Sunday, 12 August 2012

"That Chair is Worth More than your House" A Trip to the Christ Church Library

Christ Church College Oxford: Photo by Jenny Collins

Christ Church College is another school at the sprawling city university that is Oxford, and as such has their own library. We weren't scheduled to visit it, but as we walked through Christ Church college our professor decided to pop her head in and work her magic on some fellow librarians.

Once she informed them that there was a group of baby librarians sitting on the steps outside they invited us to come in and gave us an impromptu tour of the library. One of the things I've found to the most impressive so far is the friendliness and camaraderie that exists between working librarians and library students. They welcome us in with open arms and go above and beyond to show us as much as they can and Christ Church was no different.

Christ Church College Library: Photo by Jenny Collins

More modern pieces of the collection are housed on the first floor of the library, humanities to one side and math and sciences to the other, while the upper floors of the library house Christ Church's older collection.

Space is once again the main issue that the library faces, and it
makes use of on- and off-site storage in order to make enough space for expansion. The library is managed by only a few librarians, each wearing multiple hats to make sure that it stays running and operational. One display in the upper floors during our visit were sketches from Dean Liddle (the father of the girl who Alice of Alice in Wonderland was named for) as well as carved Wonderland figures. My personal favorite item was the hat of Cardinal Woolsey, who some might remember from their history lessons about Henry the Vll. The other notable feature? These chairs:

Chair: Photo by Jenny Collins 

The librarian invited us to have a seat and waited until all of us
were down to inform us that the chairs were valued at about what a
house would cost. As we all leapt up she grinned broadly and said one of her favorite parts of the job was waiting for people sit before informing them of that fact. I have to say if I was in her position I'd probably think the same thing. 

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