Sunday, 18 October 2015

Librarians in Norwich: a visit to Norwich Cathedral Library

Arriving at the Cathedral, a striking mixture of old and new.

On a fine sunny Friday 25th September 2015  a group of CLG members set off for Norwich, and met Emily Downes from the Cambridge Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Norwich resident, at the visitors' entrance to Norwich Cathedral. We followed her through the Cloisters, up the stairs and into the library, to be met by the librarian Dr Gudrun Warren. We sat in the reading room to have an outline of the long history of book collection at the Cathedral, from its pre-Reformation years as a Priory, subsequent re-location, rising and falling of buildings, to the present day when the recent extension to the Cathedral made spaces for the growing collections. The library houses not only the Cathedral collections, but also the stock of the defunct Lincoln Theological College on long term loan, and the various collections from Parish Churches in the Diocese. To say nothing of individual bequests from musicians and clergy and bell-ringers over the years.  Gudrun is rather attached to the portion of medieval wall which interrupts the library office, as seen in the group photo of CLG members. We noted odd pieces of wall, arch and door in various places around the rabbit-warren of rooms, all cleverly incorporated into the new structure. There is a small staff, and many volunteers who make the collections available to people living in the Diocese as well as researchers from further afield.

The Norwich group gathered by sections of the original medieval wall.
CLG members examining a rather large book...
Gudrun described the small book shelves which used to be set into the walls of the cloisters, with lockable doors - although the door is missing, as are the books.  After our tour we enjoyed lunch in the refectory, a beautiful new extension to the ancient building, and some were able to go on a guided tour of the Cathedral itself.  There is inevitably a Cambridge connection: the current exhibition at the UL, 'His Royal Favour' describes and shows some of the enormous collection of John Moore, Bishop of Norwich 1691-1707, which was later given to King George I and given by him to Cambridge University. A great loss to Norwich Cathedral.

It was a most interesting day out, reminding us that there are treasures and ancient cities within easy reach of Cambridge, and well worth visiting. Thank you to Emily for organising the visit and to Dr Warren for her generous welcome.

Contributed by Jillian Wilkinson, Divinity Faculty Library.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Welcome to all our new and returning members!

A very big 'hello' to those of you who have joined as members this year.  We are delighted to announce a truly jam-packed programme of visits, talks and events for the coming year.  Our first event of the season, a guided tour of Norwich Cathedral Library in September, was resounding success - more details to follow on the blog shortly! Other highlights this year include a tour of St John's College Archive Centre (opened recently by Prince William no less!), our traditional Twelfth Night Party in the CUP bookshop and a special visit to London in June for a guided tour of the Royal College of Physicians' Library and John Dee exhibition. 

We look forward to seeing you all soon for a glass of wine and chat about all things library-related. Please do join us for our AGM on Thursday 22nd October, when we will be joined by Anna Martin to talk about her new book, 'Villain of Steam: a life of Dionysius Lardner'. There will also be plenty refreshments and a chance for enthusiasts to witness the workings of the committee (and join us if interested!). 6pm, School of Clinical Medicine