James' Jaunts
Maughan Library
King's College
London, England

King's College was established in 1829 and originally had four libraries. In 2001, the Queen opened in the Maughan Library in the former Public Records, combining all four libraries into one. The building itself was the first fireproof building in the country; it is thus a registered building, which means limited changes, so the library had to cope with that when making the building more accessible for public use.

The library has 1000 reader spaces, 300+ computer spaces, and a collection of over 3 million items. They have self-service circulation. They serve approximately 11,000 King's College students, as well as students from other universities. They are open seven days a week, from 10am to 9pm. The library is open 24/7 during exam week. They offer wireless throughout. They have roving librarians who move throughout the building to aid patrons.

The Maughan Library houses the Foyle Special Collection. Since King's was a large medical school, one strength of this collection is medical manuscripts. They own an early 17th century manuscript that is a doctor's notebook with illustrations and a homemade binding. One of the earliest items they own is a copy of the Nuremburg Chronicles produced in 1493. They also have a lot of travel and expedition materials. They also showed us a copy of the charters of Pennsylvania that was owned and signed by Benjamin Franklin, and a copy of Ginsberg's poems, signed and annotated, that was given to a King's professor in the 1980s.

After visiting the special collection, we were taken on a tour of the facility. Our guide took us around the service areas and explained the purpose of each. We visited Inquiry Services, i.e. the reference desk, the short term loan area (reserves), and the multimedia library. Like the Barbican, they also have practice keyboards available for patrons. We stopped by the Round Room, a reading room that replicates the Round Reading Room at the British Museum. They also have a self-service cafeteria with vending machines.


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    London Away:
    British Studies
    Summer 2011


    I am a professional student.  I have a formal education--both a Bachelor and Master's degree in English, and I am working on a Master's in Library and Information Sciences.  But I believe that life experience is the greatest teacher anyone can have.  So I am hitting the road to have fun and to learn--and no, that's not mutally exclusive!--and live life to the fullest.



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