Understanding Gladstone by Kate Atkinson | Gladstone's Library

Understanding Gladstone by Kate Atkinson

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Before completing my work experience at Gladstone’s Library, I was unaware of the many resources available to the public. Upon my arrival I was blown away by the beautiful, historic and tranquil surroundings. Whilst looking through the collections I was happily lost in the extensive variety of books. Personally, my favourite room is the History Room; it is full of books capturing influential moments in History, and all from Gladstone’s own library.

During my week-long work experience here, I have picked up new skills which will be valuable in the future. Throughout the week I have been looking through and transcribing William Gladstone’s original letters from 1863, to help the library update its knowledge of this collection. At first I found it a daunting task as I struggled to read his handwriting, however (with the help of the interns and staff here) I have learnt how to analyse the letters, and have gained an understand of Gladstone himself. I have also been taught how to catalogue and reference books. It has been an experience in which I have loved learning new skills and gathering information on all sorts of things. Another aspect of my work experience has been learning how the library runs day to day, and how it relies on volunteers and friends of the library. I now have an insight into the library and how important it is to so many different people.

As an AS student at Hawarden High School, studying English Literature, History, Drama and Textiles, I am often in need of useful sources to develop my course work. Not only did I discover the library had a wide collection of history books but also that it had newspapers and journals from the Nineteenth Century, which have developed my skills in analyzing primary sources; this will be invaluable, as I am a keen history student. For example I was surprised to find the extensive collection of the journal Punch held the library. This is often a source featured in questions I encounter in my studies, so to be able to read the original copies is extremely helpful.

The library is situated in the perfect place to visit after school, or in a free lesson. Not only is it good for resources but it allows you to study in peace, perfect for the up coming months before your exams. It is also a perfect place for a study group, with your friends. To top off your satisfied revision session I recommend visit the cafe to refuel! With the library's excellent resources and friendly staff you cannot go far wrong.

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