W is for Waaaauuughh!

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I am very busy today.  I have a reader pass to the British LIbrary, and I’m sitting here in front of a database/microfilm reader looking at newspapers from London in the 1960s.

There was no W post yesterday because I had to leave very early to get to the Royal Albert Hall for the performance of Titanic Live.  I have pictures to share from that, in a later post.  Oh boy, was that fantastic.

I didn’t get home until after midnight–the tube I needed stopped running at midnight, so I had to bail on everybody, because it takes me about an hour to get from where I’m staying to wherever I want to be.

Reading these articles and scrolling through papers takes a lot of time.


I recommend that if you do this in your own research, you target it a little better.  I could spend days and days in here, reading all kinds of papers, getting a sense of what people were talking about at the time.  Of course, England (still) is a class-conscious society, so the topics would differ from the conversation of, say, BritCharacter and his contemporaries and BritCharacter’s household help and her cronies.

Oh good heavens, I've no time to discuss the vagaries of the British stock market. I must find an underservant who won't break the china. 

Oh good heavens, I’ve no time to discuss the vagaries of the British stock market. I must find an underservant who won’t break the china.

Image: enchantedserenityperiodfilms.blogspot.co.uk

Back to work!

L is for Libraries

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The library!

When I was a child, this was my favorite place to be ever.  I’ve always been a reader.  Some kids freak out when you punish them by taking away their TV (internet) privileges, but if you wanted to get me where I lived, you said no library.

This huge building is the British Library, the national library of the United Kingdom, located in London.  I’m quite certain a good reason exists for me to go there.

Shortest URL ever, for a building full of words:  www.bl.uk

Shortest URL ever, for a building full of words:  http://www.bl.uk

 Image:  Jack1956 / Wikimedia Commons

 Not only does this magnificent place hold thousands of books and reference materials, it houses collections of historical significance.  I am such a museum nerd; if one lurks nearby, I’ll go see it.  The Treasures of the British Library exhibition has been on my list for a while.  I think I should combine a visit with a little looky-uppy action, don’t you?

I’m sorry I missed this:  today is the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, and they had a special tribute to Anne Frank, who died there along with her sister Margot.

Today also marks 103 years since the sinking of everybody’s favorite ocean liner, Titanic. Normally, I would watch the film tonight, but one of the main reasons I’m going back to London so soon is to watch it at the Royal Albert Hall, along with a live orchestra playing the score along with the film.

Let us pause for a moment to remember the lost souls of both Bergen-Belsen and the Titanic.


 Image:  unknown / Wikimedia Commons


Image F.G.O.Stuart/Wikimedia Commons


Image:  phanlop88 / freedigitalphotos.net

Okay, now that we has a sad, back to libraries.  All different types abound.  I’ve listed some of them.

Public libraries

In most municipalities, anyone who lives in the area can get a library card, free of charge, and check out materials.  Books, DVDs, sometimes even CDs and record albums, though the last two may have gone the way of the dodo.  Here you’ll find fiction, non-fiction, and general reference.

The library where I live has several branches; one of them, built in 1905 in the midtown area, is an original Carnegie library.  Click the link to find out more about those.  A few years ago, they restored it to its former glory.

Academic libraries

You will find most of these at universities and colleges.  Usually, you have to be a student, alumni, or faculty to check books out, but it may be possible for residents to use the reference sections.  These libraries contain mostly periodicals, journals, and scholarly works.

School libraries

Despite the evil librarian, I spent many happy hours in my primary school library.  I remember particular books, including one collection of sci-fi stories that I would kill to find, but I can’t recall the name of it.  I only remember one of the stories–about a kid who found this crystal and there was a spaceship with a weird crablike alien.  I can see the cover in my head, but I don’t remember the name.

Research or special libraries

The British Library is one of the former, in addition to being the largest library in the world by items catalogued.  These libraries may specialize in particular subjects, such as military history, science / technology, or medicine.

National libraries have extensive works relating to the history and development of their respective countries.  Presidential libraries are archives of records and artifacts of one particular president and his/her administration, so that people may study them.

The Library of Congress in the US, another special collection, houses the world’s largest law library and the Copyright office in addition to being the US national library.

Anything you need to find, you will probably locate it at a library.  In addition to books and other materials, public libraries these days have many resources you can use for your work:

  • Computers with internet access (you’ll have to sign in and wait your turn)
  • Study rooms with a door you can close
  • Copy/scan/fax machines (bring your change)
  • Free or very low-cost wireless–you might need to visit the information desk for a password
  • Gift shops–buy a tote bag to carry your loot
  • Some large libraries have cafés, tearooms, or coffee shops where you can refresh yourself. Don’t spill anything on your book, or you might end up owning it!
I don’t understand.  How did haggis get in between the pages? 

I don’t understand.  How did haggis get in between the pages?

Image:  Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Links of library stuff:

The 10 Biggest Libraries in the World

British Library

Library of Congress

Learning to research in the library  (this site is for teens but very informative)

Now go on out there and book!