Out of the three lending libraries in London, this is the largest. Our guides for this tour were Geraldine Polt and Jonathan Gibbs. Barbican Library opened in 1982, although the space was not designed as a library. It uses Dewey classification mostly, but has their own variation system. Books and items are weeded constantly. They do use volunteers, but the volunteers are not allowed to shelve. They mostly sit with children who have problems reading, and encourage the children. The library has home delivery for 30 people in London. The library also has audio, e-audio and e-books available. They have reading time for preschool children, game time for the older children, and sessions for those with reading difficulties. Volunteers listen to the children read and encourage them. For every child that is born in London, the library give them a pack of books when they are born, and another pack before they start preschool.
A library assistant named Natalie talked with us about the children library, which serves ages 0 to 14 years old. The children’s library has 23,000 items. 15,000 of these items are upstairs, while the remaining 8,000 are in the stacks downstairs.
Patrons can borrow up to 12 books for up to three weeks, but there is no fine if they are late. The goal of the library is to be something to everybody. That goal reaches from birth to death. They strive to be relevant.
One of the most interesting things that I found about the Barbican Library was the music library. We had an opportunity to listen to Richard Jones tell us about the history of the music library. It was opened in 1983. They have a team effort to keep their followers updated through Facebook, and Twitter. They currently have 1,800 followers on Twitter. The music library has 9,000 books. It also has a reference section, as well as listening booths. There are 16,000 scores at the music library. They have the largest cd collection in London.