Librarians on Tour – Bristol Zoo AULIC Visit

On tour

On Wednesday 23rd May I (Lisa) was lucky enough to spend the morning at Bristol Zoo to visit the library there, and find out more about what they do. The morning began with an introduction from Simon Garrett (Head of Learning), who talked about the three main areas that they cover: 1) Conservation, 2) Field work, and 3) Changing human behaviours.  As well as providing entertainment for the public, zoos are able to target people of all ages and challenge the decisions that they are making in their everyday lives, which could have a big impact on the environment. This year they are working on a behaviour change campaign that encourages consumers to purchase sustainable palm oil.

We were then split into two groups, and my group was taken on a tour of the Education Centre, which included a lecture room, lab, computer room, common room, and library. Siobhan (the only Bristol Zoo librarian!) delivered an interesting talk about the library, and the resources that they have. Here are some facts about the library:

  • The library can be used by University students, researchers, zoo staff, volunteers, and the public upon request.
  • It is relatively small, with 4500 books, 2500 journal issues, and 2 e-resource subscriptions!
  • A large collection of the books were donated from the BBC Wildlife unit. Other books were obtained from departments around the zoo.
  • There is a unique cataloguing system, which was developed many years ago by volunteers, and has never been changed (e.g. Ec-H-W-5 would indicate a book in the ecology section, under the subheadings habitat – woodland, which was the fifth book to be added to this group).

We were then free to browse the books, and admire the interesting view out the window of the capybaras!

rick        library

We then headed back to the lecture room for a talk from Dr Daphne Kerhoas (Lecturer in Animal Behaviour). She told us about the different higher education opportunities that they offer, including a number of UWE courses, which are taught partly at the zoo and partly at UWE. She also talked about the conservation work that they are currently undertaking. One of the projects they are working on is based on Negros Island in the Philippines, which involves working with the community there to protect the remaining forests, in order to protect the critically endangered Negros bleeding heart dove. If you are interested in finding out more about the conservation work carried out by Bristol Zoo, you can attend a free lecture on the first Wednesday of each month. No need to book, just turn up and listen!

The final talk was from Dave Naish (Education Manager), which was my personal favourite! As well as University lectures, the zoo delivers conservation evening classes for adults, phobia courses, discovery days (for Brownies, Cubs etc.), a zoo conservation academy (for 8-12 year olds), and has a stand at the Bristol Festival of Nature. Dave explained that one of the most effective methods of learning is to make the session memorable, and this can be achieved through animal handling. Before I knew it, I had a Madagascar hissing cockroach on my hand!

cockroach   cockroach2

Dave also showed us a number of animal artifacts, including a snake skin, a tortoise shell, and a stuffed meerkat!

snake skin

After the talks we enjoyed a picnic in the sun, and then were free to explore the zoo! Here are some pictures of my personal favourites…a tiny lemur baby clinging on to its mother, and a grumpy gorilla!

leemur   gorilla2



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