Yesterday was Bristol Doors Open Day, which is a yearly event in Bristol that gives you the chance to go behind the scenes of some very interesting places, and see the areas that the public usually doesn’t get to see :)
Bristol Central Library did several tours throughout the day, lasting about 90 minutes each, and we were told about the architectural details of the building built in 1906, and its extension built in the 1960s.
The tour starts in the main entrance lobby, which is well known to people who would usually come to borrow books from the main lending area. But as part of the tour, the guide explains about the architect who designed the space, its original functions, and the ideas behind it :)
Once upstairs near the reference area, the tour goes off from the public spaces, and into the staff areas…..this is where you can get a look at some really impressive old bookcases and very old books.
The tour takes you up to the balconies which surround the reference area below, and it’s a really impressive space to see ^^
In several places around the balcony are these book lifts, operated by hand using pulleys. They have 2 boxes on the ropes which let the librarians send books up or down between the public reference area, and the balconies above.
However they are no longer in use, because a librarian forgot to move once when roping some books down to himself, and got a rather heavy bang on the head ^_^;
There are a lot of stairs to go up and down on the tour, so it’s best to keep that in mind if you plan on joining next year…..there is a lift available, but it’s like a big 2 person box, so not recommending if you don’t like small enclosed spaces. We were told it is very safe though ;P
The tour also takes you right down into the basements of the original building, and its 1960s extension, and it’s amazing how many books are stored down there, just waiting to be asked for :)