On Monday, September the 2oth, I had the opportunity to visit three Baltimore libraries. I was in town for a publisher's meeting, and they let us out early. So, I figured I would see some of the libraries in the area. I mapped out three. They are pretty much a straight shot up Charles St.
The first library I stopped at was the Enoch Pratt Free Library. I had to walk about 6-7 blocks to get there. What an amazing structure. The main hall was something to behold. There are some pictures posted on their Flickr site, but none of the individual pictures do the entire hall justice. Once you get into the reference areas or in the stacks, it looked like the carpet could use some vacuuming, but that is not such a big deal. The children's area was a little hard to find. One has to weave their way down the stairs to get to the children's area. What an amazing area -- well worth the trip. The fountain is really cool.
The next library is north another 7 blocks north. I walked to the University of Baltimore Langsdale Library. I simply walked in the front door. They did have a security guard on the main level. She never questioned me. Maybe I looked nice. Since I am a science and engineering librarian, I tend to gravitate to the science areas of the stacks. I was a little surprised to find only 3 shelves of astronomy books and only 7 shelves of physics books. Hummm. Now that I look at the departments available in the College of Arts and Sciences, I see that they do not offer much in the way of physics, astronomy or mathematics. That explains it. Had I looked in a different area, I probably would have found lots more books. It is also good to see that their libraries are keeping up by attending conferences. I wish I could have attended this one. I was not able to get free wifi while on campus. I also stopped by their newish student center. I also learned that the U of Baltimore is part of the University of Maryland system. I thought it was private, but it isn't.
The third and last library is another 20 blocks to the north, the Eisenhower Library (of the Sheridan Libraries) at Johns Hopkins University. I took a cab from Penn station. The security guard took my drivers license to make a photocopy before she would let me in. The place was packed. They have resources that I have only heard about and never seen. For example, they have the Science of Synthesis in print in their reference section. They also have quite a bit of LB, but it is hard to tell if they are getting current volumes or not. I did not check to see if they have online access to either of these. There is a reason that JHU is highly ranked in the ARL. They can spend the money on resources such as these. They are also building the new Brody Learning Commons area.
Once I was done visiting the Eisenhower library, I stopped by their book store, which is a Barnes and Noble just off campus. Not very exciting. I thought about getting a lacrosse hat or a t-shirt, but I'm not really Hopkins material. That, and I am not really a lacrosse fan, but I do know that they are known for that sport.
Ate dinner at the neighborhood Subway, and then I headed back to the hotel. Overall, it was a good trip visiting three Baltimore libraries.