Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Tuesday, July 14

Our day started with a Tube ride to the Barbican Centre and a visit to the library located there. I wandered around the Children's library a bit perusing their books and displays before I was able to chat with the librarian Ms. Amanda Owens. She had been visiting a local school that morning promoting their summer reading program "Quest Seekers" and was happy to meet with several of us and share her insights and knowledge of librarians and librarianship.


I spent several busy hours at the Barbican library looking around and researching children's libraries in London. A terrific assistant helped me find the info I needed about the Chelsea Library and I set off for it after a wonderful lunch at the Barbican cafe.

Located in the neighborhood of South Kensington and Chelsea this beautiful small library occupies the former Town Hall site. The children's department is on the second floor in a bright, sunny yellow room. Ms. Elisabeth Brown, library assistant, was most helpful with my inquiries and shared loads of terrific ideas. Our chat was interrupted several times by patrons with small children or babies which attests to the busyness of this branch and which makes any librarian very happy. I looked around this location a bit more and noted, among other things, that the U.K. version of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book had different cover art and illustrations from the U.S. version. Same great story on the inside, however.

I enjoyed a stroll up to Knightsbridge along the King's Road and passed many familiar shops and businesses along the way. I knew immediately that I was in the vicinity of Harrod's when the pedestrian and automotive traffic suddenly increased dramatically. Harrod's was packed with customers and if there is a recession, it seems to have bypassed this retail bastion. Shoppers all over the store were buying fast and furiously.

Everyone that wasn't in Harrods or on the streets of Knightsbridge was in the Tube racing toward home. The trains and stations were packed with wall-to-wall people and it was a reprieve from the hustle and bustle to reach the relative quiet of Stamford Street.

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