Introducing the Research Support & Special Collections Librarian

This is my first blog post on Newsam News as Research Support and Special Collections Librarian since joining the IOE’s Newsam Library in August this year. Let me begin by introducing myself . . . .

I was born in Uganda, moved to England when I was 10; I found England wasn’t cold enough and moved on to Canada. I studied at the University of British Columbia. My undergraduate degree was Music with the guitar my specialist instrument – sadly, I now have to describe myself as a closet guitarist. I also did a Masters in Music, this time focusing on music criticism.  London, Ontario where I did a Masters in Library & Information Sciences next, proved too cold and I ended up back in London, England.

I have two rather feline daughters and two very canine sheepdogs. I live on the borders of London and Hertfordshire so am lucky enough to enjoy both the cultural life of the capital and the beautiful English countryside, which is just a stone’s throw away from where I live.

Although I am a child of three continents, most of my professional life has been in the UK where I have worked at the Royal Academy of Music and the BBC Music Library before moving into the Higher Education sector. Most recently I worked at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge holding the post of College Librarian.  Prior to this, I worked at Middlesex University, first as subject librarian for Film on a campus which had mutated from the old (and radical) Hornsey College of Art – and then as academic liaison librarian to both the School of Engineering & Information Sciences and the Institute for Work-Based Learning. In these various roles I developed expertise in the application of new technologies in library and information management. I also discovered my passion for the ‘teacher-librarian’ role, and was given a Teaching Fellowship, after collaborating closely with academic staff in locating information resources and their effective use at the centre of learning. My views on the future role of the librarian were the subject of an extensive interview in the Times Higher Education Supplement with columnist, Professor Tara Brabazon.

I have undertaken consultancy work on various EU-TEMPUS projects which aim to modernise higher education in developing countries and have recently worked with librarians in Syria, Uzbekistan and Georgia.

My ambition as Research Support & Special Collections Librarian, a newly created posted in the Newsam Library, is simple: to provide excellent research support to students registered on the Doctoral programme, and in doing so, to help develop their information and digital literacy skills which are necessary both for academic study and for use in the work place.  I will also aim to provide library expertise in terms of literature searching and bid writing to the researchers at the Institute.

Closely connected to this, are my plans to make more visible and accessible the Special Collections which distinguish the Institute’s Library.  Over the years, I have seen how special collections (and archives) can really excite students, energise the curriculum and enrich the research and learning experience.  I hope I can bring to the forefront the many Special Collections held in the Newsam Library by working collaboratively with both the Library and Archives and research staff, and by using emerging technologies to promote these collections so that they become more visible and accessible to scholars, internally and externally.

As you can see, there is much to do.  But I would like to begin by meeting as many students and staff over the next few weeks as possible.  Please do pop into my office (L406 which is in the Library, just opposite the School Histories collection) and introduce yourself.  Alternatively, you can perhaps come and meet me on Friday 23rdSeptember between 13:00-14:00 and/or Wednesday 28th September between 17:15-18:15 in L406 in the Library.  These are the first of many drop-ins I have organised to meet you and discuss your research support needs.  I look forward to working with you.

Nazlin Bhimani


About Nazlin Bhimani

Research Support and Special Collections Librarian, UCL Institute of Education, London
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