Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Next stop: DUBLIN

I'm leaving Dalkeith at 5:30 in the morning to get to the airport in time. I should be arriving in Dublin around 9am.

I'm so excited I have no words!

Rosslyn Chapel

Today is our last day in Scotland so Dr. Welsh took Christina, Rachel and me to Rosslyn Chapel. If you have ever seen The Da Vinci Code this is the small chapel where the movie ends. Our tour guide informed us of how wrong the depiction of the chapel was in some of the scenes though... and there is no room with Jesus' bloodline records at the bottom.

Anyway this chapel is still amazing. There are so many interesting carvings, including some of American plants which suggests the Scots discovered America before Columbus. After touring the chapel we went down a little path and took some pictures of the countryside (which is breathtaking) and some castle ruins. We ate at a great little pub there and I got a steak sandwhich. It was such a fun day trip!

I love how friendly people are in Scotland! Really, everyone wants to help us get to where we are going and I haven't felt unwelcome at all. It's a little sad to be leaving this place.

I'm writing this from The Elephant House, which is where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. It has a laid back vibe and I like how they don't have Harry all over the place around here. It feels like how it might have when JK Rowling was scribbling on napkins or whatever.

Nicole and I will be leaving here soon to go on a ghost tour that ends at the most haunted pub in Scotland!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ACADEMIC - National Archives of Scotland

Today we visited the National Archives of Scotland, our last official vist to a library as a class.

The Archives aims to keep all Scottish records, and has three buildings to help them achieve this goal. I am amazed at how organized this system is and that it has been seen as something important to the government. It was government started and funded by the government since the 1770s (it formally became a government agency in 1993)... such a wealth of records is found there.

The Archives helps maintain serveral websites that help people with research. One main objective of the Archives is to aid in people with geneology work. This really struck a chord with me because growing up Mormon I've always believed that family history is something important. Our tour guide, Maggie, actually said that couples from Utah come to Edinburgh for a year and take digital pictures of records that they get to use for the Church's database. So I'm assuming that's the older missionary couples that she was talking about.

We were shown several different examples of the Archive's materials. There was a mortgage loan book detailing Scots buying property in Mississippi, a fragile cook book, woman's sufferage documents, etc. We were also shown the internet sites/databases the Archive helps manage. It was a great visit but a sad one because it's the last one we will do as a class.

For more information about the National Archives of Scotland, go here.

Picture from

ACADEMIC - Central Public Library

Yesterday afternoon we visited the Central Public Library in Edinburgh. This library is a Carnegie library which was so cool because I've never been inside one before! I don't think...

The library is in a great old building filled with old bookcases. I wanted to take one home with me. We were shown the Music and Children's libraries which were in a seperate building. The Music library is the largest in Scotland. In the main building we were shown the reference rooms, the Edinburgh room, and the stacks where they keep some books because like every other library there is just not enough room for everything. The Central Library works hard with other libraries in the area to see what things they have in order to weed thier collection down some. After our tour we were treated to tea and we got to hear from Colm who headed up a program to promote reading with children in resident homes. In other words, they are in the state's care. It was great to hear his stories and his philosophy on why reading should be encouraged for all people.

I liked his belief (because I share it to) that a librarian shouldn't ever judge a person for what they want to read, no matter what. When you start imposing your standards on someone else, it makes them not want to read and that's something every librarian should avoid doing. I say this, because I don't think all librarians think the way Colm and I do.

The library was founded in 1886 with Carnegie laying the foundation stone himself. It's run by the government in Edinburgh and has more than 850,000 items for the public to use and borrow.

The best part of the visit was that they let me use the internet as a guest. Really, librarians are just the most helpful people in the world. For more information about the Central Library, click here.

Picture courtesy of Dr. Welsh!

ACADEMIC - National Library of Scotland

On our first full day in Scotland we took the bus to Edinburgh and visited the National Library of Scotland. It's a copyright library so it gets copies of all things published in the UK. This library began as a library for advocates, aka lawyers, in the 1860s. It became a copyright library in 1710. So it was initially a law library! This means though that some things were weeded out a long time ago that the lawyers didn't think they needed to keep, even though the library was deemed a copyright library.

The NLS is the largest library in Scotland. It houses about 14 million items. It is funded by the Scottish Government.

Now the library collects all things, especially items pertaining to Scotland. The library also puts on exhibitions. We got to look around the current exhibition titled "The Original Export: Stories of Scottish Emigration" which was filled with suitcases that displayed items from Scottish emigrates. I thought the best part was this wall with luggage tags that you got to write your own emigration story on, if you knew of one. I thought about writing my mom's name down but I didn't.

The library also features a great cafe, shop and internet wi-fi area that seems to be heavily used. Our visit there was short but informational and the exhibit was one of the best I've seen in the UK so far. For more information about the National Library of Scotland, click here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dalkeith and Scotland Day 1

This is my second night in Scotland. So far I love it. We are staying at Dalkeith which is an estate about 7 miles outside of Edinburgh. Its a little bit like summer camp. We stay in rooms of 4 or 6 or so and we share a bathroom with only 2 stalls for about 20 girls. There are tons of hallways, staircases, empty dressers and it's creepy. There are stories of ghosts here. It's in the country though, so I get to experience some actual darkness as opposed to the always burning lights of London. We have to take the bus into town and its a little confusing but I'm sure I'll survive.

Yesterday we just tooled around Dalkeith, a great little town. We ate at an Italian restaurant to celebrate Chai's birthday. The house where we are staying has a movie room with lots of movies so we watched 10 Things I Hate About You and called it a night.

Today we went to Edinburgh which is a great city! Everything is so old! All the streets have cobblestone and there are entertainers on the streets. I think the best part of my day was the people watching I got to do.

Bookie, Chai, Christina, Jenn and I went to the St. Gile's Cathedral. There was a stained glass window depicting the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors, which is my favorite story from the Bible. The building was beautiful. We went to the cafe and had a great lunch. I had a jacket potato, which is just a baked potato and you get to choose what toppings you want stuffed in it. I got carrots, cheese and tomatoes... yummy. Everyone else got Shepherd's Pie which looked delicious. Bookie got a ginger cake that she let me eat some big bites of, because that's just what she does. Yes, I've been adopted while in the UK. Which is great, since when we get home she can still take check in on me and let me bum some food from time to time.

After our library visits, Bookie and I went to the Palace of Holyrood House. This is where the Queen stays when she is in Scotland. WOW. I am so taken back by the beauty surrounding the Palace and how stunning it is inside. Pictures aren't allowed and I got some postcards but no justice is done to the interior. One room is a gallery of portraits that made me gasp when I entered the room. It's hard to believe that for part of the year anyone actually lives there. It's a museum practically. Part of the rooms are dedicated to Mary Queen of Scots and her story, which I didn't know much about. It was really interesting to see everything in the Palace. Outside are the ruins of an Abbey that were haunting and beautiful and the Queen's Garden. I thought I had seen some great gardens, but this was like stepping into the Secret Garden or something. I took some pictures and I'll post when I can but being there is what actually takes your breath away.

Afterwards, we ate at a local pub (I didn't try Haggis yet and I don't know if I will...). Then we got lost on the local bus and finally got home after running to catch another bus. Bookie let me take a shower in her hotel room (she's not roughing it in the haunted house withs us) because I've carried her bag around Scotland the last day or so. Now I'm here in Dalkeith hunting ghosts!

Friday, July 24, 2009

ACADEMIC: CMS Cameron McKenna

Today was an independent research day so I visited CMS Cameron McKenna, a law firm with an office in London. I met with one of the librarians there, James Mullan. I read James' blog The Running Librarian back home and I think it's interesting and links to some other great stuff so I'm really happy he agreed to meet with me.

We chatted about what he does for his firm and what I do for Stites. I was interested in using social apps and Web 2.0 in the work place. I liked what he told me about RSS feeds for routing and having a firm blog. We talked about databases we use and some other resources. He also told me about the organization of the library and who works there. I think it's been one of the most informational visits for me since he does what I do. He also gave me a tour of the firm's library. I like how open of a space it is and that there is a place to eat in the library. I thought of my cubicle back home, piling with mail and filings, and the little drawer I stuff food into. I wish we could reorganize but the way the building where I work is set up I don't think anything like that is possible. I also liked that there was a computer station for someone to access the catalog on and that there was a seperate space for the messes that tend to pile up and stay out of public view. Again, I thought of my cubicle... I guess it is tucked away from mostly everyone's view.

He also advised me to visit CILIP while I am here and see what they are about. I will be doing that soon.

For me this was a great chance to talk to someone who works in the same kind of library I do back in Kentucky and to make another library friend.

Westminster Abbey

I went but it costs £12 to get inside! So, I think a picture outside of it will do just fine for now.

I'm actually running out of places that I HAVE to visit before I leave. This is giving me a lot of free time to just roam and explore the city.

I have no new pictures of food. This bothers me. I ate at a cafeteria like place called EAT and it was good. I got the best dessert there (well not the best, nothing tops sticky toffee pudding). I also ate the greasiest chips in the world today. I'm never going to Fishcotheque again.

ACADEMIC - Bodleian Library

Image from

On Thursday we traveled to Oxford and took a tour of the Bodleian Library. Our tour guide was so quiet and short and REALLY GREAT. He taught us that the library was founded in 1602 through the generous funds of Sir Thomas Bodley. However, Oxford has had a library since the 1300s and some of those collections, like the collection of Duke Humfrey, is housed at the Bodlian. He showed us the procedure for calling an end to the reading day which is a long standing tradition there. Basically a librarian has to ring a bell to signal it's the end of the day for the readers. Another interesting tidbit I learned is that before the author or title was displayed on the book's binding the library wrote numbers on the outside of the pages instead. So the books on the shelves faced the other way. The Bodleian is another copyright library so every book published in the UK sends a copy to the Bodleian. This is just one of the reasons the Bodleian is the ultimate example of an academic library. Our tour guide also said that the Bodleian used to use a form of Colon Classification and is in a transition to using Library of Congress eventually. I was surprised. I'm getting used to the fact that most of these institutions just have thier own in-house classification system. The library houses 11 million volumes and provides more access to online databases than any other university library in the UK.

In the Divinity Hall there are carvings of in honor of the big donors during the building of Oxford. Christoper Wren's was the nicest. He designed one of the buildings there. The Divinity Hall was also where the infirmary scenes in Harry Potter take place. Yeah, I've been to a lot of Harry Potter sites now which is cool but I didn't take any pictures because I wasn't feeling that great that day.

I actually left Oxford pretty early, which was sad. Also, I got on the wrong train on the way back costing me some lost time and about 8£. Boo. For more information on the Bodlian Library, click here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We Conquered Trafalgar...

With the help of some guy. He lifted Kendra and me up there with one hand like it was nothing. Impressive.

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.

Fancy Fish N' Chips

Had this at the Slugs and Lettuce (it was called something like that but I have a hard time remembering things here... and everywhere else for that matter).

Mushy peas are yummy!

Things I Thought About Harry Potter

1. Of course Hermione puts back her books in the library.

2. It's so cool to see places in the movie and actually think to myself, "I've been there."

3. I want that liquid luck stuff.

4. So I didn't cry when you thought I would. I cried when Hermione does because it's sad when a girl cries over a boy. I'm so lame.

5. I don't read Twilight, but that new movie looks pretty awesome.

6. Overall, I give this movie an 8 out of 10. It felt like something was missing but I don't know what.

I heart UNIQLO

Just so you know... my retail love affair with H&M has lost some of it's heat while here in the UK. I'm in love with UNIQLO now.

I went with Bookie, Kendra, and Christina today and yeah love at (now second) sight. Bookie talked me into buying this amazing jacket and I got a pair of jeans, which were desperately needed.

All of you should be pretty proud of me for not spending all my money on clothes in London. I've been shopping lots but not too much is really "talking" to me so I don't buy it. I pretty much counted on losing all my money by now but so far I'm under budget. YAY!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ACADEMIC - British Museum

Today we went as a class to the British Museum and got to explore on our own.


It's mindblowing. I got to see the big things like the Rosetta Stone but I probably only saw 5% of the stuff there. It's just too much. I looked for anything from the Philippines, but didn't find anything. I explained my theory to Bookie that maybe the Philippines hasn't contributed enough to world history to be included... except for killing Magellan.

I've noticed that this museum just seems more "classic" to me than the others we have visited. Not a lot of interaction or things like that just, "Here's parts of the Parthenon." I'm not saying this is bad, the history really confronts you this way. I'm just staring at sculptures and can't help but think about that time period and the people of it. It's blunt and I like it.

The museum was founded in 1753 and holds around 7 million items, making it one of the largest and most comprehensive world history museums. It's government funded through the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport.

We didn't have a guided tour, but that's to be expected. I mean, I'd still be in there a week later listening to an exhausted guide talk about stuff three rooms down from where we started. It was sad that we didn't get to see the reading room though, it's closed for a couple years.

I just bought a postcard and called it a day. For more information about the British Museum, click here.

It doesn't work...

Because it's not real.

This is the best picture I have ever been a part of...

Oh Brick Lane, I miss you.

Pictured left to right: Jenn, me, Kendra

Brick Lane

After Greenwich some of my classmates and I traveled down to Brick Lane which is full of vintage clothing shops and curry restaurants.

Of course I got curry. I loved it! I also got mango lassi which is the best drink ever. It really does taste better here but that really isn't surprising to me. The whole time we got to listen to Indian music and it was the most authentic experience I've had eating curry. The restaurant didn't do just curry but also other dishes from other areas. I wish I could have taken pictures of everyone's food but I didn't.

ACADEMIC - Caird Library

Image provided by National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

On Monday we visited the Caird Library which is housed within the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. As Carlye can tell you I have an affinity for the sea and this was a great visit.

Before you enter the library there are computers in the lobby from which you can access the library's electronic resources. Visitors can use the databases for no charge. The furniture in this library was really nice. Great old bookshelves, maybe not practical but gorgeous. We were shown various archival materials and manuscripts in the collection. We got to see a signal book, which explains all the signals the navy would use. These books were really valuable and in the wrong hands could hurt the navy. So the book we saw had weights in the spine. This way if a ship was captured by pirates the book could be thrown overboard and not float into enemy hands. I thought that was really interesting to see. The book in the picture is one of many tiny books with covers from the wood of the Royal George.

Throughout this trip I'm getting to see a lot of archive materials and its great to watch these librarians handle these materials. I'm actually really envious and I wonder if I could ever do that kind of work...

The Caird Library is named after its main founder Sir James Caird. The library contains over 140,000 items and is the largest library of maritime subject materials.

The library is now open less hours than it was before, due to planned reconstruction of the museum. The staff has been facing many organizational problems because the reconstruction has forced them to move materials. It was interesting for me to see other librarians, especially in library where many materials have to be retrieved for readers, deal with moving and organizing items during transition. It's these technical issues that interest me, probably because they are the issues I end up dealing with in my work. To learn more about the Caird library, click here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


After Stonehenge, we traveled to Winchester which a long time ago used to be a major urban center in England. We got to go to Winchester Cathedral and visit the grave of Jane Austen. The building is beautiful and there were monuments and books of names of people who have died in different wars. It made me a little sad. I wanted to see the Winchester Bible but the library is closed on Sundays :(

Before the Cathedral, I went to Royal Oaks pub with Christina and a couple who helped guide us on the trip. Royal Oaks is supposedly the oldest pub in England but who knows. I got the Sunday "roast" which is a Sunday tradition in England. Basically it's roast beef or chicken (it was beef today) with potatoes, vegetables, and something called Yorkshire Pudding. It's like a pancake. The food tasted great and I've discovered I really like coke with a little ice and a lemon wedge in it. Our conversation was great and I learned that I have a great English accent... when I am trying to impersonate an Australian person.

We took a walk and visited the house where Jane Austen died. It's a private residence so you can't go in. We walked over to the Great Hall and saw the Round Table. It's on the wall which is fine but I guess I thought I was going to sit next to it or something. Just one of the many touristy silly ideas I've had while I've been here.

Winchester was great because it is so old and the streets are so small and the whole time I could hear bells. Maybe because it's Sunday. We visited a nice garden outside the Great Hall and I took a picture by the Law Courts, but I'm not sure why they are significant if they are.

Now I'm back at the dorms exhausted, not sure what to do the rest of the day. Tomorrow I travel once again to Greenwich because I can't get enough of it!


Today we got on a bus and about two hours later I ended up in Stonehenge. It was great just so I could say I have been there. There were of course a lot of people there and it was hard to get some good shots but I think I managed to do OK. This one I think is pretty good even though the wind is blowing in my face.

I didn't get anything at the gift shop because all I really wanted was this picture. I'm glad I went.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More things I've noticed

I tend to say "It was so good" whenever I describe food on this blog.

The food here is so good.

Signs here are polite. For example, at Hyde Park owners of dogs are informed that thier animals should not "worry" the wildlife.

I should have brought another pair of jeans and another light sweater and some flip flops for when I'm just at the dorm. I hate putting on my sneakers just to run a simple errand.

My toe really itches but I'm in the computer lab.

The library at King's is called the Information Services Center. It's fancy like that.

I may not actually see Harry Potter here in London because movies are expensive and it's the same movie back in the US. Who wants to take me when I get back?

I'm dying to go thrift store shopping.

Portrait Gallery and Hyde Park

Today was a non-academic day so Christina and I decided to visit a couple of places. We went to the National Portrait Gallery. It was free! They have tons of portraits from the Tudor period to the present. Some of my favorite portraits I got to see (the links should take you to the NPG website with the portrait):

King Henry VIII

Queen Elizabeth I

Jane Austen

Bronte Sisters

Thomas Hardy

William Wordsworth

Oscar Wilde

Virginia Woolf

James Joyce

Dame Judi Dench

Harry Potter Trio: Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint

Lily Allen

Princess Diana

Queen Elizabeth II

Seamus Heaney

Of course I liked all the literature-minded ones. Some were just really interesting portraits. My favorite was actually one of King Charles II as a baby with a dog (now called the King Charles). We spent hours in there.

After the gallery we went to Hyde Park. It was great. I got to eat an ice cream cone with a Cadburry's flake in it. Apparently the people of London were trying to learn to rollerblade and all of them were failing as I would have. I watched this one guy fall but my hands were full of ice cream and guide book. We got a little lost looking for the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain but we found it. Kids were playing in the water and people were relaxing on the grass. It was a nice day outside today too so it was a great time to be at the park. A lot of football (soccer) was going on and I'm jealous of the skills little kids have here. We wandered through Kensington Gardens and ended up at the Albert Memorial. I didn't even know what it was. It's crazy. To me it looks out of place and a little gaudy but Christina told me that Victoria was crazy about him and she told me about some stuff she knew. Did you know Victoria and Albert were cousins? I didn't know that. I mean, I guess all royalty was related anyway...

Albert is this gold statue in the middle of the memorial. It's phenomenal. Well, we were really tired by then so we sat on the steps of the memorial for a long time then headed back to the dorms. I'm not sure what I'm going to get into tonight. Today has been a long, exhausting, but terribly fun day.

Stratford Wanderings

Before the library a group of us (Bookie, Kendra, Christina, Nicole and I) went to a restaurant called Cafe Pasta. I got the ravioli special. It was so good.

After our visit to the library, Chistina and I roamed around Stratford which is really small. We ended up at The Oppo for dinner with Bookie which was a lot of fun. I got a burger so no picture but Bookie got this dessert called Sticky Toffee Pudding or something like that. It was so good! It was like a little cake surrounded by caramel and topped with ice cream. It melts in your mouth.

Then the whole group went to the Courtyard Theatre to see the RSC production of As You Like It. I thought it was really good and I wasn't bothered by the fact that they skinned a real rabbit on stage. The actors were all so great. The guy who played Jaques looked like Gene Wilder and the actor playing Touchstone was my favorite. He was hilarious. All of the actors were good at engaging the audience while still performing the play. I loved it.

ACADEMIC - Shakespeare Centre Library

Photo of Shakespeare's Birthplace courtesy of Dr. Welsh.
Yesterday the class traveled to Stratford-upon-Avon (about 2 hours away from London) and visited the Shakespeare Centre Library. This library has some commonly used items out in shelves but most of its collection is housed in "stacks" which are rooms closed off by vault looking doors, so you have to request items in order to see them. They get a lot of Shakespeare researchers, theatre actors studying for a part, theatre students, people doing family history and other visitors.

The library is part of the Shakespeare Trust, formed in 1847. It gets all of its funding through the Trust. The Trust also comprimises Shakespeare's birthplace.

This library houses the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) archive full of pictures and prompt books from productions dating back to the 1800s. We got to see pictures from A Midsummer Night's Dream production over 100 years old.

We were also shown the kind of exhibits these librarians do. Many school groups etc. are brought in to see materials housed by the library. The staff has to choose what to exhibit and they have to work to keep the materials preserved and unharmed from exhibition. The best thing in the exhibit shown yesterday was one of the First Folios. Joan, the librarian showing us these items, actually flipped through the pages up until the first page of the first play in the book The Tempest. It was breathtaking to be that close to one of those.

I enjoyed seeing such a specialized library. It was also interesting to visit a charity library, meaning they get no funding from the government. So, if you are ever in England vist one of the sites in Stratford and you will most likely be contributing to their great work. To learn more about the Shakespeare Centre Library, click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stuff from yesterday I forgot

After the Museum of London and our lunch at the Barbican we went to the Imperial War Rooms which is where Churchill met with his staff during WWII. Everything is perfectly conserved. It's kind of eerie. There is also a Winston Churchill museum there. There is an interactive table that you can touch to highlight pretty much any day in Churchill's life and see what he did that day. He lived to be 90 years old I think so it's a really long table. I went through and saw what he did on the September 14s he lived, because that's my birthday.

I guess growing up in America you don't learn about him very much but I've grown an appreciation for him now. On the wall they had his quote, "We are all worms, but I believe I am a glow worm." I may have misquoted that I have no idea.

Then I went with Kendra to Buckingham Palace because she really wanted to go. We took mandatory tourist pictures, I tried to copy a statue, and we left.

Dirty Dancing

So I wasn't sure what show I wanted to see while I was in London but it didn't take much for Christina to convince me to see Dirty Dancing. I love the movie. I used to watch it everyday.

This wasn't a musical. It was "the classic set on stage" so it was like watching the movie all over again. There were a few things that were different but they stuck to the movie mostly, especially with the dancing. It was so great! It was so hot! Racier than the movie, but only because you were watching real people dancing and being sensual. It was a great atmosphere. At the end they played music and let the audience dance in thier seats. It was so much fun.

The singing was done by only a few castmembers but it was excellent. The actors who played Johnny and Baby did a great job too. They did a really good job casting people that looked like the characters in the movie. Maybe I was sitting too far back but it could have been the original cast.

Christina said after the show was over that she wished she could have a summer love. I think that's why I love this movie and now this show. The idea of meeting someone one summer that totally changes your life is something I wish for. It's like a fantasy. This show put me back in that fantasy and was worth the £33 to go.

Also, I sat by a German family that may have not totally known what was going on the whole time. Hilarious.

I'm like the wind



ACADEMIC - British Library

My whole life I've wanted to visit the British Library and now I finally have. Yeah, my whole life I've been a dork who likes to read too...

It's a huge building with artwork and exhibits and of course books. Our tour guide pointed out that it can be hard to tell what the mission of the library is with all these other distractions. By law, anything published in the UK is to be sent to the British Library within one month of publication. So the library is a depository. This also means that they do not intend to get rid of anything. The library also strives to make it's collection available to the public through the use of reading cards and reading rooms. This way, the book is brought to you. We were shown the fancy automated system they have for tracking and delievering books and it was very impressive.

The library sorts all thier books by size, not by subject. I'm pretty sure I knew that but when the question was asked during the tour I had no idea what to say. It was interesting being in that kind of library because the patron can't browse the stacks. You have to know what you want before you go. The only library books I saw there were part of King George III's personal library through glass. Our tour guide was really funny and had a pretty decent singing voice.

The library began as part of the British Museum but was officially seperated in 1972. It holds 150 million items, with items in most known languages. It adds 3 million new items each year!

The British Library has an exhibit featuring rare books. I got to see a Shakespeare First Folio, a working copy of Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, a letter written by Sylvia Plath, versions of works written by Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte oh AND original lyrics written by all four members of The Beatles!!

At the cafe I ate salmon with broccoli and potatoes and a chocolate tart. I wish all library visits included food like this.

We also got to tour the Preservation Studio. I loved this. What is so great is that you don't just walk by the workstations hearing something like, "This is where the conservators work." We actually got to hear from three of them about projects they are doing or just completed - at thier workstations. It was more like an academic visit instead of a tour because we weren't just rushed by. I loved that. Of course, that hour did go by really fast. I learned limestone is used to make leather thinner and I got to see a pamphlet on becoming a pigeon expert in need of repair.

It was a really great experience. To learn more about the British Library, click here.

The EYE & Cheshire Cheese

Last night I got to go up on the LONDON EYE, all caps used for special emphasis. It's not scary but it is a lot of fun and I had a great view of London. Luckily it did clear up by the time I went up there, earlier in the day it was raining and very cloudy.

Before the EYE I had a pasty at the Waterloo station. AMAZING. Must eat one again. Reduced me to sentence fragments.

After that I went with some of my classmates to the Cheshire Cheese which is on Fleet Street and is one of the first pubs rebuilt after the fire. It was really cool to find all these little tunnels and tables fit into cramped spaces. Famous writers used to meet there apparently, but I have no idea. I'm not a pub expert. On Fleet Street I did pass the Old Bailey which is the criminal court here in London. My teacher suggested I visit the Old Bailey for my research on law librarinship in the UK, but I don't even know if there is a librarian that works there. Either way it was still a cool looking building that I should try and visit when it's light outside.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ACADEMIC - Museum of London

Today our class visited the Museum of London. Our lecture was given by Jon Cotton who is one of the senior curators of the museum and one of the people in charge of the "London Before London" gallery. It's a prehistoric exhibit that focuses on the people living in London before the Romans came and turned Londinium into an urban center. It was very interesting. I liked how he spoke of the challenge of educating tourists and Londoners at the same time. His goal in the exhibit was to present the people of prehistory as actual people and not caveman or whatever images we think of. I think the exhibit does a great job of that, especially with the tools of the people. I saw some beads that were used as jewelry and that, for whatever reason, made me think of what life must have been like for the prehistoric London lady.

The Museum also has great exhibits on the Great Fire, the Black Plague and Tudor London. I liked listening to Old and Middle English and trying to figure out what was being said. The museum was incorporated by Parliament in 1965 and holds over 2 million objects in it's collection.

My favorite thing about this visit was the giant photographs taken by Tom Hunter. Click here for a sample. My favorite pic isn't featured but the ones in there are also stunning. To learn more about the Museum of London, click here.

After the museum visit we went to the Barbican and had lunch. I had a great sandwich and potatoes in greek yogurt. It was actually really good. I also met an attorney there who is going to introduce me to the librarians at her firm. Yay!