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

Photograph provided by

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

The Bodleian Library

The first recorded lecture at Oxford took place in the nearby church in 1096. Oxford would build up over the years for several reasons. The main thing is that the town was surrounded by churches and the King had a castle a few miles up the road. In 1167, students studying in Paris were forced out by the English King and than went to Oxford. The university was "officially" established in 1180 by the Guild of Universities. Today, Oxford has 39 separate colleges around the University, and Oxford is the oldest english speaking university in Europe.

Of course, in every great university has to be a great library! Broken into separate libraries is the Humphrey's Library and the Bodleian Library, old and new. In 1488, Humphrey donated to the school 281 manuscripts, and they were housed in the Divinity Room. But in the 1500s, the library was closed and everything sold. Of the original 281 manuscripts, Oxford only has 3 left. After marrying a rich widow, Bodleian decided to restore the library. The library was restored between 1598 to 1602. Bodleian decorated the ceilings and added bookcases. This part of the library can be seen in the sixth Harry Potter movie when Hermonie and Harry are talking in the library. So cool!!

Along with the Humphrey's library, there is the new Bodleian Library which houses 8 million books and under the Square is another 2 million books. Around the university is 34 lending libraries, but Oxford is a reference library, so nothing can be checked out. Since there are so many libraries and reading rooms, it can take 3 hours for a book to be delivered once its been ordered through the internet. That's a long time, but our guide, Mitchell, said that it used to take all day several years ago.

In the collection, the oldest document the Bodleian Library has is an Egyptian marriage license from 567 BC. Oxford also has the most Magna Cartas anywhere else. The one in the British Library is so horribly damaged that you can't even read it. The Bodleian was also the first book depository in the UK. Today, they receive 5,500 new books a week. Like some of the other libraries we've visited, the Bodleian doesn't use the Dewey Decimal System, but catalogues the books by size and arrival date. At the moment, there are over 50,000 registered readers.

The best part of our tour was taking the tunnel from the old Bodleian to the new Bodleian Library. We saw the system that carrys the books from one building to the other. We ended up three stories beneath the library in the stacks. Mitchell told us that the third floor was used as a bomb shelter during the air raids. The second floor basement displayed all the photographs taken of the Normandy Beaches and how the troops would land for D-Day. The first floor basement had people trying to decipher German codes. To me, that is awesome! To think the planning of the Invasion of Normandy took place in the floor above us was amazing! So many places became safe havens and outpost for the war, that nobody would know unless told. That was just so cool!

In the next couple of years, the new Bodleian Library will be renovatied because it has to be brought up to fire coded, needs to make the storage space more efficent, and more user friendly for the patrons. The old and new Bodleian Library were awesome libraries and the new Bodleian will be even better once its renovatied. Oh, and our guide Mitchell was informative, funny, and cute. He just made the tour even better!

To learn more about the Bodleian Library, please visit

The photograph was provided by

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The National Art Library

Part of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Art Library has over a million volumnes of art books, manuscripts, periodicals, and more ranging all sorts of art forms. The library was part of the V&A Museum when it first opened in 1857, but the library wasn't established until 1884. The library moved into its current location back in 1966.

The library is split into two sections: The Reading Room which is quiet and the Public Room were inquires can be made. The library is a closed library, so the librarians have to retrieve the books. The library is three stories and the books are packed into every little corner that is available. It was cool to be able to walk around the library from the second floor and see everybody working. The library has to fight with the museum for space, and the museum usually wins. That could be seen where the museum had an exhibit in an old library space, but the library books were still around the walls. Since the books where around people, the librarians had to bar up the shelves so people couldn't walk away with the books.

A nice service the library provides is the use of two over large black and white copiers. If the book is too fragile to lay open, the library has a camera machine to take the picture of the page and the patron will also see the color. The library has about 30 staff members and there are always 4 people down on the floor at one time.

Along with the books and manuscripts, the library does have a special collections, and we got to see some of the examples. At the London Library, we saw Shakespeare's fourth folio, but here, we saw his first folio and was able to touch it! There was a corrected proof by Dickens, and we saw how he changed a characters name after he made the first draft. Another cool thing was the library has five of Da Vinci's note books. Some of the library staff have never seen Da Vinci's note books because they are hardly brought out, but we got to see them! So cool! If somebody wants to see any of these rare collections, they have to have a pretty good reason to do so. All of these things are awesome, but I didn't see how they fit into art. That was my thought, but I didn't want to bring it up. If I was an art student or artist, the National Art Library at the V&A would be the place to go.

To learn more about the National Art Library, please visit

Photograph provided by the blogger.

The London Library

The London Library was created out of angst over the British Museum Library. Thomas Carlyle hated how he could not bring home the books he wanted to research from the British Museum Library. In response to that, in 1841, Carlyle created the London Library and allowed people to check the books out. Today, it is the world's largest independent lending library.

The library is still a lending library, but the members have to pay for the services. Depending on the cost, it can range from £16.60 per month or £32.90 per month to use the library. Yes, that is a lot of money for anybody to spend, but the cost is worth it to use the library if you're a serious researcher, writer, or enjoyer.

It's worth paying the money though because of the library itself. They have over 1 million books and 97% of the books can be checked out while 3% of the rare books have to be read under close supervision. Books that date back to the 1700s are shelved with all the new books and anybody can read them and take them home (as long as they are careful). The books all looked the same because they are hardcovered with no dust jackets. Since it's a lending library, the books need to last, hence, the use of the hard covers. Unique to this library, and it seems to have worked for over a hundred years, is the classification system. The books are divided into subject, such as Art, and arranged in alphabetical order by the author's last name. And there's no stickers to indicate either! I've never heard of it done that way before, but it works for them.

Another cool thing about the London Library is that they have their own conservation room. The conservation room takes care of not just the rare books but also the regular books that need to be updated. Six to ten books a day are fixed and the conservation room will bind and rebind over 4,000 books a year!!!

For the outside, the London Library doesn't look like much but on the inside, it's huge!! The library is four different buildings put together. The library had a complete update which connected all the buildings and gave the library more room to move collections back to their original section. The main part of the library stacks is from the original 1930s building which used steel graded floors and steel book cases. You can see three stories up or down through the floor which was awesome. It felt great to be in the stacks and with the books, not separated out. I guess that's one of the best things people enjoy about the London Library is being with the books and able to check them out.

The best part of the visit was being able to hold a book written by Henry VIII, published in 1521, denouncing Luther. The cover was beautiful, even though it was so old. To hold something that old and of great importance was incredible! The binding needed to be fixed, but I'm sure that when it's done, the members will be able to read it in the Reading Room, which is also beautiful. Even though the members pay for the library services, the staff are super sweet and willing to go the extra mile to help a member answer a question. If you need research done and have the money, the London Library is the place to go!

To learn more about the London Library, please visit

Photograph provided by the blogger.

Monday, 12 July 2010

National Maritime Museum-Caird Library

I didn't know what to expect from our visit to the National Maritime Museum, but I trully enjoyed myself. The Caird Library, which is part of the museum, was an excellent library. The library opened to the public in 1937 by the generous benefactor of Sir James Caird. Since it is part of the National Maritime Museum, the library receives public funds from the government. Today, it is the largest maritime reference in the world with around 3,000 to 4,000 patrons a year.

The Caird Library is divided into two parts, the regular library and the archives. Together, they hold books, records, manuscripts, pamphlets, charts, and tons of reference books on maritime for a total of four miles of shelving. The library has a total of twelve staff members who do varies jobs. Some manuscripts and such are on a digital archive, but not everything. There is two off site locations for all the manuscripts and such to be stored.

At the moment, the Caird Library is in the process of moving into a new building that is being built. Instead of being open for six days, they're only open for three. It's not the best situation, but when the library is officially moved, it sounds like it will be much better. Instead of ordering a book and waiting three to four days for the book to be delivered, most of the collection will be on site, so it will only take about one hour for the book to be brought up. There will also be more room for people to sit and be in a central area, not in a far corner of the library. The official opening of the Caird Library won't be until next summer of 2011.

So far, this has been my favorite library to visit, because the library and people are more relaxed for a research facility. At some of the other libraries, the patron has to sign up for a library card, be interviewed, and explain why they want to see the book in question. At the Caird Library, anybody can come in and ask to see something. People can handle rare documents as long as they're careful. To me, that's more welcoming than having to explain why you want to see a document. I understand why they do that, but it is a little too formal. Also, at this library, we were shown some documents and books and told about their importance. The articles that were selected were interesting, and we actually got to hold them. It's always fun when you can hold the object. The Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum was a great library and anybody looking for a specific thing about maritime history won't have a hard time seeing the document.

To learn more about the National Maritime Museum and the Caird Library, please visit

Photograph provided by Wikipedia

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Bath Public Library

After our quick, one hour visit to Stonehenge, we visited the old Roman city of Bath. It would of been nice to of stayed longer at Stonehenge but in all fairness, it is just a bunch of rocks in the middle of a field. Anyways, while on our visit to Bath, we found the local library. It was a little strange since the library was above and inside a shopping center, but it was a great library inside. Just for reference, the library was opened September 26, 1990.

The Bath Library, like the Barbican, has small book shelves instead of tall book shelves in simple roows. Above each section was signings indicating what the section was and they were easy to read. There were several quick select book stands for people to see books easily. In the back of the library was microfiche and film that people could look up. Back in that section is also a huge stack of card catalogs. If the records were before 1986, they aren't in the computer system. The patrons need to use the card catalog. In that section, it was mainly for if patrons wanted to look up old county documents and research family trees. In another section was maps. They had maps of about every county and town in the UK. They were nice heavy duty maps people could check out, use, and return. To me, that's a nice service so people don't have to keep buying new and different maps. Unlike the Barbican though, this library had a huge teen book section along with the children's section. Like the Barbican as well, patrons can check out music, videos, and dvds.

Another service the library offers is an exhibit room and a conference room for the patrons to use. The current exhibit was on local flowers. Most of the services in this library though come at a price. Even members of the library have to pay so much to use the computers. To interlibrary loan a book cost about £3 and the library can order whole scores of music, but that can cost between £15 and £20. I guess that's okay since it's not costing the library any money to provide some of the services. Overall, it was a great public library. I felt more at home in the British public libraries than I do in the US. And sorry for the eyeball picture. It was the only sign I saw that had the library logo on it.

To learn more about the Bath Public Library, please visit

The scary eyeball picture was provided by the blogger.

The Cartoon Museum

On my free time, I decided to visit a fun, but different museum. Behind the British Museum, tucked in a side street is the Cartoon Museum. The Cartoon Museum is fairly new, since 2006. It's a non-profit, non-funded group ran out of a small, leased two-story building. The purpose of the museum is to highlight British comics, cartoons, and caricatures and make it accesible for people to research and enjoy.

What's great about the Cartoon Museum is that it is also a learning center. Throughout the summer, they have several different workshops for kids ages 8 through 18 on how to draw different types of cartoons. In the museum upstairs is a studio where everybody is welcomed to draw a comic. Paper, pencials, and drawing books are provided to help. In the sitting areas are copies of old and new comics that people can read. There is also two tv projectors showing different British cartoons.

Now, this Cartoon Museum is for British comics. Anybody that's not British might not of heard of there comics before. The only one I knew was Dennis the Menace. I never knew that was a British comic, since I always saw it on American TV. Also, the comics ranged from kids comics, graphic novels, and old political cartoon from the 1800s.

They also have a temporary changing exhibit and right now they are highlighting "Toy Tales"-highlights from favorite children's animation. Again, most of the shows are ones I've never heard of. But they had such a cute show back in the '70s called Bagpuss. He was a big pink and white stripe cat that would come to life and tell stories. The cat puppet they had was so old and cute! They had one for sale in the gift shop. I might still go buy it. Other shows, such as Bob the Builder, were also highlighted. Again, I didn't know that was a British cartoon. I think they dub over the voices for American ones.

The museum does have a library, but its only open on wednesdays or by appoinment. They have over 5,000 comics, cartoons, and more and 2,000 more that need to be catalouged. Unlike other libraries I've visited, the books were catalouged in the American Library of Congress classification system. I found that odd, but I was told that was a decision made because it was easier to sort the art books. The library is just for reference and nothing can be checked out. I didn't understand much about the cartoons I was looking at, but it was still fun and educational. It was a nice change from the huge museums we've been visiting.

To learn more about the Cartoon Museum, please visit

Photograph provided by the blogger.

The British Library

The British Library did not come into existence until June of 1998. Before than, the British Library was part of the British Museum in the Reading Room. The library was moved because it needed more space for the collections and better storage since the collections were starting to be damaged. For this reason, the British government purchased the land for the library.

Today, the library has over 2 million books and has off site areas to house certain collections. The library brings in everyday 8,000 new publications. Anything that is published within the UK, a copy must be sent to the British Library. As when the library was part of the British Museum, the patrons to the library must sign up for a reading pass and be interviewed. They have to explain why they need to use the library.

My favorite part of the library is the part we didn't see. The storage for the library is 75 feet underground. It basically fills the entire land of the British Library. What's even cooler is that the Northern Line of the Underground runs right through the middle of the library storage. When the land was bought, the Tube Line was already there. Our guide, Heather, said that the shelves downstairs had to be reinforced and that befor the library even opens, the staff can feel the train go through.

Another neat thing was the Treasure Room. It has an assortment of books the library selected to show the public. I loved looking at the copy of Beowulf. It is sooo cool! I like the Treasure Room, but I wish we got to see other objects. The most we got to see was the art around the library and that doesn't interest me. I would of like to have seen the storage area or how a book is preserved. I know we can't, but that's whats interesting to me, not the art work.

A neat story Heather told us was how a doctrate student actually highlighted a book with green highlighter. It cost her £11,000 to remove the highlighter. What a fool! She knows she can only use pencial and that she can't check the book out to take it home, so why use highlighter? For a doctrate student, she wasn't that bright.

To learn more about the British Library, please visit

The picture was provided by the blogger.

Monday, 5 July 2010

British Museum Archives

The British Museum actually started out as a private collection to Sir Hans Sloane. Over his lifetime, he collected over 71,000 objects. To make sure the collection would be taken care of, he bequethed the entire collection to King George II in return for £20,000 to his heirs. After that, Parliment established the British Museum. Over the years, the British Museum housed so many more objects that separate museums and libraries were opened, such as the Natural History Museum. The museum was bombed during World War II, but the more valuable artifacts were moved to the Aldgate Tubestation and later transported to Wales. Today, the museum is free to the public and welcomes over 6 million visitors a year.

While at the British Museum, my class visited the British Museum Archives. I didn't know what to expect when we got there. I was assuming old documents or artifacts, and what we saw where old documents and artifacts, but not what most people would expect. The Archivist, Stephanie, explained that the Archives houses six records: Staff, Building Plans for the museum, Finance, Government, Temporary Exhibitions, and information on the Reading Room. The Archives take care of the records that pertain to the British Museum over the years.

If somebody wanted to find out what was donated by whom or when, those records should be there in the Book of Presents or the Meeting Minutes, some dating back to when the Museum was opened. The Archives also has the Library card signatures in a book or on note cards for when a patron signed up to use the Library. The Library has now moved to the British Library, but the Archives still have the signatures. Yeah, it is kinda boring, but it's helpful to researchers to see where a person was living at the time and who was their recommendation for using the library at the British Museum. While there, we got to see Karl Marx signature to know he used the library and how many times he signed up to use it, which was cool. I'm not a huge Karl Marx fan, but over the years I keep encountering Karl Marx things, like where he was born, now I'm in the city he lived, saw where he came to read, and will probably visit he grave while in London. Go figure!

We also saw photographs of how the museum looked when it held the animals that now make up the Natural History Museum. We also saw the temporary exhibit folder that showed King Tut. It was okay, but Stephanie showed us another example that had wall colors and the type of fabric used for the seating.

The Archives itself was crammed with books and boxes, but it's okay for the amount of staff who are working there-3! All the information is in acid-free boxes and folders and is labeled. The old documents that are in book forms crammed the shelfs, but I don't know if they're are in acid-free paper between the pages. The staff of the British Museum Archives was very sweet and willing to help if you had any questions.

To learn more about the British Museum, please visit the

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

The Barbican Library

The Barbican Library is part of the Barbican Centre, which resides in the City of London. The Centre provides spaces for theatres, films, exhibition halls, private functions, and a restaurant and bistro. The idea of the Barbican came as a result after the London bombing of World War II. The Barbican was to inspire and motivate people with art, music, and books. Today, the Barbican Centre is the the largest multi-arts centre in Europe. The Barbican Library was opened in 1964, but the building the library currently is in now was not opened until the 1980's.

The Barbican Library is a public library, not open just to the people of the City of London, but to everybody. The library has a large selection of fiction, non-fiction, talking books, art books, reference books, children's books, and DVD collection. There is a very small section of tween books, but the Barbican has one of the largest music libraries in the UK. The library also offers several reading groups, literacy classes, career advice days, health checks, and provides space for knitting groups. There are twenty-five work stations where from people can access the internet. The library also makes it easy for people to pick up their reserve book and check it out, and the library will deliver home bound people books every three weeks.

The library also has a few features that I loved. Their self-checkout book machines are awesome! In the US, a person has to individually scan each book into the machine, but the Barbican Library machine is different. A person just needs to scan in their book card and lay down the books on the pad. If you lay down seven books, it knows what book you are laying down. It was so neat to see the librarian, Jonathan, lay down a book one at a time and the machine knew what book it was. It was very simple, but so cool! The library also offers two free keyboards that people can sign up to play. The patrons receive headphones, and they can hear only themselves play. Also in the music room is listening booths so the patrons can listen to music. In the children's library, there are about fifty books on MP3 players that the kids can check out. What's nice is that the MP3 players look cool and are very easy for the children to work by themselves.

The only down side about the Barbican Library is that it is not set-up for laptops. They have electrical wiring that is from the '80s and only have so many outlets. The wiring needs to be updated to support the use of several laptops. Also, there is wireless, but it doesn't work that well. The Barbican has thick cement walls that the wireless signal can't go through. There is one spot near the edge of the second floor where is works, and that's about it.

I enjoyed the Barbican Library. It's a library that is set up to handle different people's taste and liking from music, art, fiction, and children. If I lived in London, that would be the public library I would go to everytime. Also, the staff is super friendly and would be willing to help you with any question you would have.

To learn more about the Barbican Library, please visit

Photograph courtesy of Jon

St. Paul's Cathedral Library

Today the class went and visited the St. Paul's Cathedral Library, which is located upstairs in St. Paul's Cathedral and ran by the Cathedral itself. This St. Paul's Cathedral was built by Sir Christopher Wren between 1675 to 1710 after the church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. There has been a St. Paul's Cathdral since the early 600's on this site and a total of four churches have been built. Because of the 1666 fire, all the books were lost in the Cathedral Library. The books that are seen in this picture of the Cathedral Library were donated since the Cathedral was rebuilt.

What was awesome about this tour was that the librarian, Joseph Wisdom, showed us more than just the Cathedral Library. We went in the back rooms where parts of the original Cathedrals were kept and more. We saw the room that was intended to be the original library, but instead houses the first model Sir Christopher Wren built for his design of the Cathedral. It was rejected because the model looked too much like St. Peters. We walked across the back of the Cathedral where the BBC is posted high above for when a special service is being held. One of my favorites (along with the library), we saw the spiral stair case that was in the third Harry Potter movies.

The library itself is actually small since it had to rebuild the collection after the 1666 fire. People, such as Henry Compton, donated over 2,000 books to add to the collection. People can still donate to the Cathedral Library, but the library is interested in books about Sir Wren, people that are alumni currently living or dead, and so on. Also, people can still make an appointment to visit the library.

Just looking around, I was surprised to see some of the titles I did, such as The Odyessy and books on Greek Philosophers. I know the library is interested in more theological books, but maybe the books were donated. I also liked how Joseph Wisdom said there was a method to their madness. There were many books and documents out on the tables, which was nice for us to see, but Mr. Wisdom knew where everything was. It would of been nice if we had more time to spend in the Cathedral Library, but since the library is small and we were such a big group, it wouldn't of worked out. But, I can say I have been in St. Paul's Cathedral Library and not many people can say that they have been. :)

To learn more about St. Paul's Cathedral Library, visit

Image courtesy of