A celebration of Maya Angelou

In honour of Black History Month, I have written a blog about my favourite female author – Maya Angelou!

Image of Maya Angelou looking happy!

I have loved Maya Angelou ever since I was a little girl. I think her kind face brings me comfort and reminds me of my gran. Her writing gave me hope and inspired me to push through adversity and never give up; when giving up felt like the only option.

Maya’s life

Maya was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. After her mum’s marriage ended, when Maya was four, her and her brother were sent on the train to rural Arkansas to live with the grandmother. After a traumatic event at age eight, she stopped speaking for five years. However, Maya rediscovered her voice through wonderful books, and went on to become one of the world’s most beloved writers and speakers.

Maya has written seven autobiographies, I highly recommend reading a few to gain more insight into her incredible life. Starting with I know why the cage bird sings; available at Ormskirk Public Library.

Why I love Maya

Maya was courageous and awe-inspiring. She was her authentic self, unapologetically. She pushed through the prejudice society has set for women at that time. She sang, she danced, she stood up for what she believed; she was a civil rights activist, an incredible writer, speaker and poet! It was rare to see a woman combine all those things and do it with sass, beauty, passion and kindness.

The thing that sticks out to me throughout Maya’s work is that she is honest and real about the challenges and hardships she faced. Life is tough for everyone and she did not shy away from sharing her adversity, but also sharing how she pushed through and got to the other side.

My favorite quote

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.”

My favorite books

Letter to my daughter
A beautiful book highlighting some of the lessons Maya has learned from her life. Each chapter breaks down a specific topic, Maya describes a time in her life where she has experienced something and shares the lessons she learned. 

Me, Mom and Me
Maya shares memories of her relationship with her mother. The challenges and changes of their time together as she aged, and how her life changed.   

My favorite poem

Phenomenal women
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

If you have enjoyed this excerpt, you can read the full poem here

Her work in present day

Her work is used in many different ways throughout the world. One that sticks out for me is Sport England This Girl Can campaign.

Their promotional video uses Maya’s Phenomenal Women poem to highlight how women can be empowered by sport and physical activity. I remember when I first seen it the video, I didn’t expect to hear Maya’s voice or her poem. My full body covered in goose bumps!

The video was released a year after Maya died – what a lovely way to keep her memory and her incredible work alive!


If you want to listen to more of Maya’s beautiful voice check out these podcasts:
Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations – Best Advice She Ever Recieved
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – When You Know Better, You Do Better

Books avaialble from the EHU University Library

I shall not be moved
I Shall Not Be Moved
Gather together in my name
Gather Together In My Name
Maya Angelou. Little People, Big Dreams
Maya Angelou: Little People, Big Dreams

If you have enjoyed reading my blog, don’t forget to check out the Black History Month fiction book display on the ground floor of Catalyst available until the end of October 2019. After this the books will still be available to loan and you can access this handy guide anytime or online book list to find out more.

Thank you for reading my blog – Student Advisors Jen 📚

Student Advisor Jen
Jen Murray
MSc Sport, Physical Activity & Mental Health

Open Access Week this week!

This week we’re hosting a series of free events to celebrate Open Access Week 2019, open to everyone. Here’s what’s on offer:

Join Monday’s webinar here and sign up for a place on Wednesday’s ‘Board Games and Pizza’ here.

On Tuesday morning, we have ‘Open Access and My Research’ – a research cafe delivered in the informal style of a TED Talk. Three brilliant researchers share thoughts, tips and insights around open access and what it means to their research. Come join us at 9:30am in H2, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine, Ormskirk campus.

Professor Helen Newall, Professor Bernie Carter and Dr Linda Kaye will be speaking at our special Research Cafe

Have you met your Student Advisors?

It has been another busy start to the academic year with lots of welcome and induction activities taking place across campus. If you joined us in Catalyst 16th – 27th September you may have even taken part in one of our Student Led Catalyst Tours, delivered by our team of Student Advisors. Don’t worry if you missed a physical tour you can always watch our virtual guided tour, hosted by our (now graduated 🎓) Student Advisor Jade, online anytime.

Who are the Student Advisors?

Well, I am glad you asked! This year Library and Learning Services have employed nine Student Advisors to provide peer to peer help, support and guidance to their fellow students – that’s YOU!

The team are all current 2nd year, 3rd year or Masters students and between them bring a great variety of subject knowledge from their individual disciplines together with a wealth of experience from studying at Edge Hill, using all of this to support you on your own University journey.

What can Student Advisors help me with?

The Student Advisors can help you get the most out of your Library, including locating and using physical and virtual resources for your studies. They can also help you to develop a range of introductory academic skills and introduce you to more specialised support where necessary. 

  • Searching the Library Catalogue for books and eBooks
  • Using Discover More to find online journal articles and other online resources
  • Navigating Learning Edge/Blackboard and your subject specific ‘My Library’ Tab
  • Harvard referencing
  • Finding and accessing UniSkills academic support material

How can I access the Student Advisors?

The Student Advisors work term-time weekdays 11am-4pm and you can book a 15 minute appointment with them to discuss any of the topics mentioned above.

The Student Advisors have just completed two weeks delivery of introductory UniSkills workshops (Getting Started… and Finding Your Resources 30th September – 11th October) but they will be returning throughout the year to offer more workshops on a range of topics, so be sure to keep a look out for your UniSkills timetable or online ehu.ac.uk/workshops

The Student Advisors will also be creating blogs, vlogs and social media content throughout the year on a range of academic skills topics and personal interests so be sure to keep up-to-date by following Learning Services on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on our blog.

Meet the team…

Anna Krawiecka
3rd Year – BSc Marketing with Digital Communications

Favourite place to study: Is on the first floor of Catalyst next to the spiral staircase as I enjoy looking out across campus. I prefer to study on campus as I can focus more, and I can easily access any useful resources or help if needed.

Best study tip: Create a study timetable! This allows you to clearly see the spare time you have around your academic timetable. I find this useful as I can then designate set days where I will complete work for every module. This ensures that I have enough time to work on assignments, meaning I don’t feel pressured by upcoming deadlines.

Favourite thing to do away from study: To de-stress I like to go to the gym or take part in a fitness class and my favourite way to chill out from my studies to is book a quiet weekend away somewhere!

Arifa Ugradar
3rd Year – BSc Business & Management with Marketing

Favourite place to study: The Catalyst is my favourite place to study by far. It has everything I need when I am self studying, working on assignments or a group project. I like to study on the third floor in the individual pods or sometimes when I come in the evening I like to work on the ground floor where there are large tables to work on near the window.

Best study tip: As soon as I am given the assignment brief for my module, I like to begin to format the document layout with suggestive subheadings provided by the module leader (or myself after reading the brief). I then cut and paste any additional notes relevant to the assignment to help me through the work. I continue this tip as a third year student – it is really helpful and saves me from flicking through one tab to another!

Favourite thing to do away from study: I enjoy colouring to de-stress, hanging out with my best buddy and going out during the daytime.

Charlotte Crook
2nd Year – BA History with Politics
Student Advisor Charlotte
Favourite place to study: has to be in the little pods on the ground floor of the Catalyst. I can’t study in silence, so I find the ground floor the best place for me. The little pods allow for a little bit more silence, and they have plug sockets for my laptop – so are a must for my longer study sessions! Also if you choose the right one you can get a really good view of the lake by Chancellors Court, which is lovely to look out to when I take my head out of a book. 

Best study tip: I have always found mind maps have really helped me when it comes to studying, whether it’s for assignments or exams. They help me get all my ideas down onto paper and then link up the relating points. Also you can make them look really smart, and I love revising off notes that are really neat and comprehensive.

Favourite thing to do away from study: Whenever I am away from study I do one of two things, my favourite thing to do is to take my dog out for a walk to the field, he is still trying to get the hang of fetch – he is almost there. I find being out with other dog walkers and dogs really calming, as I have nothing else on my mind except how cute all the dogs are. The other thing I enjoy to do away from study is to binge watch a series, watching a few episodes of a new series is really a treat after a long day of studying! 

Favourite thing to do away from study:

Dylan Booth
Masters – MA Creative Writing

Favourite place to study: My favourite place to study is the group study rooms in Catalyst. I like being secluded from outside distractions, whilst still being able to chat with my course mates.

Best study tip: Plan ahead and don’t leave things to the last minute. I’ve learned this the hard way through my undergraduate degree. I always like to make sure that I have my assignment submitted at least the day before. 

Favourite thing to do away from study: I go to the cinema a lot. I enjoy seeing new films, it allows me to wind down, and it also helps with my writing for my course as well. 

Ellis Brooks
3rd Year – BA Primary Mathematics Education with QTS
Student Advisor Ellis
Favourite place to study: My favourite place to study is Starbucks in Ormskirk.

Best study tip: The best study tip I was ever given, that’s always worked, is start assignments ASAP – they creep up on you!

Favourite thing to do away from study: Outside uni I like to read, draw and play pool.

Georgia Maestri-Banks
3rd Year – BA Primary English Education with QTS
Student Advisor Georgia
Favourite place to study: Off campus is my super comfy green chair in my kitchen. On Campus, I love studying in the secret pods on the ground floor of Catalyst.

Best study tip: I discovered for myself was to ensure I make a revision/assignment timetable and plan my assignments out using bright coloured highlighters.

Favourite thing to do away from study: To de-stress is playing the piano and songwriting.

Jen Murray
Masters – MSc Sports, Physical Activity & Mental Health
Student Advisor Jen
Favourite place to study: If it’s warm, my favourite place to study is anywhere outside. If it’s cold and rainy I often head to cosy coffee shops. I try to find funky, independent places that have lots of space, so I am not taking up room with my laptop.

Best study tip: Plan, organise and make use out of the support the university offers- for example, attend workshops- it really helps, you always come away with something useful!

Favourite thing to do away from study: Morning runs, yoga, wild camping, hiking with my partner- anything outside in nature helps me de-stress and unwind. I also love listening to podcasts and reading (my fav podcasts are Joe Rogan Podcast and Happy Place by the lovely Fearne Cotton. 

Lauren Gallagher
Masters – MA English
Student Advisor Lauren
Favourite place to study: Changes all the time depending on my mood, I’m normally most productive working from bed with music or a TV show on in the background; must be comfy. 😄 

Best study tip: Make the most of audiobook free trails, find a course-relevant book, and listen to it repeatedly until you can pretty much parrot the whole thing.

Favourite thing to do away from study: I always play games to chill after studying all day, especially JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games) with good immersive worlds like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, love some escapism.

Maisie Masterman
3rd Year – BSc Primary English Education with QTS
Student Advisor Maisie
Favourite place to study: At uni it has to be Catalyst – anywhere by a window or if not anywhere quiet and peaceful with a nice view. A study essential has to be a cup (or mug) of tea!

Best study tip: Listen to your tutors – they are there to help and whilst you can’t ask them to write your assignments for you, they are always there to help. 

Favourite thing to do away from study: I love baking and cooking especially with friends or family, keeping fit, having a boogie and relaxing with books and podcasts – How To Fail is a favourite of mine!

A UniSkills welcome to new Manchester St. James’ students!

Our campus at Manchester St. James’ is buzzing all year round – even more so now the new academic year has arrived.

The pavement outside the St James building is full of people all the way down Oxford Street, Manchester.

The first few weeks of University can seem a bit of a blur, with a lot of information to take on board.  This is why UniSkills is here all year round to offer friendly support with all aspects of your academic skills.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a complete beginner, further on in your studies, or nearing the end of your course.

The library at St James, with seating areas and book stacks, a student checking out a book at the self-issue machine near the windows.

Hit the ground running by checking out our web-pages. These are full of useful resources, tips, online tool-kits and guides, from Harvard Referencing to preparing for exams (tip: you probably don’t need to think about this quite yet!).

Manchester St. James’ students can book face-to-face appointments with an academic skills advisor on campus. Our individual UniSkills support can cover whatever you like, whether that’s referencing, searching for literature, looking at a draft, or planning your workload.  It’s up to you.  We are here to help you work towards achieving the best you can in your academic work, so head online to book your own 1-2-1.

The large clock above the main door of the neo-classical entrance to the St James building.

You can also visit the St James’ drop-in every Wednesday 2pm-4pm – no question is too small, and no appointment is necessary.

Friendly UniSkills workshops are also running throughout the year to help you grow your skills in academic writing, Harvard referencing, and preparing for exams. Bookings open 2 weeks before the workshop – book your place online: www.ehu.ac.uk/workshops

Best of luck to all our students and look forward to seeing you soon!

Open Access Week 2019

We have a series of great events for Open Access Week this year. All are welcome!

Monday 21st October, 12-1pm
Open Book Publishers webinar
Learn about the work of this award-winning, non-profit, academic-led publisher that releases 20+ open access books a year and doesn’t charge its authors any fees!

Tuesday 22nd October, 9:30-10:30am | Room H2, Ormskirk campus
Research Cafe: Open Access and My Research
Researchers from all three faculties to share why they make their work open and what doing so means for collaborations, impact and society.

Wednesday 23rd October, 11:30am-1pm | Willow room, Catalyst
Board Games & Pizza
Enjoy free pizza while playing ‘The Game of Open Access’ or, if you’re really up for the challenge you could try ‘The Publishing Trap’. We’re trialling these games to start conversations and help demystify the world of open access.
– Book your place here

Friday 25th October, 9:30-10:30am | Willow room, Catalyst
Figshare: making research open and easy to find
Learn about Figshare, a great new place to share research data, practice research, academic posters, conference presentations and more. Figshare is open, has a global reach and makes your work discoverable.

About International Open Access Week
International Open Access Week is a global, community-driven week of action to open up access to research. The event is celebrated by individuals, institutions and organisations across the world, and is is led by a global advisory committee.

For More Information about Open Access Week please visit: http://www.openaccessweek.org/


Open Access Week: Open Book Publishers [webinar]

Learn about the work of this award-winning, non-profit, academic-led publisher that releases 20+ open access books a year and doesn’t charge its authors any fees.

A special webinar for Open Access Week 2019, hosted by Library and Learning Services and free to everyone!

Lucy Barnes, Editor at Open Book Publishers, introduces this award-winning, non-profit, academic-led open access publisher. They don’t charge author fees; they publish innovative and acclaimed titles; and their books have been accessed over 2 million times. Interested in finding out more or publishing with OBP? Join us on 21 October!

Time: 12-1pm on Monday 21 October
Join the webinar: https://eu.bbcollab.com/guest/bca23dc33eae41ffaca170a062e2b261
All are welcome

Open Access Week

It’s International Open Access Week on the 21st -27th October.

The theme this year is “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”. The idea behind Open Access Week is to catalyse new conversations and create connections.

Library and Learning Services are running a series of events for OA week including a special research cafe and a board games & pizza event and more.

Open Access Week: board games & pizza 🎲🍕

Free pizza and drinks while you boost your open access knowledge playing some great games!

It’s International Open Access Week on the 21st -27th October.

The theme this year is “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”. The idea behind Open Access Week is to catalyse new conversations and create connections.

If you’re a research student or researcher and want to know more, please join us in the Catalyst’s Willow Room on Wednesday 23rd October 2019 to play ‘The Game of Open Access’ or if you are really up for the challenge you could try ‘The Publishing Trap’. We’re trialling the games to start conversations and help demystify the world of open access.

Book your place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-access-week-board-games-pizza-tickets-74656534705?ref=estw

About International Open Access Week

International Open Access Week is a global, community-driven week of action to open up access to research. The event is celebrated by individuals, institutions and organisations across the world, and is is led by a global advisory committee.

For More Information about Open Access Week please visit: http://www.openaccessweek.org/


You Said, We Did

To deliver the best possible facilities, services and resources Learning Services seeks to understand the needs and experiences of all our customers so that we can continue to improve. One of the ways we do this is by listening to your feedback and over the last 12 months this has been invaluable in helping us shape the future of Catalyst.

We’ve already implemented lots of changes based on your ideas such as relocating furniture, creating more group space, extended summer opening, access to the roof terrace and much much more. Developments are continuing and you should see further changes over the next few months so watch this space!!!

Picture of a happy and a sad face on a blue background and the words 'honest feedback welcome'

We’d still like to hear from you and there are a number of ways that you can give us your feedback:

  • Speak to staff at any University Library help desk
  • Fill in a comments and suggestions form available in each Library or online
  • Take part in our user experience activity

If you would like to find out more information about how we deal with your comments & suggestions or if you would like to see what feedback we have received so far then you can do so here

Autumn UniSkills Timetable

*Drumroll please*

After the success of our first EVER summer UniSkills offer, we know that you’ve all been eagerly awaiting our Autumn timetable!

As always, you can expect to find a programme full to the brim with the very best academic advice delivered by our knowledgeable team here at Learning Services.

Our team know everything there is to know about Harvard Referencing, Academic Writing and Powerful Presentations so be sure to book yourself in to prepare for upcoming assignments.

We really do have something for everyone, no matter of your discipline or year of study! If you’re new to University level learning, or need a refresher after the summer holidays, why not try Introduction to Academic Writing. Perhaps you need help with Conducting a Literature Review, especially if it’s the first one you’ve written. If you’d like a space to practice presentations (whether it’s academic, for an interview or for a personal venture) then head along to UniSpeaks where you can try out public speaking and receive feedback from a friendly group of peers.

You may be interested in trying a brand-new workshop which focuses on Growing Your Academic Resilience, something that will be beneficial for anyone who struggles with receiving feedback on their assignments. We have Developing Academic Writing for our students who are advancing to the next level this academic year, as well as Harvard Referencing for anyone and everyone who has questions about how to reference correctly!

Whether you are writing your first essay or your fiftieth our Finding Academic Information and Reading Academic Texts workshops will help you to develop strategies to find the best resources and ensure you are an active reader. Once you have all of the information you need to write your essay, you might like to book onto our Become a Paraphrasing Pro session to help you to put everything that you have read into your own words in a concise way.

If that wasn’t enough we also have some sessions which are for students who have specific types of assignments looming this year! Firstly, we are offering Powerful Presentations to help you to get top marks and become a confident speaker. We also have Effective Exam Preparation workshops for anyone who is lucky enough(!) to have an exam whilst they are at university. If you are writing your dissertation this year we have two sessions which aim to keep you on track! Firstly we have Writing your Undergraduate Dissertation for our final year students who would like to find out more about finalising a research question and what to include in each section. Finally, we also have a Writing Your Postgraduate Dissertation for any of our Masters students who require some additional guidance.

You can check out the full line-up and book yourself on here. If you are unable to attend a session but would like some additional guidance on any of these topics then please get in touch with us or book a 1-2-1 appointment here.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

Web of Science: one week left

Last month, we shared the news that we have decided to replace Web of Science with Scopus. This was due to a steady drop in usage for Web of Science, and the extra possibilities offered by Scopus, including a greater range of items and its ability to enhance Pure.

Our access to Web of Science ends on 30 September. If you have literature searches saved in the platform, or you wish to download information from the Journal Citations Reports service, now is the time to act. You can take a note of the saved searches and create and save these in Scopus by registering for an account.

Please contact liam.bullingham@edgehill.ac.uk if you would like any support with this.