Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Barbican Library

Our first visit on Tuesday was the Barbican Library, the City of London's "leading public lending library."  After our visit on Thursday to the British Library, it was a surprise to visit such a large public library, where the materials are freely available for patrons to browse.
Within the Barbican complex, the library has the main library, a music library, and a children's library.  During our tour, we were able to talk to the librarians for each of these sections.  Geraldine, the Adult Lending Librarian and our guide, took us first to visit the children's library.  I have never worked in a public library, but I have worked in an elementary school, so I was very interested in seeing how both public libraries and UK children's libraries organized their collections and provided activities and programs for the children who visited.   

Amanda, the children's services librarian, spoke with us about the services the library offers for children.  The children's library is a separate library for children aged 0-14 years. They can borrow up to 12 items free of charge.  They organize their fiction materials by age group: 5-9, 10-12, and Teen.  Their nonfiction is arranged by the Dewey system, and they also have graphic novel and audiobooks sections.

The children's library serves 6-7 schools within the City of London area, by setting up class visits, reading groups, and reading mentoring.  The library also works with the teachers in these schools by providing a lending arrangement, where the teachers can borrow a section of books on certain subjects for a semester for their students to use for projects and assignments.

The next area we visited was the Music Library.  According to Richard, the Music Librarian, "London is the most musical city in the world."  The music library was opened in 1983 and is one of 2 remaining music libraries in London, with the other being at Westminster.  In their collection, they have DVDs for visual musicals, operas, and concerts, two keyboards with headphones that patrons can book free of charge for 1 hour.

The music library has about 9000 books that cover all styles of music. They provide patrons with study carrels and listening booths. We weren't allowed to take pictures of patrons using the library, and there was one in the listening booths as we passed. He was practicing conducting while listening to a piece of music. It was really interesting to see that these services are being used as they are meant to be!

My favorite part of the music library was the huge collection of scores.  They had scores for every genre and almost every artist you could think of.  While we were listening to Richard, I noticed right next to me was the musical section! See if you can recognize some of these musicals! 

For any of my lovely readers who are a little confused about what I mean when I say "City of London" versus "London," please watch this video! It is explained easily and with funny drawings.

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