Tower of London

Tower of London

Monday, July 20, 2009

ACADEMIC-The Caird Library at the Greenwich Maritime Museum

A trip to The Greenwich National Maritime Museum is so much more than just exhibits and tours; it is an interactive journey though time and the deep blue sea. And of course, you can stand on the prime meridian. The opportunity to be in both the eastern and western hemispheres at one time is an experience that should not be missed.

A joint library and archive, this collection is one of the biggest maritime museums in the world. The collection encompasses navigation, astronomy, cartography, emigration, the lives and exploits of voyagers and explorers, naval architecture and strategy, genealogical resources, and my favorite, piracy.

If you are interested in pirates beyond that of the Jack Sparrow lore, than find this library online immediately. We were lucky enough to have a guided tour of the Caird Library by Mike Beran and Renee Orr. They regaled us with true life stories of pirates and navies the history of maps and the importance of longitude. My favorite fact of the day was that it was a very thin line between piracy and state sponsored raids. The only difference between a pirate and a member of the naval regime was a signed document by a government official.

We learned a great deal about the science behind running a maritime library, or any special library for that matter, but this visit stands out in my mind as one that encompasses what all libraries aim for-memorable visits for patrons that not only gain them as loyal patrons, but that will cause them to go out and spread the word about all that the library offers.

The Caird Library offers information, a glimpse into a seemingly glamorous part of history, and so much more. Thanks for the adventure!

For more information about this library or to view its online collection, click here.

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