Friday, 1 August 2008

Thursday, July 10: Barbican Library

The Barbican Library is located in the larger Barbican Center in the City Of London. The Center itself is a venue for art exhibitions of all kinds. The building has 6 floors with several concert halls and theatres. The library is located near the front of the building and occupies two floors. It is a lending library and it serves the citizens of the City of London.

When our group arrived at the Barbican we were given a tour of the children's reading room. The children's area is located at the rear of the library. The library employs one full-time children's librarian and at least two part-time workers. The children's librarian explained their role in the community and discussed some of the reading programs offered. It seems the library is involved in various reading development plans for young readers fom infancy to tweens.

After a short break for tea and bisquits our tour continued. The Barbican Library has a large music collection which includes CDs, DVDs, sheet music, periodicals, and reference materials. The library has even purchased a piano for those interested in practicing their chops. All of these materials are available to patrons to take out. They can also sit at one of the listening stations, provided by the library, to hear their music. The staff meets regularly to make suggestions on expanding the collection. The collection is broad in scope and has several CDs in the various musical genres.

Finally, we were given a quick overview, by a very enthusiastic librarian, of the adult reading room. The lay-out of this section is a bit akward as it has huge columns in the center of the room. Our guide also mentioned problems with lighting which had just recently been addressed. Most of the patrons that use the adult reading room live or work in the area. We were told that the library is highly used during lunch by local workers.

This was a good view of a lending library in a metropolitan environment. This library was partiuclary interesting for me due to its music collection. I plan on using the Barbican as a source when writing about music archives and the collection of music in libraries.

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