Friday, 30 July 2010

Tate Britain: Rude Britannia-British Comic Art

For my research paper, I decided do write about the Cartoon Museum. The paper will mostly be about the museum itself, the library, and the services they provide, but I also wanted to write some history about British cartoons. Just my luck, the Tate Britain was having an exhibit called "Rude Britannia-British Comic Art". I went and paided the £8 to get in, and I thought it was worth it.

The exhibit was broken up into six different rooms with different areas of cartoons. They had regular british comic art, social satire, politcal cartoons, sexual cartoons, and the absurd room. I enjoyed the politcal cartoon room, because they had several World War II cartoons that were for or against the British or Germans. The sexual cartoon room was different, but in the US, we don't see strong sexual content for cartoons. My least favorite room was the Absurd Room because it had to do with modern art cartoons. There was a film of a man in a bad gorilla suit jumping around for four minutes, and I didn't see the point. He just jumped around; that was it. There was also a huge, black peeled banana in the room. I didn't get that either. They also had a seating room where people could read different cartoons.

For me, I enjoyed it and I got some more background information on British cartoons and humor. Walking around the exhibits, I saw four pieces on loan from the Cartoon Museum. At least I could add that into my paper that the Cartoon Museum does loan out their pieces for other people to view. I know some people don't like British comedy and humor, but I think anybody would enjoy this exhibit if they went to the Tate Britain.

To learn more about the Tate Britain and the exhibit "Rude Britannia-British Comic Art", please visit

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The Maughn Library-Kings College

Relatively new to Kings College, the Maughn Library opened to the students and public in 2001. There are four different libraries at Kings College, and the Maughn Library is located on the Strand Campus which opened in 1929. The library was the former public record office. When the building was built, it was built for fire safety in mind, so some of the book cases have slate shelves instead of wood. The only issue with the library is that it is part of the English Heritage, so if the library wants to change or alter the building, they have to have the English Heritage approve of it first.

When the library is open for regular term, it will be used by 11,000 students, is open seven days a week, and twenty-four hours. Of course, the number of usuage increases because the library is open to the public. There are over three-quarters of a million books in the library. There are 800 computers spread out through the library. Unlike other libraries that use Dewey, the Maughn Library uses the Library of Congress classification. Most areas are open to the students to pull books themselves, but a few areas are closed.

To be more helpful to the students, the library has added more special seating for groups to work together. Since the library is so big, the library this term will be adding the "Roaming Librarian". They will just walk around and help students who have any questions. If they can, the library will be adding self-check out machines.

The Maughn Library does have a special collection library. They have over 60,000 items and this is where the students have to sit in the room with the librarian. The special collection has a lot of medical books, theological documents and books, and other items from around the world. The library only buys about ten to fifteen new items a year, only a small portion of the collection is digitized, and there are only three staff members. The reading room is tiny since there are only twelve seats total. Some of the collection is still not catalogued and the library still makes new card catalogues.

The Maughn Library was nice, but I can see where people would get overwhelmed. The library is huge and the collection, seats, and computers are spread throughout the building. Even with the guide, I still felt lost because even though all the rooms are labeled, its hard to tell if you should go in or not. It'll be nice that the library is doing the "Roaming Librarian" just to help people. I'd like to ask where the bathroom is because I never saw one.

To learn more about the Maughn Library at Kings College, please visit

Photograph provided by the blogger

Monday, 26 July 2010

National Archives of Scotland

The building of the National Archives of Scotland began in 1774, but did not open to the public until the late 1780s. Today, it is run by the Scottish government, under the Minister for Europe, External Affairs and the Constitution. There are now three buildings and 140 staff members.

Unlike the National Library of Scotland who has books about scottish history, the National Archives of Scotland has the business papers that made Scotland what it is. The archives is broken down into two sections: Record services and Corporate services. They have documents such as wills, deeds, census records, court hearings and rulings, and more. It's all the important documents of Scotland. For all of the records, there are over 7okms worth and they date back from the 12th century till today. Along with the records, the archives manages eight different websites on how to find certain documenation such as your family's tartan colors or varies wills.

Since most of the people coming in are searching their family's history, the main building has been turned into the Scotlands People Center. In the first section, people can try for free on finding information about their family. When they want to dig deeper, people have to pay so much money to be able to research in a different part of the library. If people can't come to the archives, they can research from home since all the searching is done on the libraries database and the person doesn't see the real paper copies. A great service the archives provides is the patron can print off any document they want and take it home with them (of course, there is a fee for copying).

The National Archives of Scotland is trying very hard to get everything digitized. The only thing that is basically done is the collection of wills has been digitized. They have also digitized church and parish records of what they have, but there is no index. A person is just going to have to search very hard to find the information they are looking for. Any conservation that is done happens at the Thomas Thompson House.

The archives was neat, but there wasn't much to see. The main building we were in was set up for internet family searches. We did see daily court records, tunnels, and one library that still had books in it, but nothing more. The National Archives is trying very hard to digitized everything, which makes searching easier for the patron and it saves the original document from wear and tear. For anybody that want to learn about Scottish history or about their family, the National Archives of Scotland is the place to go. If you're looking for a place to tour, it's not the place to go.

To learn more about the National Archives of Scotland, please visit

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Dunfermline Carnegie Library

This library is the world's first Carnegie Library. Andrew Carnegie believed in people bettering themselves, so he donated his own money to build and stock libraries. The first library he built was in his home town Dunfermline, Scotland. On August 29, 1883, the cornerstone of the library was laid by Carnegie's mother, Margaret Carnegie. This would be the first of 2,509 Carnegie libraries opened in the English speaking world. Cool fact about the library is that is cost £8000 to open the library and stock the shelves. On the first day of opening, the library ran out of books.

This library was broken down into many sections. They have a local history and family research room where people can research about their families. In this room they have survey maps, newspapers for the 1830s, census records starting in 1841, Council minutes, photographs, glass negatives, and more. Also next to this room is the treasure room. This collection is non-lending and contains old sketches of the library building, hard copies of the newspapers, and books on scottish history. The books in this room have their own catalogue system. It seemed complicated, but once the person learns it, I can see it being very easy.

On the main floor is the adult lending library and it still contains the original book shelves. They offer fiction, non-fiction, talking books, newspapers, and more. There is also free internet access.

For the children's library, it was moved from its original place upstairs. Cool fact, during the war, firewatchers used to sleep and watch fires from this floor. Today, the children's library has story times, books in other languages, and books on MP3 players. The books are placed into categories, but will lead the children to understand the Dewey Decimal System. My favorite part about the children's library was how bright the walls were. They were a bright yellow and it was very welcoming to enter the library.

Upstairs is the Reference Library and special collections. The Reference material contains books on local and national maps, Scottish Parliament information, and community information. This material can't be checked out.

Next to the Reference Library is an awesome special collection. The room houses the Murison Burns collection and the George Reid collection of medieval manuscripts. The Murison Burns collection was donated in 1921 and it contains thousands of books, pictures, and artifacts all dedicated to the poet, Robert Burns. It was really neat to see. Of course, all the pictures of Burns looked actually the same since other painters and artists copied the painting of him that was made from real life. There was a statue of Burns and so much more. I really enjoyed it. Also in that room was the George Reid collection of medieval manuscripts. The manuscripts were beautiful and in great shape. This room is not open to the general public, but researchers can go in with a librarian when requested.

Each month, 20,000 books are checked out. It was an amazing library and the staff were very helpful. It's amazing how Carnegie built libraries to help people and this one is still servicing its purpose till this day. In the future, the Dunfermline Carnegie Library is hoping to once again expand the library and add a museum in 2013. I think it would be really great if they did.

To learn more about the Dunfermline Carnegie Library, please visit

Photograph was provided by the blogger.

Central Library-Edinburgh

For over a hundred years, the Central Library in Edinburgh has been offereing a wide variety of books and resources to the people of Edinburgh. Also, the library is a Carnegie Library which means Andrew Carnegie donated the money to have the library built.

For a public library, the Central Library goes above and beyond to offer services to their patrons. They have several electronic services, downloadable e-books, created a community information website, free internet usuage, Cds, Dvds, audiobooks, and of course, books. They have created "Captial Collections" which is a website giving access to prints, photos, engravings, and drawings held by the Central Library. Some of the prints and photos are too fragile to be held, but the patrons can view them online.

The library also offers several different outreach programs. The library will bring in up coming authors for a meet and greet, and they usually receive 150 to 180 people per event. They are participating in the top twenty Scottish books for the year and staying on top of popular books. They also have "Read Aloud" which is a patnership with other libraries to read aloud to people that are house bound and to the elderly.

For a public library, they also have a special collections. They have materials from the 15th century up until now. Unlike other special collections where the patrons can't touch the book or document, it is encouraged at the Central Library to touch, feel, and smell the document. I liked how the librarian wanted patrons to be hands on. Some places yell at you if you get too close to the document. Like most places, conservation is sent outside of the library.

In terms of the library, I really enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy sitting for the first half while they explained the library. I had a hard time staying awake. I understand that since we are such a large group, its easier to talk to us all at once than break us up into different groups for the same talk, but that doesn't make it enjoyable. Beyond the sitting part, I did enjoy the tour of the library though. We saw the original Carnegie Library, the building that is now attached, and the separate building for the music and childrens library. The library is cool, but they already need more space. In the reference library are the original shelves and furniture, but books were stacked sideways on top of the other books because there is no longer space for everything.

Another cool thing the library had was the Scottish Reading room. This is dedicated solely to the purpose of Scottish history. A lot of people come here to research their family history. They also had a great art library which was classified in the American Library of Congress system.

I really enjoyed the Central Library because you can see how they go out of their way to provide service and help the public. By being on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging, they are able to be better connected to the public. Another cool thing about the Central Library is that they gave us cloth bags with the library's information and cool pamphlets and pictures. It's always fun to receive free stuff.

To learn more about the Central Library in Edinburgh, please visit

Photograph provided by the blogger.

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland began back in 1689 and was called the Advocates Library. It was a private library, but it became so big that it was too much for the members to handle. So in 1925, the Advocates donated their library to the nation. This than became the National Library of Scotland.

For a collection, it houses more than just books. There are over 14 million books and manuscripts, 2 million maps and atlases, 300,000 music scores, 32,000 films and videos, 25,000 newspapers and magazines, and 6,000 new items are added each week. The National Library is one of six legal deposit libraries in the United Kingdom, so that explains why there is a wide variety of items in the collection. The library is the house of scottish history, but they do collect printed materials from around the world that has to deal with scottish history. The library also has treasures in the library such as a couple of Gutenberg Bibles and the last letter written by Mary, Queen of Scots before her execution.

When we went to the National Library, we were not given a proper tour. They did have a visitor center with two different exhibits. The first exhibit was on the history of golf. I have never played golf, don't have much interest for the game, and I'm not the best putt-putt player, but I thought the golf exhibit was awesome! The entire floor was carpeted with the fake outdoor grass to simulate the green, there was a mocked setup green so anybody could attempt a practice putt, and nine different flags that had varies questions on the history of golf. The answers were found on the practice green. There were nice big banners illustrating golf and several books displayed on the history and rules of golf. Again, I am no fan of golf, but I thought the exhibit was well put together, and I trully enjoyed it.

The second exhibit was much different than the first. The exhibit was on different explorers, but the exhibit looked like a Star Trek movie set. The room was dark, and it had several large glass tubes with different items inside. There was usually a large piece of clothing, books, papers, and several small items. In front of each tube was an electronic mocked book that displayed each article in the tube and when selected, a paragraph about the article was discussed. One tube discussed Lord Byron and his travels while the tube next to him had his ex-girlfriend, who was way too attached to him. I loved the exhibit, because its not a style I would of expected a library to do. It was dark, trippy, sci-fish, and had neon lights. The only negative comment I have to make is that the room was too dark. It was so dark that a person couldn't see their notes they had just wrote. Everything else about the exhibit was amazing.

It would of been nice to of had a guided tour, but the exhibits themselves explained a lot about the National Library of Scotland.

To learn more about the National Library of Scotland, please visit

Photograph provided by the blogger.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Museum of London

On my own time, I went to the Museum of London. Out of many of the museums we've visited, this was one of my favorites. Unlike the other museums who have collections from around the world, the Museum of London just focuses on the history of London from when it began till today. Just having one area of focus helped me stay focused.

Having a minor in museum studies, I'm more observant of how a museum is set up and how well its presented. I was very impressed with the Museum of London and found it to be user friendly and interactive. The displays were nicely made and colorful, there were touch screens to read more information, short videos to watch, time period clothes to try on, and drawers and doors to open. There was also things to smell and some displays had matching sound effects, such as people in jail or babies crying. I really enjoyed the video presenting all the plagues that came through London. The display on the Great Fire of 1666 had a huge model of the city and the buildings would light up to show when the fire started and where it spread. There were also varies books and manuscripts throughout the museum that could be seen and read.

Two other neat things about the museum was the Victorian section and the Thames section. The Victorian section was a mock up of a town. There were no information cards to read, but the patron could see into the varies stores to understand how life would of been in the 1800s. Throughout the entire museum, the patron could see all the objects that were pulled out the of the river Thames which was used as a giant dumpster for hundreds of years.

Also, the bookstore had some awesome books that dealt with the history of London. The Museum of London was a great museum and anybody who visits it will enjoy it.

To learn more about the Museum of London, please visit

The photograph was provided by Wikipedia