The Barbican Library is located in the Barbican Art Center that opened in 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II. It is part of a three branch lending library system in the City of London. It has been rated as a Grade 1 historic building.
The library uses a personalized Dewey classification system, RFID, wifi, and automated checkout machine. It has an internet suite, a buggy park, and promotes city read. They have an income generator by charging loan fees for CD and DVD. Their website has foreign language courses, talking books, and ebooks. I did find it interesting that they don’t offer courses, but promote others who provide courses for their patrons.
The Barbican library has an art collection that connects to the art center, a crime fiction collection from the 1920s, and a collection of items about London before 1900. Their collection of maps is laminated for the reason of “weather ability”. It makes sense for the layers of clothes needed for London’s weather.
There is a small children section with a total of 23,000 items with 15,000 open access and the rest in storage. There are only 4 categories of books that are determined by age. The summer reading challenge is ran by the national authority.
Their Music library has a large collection of vinyl records. It has 9,000 books and 16,000 scores. They have a collection called ‘Unsigned London’ which is composed of CDs by artists that are not signed to a record company. The Barbican Library has shown that you can have a piano in the middle of the library and still have silence. Ok, the use of headphones is needed, but you can barely hear the tapping of the keys (the same noise level of someone typing on a computer keyboard) With their huge collection of CDs, they have listening booths for patrons to use as well.
The patrons of the library enjoy visiting the library on their lunch hour. My ears could not believe that until I heard that they have a small local community and a huge commuting population.