Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ACADEMIC - National Art Library

Today we visited the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Our tour was given by Jenn, one of the library assistants, and she was so nice and bubbly and excited about showing us the library. That's the way I would be if I was giving a tour of the library I work in... but most people would not be excited about how I helped move WFPD 4th. Charles Dickens' original manuscripts is a little more exciting. The National Art Library is a public library, with holdings that specialize in the decorative and fine arts. To access an item in the National Art Library, one must obtain a reader's card.

This library is experiencing a problem I deal with and that is one of lack of space. I understand what it's like to have to worry about where to put things, which is what led to the moving of the WFPD (That stands for West's Federal Practice Digest. Another acronym that can be used for this publication is LAME). Like the British Library, they organize everything by size. This is so novel, I really wish I could do this back home.

After the tour we were shown some of the archive/special collections items. I got to see a poem hand written by John Keats, one of the Dickens manuscripts, "art books" which are really cool, and another Shakespeare First Folio. Except with this folio I got to touch it.

I need to repeat this: I TOUCHED AND FLIPPED THROUGH THE PAGES OF A SHAKESPEARE FIRST FOLIO. If I fail at everything else in my life I'm still going to feel pretty acomplished just because of this one event.

Because of this and the hospitality of the staff there, this is probably my favorite academic visit so far. For more information about the National Art Library, click here.

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