Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Caird Library

      Our class boarded the Thames Clipper to head up (or perhaps down?) the river to Greenwich. Although I did not spend as much time there as I would have liked, I think Greenwich would have been voted my favorite area of "London." I just really liked the feel of the area. There was tons to look at on our way from the dock to the museum. I wish we could have had more time to absorb it.

     The gates to the National Maritime Museum were very beautiful. I love nautical inspired pieces, so I fell in love with the gate. 
The museum itself is very majestic from the outside.

The doorway of the National Maritime Museum.
Libby the librarian posing with one of two gigantic anchors that flanked the entrance to the museum.
     Here is a floor plan for the museum. There are three main floors of displays. It would take you quite a while to see all the exhibits. We were taken to a conference room where Mike Bevan, the Archive Manager, and Graham Thompson, an Archives Assistant split our group in half. I was in the half with Graham Thompson. We stayed in the conference room to observe some of the archives that belong to the Caird Library. We were able to view a US Navy Signal Book. The coolest thing about this book was the spine. The spine was leather over heavy metal balls. If the ship was captured, the crew could throw the book overboard to sink so the opposition would not know the signals the military used (so awesome).

     We also got to see the ship log of a slave ship from the slave trading days. The captain of this ship took extra care and time to document his voyages with pictures. The book was really cool to observe.

     Graham led us to the actual Caird Library for the second part of the tour. The library and archive has over 100,000 printed books and 80,000 maps and charts.

The Caird Library was the most technological library I have seen on this trip thus far. I would say the library is not hurting for funds from the looks of their equipment (pictures below).

     We were able to go to the stalls where the books and archives are stored. We were not allowed to take pictures during the segment of the tour, so I do not have any to post. The stalls were like most we have seen on our tours: they are climate controlled rooms with a lot of shelving.
     At the end of the tour, the two groups met back together to ask any questions we had of our lovely guides of the day. We were able to visit the library after the event. I spent the rest of the day in Greenwich enjoying the book benches, the Observatory, and hanging out with the other four Spice Girls (my friends and I [5 of us] call ourselves the Spice Girls).

The Caird Library has a website and an online catalog. There is a neat bio of Mike Bevan that can be accessed here.

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