Date of visit: July 8, 2014
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in. On Sunday June 29th I went to the church service with a large group of people from the British studies program. This was the first time I had ever been inside the church. The building is incredible. It is so full of light. Some of the older cathedrals I have been in have seemed so dark because of stained glass windows. St. Paul’s is not like this at all. The inside of the church is bathed in sunlight.
After attending mass there I was anxious to go back and actually see the library. Our class was given a tour by Joseph Wisdom, the head librarian of St. Paul’s Cathedral Library. Mr. Wisdom was a delightful tour guide. He has a very dry sense of humor that is really entertaining. I will always remember when we were waiting to exit a hallway of the building and Mr. Wisdom pointed to what looked like a small wooden peg sticking out of the wall. “…that’s the most important part of whole building” he explained with a serious look on his face, “If you pull out, the entire church will deflate in 3.2 seconds.”
The library itself looked like a large collection of materials being housed in a room too small for it. It was exceptionally beautiful with tall ceilings and two levels of books. Mr. Wisdom explained to us how some of the carvings in the library are thought to be the best carvings in the Cathedral. I think it would be so amazing to work in a place like that everyday.
Mr. Wisdom was kind enough to show us how to properly remove a book from a shelf. People have a tendency to remove books from shelves by simply hooking the top of the book with their index finger and pulling the book out. Removing books from a shelf this way causes damage to the spines over time. Mr. Wisdom explained that the proper way is to slide in the other books, around the book that you want, in. Then, take two fingers, griping the middle of the spine, and pull the book out. I will try to remember this and remove books properly in the future.
It was a great experience to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral Library. Everyone seemed to really enjoy being led around by Mr. Wisdom. It was such a neat and amazing experience to see parts of St. Paul’s Cathedral that the majority of the public does not get a chance to see.