Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Open Cambridge

Open Cambridge was days ago sez you, better late than never sez I. (Also I'm waiting for an episode of House to buffer.)

So last Friday was the first day of the two day event Open Cambridge. Loads of things normally closed to the public were opened up for the two days, all sorts of things that I didn't get a chance to go to like the fire station, the behind the scenes bits of John Lewis and the crematorium (which my brochure handily told me was unsuitable for those of a nervous disposition!). However luckily for me, this also included loads of the university libraries, and Debbie suggested I take the morning to go round a few of them. Just across the road from Newnham is the Sidgwick site, and as three of the libraries on the list were there, I decided to visit those three.

First up, the Radzinowicz Library of Criminology. I went on a walk round the library, which has loads of art on the walls that's been done by prisoners, which was kind of half "bowl of fruit and a bottle of wine" type still life, and half the kind of art Phoebe from Friends would make. Then I went over to look at the display they'd put out for the open day, they had a collection of letters from the serial murderer John George Haigh, also known as the "Acid Bath Murderer". Being a somewhat macabre person I found these really interesting, heheh.

Next, I moved on to the Modern and Medieval Languages Library, which was basically next door. They didn't have any displays but the librarians there were more than happy for me to wander around and ask them questions. When I (eventually) get my university card I should be able to get books out from faculty libraries so I'll maybe be getting some more french books out from here!

On my way out of the MML library I saw a figure in the distance waving at me which materialised into Sarah, who had just been to the Pendlebury Library of Music where I was headed, and was on her way to the two I'd just done. The music library was nicely familiar*, and I gave a mental wave to George Grove as I passed his 29 volume dictionary! Chatting to the music librarians was very helpful, as that would be something I'd be interested in going into. I also gathered up a load of concert season programmes and leaflets so I'll have plenty of things to go to (if I ever end up being in Cambridge at a weekend that is!)

Finally I went back to Newnham to get ready for our own Open Cambridge. We were doing more of an organised tour kind of thing, people booked places on a tour round the college and gardens, and stopped in at the library on the way. We (mainly Jo) had made a display of books by Newnham authors, including Sylvia Plath, Germaine Greer, and my own favourite, Emma Thompson. Anne had put out some archive photos of Newnham, and of course there was the ring with Charlotte Bronte's hair in...

Ignoring the fact I'm totally biased, I'd have to say we put on the best Open Cambridge of all the libraries I saw on Friday! Can we collect our prize now? No? Oh well. I'll just settle for watching my House :)

He was an Emma Thompson fan too, if you know what I mean.

*On a side note, speaking of things being familiar, I went to reshelve a new Miles Davis book I'd just finished processing, and found the right place on the shelf, just next to a book by Mervyn Cooke! It's like I never left Nottingham...

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