"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Librarians' Outing

What better place for school librarians from the Metrowest area to meet up than the Boston Public Library?

After learning about some of the electronic resources available to our students, we ventured off on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Boston Public Library, the first large free municipal library in the United States. You can read about the history of the library and the McKim building here.
The only draw back of this tour is time. It was almost painful for this group of book lovers to keep walking past volumes and volumes of books and not be able to stop and read them or page through them.  When I say volumes and volumes, I mean it. We got a glimpse of the seven stories of stacks that the public never sees.  

We also had a tour of the Digital Lab.  Seeing the care that goes into digitizing the collections that are housed at the library or sent there impressed the group. We learned that public institutions can apply to have portions of their collections digitized. This music is a hand-written Irish ballad from the late 1700s.

This is one of the digitization machines - it photographs the books from many angles.

Much of the library collection is still only accessible by Microfiche. We all had quick flashbacks to spending time at the Microfiche machine, I wonder how many of our students will do this?

You will have to take your own tour to learn about this:
This is a small section of one of the granite columns holding up the building. I want to think that the dirt-ish mixture between the granite blocks is the original and dates to the 1890's. That would just be cool.

 Libraries are full of stories...and aren't we glad?

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