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Study Abroad Library Information: EUROPE: NO-UK-IE-NL


1. Visiting the University of Oslo Library.  This main library is a huge building, built in the 1990s. Top left: the lobby of the library looks like a convention center.  Top right: they have a curved Reference Desk, similar to CSUF's.  Bottom left: the exterior of the library.  Bottom right: a cool program the library sponsors: a "language cafe" where students can gather and talk in different languages over coffee.

Interior of University of Oslo library     John inside the University of Oslo library  

Exterior of University of Oslo library     Language Cafe sign outside University of Oslo library

2. Visiting the world famous Oslo Public Library.  The Oslo Public Library used to be in an old building built in 1933. It was grandiose, but not very practical for modern needs.  So a massive new building was launched several years ago, next to the waterfront Opera Hall, and opened in 2020. This new central library is referred to as "The Deichman", named after Carl Deichman, Oslo's 18th-Century library benefactor.  Top: exterior and interior.  Bottom Left: casual stepped seating area.  Bottom right: parking stalls for baby strollers (by the children's library).

John outside Oslo Public Library     interior of Oslo Public Library

casual seating area, on steps, of Oslo Public Library

     baby stroller parking area inside Oslo Public Library

3. Visiting Volda University Library.  CSUF has an exchange partnership with Volda University, which is on the western coast of Norway (a 7-hour drive from Oslo), near the scenic fjords mountains along the North Sea.  The library is smaller than at bigger universities, but has very proactive outreach services. Left: interior of the library with skylight natural lighting.  Middle: more natural lighting along the windowed walls.  Right: meeting with Volda University's Library Director, Mariann Schjeide, former president of the Norway Library Association.

interior of Volda University Library  natural lighting from windows in Volda University Library  John with director of Volda University Library

Left: an outreach Best Practice of Mariann: baked goods in the library!  Middle: bowl of free earplugs at the Reference Desk (not 1€, like in other libraries).  Right: meeting with Arne Humberset, Director of Volda University's International Office.

Volda University Library outreach poster: baked goods in the library     bowl of free earplugs at the Reference Desk     John with Volda University International Office Director


1. Visiting the University College London (UCL) Library.  UCL is one of the largest and top universities in the UK, part of the 17-member University of London network of universities.  The Library is very historic, with a Greek-column building dating back to 1827.  Today, the Library (called "Main Library") houses the Arts & Humanities collections.  Inside, the Library is a labyrinth of hallways and reading rooms, each containing shelves of the overall collection (making finding a particular book a challenge). Right: the exterior of the Library.  Left: one of the many scattered hallways containing book shelves.

Exterior of University College London Library     John in a hallway of UCL Library, London

Left: interior of the UCL Library's main Reading Room.  Right: an Information/Reference Desk, in a back office.  The assistance provided is top quality, but the location is hard to find in the maze of the library.

Interior of the UCL Library main reading room, London     Reference Desk in the UCL Library, London

2. Visiting Kingston University Library.  The CSU system has an international partnership with Kingston University, located in in a borough southwest of central London.  The university has several campuses and libraries; I visited the largest/main library, which is the newest-built building: a modern-architectural facility built in 2020. Left: the exterior of the library.  Right:  the spacious Information/Reference Desk area

Exterior of Kingston University Library   John at the Reference Desk of the Kingston University Library

Left: the multi-floor interior of the library.  Right: examples of good signage throughout the library

Interior of Kingston University Library               Signage in Kingston University LIbrary

3. Visiting the British Library.  Although my travels are mostly for academic libraries, I couldn't miss the opportunity to visit the world-famous British Library, the UK's national library.  It did not disappoint!  Its collection was incredible.  Left: outside the library.  Right: inside one of the exhibit areas, next to one of the oldest copies of the Magna Carta (hand written, 13th century!)  Wow, so historic.

John outside the British Library   John inside the British Library next to a copy of the Magna Carta


1. Visiting Cambridge University's Library.  Cambridge's Library is world-famous, dating back to the 1400s.  Cambridge has over 100 departmental and specialty libraries, but its flagship library is its Main Library, which I visited.  This is a massive building, built in the 1930s, with a huge central tower housing closed-stack book storage. The Main Library has multiple floors and wings, holding over 8 million items, with another 8 million items across all other libraries.  As one of the UK's 6 official government repository libraries, Cambridge's Library also has an enormous off-site storage facility, with 65 miles of storage space. Left: exterior of the Main Library.  Right: a book return drop in the shape of a UK telephone booth.

John outside Cambridge University Library     John next to a bookdrop outside Cambridge University Library

Left: One of the library's reading rooms. Center: old card catalog to old collections. Right: one of the many antique-looking hallways, with bookshelves, in the library.

Interior of Cambridge University Library Reading Room    Card catalog in Cambridge University Library    Interior of Cambridge University Library

2. Visiting Oxford University's Library.  Like Cambridge, Oxford University's library is world-famous. The Oxford Library system--containing 13 million items--is comprised of over 100 libraries (departmental and college), 30 of which are the core libraries called the "Bodlian Libraries" (named after Oxford's Library founder, Thomas Bodley).  The main/original Bodley library, which I visited, dates back to 1602.  It is partially a museum/tourist attraction, but is still an active library for students.  Top row: outside the library and at its entrance.  Bottom row: the interior of the library, with 400 year-old books.

John outside Oxford University Main Library     John at entrance of Oxford University Main Library

Interior of Oxford University Main LIbrary     Interior of Oxford University Main Library     John with 400-year old books in Oxford University Main Library


1. Visiting the University of Wales Trinity St. David Library.  This university is part of the University of Wales system (7 universities), located in western part of UK.  The university has 3 campuses, and I visited the oldest/original (although smallest), in Lampeter, Wales, dating back to 1822.  The university's library is a 2-story building with a small staff but proactive services.   Left: lobby of the library  Center: consulting with 2 of the Library's Librarians (the sign in the background, "Croeso", is "Welcome" in Welsh). Right: meeting with Michaella Batten, International Office officer, to discuss student exchanges; the building in the background is a castle-like student dormitory.

Lobby of University of Wales Library     John with 2 University of Wales Librarians     John with International Office staff member, University of Wales

Left: in the Library's historic reading room.  Right: from the library's archives: a handwritten book, leather cover and parchment pages, from the 12th century.

John sitting in the historic reading room of the University of Wales Library          12th-century book from the University of Wales Library Archives 12th-century book from the University of Wales Library Archives


1. Visiting the University of Dublin Library.  Ireland's main university, the University of Dublin, is known as Trinity College of Dublin.  Its original Library (called the "Old Library") is a breathtaking historic building of classical architecture, dating back to 1732, and is now--like the Bodlian Library at Oxford--a museum/tourist attraction in addition to being the university's archival library.  Its "Long Hall" of wooden bookcase walls is famous in photos and movies.  The current main library, built in 1969 adjacent to the old library, is a more modern library, comprised of 3 library parts: the Berkeley/Lecky/Ussher Libraries.  Below: Interior of the Old Library, and me visiting (amidst tourist crowds); the medieval Gaelic harp (national symbol in Ireland) on display in the library. 

Interior of University of Dublin's Old Library   John inside the University of Dublin's Old Library   Irish national harp in the museum section of the University of Dublin Old Library

Left: exterior of the current Main Library.  Right: interior, showing natural lighting (windowed ceilings) and steel/concrete design.

Exterior of current Main Library of University of Dublin

   Interior of University of Dublin Main Library

Left: the Library's Graduate Students Study Hall (in another adjacent building to the library).  Right: meeting with Librarian Siobhán Dunne, Head of Teaching, Research and User Experience, at the Library's entrance (the word "Leabharlann" is "Library" 'in Gaelic).

Interior of University of Dublin Library's Graduate Students Study Hall     John with Librarian of University of Dublin Library

2. Visiting the Dublin Public Library.  In the center of Dublin is the Dublin Central Public Library.  You would probably expect it to be in a antique/historic building from the 1800s.  Surprisingly, it is not.  A shopping mall was built in the 1970s, and the library (new at that time) was placed inside. The rationale was to make the library more accessible/popular in a high-traffic location.  Top: at the entrance of the Library.  Bottom: the interior, and a welcome poster for Ukrainian refugees (Ireland has accepted over 73,000 Ukrainian refugees to date).

Exterior of Dublin Public Library     John at entrance of Dublin Public Library

Interior of Dublin Public Library Central Library     Welcome poster to Ukrainian refugees in the Dublin Public Library Central Library


Visiting the University of Amsterdam Main Library.  The University of Amsterdam is the country's top university.  Like other European universities, the university has multiple libraries (departmental, specialty), but has a main library, in central Amsterdam (Singel section).  The building was built in the 1960s, but includes an adjacent building dating back to 1609.  Later in 2023 the library will relocate to a huge new location with modern technology, lighting, study spaces, and more.  Left: exterior of the 1960s building (grey granite) along with the adjacent 1609 building (red brick).  Right: in front of the main entrance

Exterior of University of Amsterdam          John in front of the University of Amsterdam Library

Left: group study space, and wall shelves, in the modern half of the library.  Right: likewise, but in the red brick antique half of the library.

Interior of the University of Amsterdam Main Library (new half)      Interior of the University of Amsterdam Main Library (old half)

Innovations in the library: Left: the paging pickup room. Looking like a futuristic computer server room from a sci-fi spy movie, the room is filled with red, numbered trays where students pick-up books they've requested online.  Center1: a padded "mobile phone talking booth" to minimize (absorb) sound.  Center2: an "igloo" type private study cubicle.  Right: advertisement for a "library dinner" the library sponsors each month.

   student talking on a mobile phone in a padded noise reduction boothInterior of paged-books pickup room   Igloo type private study carrel in the library   Poster of the library advertising a "Library Dinner" for students