Library Tourism – The British Library

Over the summer I spent a weekend in London. It was kind of a last minute thing and I have to say I really enjoyed the trip, even if I was exhausted when we got home again. We got a flight to London City Airport at stupid o’clock and got the tube straight to St. Pancras station. After a double espresso to keep up going we headed to the British Library to do a tour of the library starting at 10.30am.

wpid-20140710_124140.jpgI was a bit skeptical about spending £8 each on a tour, plus I’d been up for half a day and it was only 10.30. But. I was wrong to be skeptical – the tour was fascinating. It was led by a real librarian who was really passionate about his topic and there were only 6 of us in total on the tour. We were all clearly library nerds so I was in good company.

wpid-20140710_123333.jpgThe building itself is a bit underwhelming from the outside, particularly if you compare it to the New York Public Library or our own National Library. But inside it’s quite beautiful. Our guide talked us through the building of the library and the controversies surrounding it, the beautiful King’s Library and we got to have a look at one of the reading rooms from a gallery. We finished the tour in the Treasures of the British Library permanent exhibition.

As a librarian I really enjoyed the tour, but even if you’re not a librarian the exhibitions at the library are worth the trip. So we spent the morning indulging my interests. The afternoon was spent on a brewery tour of Fuller’s Brewery indulging R’s interests.

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