My trip was marvelous; I made fabulous friends, saw incredible things, learned more than I could have ever imagined, had the time of my life and to top it all off, I earned class credit! What more could a girl ask for? I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my travels as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about them. I can’t believe it’s already over.
Cheers until next time,
Saturday August 8th – Today a few of us went to see the musical Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theater. I had seen it before, but the others hadn’t. It was just as wonderful the second time around! Wicked is the story of the witches of OZ and presents a very different story than the one told in the Wizard of Oz. I suppose it’s true what they say…there are two sides to every story. Both Wicked and the Wizard of Oz were books before they were performances; while parts of each book may not be suitable for all ages, I think there is a lot than can be used in a library program for children. Not only are both stories fun and exciting with colorful characters (literally!), but they have great themes: acceptance, kindness and understanding, being different, and standing up for what you believe in; plus the music is pretty awesome!
It was a great way to spend my last afternoon in London…
image courtesy of londontheatredirect.com
Tuesday August 4th- Tonight we saw Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and it was wonderful! After a quick trip to see the statue of Peter Pan across The Serpentine, we made our way into the theater. As we took our seats and the play began, we knew we were in for a very special evening. It was a spectacular presentation of a beloved children’s story and I loved every minute of it.
I work with kids on a daily basis, fairy tales, story time and glitter crafts play a large role in my daily activities. Seeing classic tales interpreted through different mediums is always interesting as sometimes I find ideas for future programs. I’m very excited to share what I saw with the kids at the library, to describe what it was like to see Peter Pan fly across the stage and the Crocodile swim after Captain Hook. Sitting in the audience listening to hundreds of tiny voices whisper “I believe in fairies” when Tinkerbell needed help brought a smile to my face, not only because it made me think of the kids I work with back in the States, but because I was reminded what it’s like to be a kid. Observing, day in and day out the fierce belief and steadfast hope that exists in young children is always a joy- it makes my job incredibly worthwhile.
Thursday July 30th- Monday August 3rd
What can I say about Ireland, it was an amazing trip all around. I feel as though I’m using the word amazing in every other sentence I write, I’ll try to incorporate other words form now on, but sometimes I’m just at a loss for words, as my trip thus far has been truly…amazing.
Thursday we landed in Dublin early and took a much needed nap. In the afternoon however, we managed to sneak into the Trinity College library to look at the Book of Kells and the Library, such history and beauty, we were awestruck.
Friday we started our three day tour of the south of Ireland. We stopped at Clonmacnoise, an ancient monastery, and even though it was rainy and very, very windy we couldn’t help but feel the history that was laid out before us. That night we stopped in Galway which is a beautiful little town right on the ocean. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as the smell of the ocean air.
Saturday we ventured out to the Cliffs of Moher, truly one of the most breathtaking sights I’ve ever seen. We almost blew away when we reached the top, but the view was well worth it. The sun was bright and bounced off the water as the water crashed onto the cliffs; it was like a scene from a movie. It’s hard to pick a favorite sight from the trip but this might be it. We stayed the night in the quaint town of Tralee and enjoyed the local flavor.
Sunday, we made our way back to Dublin via the Blarney Castle. Yes, I did climb all the way to the top to kiss the stone; it was a long way up. The grounds were beautiful, Ireland truly is that green!
Hopefully we took a little bit of the luck ‘o’ the Irish with us when we left!
Tuesday July 28th- Today we visited the National Archives of Scotland. We were first provided with a presentation on the history and inner workings of the Archives. A few interesting facts we picked up were that the archives are broken up into two divisions, the Record Services Division and the Corporate Services Division, the documents in the archives span over 70 kms worth of space and the dates of the information held by the archives range from 12th century to the 21st century.(photo courtesy of the National Archives of Scotland)
Monday July 27th- This morning we visited the National Library of Scotland and were given the opportunity to learn a bit about how and when the library was founded. From 1689-1925 the National Library of Scotland was known as the Advocates Library and today it holds approximately 14 million books and manuscripts, 2 million maps, 300,000 music scores, 32,000 films, 25,000 newspapers and magazines and on average it receives 6,000 new items a week. Pretty impressive!
This afternoon, before we met up at the Edinburgh Public Library, we ventured over to the Elephant House which is know known throughout the world as “the birthplace of Harry Potter”. This café was the place JK Rowling would sit in day after day, working away on the first Harry Potter book so as to save on her heating bill. Needless to saw we were in awe and many of us felt inspired by sitting in a place where such an amazing book was created!
Our final stop of the day was at the Edinburgh Public Library which was built by Andrew Carnegie between 1887 and 1890. He donated approximately £50,000 for the library to be built. The library was designed and built by George Washington Browne in the French Renaissance style. Above the entrance into the library is the inscription “let there be light”, it was put there at the request of Andrew Carnegie.
This evening a small group of us went out to dinner and then to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and I, for one was not disappointed! There was something extra special about seeing it while I was in
What a day…
Friday July 17th- Another fantastic day! We drove two hours outside
In the afternoon we were able to tour the Shakespeare Library and even take a peek into the stacks. After our tour we were given the opportunity to view some truly amazing artifacts the library has collected since it’s inception in 1864.
We were able to see a copy of Shakespeare’s first folio from 1623 (see photo), several playbills from throughout the decades as well as photos of some truly great actors playing Shakepeare’s characters. To name a few, we saw photos of Ian McKellen, Judy Dench and Vanessa Redgrave, all (and more) have graced the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Company over the years. After our tour we walked through the town for a bit longer and made stops at Shakespeare’s house (see photo) and the church where he is buried.
Thursday July 16th - Today was amazing! We visited the British Library and I have officially found my happy place. We began our day with a tour of the library. We were guided around by a lovely gentleman named Stephen Sandford who provided us with an incredible amount of valuable information regarding the library. After our tour we were able to spend some time exploring the library and we then ended our day with a walk around the
- The library has four basements to house all of its books
- The basements are each so wide and so deep that they had to be constructed around the Tube.
- It took £500 million to create the British Library
- The library has a diverse collection of over 150 million books
- A vast majority of books are stored in the basement and readers must make a request when they desire a book.
- The British Library is not a lending library, therefore books may not be taken outside of its doors.
Of the many wonderful things I saw in the British Library, my two favorites would have to be the tower in the center of the library (see photo above) and the Treasures Gallery. The tower holds the collection of King George III (1738-1820), the entire collection can be see by the public as the walls are made of glass. If one were to be a member of the British Library (as I now am!), he or she could even request to look at a book from the King’s collection.
My other favorite part of the British Library was the literature display in the Treasures Gallery (more formally known as the Sir John Ritblat Gallery). I was able to view manuscripts, journals, and first editions of Thomas Hardy, Lewis Carroll, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Joseph Conrad, just to name a few. I was in paradise! I will certainly be making another trip (or several) back to the British Library.
Wednesday July 15th- This evening we rode the London Eye. It was equal parts fun and frightening! It was so great to see
Words can’t really do the experience justice quite like pictures can so please enjoy the images I’ve posted here as I thoroughly enjoyed taking them!
July 15th- Today we visited the
Tuesday July 14th- Today we ventured into London Proper to visit the Library at the Barbican. The Barbican is Europe's largest multi-arts venue, it holds a conference center, several apartment complexes, a library, movie theaters and various restaurants. It is also the home to the London Symphony Orchestra. For a majority of its long life, the Barbican was not been a place one wished to associate him/herself with, recently, however, that has all changed. Originally built by the Romans to protect their land, it was home to many thieves in the 16th century, and after that was designated a place for "non-conformists". Over the centuries the Barbican saw thousands of deaths due to plague and the Great Fire of London, and during WWII much of the Barbican was destroyed during the bombings.
Over the past few decades, the Barbican has been built up to be the beautiful cultural center it is today. In the summer rooftops and balconies of the flats host beautiful flowers and music can often be heard throughout the grounds.
Of course the aspect of the Barbican that I found most interesting was the Children's Services section of the Library. Upon arrival readers are greeted by a colorful bulletin board full of information and familiar picturebook characters (pictured above). During our visit we caught the librarian and her assistants fervently preparing for the national summer reading program. This years theme centers around fantasy and is titled "Quest Seekers", the program sounded fascinating, and quite similar to programs I've encountered in the States. The students receive a kit when they sign up to participate in the program and are rewarded with small prizes and stickers as they progress through their reading. The Barbican expects at least 350 participants this year. With all of the festive decorations around the room it seems impossible not to be excited about this program and subsequently, summer reading. Once inside patrons encounter a large dragon painted on the window of the children's room, throughout the summer children will notate their completed summer reading on the dragon's "scales". It looks like it will be a fun and exciting summer for the patrons of the Barbican Children's Library. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable visit.
Monday July 13th- Today, we library students were given the opportunity to walk through sections of St. Paul's Cathedral that are not usually open to the public, a privilege that few people are granted. Not only did we have the chance to see the spiral staircase used in many Harry Potter scenes, but we also viewed several designs by Sir Christopher Wren, the architect who constructed St. Paul's during the 17th and 18th Centuries.
After marveling at Wren's genius we were then taken into the library which housed many centuries worth of books from all over the world. Many thanks to Joe Wisdom (yes, that is his real name!), the head librarian at St. Paul's for granting us such a rare peek.
(photo courtesy of St. Paul's Cathedral)
On Saturday July 11th my professor, Dr. Welch lead a group of us on a tour of London's most notable Pubs. For those of you who don't know, the word "pub" is actually an abbreviation for Public House. Way back when, Pubs were meeting places for some of London's greatest minds...
We saw a lot of interesting places on our walk but my favorite had to be the Blackfriars Pub (pictured to the left), it was built into the side of a monastery. Monks used to brew and sell ale and it was simply easier for all involved if the pub was close the the brewing location, in this case the monastery.
Welcome to my very exciting, much anticipated British Studies blog! I'm thrilled to be able to continue my study of library science here in London and all across the UK. I'll be posting pictures, insights, and anecdotes from my travels, I hope you're excited to learn a lot about libraries and museums, I know I am!
This is a class project and therefore I'll be focusing on the many exciting academic activities that I will have the pleasure of experiencing while I'm across the pond.
Thanks for reading!