Saturday, 29 August 2009


Still have more blog to fill in and flesh out from my notes and photos tomorrow, but then will be ready to conclude!
are libraries different?
reflection on making a blog.

International Librarianship Forum

Will be organizing and giving a presentation at Queens College in October along with another student who studied librarianship in China this summer.

Queens College

Met at with a librarian Queens College this past week to discuss the library and compare it to King's College.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Last day before depart

After all the museums, one day to relax in a different way
Southwark shopping area
Camden Town

Friday, 7 August 2009

Museum Day

If I could have one wish!
National Gallery
National Portrait Gallery
Chinatown Library
Royal Academy of Arts
Courtauld Institute

Thursday, 6 August 2009

King's College Library

King's College Library
Meeting Librarian
Audio Tour
Tower of London-History
Crown Jewels
Catching up

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Wellcome Library

Letter from Holly/Howard
Wellcome Library
Correspondence with Sally
Tea at Claridges
Harry Potter at IMAX

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Back in London

Tate Modern
King's College

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Monday, August 3: Leaving Amsterdam

Tower View

Sunday, August 2: Amsterdam

Rijks Museum
Rembrant Museum
Pinto Library
Jewish Historical Museum
Spanish-Portugese Synagogue
Waterlooplein open air market
Sarah's Pancakes

Saturday, 1 August 2009


Pottery factory
Vermeer museum
Gay pride day/parade
Canal criuse-meeting up!
Italian food

Friday, 31 July 2009


Anne Frank House--bookshelf
Van Gogh Museum--Theo
Diamond Museum--guilds not allowed

Thursday, 30 July 2009


Wow! meeting up
Beautiful canals, lovely people, new language: honing mosterd! asian food, walking, tram, train, making plans

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Plans Amsterdam

Plans: day in Edinburgh, train to London, plane to Amsterdam, may not have internet for the next several days in Amsterdam, but I'm sure I will be busy at the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Rijks Museum, and walking on the canals.

Roslin church and castle ruins! Met professor and two students by chance!

National Archives

Castle, views, crowned jewels, Din Eidyn

Prepared, presentation, interesting variety of books for educational purposes and computers to show websites, run 8 websites, all posts will be "fleshed" out at a later date. By the way, we learned that a "flesher" was the term used for a butcher in older times in Scotland.

Palace, Holyrood, Queen Victoria added tapestries to make it homey

Turkish hot chocolate, nicest people, nicest meal, moussaka

Monday, July 27: Three Libraries in One Day

National Library of Scotland
Active learning
Emphasis on making collection accessible

Public Library
Scottish collection

Poetry Library
Poetry on the walls

The Meadows
Getting separated and independence
The hill

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Arrive at Scotland

4 hours Train ride
Sense of Direction
The Holyrood Festival Studio Apartments
Scott's Monument
The Gathering
Dinner at a pub
Scottish scarf

Saturday, 25 July 2009


Shabbat with Cousins
Cousin in Hospital
College System in England
Ready for Scotland

Friday, 24 July 2009

From Queens to King's Research Paper

After meeting Tim Ditchfield, the reverend at King's College, who gave me Margaret Robinson's email address, I decided to email Margaret and copy Tim. Tim replied thanking me and asking me if I needed anything. Margaret hasn't replied yet. The email was sent July 16th. I emailed Tim to ask if he could contact Margaret on my behalf, if he knew of any other librarians, or if he could tell me where the library is if he would suggest going there without an appointment. Unfortunately, I received an out of office reply saying that he would be back August 16th. Back to the start.
After noticing a room resembling a library in the building that housed the computer lab, I asked the guard where the library was, if that was the main library (as King's College could be spread over different buildings), and if I had access to it. It is the main library, but I do not have access to it. However, he said that they would probably be happy to talk to me for my research purposes as long as I didn't borrow books. Mission (almost) accomplished!
King's College Library has online chat reference, so I was just chatting with a librarian. He explained that there were five libraries at King's College and that I should focus on one. He gave me the email info of the library enquiry. Hopefully, it all works out.
The librarian could not guarantee that a visit would be possible.
I am going to experience Shabbat this weekend, which is a Jewish day of rest that occurs once a week. I will be visiting my cousins in East Finchley. They are orthodox, which means that they follow Jewish laws and traditions very closely. It is different from how I am used to living, but I am slightly familiar with it. I know that I need to wear a long skirt and long sleeves; I can't use electricity or take photos or use the internet. They don't drive cars or cook or write or draw. They just read, talk, and pray from sunset on Friday to sundown on Saturday. It should be fun!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Bodleian Library

First opened in 1602 to house books donated by Duke Humfrey
Science and medical library
lends only to Oxford University members
11 million volumes
Connected to church
C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien
Famous for Great Hall in Harry Potter
Where Alice would like to buy candy, but now sells items pertaining to the story

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

National Art Library at Victoria & Albert Museum

The V & A Museum has permanent and temporary exhibits of decorative arts from all over the world.
This was a really cool exhibit of decorative arts pertaining to fairy tales and the struggle between life and death.
A librarian showed us rare books including a Shakespeare first folio, a Charles Dickens proof, examples of decorative bindings, and artists' books.
We were taken on a tour of the library. There are two public rooms: one designated for quiet and one for group study. In addition, we saw where the books were stored and the office space where the books were cataloged. Conservation is done as needed at three levels including wrapping with string and encasing in boxes.
A classmate and I went to the Print & Drawings Room. She needed to find out information for her research paper, and I was interested in seeing the room and coming along. I came in handy because it was too late to take out the posters, and we were given microfiche which I knew how to use from a previous job.
Shops, market, outdoor performers, good French food at Maison Masilowsky on Neal Street, my ill friend who stayed back would like this place

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

British Museum

We found the house where CD lived. His house is open to the public for a fee, whereas many other houses are now private residences. I really feel like the title of CD's book, "A Tale of Two Cities," is similar to the title of my paper, "From Queens to King's." I am telling a tale of two academic libraries in cities: New York and London.
We walked through the Roman Galleries, and I was reminded of the Met. I almost felt as if I were home! The pottery was beautiful, and I especially liked the drapery of clothing carved in stone. There was a reconstructed temple and large gates with animals.
Paul Hamlyn Library
reference library supported by ph foundation
resources for teachers
25,000 items
hist, arch, art hist, soc sci, relig, reference
families, tourists, students, museum staff, community, general visitors
no borrowing
online catalog, databases and useful websites
Joanna Bowring-Head of Libraries in museum
this is public
there is central library--for museum staff only
different departments have libraries
One of the the most famous items at the British Museum is the Rosetta Stone. There was a crowd of people around it.
We walked around Tavistock Square looking for a house with the number 52 or a plaque indicating that VW had lived there. Finally, we decided to go into the hotel and ask. The man said that her house was once the hotel. He was upset when I showed him a face of disbelief. I just thought there would be a plaque on the hotel. We went into the gardens and posed next to her statue.
I take back what I said about the food being good. It was good at first because it was different and exciting. Maybe I'm picky. I''m from NYC, so I have every type of ethnic food one can imagine around the corner. Now that I'm getting used to it, I haven't found anything I really like except fresh fruits and vegetables. I think I need to start eating better, but I don't know where to begin.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Greenwich Library

This library contains books, manuscripts, and e-resources pertaining to navigation, geography, astronomy, family history, and piracy. The librarians showed us a collection of their rare books and manuscripts.
We waited in a long line to stand and take (make) a picture standing on the meridian line which is the line that divides the eastern hemisphere from the western hemisphere. It was really cool to have one foot in each, but it really didn't feel any different than standing anywhere else.
We took a walking tour of Westminster and Parliament. Parliament was in session, and we actually got to sit in and observe the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Stonehenge and Winchester

It was very crowded but still awe inspiring.
We saw Jane Austen's house! We weren't allowed to go inside because it was a private home, but it was still special. We also saw the Round Table, famous for King Arthur and his knights.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Dover and Canterbury

There was a castle at Dover that we were allowed to walk up to and experience "face-to-stone."
In this charming town, there was a cathedral, castle ruins, gardens, a small river, and a garden. We spent a nice day in Chaucer's home.

Shakespeare Library in Stratford

We took a tour of Shakespeare's birthplace and learned about how he grew up. His father was a glove maker. Not much is known about Shakespeare's early years. Historians tried to piece together and recreate his life, but Shakespeare still seems to be a mystery to history.
We took a tour of the Shakespeare Library. It also served as an archive of records for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). On display, the librarian showed us a collection of rare books pertaining to Shakespeare and his plays.
This was by far the best performance of Shakespeare I have witnessed. I think I am now old enough to actually understand everything. Well, the play has so much to it that one cannot comprehend everything in one reading, but I understood enough to follow it and enjoy it.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

From King's to Queens Research Paper

The entire British Studies Program was invited to a welcoming presentation organized jointly by University of Southern Mississippi and King's College. Most notably, the Reverend Tim Ditchfield spoke. He was very welcoming and had a great sense of humor. He talked about the bizarre game of cricket of which we should all be aware, but more importantly he spoke of the history of King's College. When the College of London was first built, it was set up in the Humanist tradition to be separated from religion. Some people who were outraged formed King's College as a reaction so they could send their children to a school with a religious background. That's what sets King's College apart from other colleges. I was reading on their website that their library includes religious texts as well. Queens is part of the City Universities of New York (CUNY) which is a public, government fundend organization of colleges. There is a separation of religion, but there are various religious organizations on campus. At the reception that followed the speeches, I had a chance to speak to Tim Ditchfield. He gave me the contact information of Margaret Robinson, a librarian at King's College. I wrote her an email requesting to speak with her about King's Library.

British Library & Conservation

Today, we had a tour of the British Library with Stephen Sanford. This is a repository library, so copy of every book published in the UK is deposited in the British Library, and the Library grows 12.5 km every year. Most of its books are in storage. There is a mechanized book transfer system in the library that helps move the books from their location to the patron. The British Library is a research library and not a lending library. In a display case, we saw the largest atlas containing maps all over the world and depicting CA as an island. Measuring 6 meters in length, it takes two people to open it and one person to flip its pages. Inside the Library, there is a tower of books surround by glass. These 90,000 volumes were donated by King George III, and it was upon his wishes that they be made accessible to the public. What a nice guy!

In a special exhibit at the British Library, we saw conserved texts of Virginia Wolf, Sylvia Plath, John Milton, and Jane Austen, along lyrics from the Beatles, Shakespeare plays, bibles, and books with ornate bindings. Another exhibit featured the Codex Sinaticus, one of the two earliest Christian Bibles in Greek, which had been pieced together and digitized. Around the Library, there were works of art such as this book bench and this optical illusion of 3D bookshelves. This art is very bookish!

We were given a tour of the conservation studio at the British Library. We were show books and other items that ware old and needed to be repaired. It was really interesting to hear the techniques described and see some of the projects the conservators were working on. One project involved a collection of Beatrix Potter books. Each project required many hours of labor, and each hour was carefully documented. The studio was very neat and clean. I almost wanted to start repairing books. Image courtesy of

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Museum of London

About 400,000 people visit the Museum of London each year. Today, our group could be added to those statistics. The Museum of London was built in 1976 and showcases the complete history of London. It is a combination of the Old Guild Hall Museum and the London Museum. Our class was given a presentation about the exhibit by Jonathan Cotton, one of the museum's curators. He asked us to think about the meaning of prehistory. He disuaded any thoughts we might have had about dinasaurs and cavemen, and stressed that London's prehistoric inhabitants were intelligent and creative. Jon Cotton also spoke about the formation and centrality of the Thames River, and how people congregated about it through time.

It reminded me of how all great civilizations start with water: Mesopotamia with the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and Egypt with the Nile River, to name a couple. Even New York is on the water--but I know it doesn't compare! There's the Mississippi River as well, made famous by the musical, Showboat. I'm sure there are plenty of rivers in the world, and it is interesting to think of how geography has shaped civilizations and played a role in history.

After Jon Cotton's presentation, we were able to walk around the exhibits. His framework and background information provided me with a more meaningful experience. The exhibit brought together different artifacts such as bones, tool, glass beads, jewelry and a model of a prehistoric settlement. All were very interesting and proved that indeed, these were intelligent individuals.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Barbican Library

The Barbican Library is a public library that is open to everyone. It also serves as a community center. This is a great concept because a library is not only a place where one comes for knowledge, but where one can come to seek others and feel part of the community. Built as part of a community center, people are more encouraged to visit the library, and the library gets more publicity. What a great idea! The library is surrounded by nice apartment buildings, water fountains, and a modern piece of artwork. The Barbican was started during Roman times, but much of it was destroyed during the bombings of WWII. This library had an extensive music selection and even an electric piano to practice with earphones free of charge. A librarian estimated that the library contained 200,000 volumes. The children's room was adorable and decorated in a kid-friendly way. The summer reading game this year was called "Quest Seekers," and involved small rewards upon the completion of books read. A colorful exhibit of prints on the first floor entitled, "Lost in Translation," explored the relationship between text and meaning.

The librarians seemed responsive to patrons' feedback, and even posted patrons' suggestions and librarians' responses on a bulletin board for all to see. We did not have a formal tour of this library, but browsing around worked out well, and the librarians were helpful when we approached them with questions.

I wouldn't mind if this were my public library, especially if I had children! I could live in one of those apartments right outside the library and visit the library every day. This could be what an ideal community would look like; it seems like everything is located all in one place.

Monday, 13 July 2009

St. Paul's Cathedral

Our class met this morning, and we were instructed on how to create blogs. Believe it or not, this is my first experience blogging. I have read others' blogs, but I have never blogged myself. I am glad to take advantage of the opportunity and have this trip as my blogging guinea pig. I am always willing to try new technology, and so far this has been a fun way to document and share a personal experience. I will keep you "posted" with how it goes! How? Through blog "posts!"

A group of us went early to St. Paul's Cathedral and had lunch at the cafe inside. I had a nice piece of quiche. We went to the gift shop where I bought a gift for my friend who is religious. Then, we walked outside in the area and heard a girls choir from Maine. Their voices were harmonious and spiritual, perhaps heavenly. We met up with the rest of the group, and Professor Welsh pointed Temple Bar. This was the only surviving gate into the city of London. It was named "bar" because it used to have a bar to keep people out of the city. It was relocated from where it had previously been standing in Medieval times. The middle was larger for carts, and the two smaller sides were for pedestrians.

Our tour of the Library was led by Joe Wisdom. We walked up a winding staircase made famous by the Harry Potter films. St. Paul's Cathedral Library was originally supposed to be housed in a room entirely different from the room in which it was housed today. In that other room sits a large model of a plan for the Cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren and other architectural information. The library is not shown on a public tour and has a wonderful fragrance of historic books. The room was the same size as the previous room Mr. Wisdom had shown us, but it looked much smaller with all the books. The library had a wonderful smell of old books. He described the vaulted ceiling as a tent for ideas to float. The carved columns was created by Sir Christopher Kempster, master craftsman from Burford. They are full of symbolism. He pointed out books, a skull, wheat, and grapes. The book symbolizes learning. The grapes and wheat symbolize holy communion and Christ. That they surround the skull symbolizes Christ's triumph over death. Mr. Wisdom commented that today we have all the information at instant access, but cannot annalyze it as much, and back then, perhaps the reverse was true. In 1666, they had a fire and lost the library. A painting of a bishop with inflated sleeves is hung porminently on the wall. He left 2000 books to the library when he died. The collection is also made up of other donations of collections. Joe Wisdom pointed out that the duplicates were discarded, although there is no such thing as a duplicate for these early materials. The library comtains materials on topics such as bible, theology, history, geography, sermons, genealogy, and lives of saints. Items can be found in English, Latin, French, Russian, Greek, and Icelandic. Joe Wisdom's advice was to mark your own books, but not the books in your care.

This picture is from the Library's website as no photos were allowed to be taken inside the library:

I felt so priviledged to be experiencing history; St. Paul's is open to the public, but only few come to the library. This was our first library visit, and we were surrounded by historic books from all over the world. We kept on asking the librarian more and more questions, possibly because we were so interested. I can't wait for the other visits!

From Queens to King's

The purpose of this blog is to fulfill an assignment for the British Studies Program and to document my one month trip in London. I am a graduate student from Queens College in New York who is studying at King's College in London; hence, the title of this blog, "From Queens to King's." It's fun to compare my ID cards in this photo. I also thought these Queen and King cards were on topic and adorable.
My class is studying library science, and we will be visiting many libraries in London. There are 17 students in my class from across the United States.

We are staying at the Stamford apartments at King's College. They are located near the Waterloo tube stop and close to the Thames. The rooms are cozy and cute. Here is a photo of my room. We each have our own room and share a kitchen.

As part of the scheduled activites, we were taken on two walks. One walk I decided to take was along the Thames with the art photography professor. She described how to take successful photos and the elements that make a photo work well. She discussed different elements, composition, backrounds, relationships, lighiting, and waiting for the right moment. She also pointed out some good shots.

The second walk I went on was led by the economics professor. He discussed the history of retail and took us to some historic shopping areas near Piccadilly Circus. He explained how retail evolved with the invention of glass panes in store fronts and how feminism took off as business owners sided with their female patrons who threw cobble stones to shatter their store windows. The professor also pointed out a good place to have tea and the location of where the Beatles played their last concert.

Getting over jetlag was challenging. I was tired during the day and awake at night. I was hungry at random times. I had a difficult time adjusting, and it took me a few days to recover. It was if I were getting over an illness... I love the accents here. The British accent is so eloquent and beautiful. Sometimes I do not understand them. Many students traveling with us are from the American South. Their accents sound more sweet and calm. I wonder how my New Yorker accent sounds to the British and to the Southerners... The food is actually good. Everyone told me it would be awful, so I have been pleasantly surprised... I am amazed at the historic and detailed architecture that is everywhere. It is beautiful! In New York, we have mostly plain, modern, tall, rectangular office and apartment buildings with small patches of architectural character depending on the area of the city.