Tuesday was a very busy day! We started out in the Barbican Library, which is a public lending library that moved to the Barbican center in 1982. First of all I have to say, our tour guides were absolutely wonderful at the Barbican. They even gave us tea and biscuits! The Barbican’s patrons are residents and people who work in the city. They are predominately in the 25-45 age range, and more men than women. The library is open two late nights until 7:30 and all day Saturday to accommodate their users. They also have online resources and returns technology that is available after hours. It is interesting because they have a 2-hour per day limit of library use to keep people from staying there for hours. They also change the wifi password once every week. Inside the library is an exhibition that changes every month. There is a very high standard, and it is very competitive to be chosen for the exhibition. The Barbican Library is huge! The fiction books are on shelves in middle of the room, and nonfiction is organized using Dewey on the shelves around the border of the room. Art and music materials can be found in their own sections, however, and computer books are located near the computers. The building was not designed to be a library, so there are aspects about it that are not great. For example, there are large pillars in the library, but nothing can be done about them because they are part of the building. I found the Barbican very user friendly. They offer ESL classes, a “skills for life” collection, and a delivery service for the elderly. The music and art sections are very extensive. The music library even has two pianos for patrons to use. All of the music scores are bound before shelving, which is expensive but allows the material to last longer. The children’s library serves users from newborn to age 14. It contains 24,000 items. There is no school library system, so the Barbican visits schools. They offer story time 3 times a week, as well as other programming.
After the Barbican we went to a top secret corporate library that I am not allowed to post about, but it was interesting to hear about another type of library that I have never seen before.
That afternoon we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s is beautiful and we were able to see areas that most people don’t get to see! I enjoyed seeing the staircase from Harry Potter. The library had a large collection of rare and very old books. It even smelled like “old books” when we walked in. We talked about preserving and conserving old texts. They focus on restoring the books, and more importantly, preventing any further deterioration.
Tuesday evening, Amanda and I went to the Soane Museum because they have a candlelight tour on the first Tuesday of the month. After sitting outside in the cold, wind, and rain for two hours, we finally went inside. It was kind of interesting, but not really my cup of tea. I have decided Soane was basically just a glorified hoarder. But the outside of his house is another Harry Potter film location- 12 Grimmauld Place.