Two items from the Baines Collection at the IOE Library: The Lilliputian Library or Gulliver’s Museum

As we highlight the Baines Collection in our Special Collections Advent Calendar today, I thought it would be appropriate for me to write about two items from the collection based on some material I had prepared when I recently showcased our Special Collections at the UCL Post Graduate Day.  The Baines Collection consists of 200 books dating from the 1700s to 1920. This is a collection of children’s books that originally belonged to the Baines Family (many of them have inscriptions providing names of family members to whom the books belonged) and were given in 1955 to the Ministry of Education. The collection
was eventually donated to the IOE in 1992.


The 1726 edition of Gulliver’s Travels is held in the UCL Libraries Special Collections

These two tiny books (volumes 4 and 5) I chose (Baines 104) were both published around the 1780s and belong to a series of work published in ten volumes entitled The Lilliputian Library or Gulliver’s Museum. The success of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels early in the century led to publishers to draw on this popularity by associating subsequent children’s publications on Gulliver and Lulliput. The Lilliputian Library or Gulliver’s Museum is an example of one such publication that uses this marketing ploy.

The frontispiece confirms that when first published the complete series cost five British shillings and each volume six pence for the following reason:

…[it is ]but for the convenience of those little Masters and Misses, whole finances may not admit of expending to capital a sum at once, they may be supplied with one or more volumes, weekly or monthly, till the whole work is completed, at Six-pence each.

Five Shillings was a considerable sum in the 18th Century and we can therefore assume baines-2
that only middle and higher income families could afford these books -and also were most likely to have the literacy skills to read them. The ten volumes consist of lectures on morality, historical pieces, interesting fables, diverting tales, miraculous voyages, surprising adventures, remarkable lives, poetical pieces, comical jokes and useful letters. This whole formed the “complete system of juvenile knowledge, for the amusement and improvement of all little masters and misses, whether in summer or winter, morning, noon or evening”. The author is given as Lilliputius Gulliver, Citizen of Utopia, and Knight of the most noble Order of Human Prudence. However, it is thought that the series was by a Richard Johnson, a neglected 18th century children’s author, usually described as a ‘hack writer’ for he did not have any qualms about using the work of other authors if he had to to get his commissioned work paid for – see here for more information.

The small size (the books fit in the palm of my hand!) appealed to children who could more easily hold the books in their hands. We often think of miniaturisation as something that is a modern concept with computer devices getting smaller and smaller but in the 18th century, this was a growing phenomenon most evidenced in the trend towards designing dolls houses with smaller and smaller and more intricately designed furniture including book shelves and tiny books that sat on the shelves.

Now let me tell you about these two items in turn.

Continue reading

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IOE Library’s Special Collections Advent Calendar 2016

Although Advent officially began on 27th November this year, I am publishing the Special Collections Advent calendar today in the run up to Christmas. Over the next 25 days, starting today 1st December, you will get some information about each of the historical collections held in the Newsam Library. Each day you will also be treated to a video of a musical performance or a documentary containing archival film footage or a short explanatory film on a genre of work, a famous educationist/theorist or subject taught in schools.  There are also some fun films towards the end of the calendar.

So begin the count at by clicking on the box corresponding to the date and enjoy! Oh, and don’t miss Christmas Day as there’s a real treat in store for you!

UCL IOE Special Collections Advent Calendar

UCL IOE Special Collections Advent Calendar

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Calling International Students

Users of the UCL Institute of Education Library can find international resources in a variety of places:

Yet aside from an abundance of  physical and virtual resources, our richest source of information is often our international students. There is so much we can learn from them which is the aim of the Country/Student Focus page in the International Education LibGuide.

This is a call to all international students and staff to share and compare their education experiences.  The International Education LibGuide will feature a particular country and student each month and the first focus page features the lovely Thu Thu from Myanmar (Burma) here.

thu-thu-3If any other student or staff would like to write a similar piece, please fill out the form here. You only need to provide three things:

  • a brief description of yourself (100 words or less) and optional photo,
  • a brief description of your experience ofeducation in your country (200 words or less) and
  • a useful resource (book, article..) of education in your country (check Explore,  suggest  a publication for us to buy or email me  for help).

During this gloomy time with talk of building walls, let’s concentrate on building bridges.

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Looking out, up and in


After sitting through and participating in 3 days of sessions at ECIL 2016 in Prague while networking with librarians from 51 countries, it was a relief to actually get into a room full of books.

On a visit to the Ministry of Culture (Czech Republic), I could actually smell the books before I saw them: dusty, musty– a librarian elixir. We sighed when we viewed a book with Copernicus’s signature (below) which inspired me to visit a few more libraries on my own.


The Klementinum includes The Baroque Library Hall completed in 1722. Books comprise theological works since 1600 collected by the Jesuits and the site is currently the National Library of the Czech Republic.  It’s certainly ornate, but no photos were permitted —  not a problem because I also visited Strahov Monastery where you can buy a permit to photograph.

The Strahov was founded in the 12th century as a monastery and houses the Theological and Philosophical Halls. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

dscn0094 dscn0095

It seems ornate ceilings were inspirational in past. I wonder if we’re missing something in our downward viewing today. I’m going to make an effort to look up more often, think things through, if nothing else, to relieve the eye strain.

ECIL 2016 was a great chance to look up and out, think, share and consider our place in the library world.  There is an abundance of good practice out there, a lot of shared problems and some excellent research (this was a conference loaded with doctoral research and Phds in librarianship).  What I find in going out is that it forces me to look in. As a part of a wide-world of libraries, the UCL IOE Library’s hard-working librarians do a sterling job of preserving the old, embracing the new and supporting students amidst a rapidly changing landscape. It’s good to go out, but it’s always nice to come home.


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Trial access to Childlink and Child Protection Hub from UCL Library Services

child-linkUCL has trial access to Childlink and Child Protection Hub until 25th November 2016. To access off-site please use Desktop@UCL Anywhere

Childlink is a one stop source of information on children, young people and families. This database focuses on legislation, policies, and practices. Approximately 70% of all information provided on this service relates to the UK, with the remainder focusing on European and International studies.


Child Protection Hub (NSCPH) aims to enhance and share child protection knowledge within the professional communities throughout the UK and the island of Ireland.

Please send feedback on this resource here.

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‘Information Literacy in the inclusive society’ at ECIL 2016

prague-castle-st-vitus-cathedralECIL, the European Conference on Information Literacy, is in Prague from 10-13 October. In its fourth year, the conference is more international than European with almost 300 delegates coming from as far away as Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and the US.  The theme this year is ‘Information literacy in the inclusive society.’

The keynote speaker on day one, Tara Brabazon from Flinders University, Australia, started the conference with a bang. Her speech, ‘3D librarian: information literacy in an accelerated age’, dealt with 3 Ds: digitization, disintermediation and deterritorialization. She sees the flattening of expertise online and calls for librarians to provide a scaffold to help users evaluate the accuracy of information online. An inclusive society requires not only citizens who can search online, but citizens who can critically select and analyse that information.

The rest of the day until 6 pm was spent attending various sessions and participating in Pecha Kucha.  A Pecha Kucha presentation is comprised of 20 slides, 20 seconds each slide so each presentation is quick and focussed. My presentation, ‘Two-way learning with IOE LibQuizzes at UCL Institute of Education,’ was one of 13 in a 2 hour slot. It was a bit of a whirlwind and that was just the end of day one!

With three days ahead, there will be a lot more sessions (180 in total!), library visits and sharing to come. What is reassuring is that we at UCL are part of a diligent and hard-working community of librarians sharing good practice and research. Our countries and contexts might be varied, but we’re mostly reading from the same book.




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Kanopy video streaming at UCL

UCL staff and students now have access to over 26,000 films via Kanopy, an online video streaming resource. Kanopy‘s collection includes thousands of award-winning documentaries, training films and theatrical releases which can be streamed from any location on various devices.

The collection includes a number of leading producers, such as the Criterion Collection, PBS, Kino Lorber, New Day Films, The Great Courses, California Newsreel, BBC and hundreds more.

Features include: sharing films, creating clips or teaching playlists, and the capacity to embed these into the course system.

We are working to get the records loaded as soon as possible so that you can find these films via Explore but in the meantime, you can go directly to Kanopy.

This is one of a series of projects that UCL Library Services is running to directly involve users in the acquisition of content, UCL has deposited funds with Kanopy allowing for licences to the popular titles to be purchased whilst all other films can also be viewed.

Please send feedback on this resource to the  library team.

Sarah Gilmore

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