Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Academic Day 6: Barbican Public & St. Paul's Cathedral libraries
Again, very commonplace are the individual churches to have cafe's in order to support itself and out of the many I went to, always had a good experience with good food and drink. Back to Mr. Wisdom, such an intriguing fellow. He took us down the hallway of curiosities, around a couple corners past a perfectly cylindrical staircase that could have possibly been used in a Harry Potter set, and into a spacious room with a big model replica of St. Paul's Cathedral in the center of it. The room's walls had books carved into them, making it apparent that this room had been the original designated library. However, the building had another chamber that was going to be a library space as well...one was going to be a copyright deposit office ("a 'metropolitical library' idea" as Mr. Wisdom put it) and the other would house church documents. Seeing as though symmetry was a key to Sir Wren's design of this structure, Mr. Wisdom told us to find the current library and that it was the mirror image of this room...we were able to walk directly to it with that minimal instruction. We walked into the library which was a staggering experience for both sight and smell, both of which discerned the age and wisdom in this single wood paneled one story mezzanined room with shades drawn. The original church library had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, so the aforementioned two library spaces were included in Wren's current cathedral. As far as Mr. Wisdom knew, Sir Wren didn't integrate any interior environmental stablization features into his design. Now, modern conservation methods/environmental controls keep the room a constant temperature and humidity. This is the private library of the clergy, but others must have good reason with advance notice to use the library's holdings. Mr. Wisdom then summed it up by saying that the library is open "to anyone who can make good use of it. When asked about cataloging, Mr. Wisdom said that items were beginning to be put into a digital database, although many already are in other regional book databases: ESTC, WING, and COPAC.