Thursday, July 15, 2010

City Business Library

As part of our journal assignment, we are required to write an entry on each library we visit as well as three additional entries. For one of these additional entries, I visited the City Business Library, a public reference library that is part of the City of London public library system. It is housed in the same building as the Guildhall Library, but runs separately.

While the building's framework is old, all of the Library's interior fittings have been modernized. The space is relatively small, especially in comparison to the Barbican Library, another City of London public library, which I blogged about in a previous entry. However, the space has been used to its maximum potential. Modern bookshelves line three sides of the room and the center is filled with reading tables and a few public computers. A help desk is located along one wall, and an information desk is a short ways away. I enquired at the information desk about the size of the collection, but the librarian said that to her knowledge the Library did not have any updated records. They do subscribe to around 300 journals and have another 200 free publications, with back issues stored from 2-5 years. When I looked at the shelves, I noticed that most of their holdings were journals; there were very few books. All were related to business and all appeared to be in English. Except for a display area of new magazines, journals and books were shelved together according to subject and call numbers contained a letter followed by numbers, similar to the London Library system. Subjects included management, market research, accounting, and import/export. In addition to these shelves, there was another small section of shelving that was divided by region, with shelves devoted to such areas as Africa, the USA, the Caribbean, Asia, and the UK. These shelves contained information specific to each region, most with Economist reports.

The Library also offers classes. Offerings included instruction on databases, business planning, and even the creation of a Twitter profile! In addition, the Library has several online business resources. Database subscriptions include Kompass, Business UK, Business Trade Statistics, and Mergent.

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit. The atmosphere was quiet and conducive to research. I noticed several users wearing suits, perhaps looking for a job or doing research for an existing job.

Photo courtesy of In the Outfield.


  1. I'm curious about the policy of retaining back issues for just a few years. I wonder if they retain digital or microfiche records going further back? Has microfiche been phased out of existence in this digital age?

  2. No, microfiche is still in existence. The back issues I mentioned were just the ones on display (sorry, that was not especially clear). I assume older issues are available upon request, or online in databases.