Friday, 1 August 2008

British Museum

Saturday, August 2


After a 30 minute back massage in the Gabriel Wharf area, I journeyed on the Northern Line to Tottenham Square Court stop to see both the Petrie Museum of Archaeology and the British Museum. When I arrived at the Petrie Museum, I discovered that it had closed 2 hours earlier at 1 pm. The time was 3:15pm. So, I then walked over to the British Museum, which was about 15 minutes away. When I arrived at the British Museum, there were so many people that I just cringed, but though, "I'm here, so carry on!" I came mainly to see the Egyptian collection again. I saw it both 3 years ago when I planned a 20 year reunion with two friends from Michigan State University, and also 23 years ago when I came over with a Michigan State University Overseas Studies Art Program. It was very nice to see my "favorite things" again at the British Museum. I am such a Egyptophile, or what ever you call one who is fascinated with ancient Egypt. Years ago I had visions of studying Egyptology as a career. I spent about 1.5 hours walking around and gazing at all of the magnificent sculptures and mummies and papyri (oh, my!). I was in my element; I was in Egypt heaven! Future travel plans involve a trip to Egypt and see the actual ruins and pyramids, and related stuff.

Here is a photo of a head fragment from a full-scale monolith sculpture of an Egyptian pharaoh I saw up close.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a digital camera, or I would have included more photos of the awesome Egyptian collection.

Overall, the visit to the British Museum was the “icing on the cake” for my overseas trip. As I was leaving, it struck me that I didn’t see the Rosetta Stone. They must have moved it, because I remember it near the big sculptures last time I visited.

When I the museum, I returned to the tube at Tottenham Court Road and traveled down to Embankment to see Cleopatra’s Needle. It was a sight to behold. But unfortunately, there was scaffolding at the base, so there wasn’t a clear view of the lower part of the obelisk. I did manage to get some segment shots of the Needle. From there, I got back on the tube and returned to the ranch (King’s College dorms).

Barbican Art Library Revisited

Friday, August 1


I emailed Children's Librarian Amanda Owens, but didn't receive any reply right away, so I decided to just get in the tube and go down to talk with a librarian about the Art Library. When I arrived, I starting talking to a man behind the counter who looked familiar. It was Jonathan Gibbs the IT Librarian our group met during the Friday, July 10 group tour. We spoke for awhile about the Art Library and he said that he didn't know any specifics about the Art section but gave me the email for the Art Librarian who was on holiday for 2 weeks. I thanked him for the contact and went over to the Art Library to analyse its contents.

While walking through the stacks, I found/discovered a rack of daily newspapers, and 7 shelves of magazines, which consisted of Art Monthly, Art Review, The Artist, The Burlington Magazine (British art and art gallery information), Crafts, Frieze (Contemporary Art & Culture), Practical Photography, Film Review (movie reviews), Empire (, The world's biggest movie magazine, and variious other magazines on fashion, health, literature (Literary Review), nature , news, sports, etc. Next, I looked through the book stacks and found them sectioned-off as: Reference, Art History 700, Town Planning 711, Garden Design 712.6, Architecture 720, Churches 726, Houses and Castles 728, Sculpture 730, Coins and Medals 737, Pottery and Porcelain 738, Jewellery 739.27, Drawing Skills 741, Cartoons 741.5, Posters 741.67, Crafts 745.5, Calligraphy 745.6, Fower Arranging 745.92, Needlework 746, Fashion and Style 746.92, Interior Design 747, Glass 748, Antique Furniture 749, Painting Skills 751, Impressionism 759.054, American Art 759.1, British Art 759.2, World Art 759.3, Prints 760, Stamp Collecting 769.56, Photography 770, Entertainers 791.092, Cinema 791.43, Screen Plays 91.437, Radio 791.44, Television 791.45, Theatre 792, Music Hall 792.7, and Ballet and Dance 792.8. I also noticed a display of mixed-genre books by the edge of the balcony and stairs, between Theatre and Ballet & Dance.

An interesting thing I noticed was the Magazine Swap box. It's a red, plastic storage crate with a sign on it that reads:
Magazine Swap: Do you have any magazines at home?
Want to give them a good home? Then drop them in
the boxes for others to read!
Also seen was a variety of records, agendas, financial statements, and notes of city government, trusts, and other reated committee documents. These items were all in an upright folder-type open storage unit near the newspapers.
After viewing the whole of the Art Library, I went back to the desk where Jonathan Biggs (IT Librarian) was sitting and talked a little more, than left to get some lunch in the Barbican restaurant.

Tate Britain

Friday, August 1


After checking my email for any responses the Tate Britain, the Barbican, and the British Library, and not receiving one from the Tate Britain, I set out to ride the tube over there to possible make some contacts and ask questions. I took the Jubilee Line (North) to Westminster, changed to the District Line (West) to Victoria, change to the Victoria Line (South) to Pimlico. Followed the street signs (thank goodness for them!), and successfully managed my way through the streets to the Tate Britain. After checking my book bag at the Cloak Room and received claim tag #13, I proceeded to the library where I met Sophia Easey, Serials Librarian. She was very receptive to answering questions and also gave me other contact information, other than hers (3 emails and a website).

From my questions, she gave information about the collection, its focus, maintenance involved, and all members on staff. I had a chance to look around and saw people on computers. Sophia added that the library is actually separated into 4 sections; they include the library, the archives, the reader services, and the gallery records. Regarding maintenance. she added that the reader services looks after, or takes care of the books. Gallery Records contains info on all museum items, new developments and plans, and all exhibition materials.

Our meeting was very enjoyable and was told to email her if have any further questions.

My Hard Rock Cafe London Adventures

Thursday, July 25


During the mini-break, I decided to venture over to the Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) London Shop to see what kind of shirts they had. I was primarily going for my brother who requested 2 polo type shirts. When I was there, I looked around and only saw two colors in the polo shirt style. I looked through the sizes and was told by an employee that sizes available in the polo style I was looking at ares only S or XL. I wasn't too happy with that answer because I wear a M. But I was told the other style polo, the taupe color, came in all sizes and they were expecting another shipment of that color the next day, Friday. I thought that I would return tomorrow to see what new stuff they received and so I continued looking around for interesting t-shirts for myself. I must have gone on a good day and time, because there wasn't a large crowd.

I had planned to return on Friday, but other things came up, plus working on my blog. On Saturday, I started out again for the HRC, but decided to find the Hard Rock Cafe Uk Ltd on Cavanaugh Pl, northwest of the original HRC, that I noticed on the Internet when I searched for Hard Rock Cafe London. When I got there, I located the listed address, but found an Interior Design studio instead. A little perturbed, I turned around, got back on the tube and went to Green Park station and then walked up Old Park Lane to the Hard Rock Cafe London shop. This time a long queue had formed outside of the shop. I was hot from the 91F degree weather, so I turned around and went back to the dorm.

On Sunday, I traveled again through the tube to Green Park and up to the Hard Rock Cafe Shop again. This time I waited about 15 minutes in the queue that was half the length compared to Saturday's queue. Immediately upon entering, I went to the polos, grabbed an L and XL and a t-shirt and stood in the register queue. When my merchandise was being rung up, I was asked if I was interested in purchasing a HRC members card, 15BPS or $30.00. I and was told that 10BPS would be applied to the card upon Internet registration. I went for it. And I'm glad I did, because I joined Dr. Welsh at the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and didn't have to wait 15-20 minutes for the next available table by waiving my HRC members card. we were taken down to the lower level dining area that must have been for members only. I feel so privileged!

Tate Modern

Friday, July 25


During my mini-break in London, I ventured over to the Tate Modern for a little peek at all the wonderful art. I wandered through 4 of the 7 levels viewing artwork that I've seen and studied in various books.

First, I walked through Poetry and Dream: Surrealism and Beyond on the 3rd floor. Some of the artists I viewed included:
-Alberto Giacometi. Walking Woman, (1932-3/1936, cast 1966)
-Christopher Wood. Zebra and Parachute, (1930)
-Joan Miro. A Star Caresses the Breast of a Negress (Painting Poem, 1938)
-Pablo Picasso. Dora Maar Seated, (1938)
-Jackson Pollock. Naked Man with Knife, (1938-40)
-Pablo Picasso. The Three Dancers, (1925)
"The startling violent image of 3 interlocking figures dderived from a lost work of Jose Clemente Orozco showing the sruggle between Cain and Abel." (archetypal myths explored in Jungian psychoanalysis)
-Joan Miro. Woman and Bird in the Moonlight, (1949)
-Jackson Pollack. Birth, (1941)
"He was fascinated by 'primitive' art for its expression of fundamental human fears and ideas"
-Alexander Calder. Mobile, (1932) -Metal, wood, wire and sring
"Calder's subtle balance of form and color resulted in works that sugessted an animated version of paintings by friends such as joan Miro and Marcel Duchamp"
-Edward Burra. The Snack Bar (1930)
"Violence and sexual tension seem to beat play...Burra was an acute observer of the everyday, often exaggerating it into caricature in orderto comment of society"
-Max Ernst. Celebes (1921) headless female nude torso and upright left arm (hand and forearm are red)-associated with both Dada and Surrealism, developing a range of techniques inteded to reinvent culture "...derived from a Sudanese corn-bin transformed i to a sinister mechanical
monster." Ernst often re-used found images, adding or removing elements to create new realities.
-Max Ernst. Dadaville (1924). Painted plaster and cork laid on canvas. The vertical strips of cork represent the Daa city and the painted plaster is the background and sky (left, top and right sides).
-Francis Bacon. Three Figures and Portrit (1975). NOTE: I love Francis Bacon, it's so bizzare!
-Mrowslaw Balka. 480 x 10 x 10. Soap and stainless steel (more like soap on a rope!)
-Franz Kline. Meryon (1960-1). -large-scale absract paintings in black and white
-Jackson Pollock. Smmertime: Number 94 (1948) - 9'(H) x 3'(W) dripped paint, black swirls with red, blue, yellow, green, gray, and purple.
-Mark Rothko. Untitled (1950-52) -primarily yellows, with red, and blue on a vertical canvas
-Monet. Water-Lillies, Nympeas (date: after 1916). I remember this from school books.
-Matisse. The Snail (1953) 5' x 5'. I remember this from collage, and I created a Francis Bacon collage resembling this piece.
-Joan Miro. Message from a Friend (1964)
-Georges Roualt. The Three Judges 91936). I always refered to this painting as the 3 Kings!
-Wassily Kandinsky. Lake Starnberg (1908). "was one of the pioneers of abstract painting which he believed was capable of expressing a higher spritual and emotional reality."
-Alberto Giacometti. Standing Woman (1948-49)

On Floor 5:

-Piet Mondrian. Composition C (No. 111) with Red, Yellow and Blue (1935). "[he} believed that all complex forms could be reduced to a 'plurality of straight lines in rectangular oppoition' and considered that his paintings embodied eternal truths of nature."
-Lazlo Maholy-Nagy. K VII (1922). oil on canvas. "the 'K' in the title stands for construction, and the paintings ordered, geometrical forms are paradigmatic of [his] technocratic Utopianism."
It includes grays, black, yellow with a vertical red line in center of painting.
-Piet Mondrian. Composition B (No. 1) with Red (1935)
-Sol LeWitt. Six Geometric Figures (Wall Drawings) 1980-81. This piece encompassed the entire room; quite interesting.
-Ellsworth Kelly. Red White (1966) -a red distorted B on a while backg. -Frank Stella. Six Mile Bottom (1960), metallic paint on canvas. A geometric painting.
-Donald Judd. Untitled (1980). Steel aluminum and perspex (blue plaster). "Judd's 'stacks' reflect his interest in integrating art with architecture, creating dynamic inerplay between the viewer, the object and the room in which it is displayed." Loks very similar to a piece in hte Detroit Institute of Arts.
-Umberto Boccioni. Unique Forms of Continuing Space (1913, cast 1972). Bronze.
-Roy Lichtenstein. Whaam! (1963)
-Georges Broque. Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on a Mantlepience (1911)
-Pablo Picasso. Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle (1914). Cubist painting, table top scene.
-Raymond Duchamp-Villon. Large House (1914, cast 1961).
-Diego Rivera. Still Life (1916). "[He] lived in Paris and painted in Cubist style between 1913 and 1917. His work resembled Jean Gris' style of constructing objects from complex planes."

I really enjoyed myself, because Art is my bag. I love it, especially the abstract and modern styles. One room of interest was the Russian Propaganda Poster Rooms. When I was in there looking around, I thought of a former co-worker who taught WWII and the Russian Revolution at a high school. I bet he would love this stuff!

When I left the Tate Modern, I walked by the South Bank watching all the people go by, as well as the scenery on the northern side of the Thames. It was in the evening and it was nice to see the lights shining on buildings and bridges, and the stars illuminating in the sky. And then it was back to my little cell at King's College dormitory.

Back to London for Mini-Break


I traveled on the rail a day ahead of scheduled because of the alternative accommodations in Dalkeith, Scotland. I figured that I didn't need to pay another 68 BP to stay an extra night. So I went back to London.

On the train, I was joined by an elderly woman who i shortly discovered was from Glasgow and going to England to visit her daughter. In our conversation, Dublin, Ireland and Trinity was discussed. The woman told me that there is a section in Trinity by the stairs that one can get a print-out of their genealogy by entering their surname. I said that would be neat to do, since my mother was part Irish. She said it was worth the trip while I was in the UK. I agreed, but decided that I had better focus on research during the mini-break.

Back in London, I did focus on research. My main emphasis was to get a better understanding of Bibliometrics. I looked in my Basic Research Methods For Librarians book I brought from home and a research book from fellow LIS group member. This led me nowhere, so I Googled Bibliometrics and found some definitions, but not the process of conducting this research method. I gave up and said that I would go to the bookstores at home and/or the university library to find more information. From there, I started planning what libraries and contacts I needed to visit for more research information. I even went to the Hard Rock Cafe London 2 times to get shirts for myself and my brother.

A Day in Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and "The Bridge"

Tuesday, July 22


Our LIS group met in front of the Dalkeith Palace at 8:15am to leave at 8:30am in mini-van bound for Glasgow. When in Glasgow, we went into the Livingstone Building of the University of Strathclyde. We met up with David McMenemy and he took us up to the room for a presentation. He provided information on the University and related facts about education in Scotland through a prepared presentation. David started with the history of Strathclyde's prior names: Anderson's Institute, 1776; Anderson's University, 1828; Glasgow and West of Scotland Tech, 1887; and now, University of Strathclyde, granted as a Royal Charter in 1964. Currently, there are 25,000 students on campus, with 15,000 undergraduate students and 10,000 graduate students. 2007 marked 60 years in teaching library skills at Strathclyde and that its the largest MSc (Master of Science in Library Science) course subject in the UK.

Other statistics were given. There are 4515 public libraries in the UK per 2007 census count; Academic libraries total 846, and there are 180 university libraries (these include universities, community college, and partnerships). However, there are no statistics collected for public school libraries. Note: This is odd, because you would think that all libraries would be counted. I believe they need to improve upon their statistical counts. David did mention that not very much research is done on school libraries, primary through Level A (upper high school level). One other comment that David made, which is a disturbing thought, is that librarians are not seen as a real profession in Scotland, or the UK! They are viewed as bookstore clerks, and very undervalued as a profession.

Laws surrounding the creation and maintaining of state run libraries was discussed. In 1850, all UK public libraries were legally obliged to provide "a comprehensive and efficient library service for everyone..." The Public Libraries and Museum Act of 1964 (England and Wales) states "An Act to place the public library service provided by local authorities in England and Wales under the superintendence of the Secretary of State, to make new provision for regulating and improving that service and as to the provision and maintenance of museums and art galleries by such authorities, and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid," (see Public Libraries and Museum Act of 1964 link below). And in 1973, the Local Government (Scotland) Act, which states that the act replaced the old Scottish counties, burghs, and districts with "a uniform two-tier system of regional and district councils," (see Local Government [Scotland] Act of 1973 link below). Then David discussed the "Impact of Devolution," noting the Scotland Act of 1998, that all libraries governed by devolved Parliaments included public, school, academic and health libraries were impacted.

Some other key issues he brought up about libraries included, a significant drop in borrowing figures; how to attract non-users (a marketing and administrative question); the Digital Divide (some can't afford broad-band cable Internet access); deprofessionalism; and, how to measure library services effectively (a marketing/administrative question/goal).

Our second speaker was Christine Rooney-Browne, a PhD Library Sciences candidate at the University of Strathclyde. Her presentation was on "Overlooking the Real Issues: Measuring the Social Value in Public Libraries," which is the basis of her research. She began with Intellectual Freedom, Cultural Diversity, and the Digital Divide for low-income people. Christine explained "Social Value" : how people impact with and what they get out of accessing libraries. Furthermore, she state that public libraries are thought of as more than book issuing points. They serve to break down barriers and give access to the learning impaired.

Next, Christine discussed how her research has measured performance of libraries. First, there is the economic value, which is quantitative, and is performed by governmental audit. Secondly, there is the social value, which is qualitative, and is gathered by social impact audit. She stated that the results are impressive and show their value; short-term and long-term value on society. Christine briefly spoke about Usherwood's 1996 book, "Scotsman from Lumber River," and explained that it had "meaningful evolution."

When Christine further spoke about research, she said "to measure the unmeasurable, that the true value is accessed through statistics and inspections." In determining social value, she said to encourage communication, library services and stakeholders; assess outcomes using questionnaires; and, determine if services meet the organization's objective.

Then Christine spoke of the different stages of her research. Stage 1 is the qualitative research, where SIA methods are implemented, stakeholders are identified, and links are establish in library case studies. Stage 2 is the quantitative research, which include statistical reports. Stage 3 includes survey responses. And then there are the Findings. Two examples were given; the Newton Mearns library, in an affluent suburb, where the users demand multiple bestsellers (books) and fast, efficient service; and Barrhead Library, in a socially deprived area, where users demand a welcoming environment provides a gateway to information. And finally, Christine talked about outcomes, which included the following:

- Empower libraries, challenge user IB PLS economic value
- Communication, character and role of public libraries in 21st century
-Promote global understanding of social value
-Produce appropriate and realistic model for measuring impact of public libraries

And at the end of Christine' presentation, we found out that her title is: Student Contributor Liaison Officer for the journal, Library Review.

Our next speaker was Alan Poulter. He stated that he was a former cataloger at the British Museum. His presentation was on Forensic Readiness for Local Libraries in Scotland, or FRILLS for short. And the major application for FRILLS is the People's Network, which is an initiative to put in public access machines in all public libraries to offer free Internet access. The funding source for this initiative is windfall funding through the National Lottery. He also stated that there is a new direction, to offer IT training.

Next, Paul presented his Proposal Outline: to develop simple, low-cost technologies for basic forensic readiness. The Aims included: create typologies of computer misuse, how to reduce porn, and Bebo (computer harassment/chat), including acceptable use policies in English, not "legalese"; and, specify flex FR regime, focus on Windows, Explorer, and Office. He continued with Methodology, which includes interviews,literature reviews, dialog with department managers/supervisors, and work with pilot sites to develop FRILLS. And lastly, Conclusions, which involved two management issues: 1. lack of standards, 2. technical issues of logs stored off site.

Then, Paul talked about the Centre for Digital Library Research ( He stated research themes: catalogs, collaboration, collection description, digital libraries, and digital preservation. He even talked briefly about the BUBL link ( themes), that was in existence before the World Wide Web was born. It is a catalog of Internet resources organized by Dewey Decimal numbers. The Glasgow Digital Library was also discussed ( It is an organized digital library for teaching, learning and research. Paul finished his presentation by discussing access databases, university repositories, and terminologies of remapping automation, coll abortive tagging, standards and user issues.

After the presentations, we were treated to a wonderful light lunch and then we drove over, along with Davis McMenemy and Christine Rooney-Browne from the University of Strathclyde, to visit "The Bridge." The Bridge is a public library in a distressed area connected to a community center and to the John Wheatley College. It opened in 2006 and has modern construction and fixtures. It resembles a civic center, but with a library and a college attached. In the library, there was a banner that read "TEAM READ, Just don't sit there - get reading" just like at the Barbican Library; it was stated that it is a yearly national campaign to promote reading. This is where we met Stephen Finney, the Director of "The Bridge."

As Stephen began with his verbal presentation of the facilities, I looked around the library and noticed 6 large stacks in the general area and 7 smaller stacks in the children's area, all with new books. Also noted was an Arts and Crafts activities taking place within the library area. After scoping the place out, I returned to taking notes of what was being said.

It was mentioned that there are 30,000 items in the library collection and new books are added into the collection every week. They have a staff of 6 full time librarians who cover 15 libraries in the area and each have between 25 and 35 years of work experience. There are 4 entrances into the facility with no graffiti on any of the walls, which was amazing. It was said that the people really value this building, because graffiti is everywhere else.

Stephen then talked about "The Den," which was a small community room directly over the Children's Area of the library. It was designed like a tree house. We did not go into it, but it looked very neat and I was wishing that I was a young child so I could go in it! We then were lead down to the music studio, but it was in use so we couldn't go in. A group photo was taken in that area before we continued are journey up to the Studio Theatre, where dance classes and other related activities were held. One wall could even be removed to expand the food service area for special event catering. Near the Studio Theatre was the Pool area. It was quite large, with slides, and people seemed to being enjoying themselves while we looked on.

In all, it was quite a day filled with nice examples of library information and site visits.

Related Links

Public Libraries and Museum Act of 1964

Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1973

Scotland and Devolution

The Bridge