Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Museum in Docklands: 16 July 2008

Courtesy of Museum in Docklands Website

Today I found myself at the Museum in Docklands near Canary Wharf. I'll be honest and admit that my intentions in going were not related to class. However, I quickly found things that pertained to my chosen path of children/YA librarianship.

I went to view the Jack the Ripper and the East End exhibit which had been recommended to us by Jon Cotton, Senior Curator of Prehistory at the Museum of London. Due to the nature of the Jack the Ripper crimes, a certain amount of discretion had to be used when displaying and giving access to information. I find that this parallels the discretion that children/YA librarians sometimes have to use. It's clear that as a librarian you don't want to refuse information just as the curators of the exhibit don't want to hide information. But it is important to respect those who do not want the full view or who may be upset by some of the information.

The information within the exhibit was explicit and disturbing but the arrangement let the viewer decide how much they wanted to be exposed to. I believe that librarians have the same responsibility. But it is a very fine line between "protect" the patron and depriving the patron of information. I was very interested in the way the exhibit dealt with it and how I might apply their methods in a future library position.

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