Thursday, August 18, 2005

IFLA 2005, Oslo: Day 7 (part 1)

Day 7: 18 Aug 05. Last day of the IFLA conference.

Morning started with a guided tour of the National Library of Norway (NL Norway).
Olso2005 15Aug05 045b
The guide explained that the National Library opened only in 1999. Up until then, the national library functions were assigned to the Oslo University Library. So as a building, the National Library was relatively new. More facts here (in English).

The foyer:
National Library Norway 18Aug05_1

Inside the library, a landing area (the lift lobby, actually) ...
NL Norway2

... where you'd see this when you look down:
NL Norway3

For Singaporeans, this is where the terms "National Library" and "Public Library" get a bit confusing, as we use it interchangably.

Typically, a "national library" is distinct from a "public library" in terms of its function, collection and management. In Singapore, the management of the National Library and the public libraries are under the same body -- NLB (prior to NLB being formed in 1995 by an act of parliament, it was the then "National Library" that managed the national library and the public libraries). This arrangement is quite unique in the library world.

Hence, Singaporeans often refer to the public libraries as "national library" too. Strictly speaking, the "national library" is the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library (non-lending to general public; materials for reference only). The lending libraries are the public libraries...
get it?

... Ok, back to the NL of Norway.

The NL of Norway's premises was renovated and reopened on Monday 15 August 05. It's open to all and provides lending copies for selected items. Like most (or should I say, all) National Libraries, they have a legal deposit function. Something like up to 7 copies to be deposited (Singapore's requirement is 2 copies).

The guide brought us to the Music Department, where they house their National Music Collection. Main type is western music, and the most important collection being Norwegian mat erials & Norwegian folk music. I was told this was the music score for the National Anthem of Norway:
National Anthem of Norway

This one's really interesting -- the score itself has these dials, which the conductor would rotate so that there are different variations to the entire piece.

We were brought to another section and shown some rare materials (the guide explained they had 410 items at that moment). The oldest printed book in their collection was printed in 1466. Norway got its first printing press in 1643.

This one blew me away -- a book with a "Fore-edge painting". The edge looks normal enough but when folded like so...
Fore-edge Painting
... you see a painting! And the amazing this is that you turn it horizontally and there's a different picture. The title of the book is "The Epicurean, a tale" by Thomas Moore (published in 1827).

This is their smallest printed book.
Smallest Printed book in Norway

And there are bottles (of alcohol, presumably) hidden in this book:
hidden bottles in book

This is a shot of the area leading to the Norwegian-American history collection (many Norwegians migrated to the US).
NL Norway

This is a close-up of a card catalogue of the Norwegian-American collection.
Norwegian-American Collection
The catalogue was started by a librarian -- as a hobby it seems -- years ago, and subsequently it's been computerised. The card catalogues are still being used as reference.

Here are a few more selected pictures:

Reading area:
Reading Room2
Reading Room

Wall mural at the foyer staircase up to the second level:
wall mural

Exhibition hall:
exhibition hall

Microfilm section:
Microfilm section

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1 comment:

  1. Hey there-- I've been really enjoying your blog. That music score with the dials is creative and really cool!


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