Monday, 17 August 2009
It was founded in 1984 and has since built a collection of print materials, tapes, and videos. The SPL specializes in contemporary poetry written in Scotland. The material is available in Scots, Gaelic and English, but historic Scottish poetry and contemporary works from almost every part of the world are present as well. Their collection consists of; Contemporary Scottish poetry, poetry from around the world, poetry for children, poetry on cassette, CD and video, current magazines and periodicals (over seventy of which are current titles), a reading room for members, computerized references and searches, and news cuttings. It also offers facilities for listening and performing, and special children and members' areas. Membership is free for those who sign up, and patrons can borrow up to six titles at one time for up to one month.
The SPL provides access to their holdings through outreach collections and a postal loan service for anyone unable to get to the library. Items can be borrowed from the SPL and mailed direct. A freepost label is included for the return of items.
They also offer an online service for patrons who only know a line or two from a poem but not the title or author. Patrons fill out an online form with as much information about the poem as they can remember and the librarians will help to identify it!
The Scottish Poetry Library offers some of its collection in formats that are accessible to visually impaired readers. Complementary catalogues of these collections are available in large print, on audio cassette or on disc as a word document. A Braille catalogue of poetry in Braille is also available for home borrowing.
I found the Scottish Poetry Index interesting. This is a unique research tool, produced by the Scottish Poetry Library with the help of The Scottish Library and Information Council, which provides access to a multitude of poetry and related material published in Scotland from the 1950s to the present. This tool proves valuable for academic research, and for a reader requiring a more thematic approach. The series is also a useful tool for studying the development of Scottish literary journals and the broader culture of Scotland during this period. It is published in volumes and available for sale from the Scottish Poetry Library. It is also fused with the Library's online catalogue.
You can visit the Scottish Poetry Library at http://www.spl.org.uk/
The Scottish Poetry Library
*Photo courtesy of www.geograph.org.uk
Friday, 14 August 2009
The venue was a dynamic weatherproof intimate theatrical setup. It housed over 1100 seats, all tiered, with great views for the whole audience. The characters were able to fly freely and the upper walls were a part of the 360 degree projected movie set! The projected scenery was designed by William Dudley, and is the same technology which can be seen in the 3D cinemas and from using the same equipment as the Spiderman films. The first group flying scene with Wendy, Peter, Michael, John, and Tinker Bell was incredible with the addition of a 400 sq. mile view of London as the backdrop. It made me feel as if I was flying with them! It was so amazing and magical that it actually brought tears to my eyes.
Barrie was born in Scotland in 1860. When he was six years old, he lost an older brother in an ice skating accident. His mother was left devastated and Barrie did everything to fill his brother's shoes, including dressing in his clothes and whistling in the same way he did. Barrie's mother found comfort in the fact that her dead son would perhaps remain a little boy forever. Many people think that this scenario could have influenced the famous story.
Peter Pan was first performed in 1904, two years before the story was actually published. Another factor that is thought to have played an important part in Barrie's literary, and even personal life, was the Llewelyn Davies family. Barrie first met George, Jack, and baby Peter in 1897, in London's Kensington Gardens. Barrie was inspired to write about their many playful adventures with the boys. The fate of most of the Llewelyn boys was sad and depressing, especially considering their portrayal in the play. George, died in World War I, Michael drowned in Oxford, and Peter committed suicide in 1960 by throwing himself in front of a fast moving underground train.
I would highly recomend this production to anyone! It was probably the most magical and well acted play that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Information about this production can be found at http://www.visitlondon.com/peterpan/
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens logo
*photo courtesy of www.visitlondon.com/peterpan
Peter, Wendy, and Micheal flying over London
*photo courtesy of www.guardian.co.uk
Peter Pan - Ciaran Kellgren
Wendy Darling - Abby Ford
Michael Darling - David Poynor
*photo courtesy of www.broadwayworld.com
Captain Hook - Jonathan Hyde
The collections at NLS are immense with 14 million books and manuscripts, 2 million maps and atlases, 3,000 music scores, 32,000 visual works, and 25,000 newspapers and periodicals. They gain 6,000 new items every week! They have material in 490 languages and the strength of their collection lies in Scottish culture and their manuscript collection.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to look around much as our guide was really focused on getting us to look around in the NLS learning exhibitions that I mentioned above. The exhibition they had going on while we were there was about Scottish emigrants. They had different stations set up that were centered around various people who traveled to the Americas in search of a new life. Each station told a person's story interactively with different tools. Each station held an old fashioned traveling trunk filled with items used to travel with at that time. Each trunk had a telephone where you could listen to letters being read from that particular person. It was an unusual and interesting way of looking at what these people were experiencing during that time. I was really touched by the stories that were being told firsthand through the letters and by being able to touch the things that were in the trunks. I was also intrigued by this exhibit because it was not something that I had ever seen before. In the America's we learn about immigration by seeing exhibits about people who came to the new world. These are basically the same people and the same story, but told with a different perspective.
The National Library of Scotland can be found at http://www.nls.uk/
The National Library of Scotland
*photo courtesy of www.upload.wikimedia.org
The Edinburgh Central Library was first proposed in 1868 and then again in 1881, being rejected both times by the Edinburgh Town Council. In 1890, the Central Library finally opened to the public. It consisted of a Reference Library, a Lending Library, and a News Room. Today it has more than 850,000 items available to borrow, free internet and computer services, and several subject libraries. Their art library covers fine art, design, art history, and architecture. The music library holds their audio and dance collections and they have a delightful little children's library. The Scottish Library is a department completely dedicated to Scotland. It holds a myriad of material covering the Scotland's past, present and future.
The folks at the Edinburgh Central Library were very welcoming and hospitable. They took the time first to show us around the building and then sat down with us to discuss more about their institution. I was fascinated with their reader outreach programs, intrigued by their efforts to extend their services to youth in delinquent homes, and very moved by their stories and efforts to gain new readers. This was one of my favorite places that we visited and I really enjoyed the librarians that took time and taught us not only about their institution, but about Scottish hospitality as well.
Some Edinburgh Central Library information can be found at http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/internet/leisure/libraries/your_nearest_library/Central%20Library
Edinburgh Central Library
*photo courtesy of www.edinburgh-scotland.net
Edinburgh Central Library (reference room)
*photo courtesy of www.edinburghguide.com
Thursday, 13 August 2009
We visited the General Register House, which is the main building of the three located across the city and dates back to the 1780's. The newest addition to the three buildings is the Thomas Thompson House. The two joint buildings, comprising the Thomas Thomson House were built in 1994 and are designed to provide space for the national archives of Scotland. It is more high-tech and provides over 37 kilometres of environmentally controlled record storage, while the other houses a records reception and sorting area, staff offices and a purpose built conservation unit.
The NAS has over 70 kms of records from the 12th - 21st centuries. The organization is split into two divisions. Record Services handles government records, court and legal documents, and collection development. Corporate services takes care of accommodation services, financial and administration aspects. Over the years NAS has had to develop their services and keep up with emerging technology. They have done this by creating their online catalog, housing "virtual volumes", allowing access to Scottish wills from 1500-1901, and digitizing the Church of Scotland records.
The NAS has several different online tools to help out the patron. Scottish Handwriting.com is a website that offers online tuition in paleography for researchers like historians and genealogists who have trouble reading manuscript historical records written in Scotland in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The Scottish Register of Tartans is a national repository of tartan designs. It is an on-line website database that allows people to search the many thousands of existing tartans and register for new tartan designs. This site also provides links to Scotland's tartan industry sources.
Of particular interest to me was "ScotlandsPeople", which is considered one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information. This database with almost 50 million records to access, allows people to start research and connecting their family histories from the comfort of their home, office, or library. This website offers sections on how to build your family tree, famous Scots, statutory records, old parish records, census records, wills & testaments, and a coat of arms search.
The National Archives of Scotland can be explored at http://www.nas.gov.uk/
Scottish Handwriting.com can be found at this link http://www.scottishhandwriting.com/
You can find The Scottish Register of Tartans at http://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/
ScotlandsPeople can be found at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
The National Archives of Scotland
*photo courtesy of www.happyhaggis.co.uk
Interior section of The National Scottish Archives
*photo courtesy of www.kdedevelopers.org
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
This great university library (which happens to be used for the Harry Potter films), accommodates a wide range of readers and material, primarily covering the humanities discipline. It is a reference library that does not allow patrons to borrow material. New patrons to the Bodleian Library are required to agree to a formal declaration before being granted access to the library.
Today, the Bodleian includes several off-site storage areas as well as nine other libraries in Oxford including the Japanese Library, the Law Library, the Indian Institute Library, the Oriental Institute Library, the Philosophy Faculty Library, the Radcliffe Science Library, the Sackler Library, the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House, and the Vere Harmsworth Library.
The current statistical holdings of the library include over 8 million items on 117 miles of shelving! They have a staff of over 400 as well. Some items in its special collections include four copies of the Magna Carta, a Shakespeare's First folio, letters of the poet Percy Shelley, a Gutenberg Bible, and several rare codexes.
Being in Oxford was a great experience for me. It's literary history seems endless and I really wish I had more time to explore all the secrets of the town. I had really enjoyed just walking around the town where Lewis Carroll was inspired to write Alice in Wonderland, and the town so widely used as a backdrop in Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" series (The Golden Compass). Oxford was used to film many scenes from the Harry Potter films and the Golden Compass film as well. We also went to The Eagle and Child Pub which has seen the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis!
Oxford's Bodleian Library can be found online at http://www.ouls.ox.ac.uk/bodley
The Bodleian Library (interior)
*Photo courtesy of lilbookbinder.wordpress.com
The Bodleian Library (exterior)
*Photo courtesy of franceskayphoto.co.uk
The Eagle and Child Pub
*Photo courtesy of homesteadbb.free-online.co.uk
There are a few self-service reference books shelved in the reading rooms, but the majority of the library material does not circulate and needs to be ordered from the catalogs. Patrons are required to join the Library and obtain a reader’s ticket to consult library materials. The Library consists of two main public rooms, with 108 individual reader/study desks.
The National Art Library has material on many subjects. These include research essential to the work of the
The National Library splits their collection into two categories; General and Special. The general collection consists mainly of books on art history, architecture and painting, fine arts, decorative arts, furniture, and fashion. The type of material held in special collection are artists’ letters, book art, calligraphy, children’s books, early printed books, illuminated manuscripts and modern book and magazine design.
One of the great treasures in the library is the Codex Forster, some of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks. Some others that we were shown were a Shakespeare's First Folio, an early printed book in the humanist style, a coat of arms book referred to as an Armorial, a literary manuscript by John Keats, Charles Dickens original manuscripts, and some artist books.
Websites to look at:
Victoria and Albert Museum - http://www.vam.ac.uk/
Victoria and Albert Museum - National Art Library - http://www.vam.ac.uk/nal/index.html
Victoria and Albert Museum
*photo courtesy of www.elizabethannedesigns.com
Victoria and Albert Museum - National Art Library
*photo courtesy of www.curiousexpeditions.org
National Art Library Reading Room
*Photo courtesy of www.copac.ac.uk
Some of the museum's many treasures that I found interesting were a Granite head of Amenhotep III from 1350 BC, a bust of Ramesses II from 1250 BC, The Rosetta Stone from 196 BC, several Mummy's including that of Cleopatra from Thebes from 100AD and The Parthenon Gallery which houses some of the Parthenon Marbles.
* The Parthenon Marbles - claimed by
* Ethiopian Tabots - claimed by
* Achaemenid empire gold and silver artifacts from the Oxus Treasure - claimed by
* Rosetta Stone - claimed by
* Aboriginal human remains - returned to
*Photo Courtesy of www.cda-network.ning.com
The former British Library Reading Room at the
*Photo Courtesy of www.londonist.com
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Their holdings include 100,000 modern books, 8,000 rare books, and 20,000 pamphlets & periodicals, of which 200 are current. the NMM also holds over 66,000 manuscript records as well as a manuscript database. They welcome between 3,000-4,000 visitors a year and answer approximately 15,000-18,000 questions through their e-library. On average they pull about 5,000 archival items a year as well. A topic of great interest to me is their material relating to pirates. The museum features material covering the many pirates who were active in the 'Golden Age' of piracy from 1650–1720. The
The National Maritime Museum
*Photo Courtesy of www.athenryac.com
Edward Treach. AKA Blackbeard
*Photo Courtesy of www.perlgurl.org
One of my favorite day trips so far has been the Shakespeare Centre Library and Archives in Stratford-Upon-Avon in
We had the unique opportunity of having a guided tour of the Library and Archives. The Library and Records Office holds The Shakespeare Collections which is comprised of combined materials from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The collection is divided into two categories; The Shakespeare Collections and The Local Collections. The Shakespeare Collections consist of printed book materials and the archive of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre 1879–1960 and of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) from 1961 onwards. It also includes translations of Shakespeare in over 70 languages, and many unique documents relating to Shakespeare and his family. The Local Collections includes many archival records, books, photographs and maps relating to
Their collections are currently organized using a unique in-house system slightly resembling the Dewey Decimal system. They currently own approximately 50,000 books and pamphlets and about 250,000-300,000 photographs and digital images. About 1,000 of their books were printed before 1700! Included in their collection is a First folio of Shakespeare's works! Besides their regular employees, they benefit from the help of anywhere between 15-20 volunteers. In addition to their printed material they offer various unique databases, which are available for researchers use. They have a Cemetery Burials Register from 1881-1964 which contains 11,134 entries and can be searched by name, date and age. The Police Charge Books database from 1863-1880 holds recorded details of those arrested in the town, what crimes and misdemeanors they were charged with, and how the cases were dealt with. These details can be searched by person, crime, age, gender and date. Others include The Stratford Borough Workhouse database from 1819-1834, the Stratford Union Workhouse from 1884-1895 and 1903-1906 and the Smallpox Census from 1765.
We were given a tour of the four stacks in the basement area of the building. Stack 1 held a collection that really caught my attention. Is was titled "The Bram Stoker Collection". Apparently, unbeknownst to me up until this time, Bram Stoker was a business manager in the Lyceum Theatre for Sir Henry Irving, and was his friend and secretary for nearly 30 years. The collection housed in Stack 1 consisted of anything relating to Bram Stoker and Henry Irving during that time at the Lyceum theatre. It included menus, play reviews, and prompt books among other things.
*Photo courtesy of www.freefoto.com
The Shakespeare Centre Library & Archive
*Photo courtesy of www.thewaymarking.com
*Photo courtesy of www.visiting-stratford.co.uk