James' Jaunts
Middle Temple Library
London, England

The Middle Temple Library is a small library housed within the Middle Temple Inns of Court. It has very strong ties to the United States. Five of the original signatories of the Declaration of Independence and seven of the Constitution were Middle Templars. They have the first authorized printing of the Declaration framed and prominently displayed outside the American collection on the third floor.

There are four inns of court: Inner, Middle, Lincoln, and Grays. Each court and library has a jurisdiction. United States law is under the jurisdiction of the Middle Temple Library. Hence the American collection, which include U.S. law journals and volumes of case law. It also contains a small collection of American textbooks.

The library also owns a small collection of international law reports. They provide access to electronic resources. The second floor holds the Dictionary of National Biography, ecclesiastical law, and trail records from the 19th and 20th centuries. The lower floor contains Scottish and Irish collection, the European collection, and a small exhibition area. The loft has archives and rare items, but is not currently accessible. The basement storehouse has old English texts.

This visit was particularly exciting for our class because we were the first to visit. The librarian, an American, heard of our class and extended an invitation for us to visit. It was really cool to learn of the connections the Middle Temple and the Library have with the United States. It was also interesting to visit a collection that was unique from those we previously visited.

Our guides also brought us to see the Hall, where members of the Middle Temple dine together. It is unique because it has a double-hammer beam ceiling.


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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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