And the Winner Is!

At this time of year many publications run competitions to find the book with the strangest title . I decided to see if  there were any books with unusual titles in the ‘Education in Literature Collection’.

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman was quite unusual but the oddest title I came across was Stripping Penguins Bare by Michael Carson.

Martin Benson is a student at Aberystwyth University in the 1960’s and he is struggling with his sexual orientation. A struggle which is compounded by the fact that homosexuality is illegal and his Roman Catholic upbringing.

The majority of novels can be borrowed for 3 weeks. DVDs ,which are usually on a 1 week loan, may be borrowed before the 23rd December and returned on the 6th January 2015.


Posted in Library and Archives | Leave a comment

Wintery Chills in the Curriculum Resources Collection

Frosty trees landscapeIn spite of all its concrete and glass the UCL IOE Library is a remarkably cosy place to be at this time of year, but when it came to sourcing materials on the chilly subject of Winter and Cold Weather for our current display of Curriculum Resources, the choice was overwhelming.

If stories are your preference we have wonderful fiction and picture books. For older readers there’s Marcus Sedgwick’s snow-filled vampire tale My Swordhand is Singing and steeped in East European folktales, the gripping novel about the Russian Revolution, Blood Red, Snow White. In fact the ingenious plot of Sedgwick’s Revolver, set in 1910 north of the Arctic Circle, hinges on a particularly expert knowledge of the properties of cold and snow. Then again, you might want to remind yourself of those chilliest of children’s classics, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s tale of an American pioneer family in The Long Winter or Joan Aitken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. And don’t overlook the great folktales from our large selection, including at least four versions of The Snow Queen.

Snow scenes seem to provide endless inspiration for picture book writers and illustrators, and we have some terrific examples, see for example Jackie Morris’ stunning watercolours in The Ice Bear. If cuddly penguins are already the theme of Christmas 2014 for you, check out Mick Inkpen’s Penguin Small or the poignant story of friendship by Oliver Jeffers, Lost and Found. There are even books of exclusively wintery poetry.

But the frosty theme isn’t confined to fiction. The Curriculum Resources collection provides many different avenues for exploring the idea of Cold. There is material on polar explorers like Matthew Henson (Dewey no 910.9) and books on seasonal crafts (see 745.5). There’s By Truck to the North (919.8, guaranteed hit for fans of TV’s ‘Ice Road Truckers’) and books on seasonal changes in weather (551.6), cold habitats (591.99) and the science of winter (525).

So wha1412 Winter shelvestever approach you want to take, there will be something in the Curriculum Resources collection to support your teaching, and many of the items mentioned here are currently on display (and available for loan) on the display shelves on Level 4 near the foot of the stairs. Curriculum Resources books can be borrowed for 8 weeks and renewed 10 times if no one has requested them.


Posted in Curriculum Resources | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An African Christmas

As a child I lived in Africa but the images that surrounded me at Christmas were of a traditional British Christmas. All our relatives lived in England and they sent us cards which featured robins, holly, stage coaches, carol singers, ice skating, open fires, and lots and lots of snow. We did have an open fire during winter but that was in June and July. Poinsettias were familiar because they grew in our garden.

With my experiences in mind I was interested to see two books in the Curriculum Resources Collection which show how traditional Christmas rhymes can be adapted to reflect the reality of an African Christmas.

The Night before Christmas in Africa’ by Jesse, Hannah and Carroll Foster, illustrated by Jean Christodoulou is a retelling of ‘The Night before Christmas’ by Clement Moore. In this version of the poem the Father Christmas figure arrives in an ox-cart drawn by six kudu and a rhinoceros. Amongst the gifts he gives out is the longed for rain.

In ‘A Stork in a Baobab Tree’ (An African Twelve Days of Christmas)’ by Catherine House with illustrations by Polly Alakija the gifts include huts, baskets, khangas, carvings, goats and storytellers. The gifts are from different African countries which include Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mali and Ghana. There is also a brief explanation about each gift and its significance in African life.

Posted in Library and Archives | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

UCL IOE Library user experience- Taylor & Francis ebook access

If you are a registered staff or student member of UCL Institute of Education Library and use ebooks but haven’t tried our new offering from Taylor and Francis online, why not give them a go?

UCL Institute of Education Library will be closing for the Christmas vacation (23rd December at 4.30pm until 5th January 8.30am), so ebooks (and eresources generally) will be a good way to ensure that you still have access to all the materials you might need!
And remember, we’re always keen to receive user feedback so that we can continue to improve our resources and services, so do have a look and let us know what you think.

Posted in Library and Archives | Leave a comment

From the Archive: IOE Colonial Department

Whilst cataloguing the papers of L. J. Lewis, head of the IOE’s Colonial Department from 1958 to 1973, I came across this interesting document.


L. J. Lewis (detail from group photograph, ref: IE/PHO/2/24-64)

This report proposes changes to the Ugandan education system for the broader social benefit of women. It is authored by an English colleague of Lewis’, Miss M. J. Buckerfield, who was working as a teacher in Kampala, Uganda at the time. She suggests improvements to the ways women teachers are trained and also calls for better facilities for primary and secondary schools to encourage improved female attendance.


Archive_2014-12-02_1510_1 Archive_2014-12-02_1511_1 Archive_2014-12-02_1512_1

To make her case, she uses statistics, observation and practical experience, and also illustrates her findings with a case study of Gayaza High School.



This report was sent to Lewis at the IOE, seeking his assistance. His reply was enthusiastic and he agrees to try and gain political and financial support for the project. In general he was keen to encourage improvements to female education, and this was shown in the significantly increased attendance of female students within his department during his tenure (1).


A few years later, Miss Buckerfield, resumes correspondence with Lewis, seeking a reference as she is planning to leave Uganda, afraid that if she stayed much longer she would pass ‘the point of no return’ in terms of employability as a teacher in England.

This is just a snapshot of the daily workings of the Colonial Department in this period, but offers a starting point from which to understand how the department operated, to begin to question the motives and attitudes connected to educational reform in Africa, and provides a perspective on the conditions in education and teacher training in Africa.

These materials are currently being catalogued (ref: IE/COL/37/16), but can be viewed by contacting the archives team at


1. Aldrich, Richard. The Institute of Education, 1902-2002: A Centenary History (The Institute of Education, London: 2002), pp. 154-155.



Posted in Library and Archives | Leave a comment

Wow- 850 NEW ebook titles from Taylor and Francis now available!

At the lOE library, we have recently added 850 ebook titles to our collection from Taylor and Francis. Students regularly report that using ebooks from T&F is refreshingly easy so it’s great to have so many more titles to choose from!

taylor&francisTo check which publications we now have access to, search the Library catalogue using ‘tandfebooks’ .

Alternatively, try out the same search in our new ‘IOE Library search‘. You’ll get the same results of course but it’s just another way to familiarize yourselves with our new one stop shop for searching!


Posted in Library and Archives | Leave a comment

New Books for All

Here is a small selection of books which I have recently added to the Education in Literature Collection.  These titles reflect the rich variety within this collection and can be borrowed for 3 weeks. Why not have a look and find your perfect Christmas holiday read?

Black girl / white girl : a novel-Joyce Carol Oats

Minette Swift is a 19-year –old black girl who attends a liberal arts college on a scholarship. Fifteen years later her former roommate, Gina, begins an unofficial enquiry into her mysterious death.

 Flowers for Algernon- Daniel Keyes.

A classic SF novel. Charlie Gordon has an IQ of 68 until he volunteers for an operation to enhance his intelligence. It is a success but Charlie finds being a genius is as isolating as having a very low IQ. However Algernon, the mouse who first had the operation, fades and dies. What does Charlie’s future hold?

Almost English- Charlotte Mendelson

Laura is half- Hungarian and does not feel at home in her family’s London flat. She longs to attend the traditional English public school Coombe Lodge. Her family manage to find the money to send her but Laura is horrified to find that she does not fit in there either.

Caleb’s Crossing- Geraldine Brooks

Set in Martha’s Vineyard in the 1650’s, this beautifully written book is inspired by the true story of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk who was the first Native American to attend Harvard University.

Frankie and Stankie- Barbara Trapido

In 1950’s South Africa the racist attitudes of some teachers and fellow pupils puzzle Dinah and Lisa who are from a liberal family.

Black Chalk- Christopher Yates

It was only ever meant to be a game played by six friends in their first year at Oxford University. Somehow it changed from a bit of fun in to something more sinister. Now, fourteen years later, they must meet to play the final round.

Olivia- Dorothy Bussy (nee Strachey)

In the late 19th Century English teenager is sent to a French boarding school. She develops a disastrous crush on one of the two headmistresses.

The Art of Fielding- Chad Harbach

A big, warm hearted Campus novel about Henry Skrimshander who is a new, shy student with a remarkable talent for baseball.

She’s My Dad Iolanthe Woulff

Nickie Farell is a transsexual woman hired to be an assistant professor of English by the uber-liberal Windfield College. Once she attended the college as Nicholas Farrell.


Posted in Library and Archives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment