Tuesday, July 27

Morley Library, Winchester Cathedral

The Morley Library, a private library at the Winchester Cathedral, is located in two rooms added onto the cathedral between 1093 and 1107.

The date is agreed upon, due to mural behind the bookcases depicting the removal of relics in the room and a picture of the high alter in the cathedral that hold the bones of St. Swithun, painted in 1200. (Picture is from a brochure from the library)

Behind the bookcases, grooves can still be found where secret compartments are present, possibly where the communion vessels or relics were stored.

George Morley, from whom the library gets its name, was the bishop of Winchester Cathedral in 1662. His collection makes up 2000 of the volumes in the present library. He was the person who proposed to have the room fitted as a library and to add his collection added upon his death. In 1668, the floor was refurbished and the bookcases from Morley’s residence were installed.
The library contains some very rare items and some are housed in the Williams room across the hall.

Among these is the famous Winchester Bible, which has only been removed from the cathedral only twice, once when the collection was being offered for sale and the other during WW II. (Image from the Winchester Cathedral Wesite - www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/visiting/3/.)

Also, the Williams room contains the Anglo-Saxon Charter (957), the oldest document in the building, and the Winchester Cathedral Archives. The library also contains two globes, one terrestrial and one celestial, bought with money left by Morley. (As seen in the picture at the top from a postcard)

The cathedral also houses the Triforium Gallery full of items from the cathedral's history, one of which is a bowl that is rumored to have held the heart of King Canute. Canute died in Shaftsbury around 1035. His heart was removed and buried there, while his body was brought back to Winchester for burial.

Tuesday, July 20

National Archives of Scotland

Headed by the Keeper of Records of Scotland, the Archives of Scotland manages approximately 72 km of records, dating back to the 12th century. The Archives are a government agency with the mission to preserve, protect and promote the nation of Scotland's records.

The archives consist of 160 staff divided into two divisions: Records services (government records and court/legal records) and Cooperate services (Finance/Administration, Information and Communication Technology, Conservation Services and Reader Services).

A repository for the public records of Scotland was first proposed in 1722, but it was not until 1789 that the General Register House was completed and opened. Following the construction of the General Register House two other buildings were opened to help house the massive collection: The West Register House(1971) and the Thomas Thomson House(1994).

The archives offer a public research room on the 1st floor open to the public and is highly utilized for historical research. The archives also offers all of the genealogical records online for those unable to come visit in person. Although some records can be retrieved for a small fee, for some, this is worth it. These records include:
  • Access to Scottish Wills - 1500-1901
  • Digitized records of the Church of Scotland
  • Birth, Death and Marriage records

The Collection contains many archival treasures dating back to the Charter of King David I(1127). Also among these treasures include: the Great Seal Records(1315-present), the Declaration of Arbroath(1320), the Articles of Union(1706) and the marriage certificate of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The Archives also offer many websites to the community for their research:

Dunfermline Carnegie Library

The Dunfermline Carnegie Library is the first Carnegie Library, also a public library, built in 1883. On opening day the entire collection was checked out to the patrons. In 1922, the building was extended and remodeled keeping only the front entrance and hallway from the original Carnegie design. In 1992, a new section was purchased and now contains a music library and children's section.

The library staffs 28 people in a variety of departments. Among these is a local history room, containing books, maps, slides and pictures pertaining to local and family history, and the Abbey Room, which is presently waiting for the set-up of an Egyptian exhibit. The library is in the process of incorporating a museum into the library and the fundraising has already begun for the project.

One other facinating room houses the Burns Collection. The Burns Collection, bought and donated by Sir Alexander Gibb, belonged to John Murison, an Burns collector for 40 years. The collection consists of books and memorabilia pretaining to anything of or about the poet, Robert Burns.

The Dunfermline Library is a public library affiliated with the Fife Council Community Services and 51 other community libraries, 3 mobile libraries and a housebound service. The Fife's website for the library is www.fifedirect.org.uk/libraries .

Monday, July 19

Central Library, Edinburgh

The Central Library in Edinburgh was opened in 1890 after a donation from Andrew Carnegie started a movement to open a free library to the public. The library originally had three departments coordinated by, Hew Morrison, the Principal Librarian at the time. The departments are as follows: the Reference Library, the Lending Library and a News Room from which the public had to request items. Later Ernest Savage developed other departments in the 1930's such as a local History Department, a Music Library and an Art Library. Recently the Children's Department has expanded and moved into the building next door.
The library used the Library of Congress classification except for the Children's Library which uses the Dewey Decimal System. The library also offers an index card catalog for those who prefer and if you are looking for large print. With over 850,000 items that can be borrowed the libraries collection has books for all ages and taste. The library also offers free internet, free study space and also community meeting spaces.
The Central Library also indulges those who fancy local history and heritage. The Edinburgh Room contains a very comprehensive collection on Edinbugh, and was the first local studies department in the country. The collection has over 100,000 items including books, photos, maps, census reports and more.
The library has many programs for their patrons as well. Such as:
Author Events - these events are held once a month and highlight Scottish Authors.
Book Groups - Currently there are 38 book groups running in the Edinburgh Libraries.
Monthly reading themes - March's theme was Crime in the City.
Online Training Programs - This program is for the staff but it helps the staff to communicate to the public about their reading habits, so they can better assist them.
Visit the Central Library, Edinburgh at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/internet/leisure/libraries.

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland grew out of the Advocates Library, belonging to the Faculty of Advocates, founded in 1689. At this time it was granted, by the 1710 Copyright Act, the right to own one copy of everything published in Great Britain. In 1925, Parliament passed the National Library of Scotland Act, creating the National Library. Work began on the George IV Bridge Building, in 1938, started with a donation by Sir Alexander Grant and was completed in 1956, and the new library building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. Since then two other expansions have been opened: The Causeway building in 1989 and 1995, two phases of construction and the Visitor Center in 2009.
The National Library contains over 14 million books and manuscripts, 2 million maps and atlases and 300,000 music scores. Also in the collection they house, 32,000 films and videos, 25,000 newspapers and magazine titles and add 6000 items to the collection each week. The library is funded by Scottish Parliament and is governed by a Board of Trustees.
The National Library of Scotland contains many valuable treasures including: Timothy Pont’s manuscript maps of Scotland (1583-1614), Ancient Family Manuscripts such as those of the Clan Sinclair and the last letter from Mary Queen of Scots. The Visitor's Center includes many displays of outfits and items of famous people in Scottish history. One other display that was included was a large walkthrough display on the history of golf.

Visit the National Library of Scotland at http://www.nls.uk/ .

Friday, July 16

Bodleian Library, Oxford

Although Oxford University is the 3rd oldest University, founded around the beginning of the 13th century, in the world and the oldest English speaking university it was not until the 1320 that, with funds donated by Thomas de Cobham, that a small library was erected in the academic quarter. In 1423, it was decided that a University library building was needed. Although at this time the process was started to build the library, it took 65 years for the process to be completed due to the slow process of raising money because benefactors would give to the colleges not the university. The process was finally complete in 1488, largely due to donations by the library’s founder Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, and the library was opened. Unfortunately, the collection was mostly destroyed due to the Reformation, by King Edward VI destroying items affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Although, every book was removed, not all were destroyed and the Library has 10 intact items from the original library. In 1598, the library was rescued and reopened in 1602, due to the donation of Bodley and other contributors. The library opened with a collection of 2500 books and appointed Thomas James as the librarian. Soon after the opening the first printed catalog was created and completed in 1605. Other contributors to the library over the years include Thomas James, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke, Sir Kenelm Digby, William Laud and many others.

One other attraction to the Bodleian Library is that sections of the library were used in the filming of the movie "Harry Potter".

To learn more about the Bodleian Library visit www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley .

Thursday, July 15

Victoria and Albert Museum Library

The National Art Library is housed within the walls of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The NAL is a public Reference library in which anyone may come and view materials within the library only. The NAL is also considered to be a repository library in which the collections are never weeded. The library houses over 2 million items and an acquisition budget of over 500,000 pounds. These items include 8000 periodicals, 2000 which are current and a very large sales catalog collection. Also, a very massive part of the collection is actually in foreign languages.

The library employs around 60 staff members throughout the library most of which are actually working behind the scenes in management, acquisitions, cataloging and conservation. All inquiries both for the library and the museum are handled by the library. All inquiries from the public are retrieved once an hour, on the hour. On the hour staff members collect the requests and head into to back rooms, upstairs and downstairs to fill the request for the patrons. Currently all of the collections are onsite, but with the large acquistion budget, the stacks are filling up.

Special collections for the NAL are very impressive! Some of the items included are:

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Bleak House
London:Bradbury & Evans, 1853 (1852-1853 printing)

First ed. consisting of 20 monthly issues in 19 (last issue contains no 19 & 20) issues monthly from March 1852 to Sept. 1853.

Shakespeare, William.
Comedies, histories, & tragedies.
London, 1623

This is a copy of a Shakespeare's First Folio, one of the most famous books in the English language.

Leonardo da Vinci

I codici Forster. [Parte] II. (Original ca. 1495-1497)

Firenze: Guinti Barbera, 1992


All captions for photos are from the NAL conservation lab.

Visit the National Art Library at the V&A National Art Gallery at www.vam.ac.uk/nal/ .

Wednesday, July 14

Stratford-upon-Avon Public Library

Built in 1905 and a member of Warwick County Council is a quaint little library set in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. To see this library from the outside, one would be very impressed with the amount of room that the building actually provides. The collection of nonfiction is the largest catalogued by the Dewey Decimal System and the fiction was catalogued by author's last name. They also have audio books, DVDs, music and electronic collections.

The children's department is a very impressive place. I loved the children's computers with the over sized and color coded keyboard. The Summer Reading Challenge was underway while we visited, this year the theme was "Space Hop". The shelves in the children's areas are actually movable, so when larger groups, such as the summer reading program, arrive they can be moved to make more room. The librarian stated that some of the programs can have from 100 to 150 children.

The library has monthly book discussions on the first Thursday of every month and also a group called Silver Surfers, for people over fifty to help with the web and email. They have two different story time programs one for toddlers and one for 2 to 5 year olds. I also like the fact that on the bulletin board they have many other programs for the public. Such as:
  • Assistance with resumes and job searches
  • Help for teens with alcohol and drug problems
  • The Silver Surfers classes
  • Other classes for computer assistance for all ages

More information can be found on their website at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/libraries .

Tuesday, July 13

The London Library

Seeing the London Library's front door from St. James Square, one would not think that this library is the largest independent library in the world. The library was founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle and originally housed in first floor of the Travellers Club in Pall Mall. In 1979, the library began renting a townhouse on St. James Square after buying the property the library has continued to grow over the years and had to expand. The first expansion was in 1890's when the original building was torn down and replaced with a steel structured building and then again in the 1913, 1931 and 2004. The library we see today owes its architecture to Sir Charles Hagberg Wright.

As you can see from the picture above, the different expansions have significantly added more room during each of the expansion projects. You can also see from this map The TS Eliot House, named after one of their famous patrons. Others also included through history: Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie and Winston Churchill, to name a few.
The library has over 7500 members consisting of individuals and groups.

The library has over 15 miles of shelving and the collection grows by over 8000 books a year and is never weeded. The collection focuses on Arts and Humanities, 16th century to the present and is 97% loanable. They are catalogued in a manner devised by Sir Wright by subject and then alphabetically by subject and then again by author or subject heading. The London Library does have an online catalog, but only item post-1950 are included so far. The other 42% of the collection is being processed for the online catalog.

Visit the London Library's website at http://www.londonlibrary.co.uk/.

Monday, July 12

The Caird Library

The Caird Library, located at the Greenwich National Maritime Museum, is one of the largest maritime museums in the world. The founding collection was donated by Sir James Caird and contained charts, journals and rare books, among others. The library focuses on Immigration, Piracy, Astronomy, Exploration, Navigation and Naval Architecture. The library is a public library that opened in the 1930's but the library is in the process of building a new facility with larger on site storage.
The library contains over 100,000 modern history, post 1850, and over 8000 rare, pre-1850 books. It also houses over 40,000 periodicals and journals, along with over 70,000 items in its catalog archive. The main library employees 12 staff members, 2 E-librarians and a person behind the scenes. The seating area is laid out in a manner so that the rare book viewing can be seen by the main desk at all times.

This item is a medical journal that was used aboard the Bounty.

Above is the wooden covered book collection that tells the story of the HMS Royal George. Also in the collection, along with many other unique and rare items is a document from the HMS Caledonia listing the individuals on board by profession and nationality.
Visit the Caird Library on the web at www.nmm.ac.uk/researchers/library.

Thursday, July 8

British Library

(Image courtesy if http://www.tutor2u.net/)

The British Library is the National Library of the United Kingdom. It is one of the largest public libraries in the world with nearly 200 million items growing at a rate of over 8000 items a day. The collection consists of one of every book published in the U.K. along with collections donated by Robert Cotton, Joseph Banks, Thomas Grenville, Hang Sloan and also the King's Library of King George III.
The British Library was originally part of the British Museum officially created as an institution in 1972. Previously housed in 9 or 10 separate buildings, it was not until 1997 that the construction of a new building was started, designed by ..., and created to look like an ocean liner, was officially opened in 1998. The underground storage facility included, the structure is equivalent to an eight story building. The library has an automated system for bringing items from the basement to the reading room.
The collection contains many rare items including:
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Beetles lyrics written on the back of envelopes
Also in collection are items such as:
The Largest and Smallest Atlas
The Petri dish from Flemings Penicillin
Reading Boxes from Burma
2nd largest map collection in the world

The website for The British Museum is http://www.bl.uk/.

Wednesday, July 7

British Museum Reference Library

The Paul Hamlyn Library is a public library located in The British Museum and was the 1st public library in the United Kingdom. The library is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and aims to help anyone who visits the Museum. The main library is contained within one room and uses the Dewey decimal system to catalog its materials. The collection is mainly dedicated to housing archeology, anthropology and museum studies materials. The library has been moved 14 times in the last year and its original location was in the center of the museum courtyard and was one of the first places with electric lights. Although this is the public library, each department also has its own library, which has its own homemade classification system. As a whole, the museum libraries have over 500,000 volumes.

The museum Paul Hamlyn Library itself holds 50,000 of these volumes and journals to help the public with information on the museum and the items within. Although these items may not be checked out, the library does have photocopying facilities. The library also has children's books and teacher resources available, and also has regular story time gathering for schoolchildren.

Also on the tour we were privileged to view the “room behind the hidden door”. What used to be Sand Script Library is located off of the Enlightenment Gallery through the hidden door disguised as a bookcase. The Enlightenment gallery originally housed the Royal Library donated by George IV. The Sand Script room contains the archives, also the staff and rare book reading rooms. One of the collections that are in this room, one of many, is the collection of Museum posters, which are being collected back to the first printing.
The Paul Hamlyn Library shares the website with the British Museum at http://www.britishmuseum.org/.

Tuesday, July 6

The Barbican Library

Picture courtesy of http://www.knowledgerush.com/

The Barbican Library, located in the Barbican Centre, opened in 1982 becoming the major lending library for the city. The library employs 43 people including 11 librarians and occasionally has volunteers and also support from the Friends group. The Barbican is the 2nd busiest inner-city public lending library in greater London.
The library has over 186,000 books and other material that may be borrowed, including 6000 movies, 16,000 CD’s and 16,000 Music Scores. The music collection is the largest collection for public loan in London and includes listening facilities and practice pianos. The library also has 24 computer workstations that allow free access to the Internet, office products, scanning and other services. With everything the Barbican Library has to offer, they also have the occasional art exhibition in which the library receives 20% of the contributions.
The Barbican also has many outreach and activities available to the public such as:
• Home Delivery Service
•Reader development support
•Literature performance programs
•Advice sessions for Careers, Skills for life and Health Advise sessions.

Visit the Barbican Library at www.barbican.org.uk/visitor-information/barbican-library.

Monday, July 5

St. Paul's Cathedral Library

The Current Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is the fourth cathedral at this location. This location has been the site for the cathedral since 604, when it was founded by King Ethelbert of Kent. The Cathedral was destroyed by fire three times: 962, 1087 and 1066 (The Great Fire of London). The Great Fire of London almost completely destroyed the entire collection of the Cathedral Library. Although, luckily lists of items in the library collection from 1313 forward survived give us an idea of the collection before the fire.

The library employs three staff members: an Architectural Librarian, a Senior Librarian and a Collection Manager. The Cathedral contains many historical items dealing with the church including: Previous lecterns, artifacts from 19th century excavations and The Great Model. The Great Model is a 1:25 wooden replica of the cathedral which is 13’ tall and 21’ long, created by Wren in 1673. The library also has in its collection a 13th century book of Psalms, the libraries oldest item.

Above photo is courtesy of http://www.stpauls.co.uk/, the website for St. Paul's Cathedral.

If visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral, be sure to visit the cafe in the Crypt. The crypt contains the graves of Admiral Nelson, Duke Wellington and also Sir Christopher Wren, and the meat pie and coleslaw from the cafe are great.

Photo above courtesy of http://www.sacred-destinations.com/.

Sunday, July 4

Communion at St. Paul's Cathedral

I forced myself to get up this morning with the notion that I may never get this opportunity again, and I am glad I did. It was a very awe inspiring morning. The beautiful artwork throughout the building made it very challenging to attentively receive the sermon. Although, it was a little more contemporary than I thought it would be with the reference to the movie "Shawshank Redemption". We were allowed to participate in Communion if we were baptized Christians and the experience was most impressive.