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English and Creative Writing: Using other libraries

Make use of the public library. It is easy to join and free. You will find it on on the corner of Mayflower St and Armada Way opposite the Armada Shopping Centre

Nearly all universities will allow visitors to use their library for reference. If you live close to another university or are spending your vacation near one you could join the SCONUL reciprocal membership scheme which will give you some borrowing rights from participating universities.

Free stuff from the Public Library

Students are encouraged to join the library – there is no charge and no proof of residence is required. As a member you will be able to access online a whole range of reference works including the OED and ODNB from Plymouth library’s cyberLibrary.

NB: If you belong to a public library at home you may already be able to access these resources through their website or using their library card.

If you are providing a definition you need to use an authoritative dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from those of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You’ll still find these in the OED, but you’ll also find the history of individual words, and of the language.

The university library holds the printed edition of the OED (which runs to twenty volumes plus supplements) in the Oversize Books on level 2 of the library at 423 OXF. 

The electronic version can be accessed free if you belong to a public library.

If you have a public library card simply go to the OED website and type in your card number when prompted.

Oxford DNB home page

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The Dictionary offers concise, up-to-date biographies written by named, specialist authors. 

The university library holds the printed edition of the DNB (which runs to sixty volumes plus supplements) at 920.042 OXF on Level 0 of the library.

The electronic version can be accessed free if you belong to a public library.

If you have a public library card simply go to the ODNB website and type in your card number when prompted.

NML Logo

Comprehensive online classical music collection.

Includes:

  • Access to over 130,000 tracks (8,800 CDs)
  • Classical music
  • Six other genres including Jazz, Blues, World and Chinese music
  • New releases added monthly
  • Ability to listen to whole albums or individual tracks

The electronic version can be accessed free if you belong to Plymouth public library.

If you have a Plymouth public library card simply go to the Naxos website and type in your card number when prompted.

Using the British Library Reading Room

If you are going to London it is very easy to register for the British Library Reading Room. You can just turn up and register or you can pre-register online to save yourself precious research time. The British Library has all the information you need (including the sort of identification you will require) on its website.

You will also find that some preparation before you go will be worthwhile. Why waste valuable time in the library checking the catalogue when you could have done that at home?

Most academic libraries will allow you to use their resources in the library as a reference items but members of the SCONUL Access scheme allow limited borrowing rights to members of other participating libraries. Most libraries can not allow access to their electronic resources, however some do operate a "walk in" service where a limited range of electronic resources are available to the general public.

You can find out on the SCONUL website which libraries you would be eligible to use and register online.

More information about SCONUL. 

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