About the Cadbury Research Library

Title: About the Cadbury Research Library

Duration: 7.42

Voice over: The Cadbury Research Library at the heart of the University’s green and beautiful Edgbaston campus brings together the University’s rare books, manuscripts and archive collections, our ‘Special Collections’.

Completed in the summer of 2010 the Cadbury Research Library in the iconic Muirhead Tower provides a spacious, secure and climate controlled home for the University’s precious collections and a calm and peaceful environment for our researchers.

Dr Richard Clay, Senior Lecturer in History of Art: ‘I think the Cadbury Research Library is a great resource because it is an incredibly rich and diverse collection, but also because of the expertise of its staff who are incredibly competent at making this collection available as a tool to a really diverse group of users which ranges from undergraduates through postgraduates to academic staff and to wider audiences.’

Voice over: Many generous donations made the completion of the Cadbury Research Library possible. The collections are formed of more than 130,000 books, the earliest dating from 1471. We also care for over 3 million manuscripts and archives. All of these amazing collections are available for interested researchers whether students, staff, academics or visitors to consult and explore.

Dr Elaine Fulton, Senior Lecturer in Modern History: ‘The collections at the Cadbury Research Library are really outstanding. I use it particularly in teaching in two ways really. Whenever we get new history students they are very excited to come and do history and it’s the best thing in the world to be able to bring them here and actually show them history. Show them something that is almost 500 years old, they get to hold the past in their hands which is a really remarkable and often actually quite a moving experience. It really inspires them in their degree, reminds them what they have come to do history for.’

Voice over: We are also responsible for the University of Birmingham's own heritage collection. Dating from 1828 these archives form the University’s corporate memory and are an essential part of its heritage.

Researchers can explore these rich resources in our purpose built reading room. The Heslop Room is a great place for dedicated research surrounded by beautiful sculpture and art works. It is fully wireless networked with a range of computer terminals where researchers can explore the comprehensive online catalogues and web resources. Whether you are a new visitor exploring for the first time or an experienced user the team in the Cadbury Research Library is here to help you and support you in your research.

Member of staff: ‘Good morning how can we help?’

Voice over: We also have a fully equipped space where researchers can work on microfilms, film, sound recordings and interactive media resources.

Much of our work is with students to introduce them to the collections. Along side academics we run a wide range of group sessions where students get to work directly with the collections, these cover many subject areas from Chemistry, Drama and English, Maths and Engineering and History to name just a few. This hands on experience really helps to bring the subject to life and encourages our students to feel the Cadbury Research Library is at the heart of their experience at the University of Birmingham.

Tamsin Foulkes, Former University of Birmingham Postgraduate Student: ‘I would definitely encourage students to use the Cadbury Research Library. I’ve used it on a regular basis through my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and it’s an incredible resource and I encourage every student to see how it can help them during their time at University.’

Voice over: We have a seminar room which allows us to have lunch time talks and to provide the space for groups to really explore and enjoy the collections.

Member of staff: ‘So this is our Seminar Room. Now the Mingana Collection is one of our most treasured collections. It’s one of the largest collections of Middle Eastern manuscripts in the world.’

Voice over: Our extensive collections are stored in the optimum environmental conditions to ensure their long term preservation for future generations to explore and enjoy.

Our conservators based in the new fully equipped Wilson Conservation Studio, look after all aspects of the physical care of the collections to ensure their long term preservation.

Our volunteers are extremely important to us; they make a tremendous contribution to the work of the department. They undertake a range of work including cleaning, documenting and assisting with cataloguing rare books and archives.

Gill Walker, National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) Volunteer: ‘I enjoy working here as a volunteer because I have come to see a great many different collections. It’s nice that I am able to clean things that would perhaps otherwise not have been cleaned and that people are therefore able to use them, study from them and gain from them and it’s also a very nice atmosphere in which to work.’

Voice over: We work with a range of student placements who are keen to experience working in a heritage environment.

Kaori Hilton, Student Work Placement Volunteer: ‘I’ve been doing a student work placement at the studio since the end of September and I’m now working on the architectural drawing project. There are around 300 drawings and plans of various buildings on the Edgbaston campus. They all have to be surfaced cleaned before encapsulating in archival polyester envelopes.’

Voice over: Our in house reprographics team provides multi media support for researchers and students.

Tamsin Foulkes, Former University of Birmingham Postgraduate Student: ‘I’ve visited the Cadbury Research Library on many occasions and I’ve always found the staff to be welcoming, friendly and willing to help with any problems that I have.’

Dr Elaine Fulton, Senior Lecturer in Modern History: ‘The Cadbury Research Library really offers an outstanding environment for researchers for all aspects of arts related disciplines in terms of its physical environment, its location and the expertise of the staff who work here and simply the excellence of the holdings.’

Dr Richard Clay, Senior Lecturer in History of Art: ‘This is a library that has extraordinarily rich holdings that date back hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s a library that is a custodian of antiquity but is managed by a team who really has an eye on the future.’

Voice over: The collections in the Cadbury Research Library are open to all interested researchers. We welcome outside groups to visit and explore the resources we hold. We regularly run introductory tours for staff, students and visitors alike to give them a taster of the type of work that we do and what is available for them to use and enjoy.

Our wonderful new exhibition cases in the foyer of Muirhead Tower means that for the first time we have a great opportunity to showcase the riches of the collections to the University’s diverse audiences. This truly places the Cadbury Research Library and its collections at the heart of life at the University of Birmingham.

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