Thursday, February 26, 2009

London Day Two

The British Library, the site of one of my visits today. Before I forget, the pedometer count for today is 13,490, a few more miles! And my feet are telling me the news! Guess I'll rely more on Tube and bus tomorrow.

The BL is about five to ten minutes from where I'm staying, so it was a breeze to get there. I met Kimberly at the front desk; it was great to see her again. (She's been here for five years; it doesn't seem that long.) She was a fabulous host. After getting my visitor's badge we went down to the lockers where I stored my coat and bag. Then it was a little walking tour through some of the library before meeting her colleagues for a "show and tell" on a project she's been part of. The presentation was very interesting. Basically, security photographs are being made of maps that are part of a larger volume. A number of photographs are made, including a backlit version to show any watermarks and stains. These photographs are then linked to a record in the catalog. The purpose is to be able to show the map within the context of the larger work and to provide proof, if needed (and if the map is stolen from the volume) that this map is the property of the BL. There were a number of BL staff present at the meeting; I'm glad they let me sit in on the proceedings.

After the meeting Kimberly took me to the cafeteria for coffee/tea and a chance to visit a little bit more and catch up on people and happenings back in Minnesota. After our table time she took me to see the Conservation Centre and other parts of the library. The morning went way too quickly, but I'm really glad we had the chance to connect. I didn't have enough time to see the Treasures collection or register as a reader, but I'll probably take the opportunity in the next day or so.

After the British Library I wandered down Euston Road to Marylebone Road. Along the way I passed the Wellcome Library, Park Crescent, Regent's Park and Madame Tussaud's before arriving at Baker Street. The first place I went was to see the Sherlock Holmes statue. From there it was a short walk to the Marylebone Library and my meeting with Catherine Cooke. It was great to see her again and to have the opportunity to view the Holmes Collection. Catherine gave me a wonderful tour, opening cabinet after cabinet to reveal interesting volumes. We had a chance to talk a little shop and I'm hoping we can offer some of the duplicates from our collection to the Marylebone collection. It would be wonderful, as well, to explore the contents of all those file cabinets to see what didn't get included in the DeWaal bibliography, but that will have to wait for a later time. Catherine also gave me a peek at the newly received archives of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. It will be very interesting to see what that collection contains. I'll be getting together with Catherine again during the latter part of my trip, but I was very thankful for the time she gave me this afternoon.

After my meeting with Catherine I wandered up and down Baker Street and eventually found myself at Grosvenor Square and the US embassy. I was tempted to look for the Minnesota flag among the flags of the states, but that would have meant going through security and even then I'm not sure I could have gotten close. So I settled on prowling the square and looking at the FDR and Eisenhower statues.

By this time "my dogs were starting to bark" (as opposed to the dog that did not bark in the nighttime). My feet did take a bit of a beating today (I wore different shoes) so will probably go back to my boots tomorrow and/or rely more on the bus and Tube with my Oyster card.

Well I've been at the computer for at least the last four hours (catching up on e-mail, writing letters and notes, uploading more photos), so I think its about time to call it a day. I think I'm going to wander down towards Westminster Abbey and Buckingham palace tomorrow. I haven't checked the weather yet, but noticed via e-mail that its been snowing back home and that evening classes at the U have been canceled. Must be some storm if the U is shutting things down!

No comments: