I was not expecting much when we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Library, Art and Archives. I thought “what kind of library could exist in a botanic
garden?” Boy was I surprised! Their library houses one of the worlds largest collection of botany books. I was most impressed with their
large collection of ancient works about plants. I was particularly
interested in the books that spoke of certain plants medicinal affects.
At the time of our visit, Kew was hosting a program called Plantasia. The program featured many different events each offering information on the healing and medicinal aspects of plants.
|Plantasia program guide|
Our guide for the Kew Library tour was Fiona Ainsworth, Collection Manager of the library, art and archives. Fiona showed us the library, the Herbarium, and a display of rare books. The Herbarium had an eye catching red, spiral staircase linking it's three floors.
|Kew Herbarium: Photo courtesy of Kew.org|
|Me and fellow classmates observing rare books at Kew library. Photo courtesy of Dr Teresa Welsh||.|
I found the rare book display the most interesting part of our tour. During this part of the tour we were shown original works by Beatrix Potter. Most of us know Beatrix Potter for her children's books. But, most people do not know that Potter was an amateur scientist, interested in fungi.
|Beatrix Potter letter to Kew|
I searched for the Kew catalog online and discovered that Kew uses a SirsiDynix product . It seems that SirsiDynix has cornered the market on library catalog programs. The catalog contains over 160,000 record. Those recorded refer to pamphlets,periodicals, some non-published materials and books.
The last part of our guided tour was a lecture given by Andrew Wiltshire, Member of the Beatrix Potter Society. Andrew showed us a PowerPoint presentation on the cracking of Beatrix Potters diary code. Following his presentation we were allowed to tour Kew Garden and Palace. It was a beautiful garden, unlike any other I have seen. We have fun wondering what it must have been like to live in this house during the 1800's.