governments, international and national agencies, charities and the private sector and has over 7000 students from 111 different countries. It also trains 1500 new teachers every year.

The Alexandria Proclamation and Social Justice

Staff at the Newsam Library and Archives see information literacy as an extension of this commitment to social justice. The Alexandria Proclamation (UNESCO-IFLA, 2005) states:

Information literacy lies at the core of lifelong learning. It empowers people in all walks of life to see, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion of all nations.

Information literacy therefore not only comprises “the competences to recognize information needs and to locate, evaluate, apply and create information within cultural and social contexts,” but it also includes within it elements of democracy and social justice. Our aim is to ensure that information literacy training is delivered to as many students as possible in ways that make an impact both in terms of the positive outcomes in their studies and in terms of their understanding the complexity of the information world today. Continue reading

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A Representation of War and Peace in the Special Collections

The presentation below is on the theme of War and Peace and highlights some of the UCL Institute of Education’s Special Collections. These include:

There are, however, many more Special Collections in the Newsam Library. In total we have twenty-seven collections  and these vary in size and coverage. Some of the collections are associated with the Institute, such as The Historical Comparative Education Collection. This collection was originally two separate departmental libraries at the Institute: the Comparative Education Department Library and the Department of Education in Tropical Areas Library.  The two libraries were amalgamated in 1969 and the collection consists of books and pamphlets from all over the world, mainly from the period 1900-1980. The emphasis is on educational theory and practice, but there is also supporting literature on social and economic conditions, history, etc.

Other Special Collections represent individual educationalists: The Hayward Collection, for example,  contains books from the library of an H. M. Inspector, F. H. Hayward  (1905-1937), who was passionate about moral education and character formation.  Then there is The Grenfell Collection which was amassed by Capt. Francis H. Grenfell who was the first assistant superintendent of the Navy’s Gymnastic Department in the 1900s.  He later became an H. M. Inspector of Physical Training for the Board of Education’s new medical department and worked hard to ensure physical education had a place in the curriculum and was supported by trained teachers.  There are also some curated collections such as The History of Education Collection which have been built up from a variety of sources and includes teacher’s handbooks, including those edited by the popular author and trained teacher, Enid Blyton.

This is just a glimpse into some of the Special Collections and more information about the different collections can be found at http://libguides.ioe.ac.uk/specialcollections

If you are interested in any of these collections, please email Newsam Library Enquiries at lib.enquiries@ioe.ac.uk


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Ladybird reading schemes

Whilst looking through some recent book donations, I found some old press cuttings from Teachers World magazine. The advert on the back of one press cuttings- for a reading scheme- was a real snapshot of children’s publishing in the 1960’s; it reads

The attractive and colourful LADYBIRD KEY WORDS READING SCHEME (sic) has proved an outstanding success in the teaching of reading, writing and spelling.’

LadybirdI thought the advert was a real insight into children’s lives in the 60’s; reading schemes were very gender specific and many publications for children relied heavily on the strictly demarcated gender roles. Recently, Ladybird announced that they would no longer be selling books ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’ so do have a look at our Ladybird holdings (type ‘Ladybird books’ into the library catalogue) for a real blast from the past!

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A glimpse into The Historical Textbooks Collection

Dilworth1Dilworth2One of the largest of the Special Collections at the UCL Institute of Education’s Newsam Library is the Historical Textbooks Collection. It has approximately 88,000 textbooks and classroom teaching resources dating from the 1890s onwards, when state-funded education was introduced in England. This collection also represents all educational levels, from nursery to sixth form and covers all aspects of the curriculum.

The above image is an example of an 18th century textbook.  The Reverend Thomas Dilworth’s A New Guide to the English Tongue (1740) was considered to be one of the most popular and widely-used primers and by 1773, it had reached its 26th edition (the  IOE has the first edition).  It even made its way to America and is said to be one of the few books used by Abraham Lincoln.  According to E.J. Monaghan (2007),* the book was so well-known that it is even mentioned in Dickens’ Sketches by Boz.  The book was part of the collection of early printed books which initially belonged to the Board of Education (later the Department of Education) and then to the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA).  When the ILEA closed in 1990, the collection was donated to the Institute of Education.

These textbooks are important for a number of reasons.  As Norman Graves states, “the textbook is a cultural artefact which has embedded in it through its use in classrooms a range of issues to do with ideology, politics and values which in themselves function at a variety of different levels of power, status and influence.”** The textbook can tell us about the state of the discipline and the pedagogies employed, it provides a view of the attitudes of the society of the time, it reflects the technologies that existed when the book was produced and it can tell us about the economics of the educational textbook market.

Recent textbook researchers have used the collection to look at the representation of various subjects.  For example, one researcher from the US used the biology textbooks to see how they presented evolution – some books convey the topic in a Darwinian manner and others are outright anti-Darwinian and use langue more compatible with the teleological, religious view.  Another researcher looked at the school atlases in The Geography Textbooks Collection to see whether the portrayal of the ex-Soviet countries had changed after the Cold War (he has written about his research here) and another looked at the representation of Africa post WWII.

Further information on this collection and all the other Special Collections can be found at http://libguides.ioe.ac.uk/specialcollections



* Monaghan, E. J. (2007). Learning to Read and Write in Colonial America. Univ of Massachusetts Press.

** Graves, N. J. (2001). School textbook research: the case of geography 1800-2000. London: Institute of Education.


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Changes to accessing information –whether it be your bank or a library database—can be downright annoying, especially when you’ve just acclimatised yourself to the old access route.

Post-merger with UCL, we are in a phase of changes. While a great deal of work has occurred behind the scenes pre-merger with UCL (UCL ejournals are now all on IOE Library Search), there is a great deal of meticulous work to be done before all IOE and UCL resources can be fully merged.

Presently, there continues to be a lot of activity behind the scenes to enable users more streamlined access to a huge range of resources. During this time, we advise users who want to find education sources to search the IOE catalogue and IOE Library Search. If you want more information outside the subject of education– including UCL print and ebooks– use UCL Explore.

A key change you may find when accessing eresources is you may be asked for a UCL login. The majority of IOE eresources can be accessed with your IOE username and password, but gradually this will change so this an ideal time to start using your UCL username and password for accessing eresources. Yes, it can be a pain to have two logins, but it won’t last forever.

As we receive information about changes, we will pass it on to users on our UCL Library Updates LibGuide at http://libguides.ioe.ac.uk/uclioeupdates.


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