On July 8, our class visited what would be my favorite library of those that we visited. Our class toured the Maughan Library and Special Collections at King’s College. The collections consist of around 180,000 items, covering the strengths of theology, medicine, literature, travel, exploration, Judaism, and science. The library uses the Library of Congress classification scheme. The library serves the students of King’s College, which consist of students numbering between 25,000 to 30,000 a year. There are five faculty members. The group study rooms are first come, first serve. The library also has a computer room that can be reserved. There is an additional round reading room that is modeled after the British Library round reading room. I think that the favorite room among my classmates was the Weston Room. It is located in the oldest section of the building, and had originally served as a chapel. This part of the library is where the exhibitions are displayed for the public to view. Currently, there is an exhibit that shows some medical instruments. For example, there is an amputation set that was used at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. There are several books that are on display with these instruments.
The librarians of the special collections had set out several items that were interesting. Some of these included a book on how astrological events affected health, Edward Jenner’s book on small pox, John Conley’s book of insanity (published in 1830), and the Penny Lancet. The Penny Lancet was for people who could not afford to go to a doctor, or for those who just did not trust doctors. It gave crude instructions on how to “heal” yourself. One set of instructions told of how to do surgery on yourself.
I really enjoyed the medical collection of the archive. A significant amount of the 19th century collection is at the Wellcome Library for digitization.