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We’re Back! Reintroducing on campus Library Services


When we say we’re back, we were never really away.

As with the whole of campus, and shops and businesses across the country, we closed our Library building on 23 March but throughout the whole of lockdown our extensive digital library, including 228 databases, over 40,000 e-books and over 12,000 online journals, has been available.

More importantly, our amazing staff have been available on live chat, email and for one-to-one teaching and appointments 7 days a week to support your learning, teaching and research.

We will continue to work hard providing the high-quality Library Services you expect remotely, but we also have plans to reintroduce access to our physical stock, study spaces and computers, which we necessarily couldn’t access during lockdown, but we know you have missed.

Planning for reopening

For several months now we have been planning for a phased reopening of our building and reintroduction of physical services.

It has proved to be a complex operation involving many people contributing to preparing the building, assessing risks, configuring new systems and adapting our services and ways of working into a new covid-safe shape.

Working together with Library staff, staff from across the library and HE sectors and our colleagues from Estates, Security, IT&IS, Communications, Student Support, Student Engagement and people across Goldsmiths we are now delighted to be able to gradually reintroduce services and welcome you back to the building.

How the Library will look in the Autumn Term

When you visit us you will notice that there are lots of changes to how the library looks. Some of the things you will notice are spaced out study desks, sneeze screens and lots of signage explaining social distancing and seating arrangements.

The safety of our staff and library users has been central to all of our planning, so when you are visiting us on campus we expect you to follow college guidance including wearing a face covering and practicing social distancing. You can find out more about measures we have put in place to help keep everyone safe on our Library Guide.

How you can access the Library in the Autumn Term

With all our safety and social distancing measures in place using the library to borrow and return items, to study or to use a computer will look a little different in the Autumn Term.

For borrowing books, we have now introduced a Click and Collect service so that you can access collections that aren’t available digitally. You are also able to return books to us in the Library lobby, by post or with our security colleagues.

To use a computer or study at the Library we will be introducing Bookable Study Spaces in the week commencing 21 September and do get in touch if you have questions about accessing our Special Collections and Archives.  We need to ask people to book to use the library in advance rather than just turning up and walking in because of social distancing and also because we are required to comply with NHS Test and Trace.

You can find out more details about how you will be able to access the library on campus and what you can expect from the new services and arrangements by visiting our Library Guide.

Photograph of Marilyn Clarke

Some more changes

Alongside delivering our remote service, planning for reopening and doing lots of other work to support learning, teaching and research activities we have had some changes to our teams over the summer.

We have a new Director, a realigned library management team and we are also delighted to introduce the newly re-configured Library Academic Support Team (AST).

The AST encompasses skilled and experienced librarians, study skills professionals, the Royal Literary Fellows, and our administrator. The team are dedicated to working together to offer an impactful, blended model of academic support and skills provision to enhance the student experience and support you.

The team offer one-to-one tutorials, workshops and lots of specialist knowledge to help you get a head start on your learning. You can book one-to-one

tutorials with our Subject Librarians to help you make the most of library resources or with our Study Skills Tutors  to help you improve your study skills, research skills and academic writing.

You can also meet one of our Royal Literary Fellows who are professional, published authors whose role is to help you strengthen your writing. Bookings can be made by emailing:


Tues & Weds:

Thurs & Fri:

Keeping up to date and feeding back

As with everything in the ‘new normal’ we will be revising and adapting our access to the library and services as things change and progress. To keep up to date with any changes keep checking our Library Guide and we welcome feedback on our live chat and email.





Meet the new Director of Goldsmiths’ Library Services

Photograph of Marilyn Clarke


Goldsmiths’ Library has a new person at the helm. Last month Marilyn Clarke was appointed the new Director of Library Services. Since Marilyn first joined Goldsmiths four years ago, she has been part of the team working on decolonising and diversifying the university’s collections and professional practices. Below she talks about this and plans for the Library to offer services again to the Goldsmiths community.

“First of all, I am delighted to have been appointed the new Director of Library Services.  I joined Goldsmiths in 2016 as Head of Discovery Services, having formerly worked at both Imperial College, London and Senate House Library, where I cut my teeth as an on-the-job cataloguer.

“I had no intention of becoming a library worker, but I quickly realised that I loved academic libraries and being amongst a community of learners.

“Before actually joining Goldsmiths, my first experience of the institution was when I attended a drumming short course many years ago, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I recently attended a great comedy improvisation short course which was a lot of fun.

“Since joining Goldsmiths I have worked on the Liberate our Library initiative as part of the ‘liberate our degrees’ objective in the Learning, Teaching, Assessment Strategy 2017-2021. The aim of this is to decolonise and diversify our collections and professional practices in pursuit of greater representation of marginalised voices, through the practice of critical librarianship. This initiative also includes working alongside academic departments, supporting their own decolonisation efforts and working groups. The initiative is a major influencer in the library sector as well as being seen as an exemplar across Goldsmiths.



Liberate My Library Bookplate



“In January, the Library co-led with Birkbeck, University of London and the University of East London, the Decolonising the curriculum: the library’s role conference, which attracted over 100 professionals from across the UK. I also spoke about this work at 2019’s ‘Decolonising Goldsmiths – mission impossible’ Black History Month event, where Sofia Akel launched her ‘Insider-Outsider’ report.

“Recently I led the procurement and launch of a new library management system, Symphony, to bring the Library’s backend operations into the 21st century, enabling the Library team to engage more effectively with new technologies both internally and externally. As part of the Discovery Services team I helped deliver the new discovery tool, LibrarySearch, and the popular laptop loans scheme.

“Beyond the Library, I am a member of the HR Equalities Committee (HREC) and a co-Chair of the Goldsmiths Race Equality Group (GREG).  GREG has been actively engaging with the Warden’s Office, the Director of HR, and members of SMT to address the GARA commitments and the ongoing racial justice work, as well as establishing relationships with the Development and Alumni Office, Communications Department, and the newly appointed Dean of Students. I am also a member of the Anti-racism Training Working Group led by Dr Nicola Rollock, working toward mandatory anti-racism training for all staff to tackle institutional racism.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to the Library team for their hard work and dedication in supplying an excellent service to our user community. They are all a credit to Goldsmiths and continue to amaze me with their talents and creativity. Since lockdown they have successfully enhanced all our services, adapting to the new online learning and working environment, while simultaneously developing their skills to support learning and teaching.

“Over the next months, we will focus on supporting the delivery of ELearning as the new norm by: procuring more eBooks (availability and budgets allowing), sourcing more Open Educational Resources (OERs), scanning reading list materials (copyright allowing), providing academic skills support through workshops and 1:1s, and working side-by-side with departments. Everything we do will have parity of access in mind to take account of different learners’ needs.

“We are currently working towards a phased reopening of the Library, offering a limited set of services while ensuring a safe working environment and following all the current government guidelines. These initial services will be: returning books, scanning materials for reading lists, and setting up a click and collect service for print books. More news on this will be shared soon.

“Finally, as a Black senior leader in an HE and library sector, where there is very little representation of Black and People of Colour at this level, I would like to focus on changing this by exploring how the Library can work with local schools and the Careers Service to encourage young people to explore the range of career opportunities that libraries can offer.

“I am also a member of the CILIP (Chartered Institute for Librarians and Information Professionals) BAME Steering Group, established last year to support the advancement of BAME professionals in the workforce and the development of diverse library, knowledge and information services. The CILIP BAME Network is an important step in addressing the under-representation of Black and People of Colour within the national library and information workforce which identifies as 96.7% White.”


“Shakespeare in Lockdown” : a selection of e-resources

Macbeth and Banquo meet the three witches on a heath; scene from Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. Painting after J.H. Füssli (Fuseli).. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


The Library subscribes to a number of databases and websites which include Shakespeare resources, such as filmed performances of productions and other related material.


Goldsmiths E-resources



Artfilms is a video streaming service offering more than 5000 films from around the world for arts education and arts practitioners. Includes Shakespeare and other performances.


Box of Broadcasts

BoB is Learning on Screen’s on demand service for education, with TV and radio programmes from over 65 Freeview channels.


Digital Theatre Plus

A performing arts resource featuring over 400 British theatre productions onscreen. Includes BBC, Globe and RSC Shakespeare productions, plus Manga Shakespeare graphic novels.


Drama Online

1500 play scripts in the core collection, plus Globe on Screen performances.


Literature Online (LION)

Literature Online includes Shakespeare criticism and Cambridge Companions to Shakespeare.


Routledge Performance Archive

Routledge Performance Archive provides a range of streamed video and audio footage from performance practitioners past and present, paired with relevant critical commentary.


Shakespeare Audio Plays

Arkangel Shakespeare audio versions of 38 plays, part of Literature Online (LION).


Shakespeare Survey Online

A yearbook of Shakespeare studies and criticism going back to 1948.


Theatre in Video

Theatre in Video contains hundreds of documentaries and performances of plays, including 160 Shakespeare related videos.


A Selection of Websites


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (play texts) :


Globe Player :


National Theatre At Home :


Royal Shakespeare Company :


Shakespeare’s Globe :


Shakespeare Online :


All Goldsmiths databases require institutional login for access. For further information and resources please see the Library’s Audio-Visual and Theatre Subject Guides.


Mark Preston, Subject Librarian for Education, English & Theatre 

Open Access and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Image by Jack Adamson as part of the UN COVID-19 Response, available on Unsplash

Open access to research has been in the news from the beginning of the SARS CoV2 – COVID-19 pandemic and it continues to be a hot topic as the world’s academics and universities grapple with the worldwide emergency. Open access can be hard to define; the best short definition is: “free availability and unrestricted use” (courtesy of open access publisher PLoS and author and academic Peter Suber). Much of the world’s research literature is not freely available and is heavily restricted by copyright, behind the barrier of expensive subscription paywalls, making global research collaboration difficult. Fred Flagg, from the Library’s Online Research Collections team, looks at the open access developments unfolding throughout the year so far in response to the pandemic.


Open access pre-prints are getting tons of publicity, and rightly so as they enable researchers to share initial information rapidly. Pre-prints are early manuscripts of research outputs released to the public before peer review, and they are one of the founding elements of open access, with the Physics & Mathematics pre-print subject repository ArXiv freely available and widely used since 1991. The Biology subject repository BioRxiv was one of the first places to make available COVID-19 related preprints (starting January 2020). Since pre-prints and working papers (as they are called in the social sciences) are draft versions, it is risky to draw final conclusions from them (for more about pre-prints, see this short article by open access expert Danny Kingsley, and for a list of subject repositories see the Open Access Directory).

Pandemic open access

With most libraries closed (Goldsmiths Library resources available at this Goldsmiths LibGuide) many publishers have been quick to extend access to their journals and e-books which are under paywalls in ordinary times. This “pandemic open access” includes many offers of free access to research publications related to COVID-19. For one list see this Wellcome Trust announcement, and for an example of a subscription article now made freely available by its publisher, see Rhodes, Lancaster & Rosengarten 2020.  There are also publishers providing expanded access to e-books.  For one list of COVID-19 vendor e-book access, see this list by University Information Policy Officers.  Many of these publisher access offers are likely to be temporary, so it is debatable if they count as open access, although “pandemic open access” is still an improvement over paywalls.  Also temporarily, additional large scale open access to digitised books has been made possible by not-for-profit organisations The Hathi Trust and, not without controversy, The Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library (available worldwide, despite the name).

Goldsmiths Research Online open access during the COVID-19 pandemic

By contrast, anything that is available in Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO, is available permanently, and copyright and permissions for each item are confirmed by the Online Research Collections team in the Library (also known as the GRO team).  Academics at Goldsmiths have been writing and publishing widely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are adding these pandemic-related items to GRO with the keyword “COVID-19”, and a keyword search currently returns 24 items (including Rhodes, Lancaster & Rosengarten 2020 above, Will Davies in the London Review of Books, Angela McRobbie in the Verso Books blog, and several articles in Discover Society to name just a few).  This number will increase as more is published, and although it is not always possible to provide an open access version, GRO has made several of these available to all by obtaining permissions from authors and publishers.  Of the 24 items tagged with “COVID-19” in GRO, 12 of these have full text copies available now, and more will become available as publisher embargo periods expire in 12 to 24 months.

Getting Creative with Social Media

Elspeth Clarke, Reader Services Supervisor

Earlier this year, I was given the opportunity to take leadership of the Library Marketing Group. This was a great chance for me to not only become more involved in the general marketing that goes in the library, such as advertising events, promoting our services and creating flyers for Welcome Week, but it also meant I had the chance to come up with some fun and creative ways to engage with users via Social Media, in this case Twitter.

Since becoming the Chair of the Marketing group I have been involved in two campaigns that we have run. The first was based around World Book Day in March. As part of this, we decided that we wanted to tweet throughout the day about different books that had either inspired library staff or Goldsmiths students, or their favourite childhood books. This was done through staff contributing their books to a shared document, along with a short quote to why they love the book or the impact it had on them.

We also collected student’s favourite or influential books by posing the questions on the whiteboards near the entrance to the library, and waiting to see what they shared. Many of the books were part of our collection, so we took photos of the ones we had, and found images of the covers online for those we didn’t. These were then all compiled, and every book that was shared with us was then given it’s own tweet throughout the day. We also included the call number of the books if we had them in our collection, to make it easier for people to find them if inspiration struck and they wanted to read any of the books.

Another campaign that was incredibly fun to run was one we did for National Pet Month in April. This was slightly more challenging due to the lock-down, as it all had to be done via email and online calls. It also meant that we weren’t able to reach out to students in the usual ways about their pets. However, we did get a lot of photos back from staff that we gladly accepted and used to create our National Pet Month tweets. As we had a whole month, we did a tweet a day to highlight different pets and included a little story or personality trait with each tweet. This was a great way to share a bit of ourselves with other Goldsmiths staff and students as well as other University Library staff who follow our Twitter account. It was also a great way for us to get to know a bit more about some of our colleagues and get to look at cute photos of animals.

We were also able to use the photos we got in a creative and fun way on our temporary, dedicated COVID-19 Libguide by creating a section called Meet the New Co-workers! where you can scroll through a slideshow of staff pets (and a plant or two!) that are keeping library staff company while they work from home.


Library databases for Theatre productions

ytkoks CC BY 2.0

The Library subscribes to a number of audio-visual databases which include filmed performances of Theatre productions and other Theatre-related material. Please feel free to have a look at the following:


ArtFilms :

Artfilms-Digital is a video streaming service offering more than 5000 films from around the world for arts education and arts practitioners. Includes Shakespeare and other performances.


Box of Broadcasts :

BoB is Learning on Screen’s on demand service for education, with TV and radio programmes from over 65 Freeview channels.


Digital Theatre Plus :

An integrated online performing arts resource featuring recent British theatre productions onscreen, study guides and teaching materials. Includes over 400 filmed productions.


Drama Online :

1500 play scripts plus Globe on Screen performances. Temporarily extended until 31st May to include 3000 plays and all audio-visual content, including BBC, National Theatre and RSC productions.


Film Platform :

This collection is curated by film experts and academics to showcase meaningful documentaries of social, political and cultural importance by some of the world’s top international filmmakers.


Routledge Performance Archive :

Routledge Performance Archive provides exclusive access to a range of streamed video and audio footage from performance practitioners past and present, paired with relevant critical commentary.


Theatre in Video :

Theatre in Video: Volume I contains hundreds of videos, including documentaries and definitive performances of the world’s most important plays, and covers a wide range of 20th century theatre history.


All items require institutional login for access. For further information and resources please see the Library’s Audio-Visual and Theatre Subject Guides.

Written by Mark Preston, Subject Librarian for Education, English & Theatre


Creative Conversations: Black Women Artists Making & Doing Symposium

Creative Conversations: Black Women Artists Making & Doing Symposium, was held at the University of Central Lancashire, 16-17 January 2020. The Symposium was organised in celebration of the many achievements of Prof. Lubaina Himid, CBE, RA.

In January, a lifetime ago it seems, I visited the University of Central Lancashire to attend a symposium dedicated to Black women’s creativity organized by the university’s Institute of Black Atlantic Research. Titled Creative Conversations: Black women artists making doing, the event was inspired by Professor Lubaina Himid, not only as an acclaimed academic, but as an internationally recognized artist, mentor and activist archivist. The conference began with Professor Himid taking her place at the lectern with a stack of well-read books, and from there initiating a rich and varied conversation on creativity, influences, phases of activity, reflection and resistance. For me she launched the conference in a way that made the rest of the event feel like a once-in-lifetime conversation. The photographer Ingrid Pollard, instead of visual work, recreated her creative world through a playlist of spoken word and music, ranging from Kathryn Tickell’s Northumberland Voices to Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Gertrude Stein, Shakespeare, Ust Folk music and Nona Hendryx. Contributors to the first day’s proceedings were an intergenerational pantheon of black cultural practitioners and academics working in the UK including Marlene Smith, Christine Eyene, Jade Montserrat and Evan Ifekoya ending with an evening event featuring a conversation between Lubaina Himid and Jackie Kay, led by Zoe Whitley.

The second day featured presentations by academics and researchers including Zoe Whitley, Ella S. Mills, Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Alan Rice, Griselda Pollock, Catherine Grant and to end the day with an extraordinarily moving presentation that summed up the event’s resonance with the audience, Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski.

Before returning to London, we managed a quick visit to the Making Histories Visible archive based on a collection project instigated by Lubaina Himid who gave a tour. I was thrilled to see original artwork by Maud Sulter in the study space.

What is additionally inspiring is how the archive is linked to the printmaking workshop as part of the Centre for Contemporary Art at UCLAN providing the means to support practice inspired by the archive.

New books brought back for the Women’s Art Library (WAL) in Special Collections include three publications on the work of Lubaina Himid including the newly launched Inside the Invisible, an anthology Memorialising Slavery and Freedom in the Life and Works of Lubaina Himid. Also featured in this photo is the excellent zine ROOT-ed produced by Liverpool-based Amber Akaunu and Fauziya Johnson. I was fortunate to also pick up a copy of work by Jade Montserrat commissioned for Art on the Underground. As part of her practice of taking provocative intimate messages into public spaces, Montserrat explained that the leaflet contained an appeal related to her search for her father. The leaflets distributed throughout the London Underground.

Video recordings of presentations are now accessible online if you visit the Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) website at using Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.

Written by Althea Greenan, The Women’s Art Library, Curator

Library Services and Academic Skills Support During COVID-19

On Monday 23 March the Library building closed until further notice. However, the Library continues to be committed to supporting research, learning, and teaching at Goldsmiths. We are continuing to provide a service through:

  • Our digital collections
  • Extensive online support for library users via Libchat from the hours of 09:00 – 19:00 each day, and 13:00 – 18:00 at weekends.
  • Online access to subject librarians, special collections and academic skills professionals.

Further information on our service is available on our Web pages through the specially developed Library Services and Academic Skills Support During COVID-19 LibGuide

During this time, Library staff will continue to provide support to our students, staff and researchers. We will also continue to develop and manage our collections. Over the coming weeks Library staff will share their experiences of supporting users and developing collections in our Library Blog.

In March, the Online Research Collections teams and one of our Library Student Reps Marco Pace wrote a blog on Open Access at Goldsmiths. Due to the world turning upside down we had to postpone posting the blog but we are now belatedly making it available.

Library Reps: Introductory session to Open Access

Otto (2012) Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0

The Online Research Collections team in the Library was recently invited to deliver a training session to the Goldsmiths Student Library Reps.

Open Access at Goldsmiths

The concept of Open Access is central to everything that the Online Research Collections team do. Open Access is the process by which online research outputs are made free for anyone to view, read and download, without the need to log in or make a payment. Where possible, Open Access materials should be free of most copyright restrictions.

The team support and develop Open Access provision at Goldsmiths through our institutional repository Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) and our Open Access journal platform Goldsmiths Journals Online (GOJO). Currently, there over 21,00 Open Access items on GRO that can be accessed by anyone in the world with an internet connection and there have been nearly 3 million downloads from the repository since 2006.

Total number of items on GRO 21,053
Total number of Open Access items 7,487
Total number of downloads (all time) 2,998,225

 Open Access for students

In the past, our training and advocacy activities have largely focused on academic staff members and PhD students. Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students have largely been left out of our conversations around Open Access, so this was a great opportunity for us to engage with a new audience.

Our current training activities emphasise the benefits Open Access to researchers and the way that it can improve the global visibility, readership and impact of their work, both within academia and more widely. However, Open Access is also enormously beneficial to students as it offers easy access to research outputs, and they can benefit just as much as those further into their academic careers by knowing how to find, evaluate, and use Open Access resources.

Introducing Open Access to the Library Reps

Our session with the Library Reps started with an introduction to the concept of Open Access and then explored some of the key issues around copyright and licensing. We then demonstrated how to find Open Access resources on GRO and Library Search . We also introduced the Reps to some of the key Open Access resources available and useful browser tools to help them discover Open Access content online such as Unpaywall and Open Access Button .

The session was a really good way of raising awareness of Open Access with a new audience and the team is very enthusiastic about delivering future sessions to our students at Goldsmiths.

Marco Pace, Library Rep for Music, on Open Access

 Marco Pace, the postgraduate Library Rep for Music, attended the session and was invited to reflect on the relevance of Open Access to his studies and its impact on his role as a Library Rep.

As a Masters student, I believe that the session with the Open Access team was very useful in letting me understand an extensive range of resources that are available, whose existence I was not aware of. These databases would have helped me, for instance, preparing the piece of academic writing needed for my application to Goldsmiths: as a mature student who had been several years out of higher education, the only access I had to academic literature was through books I bought. Also, it is important to know that when I leave Goldsmiths I will still have considerable access to specialist research such as PhD theses and Goldsmiths researchers’ output.

Databases such as EThOS, the British Library electronic theses online service, provide me a wealth of resources which are extremely focused, all of which also include in their literature review up-to-date introductions to their topics. As an example, I remember last term struggling to find information contained in a thesis of which I could only access a preview of, while a quick search on this database immediately produced incredibly suited (and free to access) entries that I could have used for my PhD research proposal.

The team offered a thorough explanation of how GRO and Open Access systems in general assist the dissemination of the findings of researchers, and how the world of academic research publications work. As a student considering pursuing a career in academia these are valuable insights, which will also help me strengthen my PhD research proposal – I can more effectively state that my findings would be shared in an openly accessible form.

On this regard, as part of the Student Library Rep Project, I was asked yesterday to add a book to the library which is in fact a published version of a recent PhD thesis. It represents high quality research on a very narrow topic (while I must prioritise items that would be helpful for the most students), and the book in itself is quite expensive: I can now put that request on hold in case more relevant items are requested in the next month, and in the meantime explain to the student who requested it how to access it through Open Access systems.

I believe that Open Access systems and especially GRO should receive more attention from Masters students too, especially in the induction week at the beginning of the academic year when the resources of the library are presented. I would not exclude the idea of mentioning these resources somewhere in the “how to apply” page for postgraduate courses: consider returning students who have been out of academia for a while or students coming from conservatoires where they were never asked to write essays (both applied to me), awareness of these tools would highly simplify the preparation of academic writings, personal statements or research proposals.

-Marco Pace

Lewisham Lit Society: Library book display

The Library curates regular book displays marking themes and events taking place at Goldsmiths. This month the Library has a foyer book display of writers being studied by a new Student Union society, the Lewisham Lit Society, to highlight the literary history of Lewisham and its vibrant contemporary writing scene. Lewisham Lit Society is a student-led, community focused book group which looks at books written by authors with a connection to the borough or which are set in Lewisham. This year they will be reading Candice Carty Willliams’ ‘Queenie’ (Carty Williams grew up in Lewisham) and Jay Barnard’s poetry collection ‘Surge’, which takes inspiration from the New Cross fire of 1981.

Membership is open to all students at Goldsmiths but also to the local community, and anyone interested in the Society is welcome to contact them at @lewishamlit on Facebook or Instagram.


written by Mark Preston, Subject Librarian