Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Barbican Public Library

Today we visited the Barbican Public Library in London. The Barbican is publicly funded by the City of London. Anyone is allowed to borrow books from the Barbican, regardless of where they live. In order to get a library card, you just need to show proof of identification and address.

The librarians at the Barbican provided cookies and juice for us when we arrived. The librarians told us about their jobs and some of the other branches in the City of London. We also got to learn about some of the programs they provide for their patrons. One of these programs was called City Read. Everyone who would like to participate reads the same book and meets to discuss it. They also have a digital inclusion project, which helps technologically challenged people learn to use computers and get online. Finally, we also learned about a health offer, which is a program that offers information on health subjects, as well as therapeutic reading groups.

Next, we were shown the children's library. This was particularly interesting to me, as I would like to be a children's librarian. The children's library also offered programs for patrons. For example, they host a children's reading challenge each summer. This summer the theme was mythical maze. Children could read books with a mythological theme, and answer questions about them at the library. Children get a prize for each book they complete, and a certificate if they read six books. The children's library serves children from birth to 14 years of age. They have reading groups for different age levels, such as 7-9, 10-12 and teen.
The Children's library at the Barbican

Our class also toured the music library. The music library has about 9000 books. They also have about 16000 scores. Patrons can listen to music for free, but they do charge a small fee to take discs home. They also have a piano people can sign up to use for thirty minute sessions. In addition to music, the library also loans out DVDs, for a small fee. The librarian informed us that they do restrict mature material. For example, if a fourteen year old wanted to check out a rated R movie, they would not allow it. The Barbican also has a general fiction section for adult patrons. They also have computers that patrons can use to access the internet. The Barbican was an interesting library to visit, specifically to see the innovative programs they provide for their patrons, both young and old. 

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