Briggs-Blake-Zurbrugg Memorial Library


Julia Briggs, N. F. Blake, and Nicholas Zurbrugg were three professors in the English Department at De Montfort University in the 1990s. They were pre-eminent in their fields: Briggs was a world-renowned specialist on Modernism and especially Virginia Woolf, Blake's expertise was in Middle English Literature, especially Geoffrey Chaucer whose works he edited alongside Peter Robinson, and Zurbrugg was a inter-disciplinarian who brought together the study of poetry, art and performance. All three died much too young and while still in their posts. They are missed by their former colleagues in the English Department, who wanted to commemorate their achievements in a form that suited their sociable approach to scholarship.


Their books is what. Briggs, Blake and Zurbrugg all depended for their research on their personal collections of printed materials, especially rare books and reference works. Briggs's collection of Woolf-related material contained many specialized items, Blake's set of reference works included essential but expensive items on the Middle English language, and Zurbrugg's library held a large number of visual works such as the catalogues of international art exhibitions he had attended.

All three generously donated the cream of their book collections to the English Department at De Montfort. The trouble is, a collection of books is not a library: they need to be catalogued, labelled, and placed on shelves in order that readers can find and use them. The work of doing this was undertaken by two De Montfort students: Laura Fortune and Becky Jones and the results is the splendid new Briggs-Blake-Zurbrugg Memorial Library.


The Briggs-Blake-Zurbrugg Memorial Library is housed in the post-graduate study in room 1.01 of the Clephan Building on the Leicester Campus of De Montfort University.


Q Can I use this library?

A Yes! Anyone with a legitimate research reason to use the library is welcome to use it free of charge. Use the following list to find out how:

  • You are a graduate student of De Montfort University: just come along to the library in CL1.01 and use your RFID swipe card to open the door. If your card won't let you in, contact the Director of the Centre for Textual Studies Prof Gabriel Egan <>.
  • You are an undergraduate student of De Montfort University, or you have no connection with the university then apply to the Director of the Centre for Textual Studies, Prof Gabriel Egan <>, to arrange a time to visit.

Q Can I take books away?

A No, the collection is reference-only, meaning that you cannot remove any materials from the library's reader room. You consult them only in the reading room.

Q Can I copy materials from the library?

A Yes. The reading room has scanning facilities that will enable you to copy anything you like up the new generous limits for scanning that everyone in UK academia now enjoys because parliament has passed "The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014". You can of course also use your own digital camera (no flash please) to take copies, up to the limits of the law

Q Once I am in the library, how do I get the books I want?

A All the books are on open-access shelves: help yourself, sit down on one of our sofas or armchairs or at a work-station (PC and Apple Mac), and read. Leave the book on the table marked "Books to be reshelved" when you're done.

Q Can I eat and drink in the library?

A Yes, if you are careful.

Q Can I search the catalogue before I arrive or while I'm there?

A Yes, use the link provided on the left to reach the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC).

Q What classification system does the library use?

A Dewey Decimal