Monday, 21 December 2015

Stained glass

In our latest post about the Collections in the University Library, Ilka Heale introduces a recently donated collection of books.


After seven years of being cloaked in scaffolding, the fully restored stained glass in York Minster's Great East Window is now revealed. The preservation work involved dismantling the panels and cleaning each individual piece of glass and was done by York Glaziers Trust.

A restored panel from the East Window.
Photo by virtusincertus used under a
Creative Commons license.
It is the biggest medieval stained glass window in Europe, measuring 24 metres tall with 311 panes of stained glass. John Thornton, a glazier from Coventry, came to York to begin work on the window in 1405. He finished three years later, receiving a £10 bonus to his £56 fee for completing the work on time.

The University Library has recently added a collection of books to the catalogue about stained glass. Donated by Peter Gibson, York Glaziers Trust first secretary and superintendent. He supervised the preservation work on the Rose Window after the 1984 fire in the Minster's south transept.

Stained glass. Photograph by Paul Shields.

The collection covers books on stained glass techniques along with examples of stained glass and architecture. The books expand an already large collection of related books and images in the Library. For further details, please search for 'stained glass' in YorSearch (the Library catalogue) or search the shelves at LB 9.85.

The York Digital Library contains many images of stained glass, including a series of chromolithographs depicting windows from the Mariahilfkirche in Munich, on the theme of the life of the Virgin Mary.

Restoring stained glass. Photograph by Paul Shields.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Why are we switching on the Library turnstiles?

Heidi Fraser-Krauss explains how knowing more about use of the Library will benefit everyone.


"My students never use the Library", "When do my students use the Library?", "Do my students use the Library?", "The Library is always full", "I can never find any space" - these are some of the things I've heard from staff and students as I've been meeting people in my first months as Director of Information Services. The trouble is I don't know how to respond to these questions and statements, because I honestly don't know.

If you've ever visited another university library in the UK, you'll be aware that our approach of not requiring card access to the Library for most of the day is very unusual. I have no issue with unusual, but our approach limits the information we have about the demand for and use of our services, which in turn means we aren't able to plan, manage, and scale our services as effectively as we would like to.

I have tried in vain to discover why, to date, we haven't required card access, and have received a variety of responses. Everything from, "it's not allowed in York" to "SMG have banned it" but there doesn't actually appear to be a good reason. So, to enable the Library to make the best possible use of its resources, from 9am on 24 December we will be switching our turnstiles to permanent card operation. This means that from then on whenever you visit the Library, you'll need to use your University card to operate the turnstiles.

Photo by Paul Shields

If you don’t already do so, I’d encourage you to carry your University card with you - not least because you need it for so many other aspects of University life including borrowing books, printing, getting access to rooms across campus, and sitting exams. If you lose your card, you can get a replacement from the Information Centre.

Just in case you were worried, our intention is not to exclude anyone; we love the fact that York is so community centred. The Library is lucky to hold some great collections including the Borthwick Institute for Archives, the York Art Gallery Collection, and our Special Collections. We want to continue to share these with the community at large. Friendly staff at our new reception will ensure that everyone can access the Library so that the knowledge and resources we hold continue to be shared.