Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Philip Richardson Library Visit

            For my research paper, I decided to focus on the Philip Richardson Library which is one of the largest dance collections in the United Kingdom.  The library officially opened in the 1980s. 

Today, I was able to visit the library and meet with Rebecca Blackbourn, the Library and Research Services Manager.  During my visit, Rebecca gave me the tour of their small library and archive.  She showed me their book collection.  For their dance and dance related books, they are classified with their own classification system called RADPAC which stands for Royal Academy of Dance Performing Arts Collection.  Also, it is loosely passed off of the Universal Decimal Classification because it lets the classifier expand the collection to their needs.  For their non-dance books, they use the Universal Decimal Classification.  They have books, DVDs, CDs, VHS, journals, Benesh Movement Notation Scores, theatre programmes, photographs, pictures, and artefacts.  During the tour, Rebecca pulled one of the Benesh Movement Notation Scores for me to look at.  She was explaining to me how she would get emails about looking at a particular part of the scores and she would have to do research online to figure out how to read the scores to get as close as possible to what the patron wanted.  It was nice to know to see how she has to do research to do her job to the best of her abilities. 

Rebecca and I talked about the users of the library.  The users are: faculty and students, RAD friends and members, subscribers, and the public.  They also have had book launches in the library.  They hope that this will help publicize the library. 

Next, we talked about their policies which are that they do not have any formal policies currently, but what they are working towards them.  One of the guidelines for collection development is that they get items that promote the ethos of the Royal Academy of Dance and whatever the teachers put on the class reading lists.  For weeding, they do not weed the dance items.  They keep all of the copies that they have no matter how out of date they are or if they have newer editions.  However, they do weed their non-dance related items.

My talk and tour with Rebecca was extremely helpful.  I was able to learn more about the library, how it runs, whom it helps, and how things are classified.  This will be extremely helpful for my paper.

Courtesy of Philip Richardson Library website

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