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To be upset that the British Museum is closing its library

(30 Posts)
frillyflower Tue 07-Jun-11 22:37:31

The public library at the British Museum is fantastic.

They have a children's library and children's backpacks and trails. They also have thousands of adult books, all freely available to any visitor 7 days a week.

I am really sad that this service is to close.

GypsyMoth Wed 08-Jun-11 00:16:04

Lots are tho, this one is no more or less important than those in the community

PrinceHumperdink Wed 08-Jun-11 00:17:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 09:46:09

Tiffany - just because others are closing doesn't mean it's not a shame this one is too!

PrinceHumperdink - apparently the Museum is doing it to save money (cuts). Although they are keeping their other (9!!) libraries which are all closed to the general public.

They have also announced that the public don't need a library as all information is available on the Web nowadayshmm

Seems a shame they have chosen to cut a service for the public and the only place there where there is provision for families and small children.

It's very popular. We go all the time.

GypsyMoth Wed 08-Jun-11 09:49:34

all libraries are popular and its a shame for all of them. cuts. they have to start somewhere

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 09:53:06

Well why do they have to start on the public library?

They are keeping all their other special non-public ones (9 in one institution!).

They are building a huge great extension at the back.

I think they should prioritise a public service - after all we pay for it.

GypsyMoth Wed 08-Jun-11 10:03:22

suppose as its open to the public,its more costly?

and maybe the numbers of people using it are dwindling? who knows?

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 10:05:52

And maybe they aren't dwindling!

Every time we go there it's full.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 08-Jun-11 10:08:00

It is pretty outrageous. It sends out the wrong message that books aren't important in such a public way.

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 10:15:28

Honestly it's such a great service for families.

You can hire a (free) backpack full of activities to do in the museum and then go back to the library and the children can read if they want, or parents can read little ones a story. And all the books are on subjects covered in the museum so it's such a brilliant way for children to learn about Egyptians and Romans etc.

It is also really nice that the public can access all this information so freely.

We will miss it anyway.

LRDTheFeministDragon Wed 08-Jun-11 10:21:46

That is a shame. sad

But then, their library used to be much bigger before they moved the vast majority of it to the then-new British Library, so I assume the library they now have is effectively there out of old habit, rather than because someone decided it was vital for a museum to have a library? I know back in the day when they moved the big collections it was partly because the Museum felt it was too big a job to keep both library and museum up to scratch.

Do you know what will happen to the books/equipment? Is it going somewhere else?

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 10:28:47

All museums have libraries.

The British Museum was the only one with access for the general public and a children's library too. I think it sent out a great message that they valued books and learning (and the public!). And for those of us who want our children to appreciate books and libraries that was a valuable thing really.

When the British Library moved from the Museum building they took their own books (separate institution). The Museum still had all its own libraries - that's why they have 9 private specialist ones now!

LRDTheFeministDragon Wed 08-Jun-11 10:47:28

frilly, are you sure they were separate institutions? confused Quite a lot of books that now belong to the British Library used to have 'British Museum' as part of their shelfmark, that's why I ask.

I was hoping maybe the books and equipment would go somewhere else to carry on being used - if not the BL maybe somewhere else? Does anyone know?

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 10:50:20

The BL has been a separate institution from the BM since 1973 when it became the national library.

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 10:52:37

The BL won't want a public library on BM subjects including lots of children's books!

The value of the BM public library is that it is IN the BM. So you look at the objects, go and read up on them and vice versa.

LRDTheFeministDragon Wed 08-Jun-11 11:26:27

I thought so, frilly! Was confused for a minute there.

It seems a real pity if the books can't be re-used elsewhere - don't personally get the snobbery about children's books. Children's books are just as good and possibly a whole lot more important than other types of book, dont you think?

If the alternative is to scrap them/put them in storage it'd surely be better to have them available even if it's not at the BM.

IntergalacticHussy Wed 08-Jun-11 11:40:01

we are truly a civilisation in decline sad

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 11:47:09

The BL not snobby about children's books (it is a copyright library so has everything), but it is an adult library so does not cater for children.

However, I don't get the snobbery about public libraries per se tbh.

It seems far more valuable and important to me to provide material for the public (especially children) than for rarefied museum staff and scholarly types who, frankly, can use libraries elsewhere, including the BL.

What price being able to tell a child about Egyptian mummies, show them in a book and then show them the objects themselves?

Whatever - it's certainly better value than a multi million pound extension and a lot of private libraries.

But hey - I like books and children and so my priorities obviously differ from theirs!!

LaundryFairy Wed 08-Jun-11 11:54:01

I would be very sorry to see this go as well.

Can you tell me where you heard the news frillyflower?

montmartre Wed 08-Jun-11 11:56:43

'All museums have libraries'?

No they don't! These days some barely have exhibits <<cough>>...

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 12:04:19

Another user of the library told me. I asked a member of the visitor staff and they said the closure has been announced in the museum.

All museums have libraries actually they just don't all make them public. That is the value of this one.

LRDTheFeministDragon Wed 08-Jun-11 13:58:23

It does cater for children, very well! Have you never been?

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 21:19:24

Actually yes I have been! I was there last weeK researching for my PhD. It is the national library, a research library, and to get a readers ticket you have to be over 18.

I don't know what you mean LRD. The BL does not have a children's library.

LRDTheFeministDragon Wed 08-Jun-11 21:27:14

Frilly, I happened to mention the BL because its books used to belong to the BM, like the ones that are now in the library that is being closed. I am sure there might be better places for those books to be taken, if the library must be closed (which is a real pity).

But it's not accurate to suggest the BL isn't child-friendly. It is. I have never been there without seeing many children, with parents or on their school trips. There was a really good exhibition a while back on, if I remember rightly, the Jolly Postman and other children's illustrations, and all of the regular exhibitions have aspects that are designed for children to enjoy. I honestly don't know how you've missed this? As to needing a reader's ticket, that's not true either. You only need a reader's ticket to get to the research collections.

If, instead of going to the reading rooms, you go into the exhibitions, you will see what I mean. I absolutely loved the BL as a child and have very fond memories!

frillyflower Wed 08-Jun-11 21:55:15

I know all that LRD.

My point is that the BL does not have a children's library. They cannot take books from another library and make them available to children.

I know you don't need a reader's ticket to go to exhibitions or enter the BL building. It's called a reader's ticket because it allows you into the reading rooms to read.

The BL's exhibitions may be child friendly. That's not what is being discussed.

Again - the beauty of the BM's library is that it about the BM's collections and IN the museum.

Anyway it's all very sad.

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