Sunday, August 15, 2010

Zoological Society of London Library: Optional Visit

The Zoological Society of London Library tour was given by John Edwards, the Zoo historian. The building,built in 1910, currently houses the library, offices, and meeting rooms. To fully understand the library, Edwards first gave us background information about the London Zoo. The London Zoo opened in 1828 and in 1836, the Zoological Society was founded. In the 1850's, the Zoological Society's Museum collection was donated to the British Museum. At the end of the tour, we were shown pictures of some of the animals that were kept throughout the history of the London Zoo. We saw photos of the first hippo that came to the Zoo in 1850, a baby orangutan named Lady Jane, a sable antelope (the only one outside of Africa), the only photo of a living Quagga (a less striped Zebra), and photos of the first African Elephant, Jumbo, that came to the London Zoo. By 1912, there were a recorded 1 million visitors that came to the Zoo that year.

The Library was founded in 1826 and is now the largest privately owned zoological collection in the world. We spoke with Emma, the book cataloger, about her project that she has started. She is working on turning the card catalog to OPAC. So far, books published after 1993 and before 1860 have been cataloged to the OPAC. The card catalog was made in the 1960's. Ruth Jones spoke more about the collection. Their entire collection is housed in the same room. The library's collection holds conference proceedings, annual reports, zoo guides from all zoos, books about animals, animal breeding, husbandry material, and other zoo related material. Most of the items this library holds are hard to find items. Ann Sylph from archives showed us a few of the rare materials the library holds. We saw the ZSL's first charter, written by George IV in 1829. We saw letters by Darwin requesting help with specific bird names. We also saw the new charter, written by Elizabeth II in 1995. Popular inquiries made by patrons today are about family history. They are looking for past relatives who have worked in the London Zoo.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Stratford-upon-Avon Library: Optional Visit

The Stratford-upon-Avon Public Library was a wonderful find. It is situated on the same street where Shakespeare was born. Stratford-upon-Avon library is a Carnegie library and is also part of the Warwickshire library system. Like most public libraries, their collections holds items like large print and regular print books, CDs, DVDs, periodicals, and also microfilm readers in the periodical room. The library's focus, once again, appeared centered on family history. After visiting Scotland's libraries, the trend of family history continued. Some of the material used for family history included parish registers, census returns, electoral registers, local newspapers, maps, trade directories, monumental inscriptions, CD-ROMs, books, and also internet resources for local studies and family history websites. Another helpful resource is the family history group that meets in the library on the first Friday of every month. The library staff includes local history librarians, who can provide assistance for patron's questions about family history.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The American Library in Paris: Optional Visit

The American Library in Paris was an amazing find! Before entering the library, we had to check out the cart of free books the library had placed outside. No one could resist free books! What I thought was most interesting about the American Library in Paris is that it is the largest English-language lending library on the European continent. In 1917, the Library War Service, a product of the ALA, ships 1.5 million books to U.S. service personnel. The American Library in Paris was founded by the ALA in 1920. The core collection of books were donated by American libraries for US armed forces personnel serving their allies in WWI. In 1923, the library launches Ex Libris, a monthly review, with contributions from Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. In the 1940s, French libraries began to close under Nazi occupation- but not the American Library in Paris. Their doors stayed open throughout WWII. The library even provided an underground lending service to Jewish patrons. In the 50s, investigators sent to filter out Communist inspired literature from the library were turned away. In 1955, the library launches The English Language Library for the Blind, which was the first collection of Braille books in English on the European continent. Marlene Dietrich's personal library was donated in 1995.

Now, the library serves as a non-profit cultural association in France. The collection includes 120,000 books, 300 periodicals, DVD, VHS, and other audio visual materials, and online and paper reference and research resource materials. The library is open to all, with annual and short-term membership options for families, students, and seniors. There are 2,300 members ranging over 60 different countries. The library has a staff of 12 members, speaking 8 different languages, and over 50 volunteers that participate in all aspects of the library.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Maughan Library at King's College

Sally Brock started our tour with an introduction to King's College and the history of the Maughan Library. King's College (Strand campus) was founded in 1829. The Strand campus is the only non-health related studies campus. Studies at the Strand campus include the humanities, law, and sciences. In the beginning, the library was seperated into several libraries. It was considered to be a mish-mash of books, with no room for expansion. The building the library is currently located became up for grabs in the 1990s. King's is leasing the building because it falls on royal property, and the Queen is a patron of King's. In 2001, the Maughan Library opened.

The building was formerly a public record office, built in the 1850s. It was the first fireproof building in London. This building was ideally built in the heart of London, making it convenient to store records. The building was designed with only a few public rooms. Changes were made to allow more public rooms- there are 1,000 reader places and over 800 computer terminals located in Maughan. The collection includes 750,000 items. The stacks are primarily open stacks, with special collections as an exception. King's students, researchers, faculty and staff, and other students affiliated with King's are allowed access to the collection. Over the past 10 years, the Maughan Library has underwent a few changes to become more patron friendly. Wireless connection, 24/7 access during finals week, social seating areas, and flexible teaching spaces have been included in the changes. Other features of the library include the short loan room and the round reading room. Obviously, books with a short loan period are placed in the short loan room. The round reading room is meant for silent study. Patrons who enter this room are well aware of the room's serious tone. This room has also been frequently used for filming purposes. The room gives a hint of what a library should look like. The stacks are round, encircling the entire room from floor to ceiling with books.

The Foyles special collections includes 150,000 items and 12 reader spaces. The collection is rich in the medical field, including Florence Nightingale's works. Foyles doesn't have a large acquisitions budget. They receive between 10-12 new items per year. There are 3 staff members full-time. The reading room is closely monitored by staff, and the patrons may only look at materials in the reading room. Anyone with a student ID is allowed to use the collection. Most users are post graduate and research students. One of the items shown was a rare Low German Bible. It was printed in Halberstadt in 1520. There was an illustration on one page of the 4 horses mentioned in Revelations.

Monday, July 26, 2010

National Archives of Scotland

The National Archives of Scotland is an agency of the Scottish government, headed by the Keeper of the Records. The archives consists of 3 buildings located in Edinburgh, 140 staff, and 8 websites. There are 2 Divisions: Record Services Division and Corporate Services Division. The Record Services Division includes government records, court and legal records, collection development. The Corporate Services Division includes accomodation services, finance and administration, information and communications technology, conservation, and reader services. The archives' holdings consists of 70 km of records, ranging from the 12th-21st century. Subjects include government, business, railway and private records, wills, valuation rolls, maps, and photographs.

The tour began in the General Register House. In the Historical Search Room, the public is allowed to use the room for research. The West Register House, opened in 1995, houses the conservation department. The archives' recent developments include an online catalog, 'virtual volumes' located in house, access to Scottish wills (1500-1901), digitzation of the Church of Scotland Records and Scottish Documents website, registers archive conversion project, valuation rolls project, and the Scotlands People Centre. This special collection includes Robert Burns' will and prison registers with photos. The Register of Deeds is located on the 1st floor. It was redesigned 2 years ago. A fireproof system was built, making the walls and floors of stone, rather than wood. Included in the library is a statue of George III, sculpted by Anne Seymour Damer.

Dunfermline Public Library

The Dunfermline Public Library was built in 1883. The library was a success when it first opened, and it included a museum and a ladies reading room. Their lending includes a mixture of old and new materials. The teenage section is very popular, and was moved into the regular stacks. Computer classes for the elderly are available in the library. Participants learn how to send emails and learn other basic computer skills. The classes are done throughout Fife. The collections include Chinese and Polish, as well as an exhibition about Fife. Dunfermline is a branch library. The Abbey Room used to be the Music Library and the YA room. Unfortunately, every Music Library in Fife was stopped last year. Dunfermline has plans to build a new museum next to the library. There are 28 staff members based in Dunfermline. They provide staff for other branches when needed.

There are several unique departments within the Dunfermline Public Library. The Children's Library opened in the 1930s and it now participates in school visits. The Local History Department includes a dedicated staff, as well as books, maps, and slides. The Special/Rare Collections holds many things, including the Dunfermline Press. The collection dates back to the 1850s. Locals have donated items for the public. The items in the special collection are not for loan, binding is send to outside sources, and the stacks are climate controlled. The library doesn't offer much work to do for conservation. However, the efforts made include using acid free paper and boxes for the materials. The Murison Burns Collection consists of collected Burns books and busts. The collection is still growing. The International Geneological Index (IGI) is dated pre 1865, contains the Parish index from mostly Fife, and is located near the special collections. The Reference section is open access and includes photocopies and books.

Central Library at Edinburgh

Our tour at the Central Library at Edinburgh was filled with information about the different departments within the library. First, Allison presented information about the Library Development of Digitization (Digital Library). The Virtual Library was developed only a year ago. It provides 24/7 availability and brings e-services together. Their upcoming project are downloadable e-books. The library has discovered that patrons are wanting more online resources, rather than searching through the reference section. Your Edinburgh is a community website on the library's main page. The focus is providing information that people really need. The webpage also has a photo collection, which consists of 3,500 photographs. The Images of Edinburgh shows how the city has changed over the years. 2,000 patrons are subscribed to the e-newsletter. This is a great tool for patrons to know what is going on in the library. The library also has a Wordpress blog, Tales of One City, which promotes the library. They post daily. Twitter is also a very effective way of communicating and monitoring what patrons say about the library.

Annie Bell and Colin discussed the Reader Development department. The purpose of this department is engaging with readers, and learning how to expound their reading and library experience. They have author events. Author events are usually once a month, between 150-180 people attend, and the writers are generally Scottish. "Crime in the City" was a crime themed author month where different crime authors went around the city, promoting their books. Reading groups are very popular within the 26branches of the library at Edinburgh. There are over 100 reading groups, but most are private. Another program that has been implemented is Read A Loud, which consists of reading poetry and showing photos to the elderly. There are 5 care homes in Edinburgh that participate.

Karen talked about conservation and special collections. The collection dates back from the 15th century to present. Their preservation is usually done outside the library by conservators. The trouble with conservation is money. It costs 500£ to de-acidify a book. Karen's advice is to always justify your decisions when it comes to conserving.