My London Journal

My London Journal
View from Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 19 August 2007

July 31: Victoria and Albert Museum Library

It was back to the dorm early in the morning where I had time to do a little laundry (after a long wait for a machine since several other people had the same idea) before our afternoon class outing.

The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum
The class enjoyed a tour of the library within the V & A museum. Most fun was seeing the examples of paper engineering (pop-up books) that the librarians had to show us. They were so creative and fun. They were hand-made books that had been created as art and were not mass-produced.

The librarian/guides also listed some of the special collections housed in this library. One example is the collection of Dickens' manuscripts, which includes all but one manuscript. The library also collects what some would find as odd, such as James Bond paperbacks, though the purpose of this collection is to show how cover illustrations in trade literature change over the years.

The library has a staff of about 50. It has its own publication company. They house international copies, while the British Library only collects British publications. The library tries to hold 3 copies of everything. Many of their collections were once privately owned and then willed or donated to the library. They do not use a classification system, but always store materials by size.

We finished our visit by having a snack at the cafe. We ended our visit after someone spotted a mouse in the cafe!

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