LIS 580 British Studies
The Barbican Centre Library
June 13, 2016

Stylized photo my phone made of St. Giles across the way from the Barbican Centre.

In the morning I went to the British Library and did some research on Thomas Bodley for my research paper.
I was tickled by this picture of the memorial to Thomas Bodley at the Merton College Chapel because we had seen the memorial on our visit to Oxford.

Stacie, Cherie, Kim and I traveled together to the Barbican. We had the most delicious food at a little shop right outside the tube stop. I had a panini with breaded chicken, prosciutto, lettuce, tomato, and PESTO. SO GOOD. Then we enjoyed the gardens.


The Barbican Library
Geraldine Pote and Johnathan Gibbs were our hosts that afternoon. The Barbican Library opened its doors in 1982 as part of the Barbican Centre. It is one of the City of London community Libraries. It is a public lending library funded by the 1964 Public Libraries Act that calls for free, efficient, and comprehensive library service. Because the Barbican answers to the unique authority of the City of London, it is called upon to wear many hats. Part of its purpose is to support industry and business in the City, so they have a strong business collection. The Technical Analysts library is housed here. It is part of the greater Barbican Arts Centre so it has an extensive arts library including theatre, film, and dance. It has a prestigious and significant music library that received an Excellence Award for Music Libraries from the International Association of Music Libraries.
The IAML award winning music reference library at the Barbican. Our guide here was Richard L. Jones, Music Librarian. The Barbican has the largest library collection of CD's in the country. They provide access to online music and video streaming through Naxos. There are practice pianos and they host a program called The People's Piano Project that gives piano lessons to retired city residents. Their specialized music periodical collection is extensive (with bound back copies). They have a vast collection of all types of scores that are cataloged using McColvin, a specialized type of Dewey.

As part of the greater Barbican Centre it partners with the Performing Arts Centre. The Barbican Centre is a great reconstruction project that came out of the damage from the Blitz. The whole area had been bombed out. The complex was originally a socialist estate. The idea came on the 50's, was designed in the 60's, planned and built in the 70's, and opened in the 80's.
The Barbican impressed me, in that it felt like home. I work at a public library and the beautiful building and unique setting felt like the best that public lending libraries can offer. Our guide did not gloss over the problems they have with the unique facility; including damage to the concrete infrastructure and the inability to adapt to some of the patron needs. A program/meeting space and a dedicated teen area would be part of their wish list.


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