Tuesday, July 13, 2010

London Library

The London Library tour began in the Preservation and Stack Management Department. Stella Worthington talked to us about this department and shared their past and present accomplishments in the library. The department's main job is keeping the books in the best possible condition. The rare books began in the basement of the library but had to be moved because the physical conditions were harming the books. To date, the London Library has processed 35,000 rare books. The library has a conservator on staff, including student workers that help with conservation. One goal the library is concentrating on is minimizing the change in temperature in the stacks. The most unique aspect of the London Library is that it's a lending library. Some of the collection dates back to the 1700s, but patrons are able to check out and take the books outside of the library. The London Library is the largest independent lending library in the world. It has 7,500 members. Another perk to joining the library is there are no late fees! The minimum check out time for a book is 2 months, and the book may be renewed continually until another patron recalls the material. The online catalog is a work in progress, with 42% of the books that haven't been electronically cataloged. Their fastest growing collection is Art. All of the books are organized by size, rather than call number. Patrons are able to freely browse the stacks for materials, but they must closely follow the call number listed in the catalog to ensure they're in the right section and the right shelf. The tour guides were very enthusiastic and showed a love for the library they are representing. The building itself is incredible. The staff joked about getting lost inside the library, but I definitely understand now why the library is considered a labrynth! Patrons and friends of the library still donate items to this day to the library. There are 18 miles of shelving and 1,000,000 books are held inside this library.

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