11 October 2016

Royal Free Hospital Medical Library goes for Saving the Planet – and Wins Award for Excellence in Sustainability along the way!

UCL departments get to take part in the Green Impact awards scheme every year, and the Royal Free Hospital Medical Library is a keen supporter.  The library already achieved platinum status two years ago, so we opted to work towards the Award for Excellence in Sustainability, and planned a number of projects and activities to get us there, and build upon our previous success.

Staff and users often ask about recycling and which items can be recycled.  To help answer this pertinent question, the library’s Green Team decided that we should visit Bywaters, the centre which sorts out our recycling.
Library staff Miriam, Sally and David arrive at Bywaters

Our visit included a tour of the MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) and it was explained to us that the site takes rubbish from domestic as well as business sites.  We were impressed by how efficient the system was and watched paper falling through gaps in conveyor belts whilst large pieces of cardboard continued on their journey.  The plastic was shredded and separated according to type (PET, HDPE etc.) by an infrared system, and magnets sorted metal materials.  Fines were small pieces of materials which went along another conveyor belt, and suction lifted out lightweights such as papers and the glass was removed as well.
Talking to the staff on the ground at Bywaters

The library has taken donations of books over the years from many readers.  Most of these are of little use to the library when they are more than five years old, so we have a relationship with Book Rescuers, who transport the books to the developing world.

The Green Team became conscious that there could be many readers throwing books away, unaware that they could still be of use somewhere.  Valentine's Day was coming, so we decided to demonstrate love for books by placing a notice at the issue desk to encourage people to donate books to us. 

Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney launched Meat Free Mondays in 2009.  This is of interest to environmentalists because various organisations, including the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, state that livestock production is responsible for greenhouse gases, and there are various estimates that the damage ranges from 14.5% to 51% of total worldwide greenhouse gases.  The rationale of Meat Free Mondays is that if everybody gave up meat for just one day a week, this output would be significantly reduced.  A similar campaign stated that if every person in the UK did not eat meat for one day a week, then it would be the equivalent of taking five million cars off the road.
Meat-free sausage rolls

The Green Team wanted to promote Meat Free Mondays, and the staff enjoyed some delicious meat-free lunches as a result.

The Green Team devised a simple competition asking staff and readers to make suggestions of how we can improve upon our environmental impact. To judge the competition we needed an expert on the environment to go through the suggestions.  A friend of a member of our staff is an environmental expert who advises members of the government.  He and his colleagues were pleased to judge the competition, and the winning entry was:

“In the winter, use a heavy duvet and a hot water bottle at night instead of leaving the heating on all night – it will save energy and you will sleep better!”

The competition created a good deal of excitement and the Medical Library is proud to continue its excellent record of getting staff and readers alike to take responsibility for what they can do to protect the planet.

16 August 2016

August bank holiday opening

The Royal Free Hospital Medical Library will be open on the bank holiday Monday 29th August from 9.00am - 6.00pm.

08 August 2016

Interruptions to Royal Free Hospital Medical Library systems, 8-9 August 2016

The library management system and some aspects of the Explore service will be unavailable from 6pm on Monday 8th August until midday on Tuesday 9th August. The self-service machine will be unavailable -  staff at our Issue/Enquiry point will be available to issue and accept returns and provide assistance during this time. No items will be due during this period and fines will not be charged. It will also not be possible to borrow and return laptops during this time. Further details

Summer opening

Please note that the Royal Free Hospital Medical Library is closed on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of August. We remain open from 9.00am to 10.00pm Monday to Friday.

24 May 2016

Bank holiday opening - Monday 30th May 2016

The Royal Free Hospital Medical Library will be open 09.00-18.00 on the bank holiday on Monday 30th May 2016.

16 May 2016

Clinical Knowledge Resources Library Open Day - Monday 23 May 2016

The Royal Free Hospital Medical Library is hosting a Clinical Knowledge Resources Library Open Day on Monday 23 May 2016, from 11.30am-2.30pm.

The free event is a showcase of clinical knowledge resources and services supporting clinical staff.

Find out more about the clinical knowledge resources and support provided by library services at the Royal Free London:
  • Come along and try out our clinical knowledge resources
  • Representatives will be available to answer your questions about BMJ Clinical Evidence, ClinicalKey, DynaMed and UpToDate
  • Find out about the clinical mobile apps available to you with an NHS OpenAthens account
A sandwich lunch and refreshments will be available from 11:30am. Presentations commence at 12 noon.


  • 11:30 - Refreshments and Clinical Knowledge Resources taster session:
    Have a go at using a range of clinical knowledge resources available at the Royal Free London. Representatives from our suppliers (BMJ Clinical Evidence, ClinicalKey, DynaMed, UpToDate) will be available to answer your questions.
  • 12:00 - Welcome and Introduction to the day
    Presentations from our representatives:

    12:15 - BMJ Clinical Evidence
    12:45 - ClinicalKey
    13:15 - DynaMed
    13:45 - UpToDate
  • 14:15 Literature search and updates services to support clinical practice
    Find out more about the Library’s literature search and evidence updates service (Clinical Effectiveness Enquiry Service: CEES). 
For more information contact: info.skills@ucl.ac.uk

03 May 2016

Royal Free Hospital Medical Library runs competition to save the planet!

We asked the question – and you came back with some excellent answers.

The Royal Free Hospital Medical Library ran a competition to get staff and readers thinking about how we can be more environmentally friendly and live more sustainably. Here are some of the entries, and hopefully you will agree that they provide plenty of food for thought.
"Litter can be taken away – reduces waste/workload
If a user sees a PC not turned off properly – do it"
“Scrap paper from the printer or other places where people don’t use the whole sheet, should be put in a pile for people to use for scrap notes etc.”
“Try to reduce the amount of meat you eat.  Livestock requires far greater energy input that vegetables to produce and there are the issues of H2O use and antibiotic use."
“Being more aware of the food we buy and where it comes from – trying to buy local produce that hasn’t been flown across the world!”
“Use ink saving technology to cut down on the quantity of ink used in printing, e.g.: http://getdimples.com/. Grow herbs in a window box instead of buying fresh herbs in plastic from the supermarket. Buy vegetables and fruit loose from your local grocer, to avoid supermarket packaging.
If you are a meat eater, try to go vegetarian for three or four days per week, and use the money saved to buy better quality, more ethically sourced meat to have on the other days.” 
“Not having children
Not driving a car
Not taking a flight!"
“If everyone votes for the Green Party at future elections, they will bring in many new green policies, e.g. cheap solar panels for all.”

“Since the changes in rules and regulations that saw food and drink allowed in the Main Library, the space feels like it’s inundated with litter, whether scattered around desks and rooms, or spilling out of bins.

And with all the franchises on campus, there seems to be an accepted culture of mass consumption and disposable, over-complicated packaging. This has also meant that cleaning staff are dealing with a lot more mess and refuse, but with no financial incentive or recognition.

I think we would do well to take control of things rather than passively accept this decidedly unecological state of affairs. For starters, my suggestion would be to source and sell reusable coffee cups – or freely distribute them as part of welcome packs – and insist that only hot drinks in these cups are allowed through the library gates. All the franchises on campus should be prepared to serve students their drinks in these containers.

In my own personal utopia they’d also be making or transporting their food in reusable lunch boxes too, but probably best to gradually encourage more responsible behaviours.”

“I’ve seen these reusable, but cheap, coffee mugs, I wonder whether we could get sponsorship from any recycling group / UCL / NHS / UCL providers – and make them available to Library users, either free if we get full sponsorship, or at a discount if we don’t. Apparently Starbucks will now give a discount if you bring your own mug, perhaps M&S and Costa will follow their lead….”
“AC/heating systems based on demand response – the more people in library, the more energy can be directed to systems.  Also better temperature insulation – keeping windows closed – automatic operated windows.  Also increase the use of LED lighting.”
"Some suggested websites for greener shopping:
  • Method (Cleaning products) 
  • Auro (Paints and finishes) 

The competition was judged externally by environmental experts from WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) and the winning entry was…
“In the winter, use a heavy duvet and a hot water bottle at night instead of leaving the heating on all night – it will save energy and you will sleep better!”