Being the massive library geek that I am, on a recent Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 I was absolutely delighted to discover that the shipboard library was located on the same corridor as our cabin.
Consequently I visited it every day (and frequently 2 or 3 times a day), taking full opportunity of the time the voyage allowed for lengthy periods of reading. Situated above the bows of the ship, it was clearly a favourite spot for many other passengers too, with great views out across the ocean.
Mostly it was really busy when we visited, but I did manage to take advantage of one quiet afternoon to have a chat with Matt, the librarian, about the library and its contents.
Apparently the QM2 library holds just under 10,000 books (mostly hardbacks), which are acquired and processed by the company Ocean Books. They also supply stock for the libraries on Cunard’s other ships, and are based near Southampton.
They have a basic database, searchable by author and title only. The lack of keyword searching can cause problems, or at least challenges the librarian’s knowledge of the collection, and there is limited internet access too.
Books are arranged in a simple subject-based way. The collection is largely contemporary fiction, with some classics and young adult titles. Books for young children are held in the kids zone of the ship and can be borrowed from there. Non-fiction subjects include fairly big travel and history sections and with a range of other subjects too, some of which cover rather more unexpected areas like cooking and gardening. There are also a few cabinets of reference material, and a selection a magazines for use in the library.
Up to 2 books can be borrowed at a time, and there are a number of seating options for reading (or snoozing!) in the library itself – sofas, comfy chairs and desks too. Fiction is perennially popular, as are biographies, whilst interest in the non-fiction material waxes and wanes – apparently gardening has seen a lot of use recently!
Although the library is staffed from 09:00-18:00 on sea days the space remains open the whole time, so all the bookshelves have doors which are locked around them overnight. Each bay of shelves has two sets of doors, so opening and closing the library is quite a procedure!
The library is adjacent to a small bookshop, and the two staff members seemed to work more-or-less interchangeably. They also held a bookgroup session towards the end of the voyage, to discuss S.J. Watson’s Before I go to sleep, which I was sorry to miss.
12 Comments so far
Leave a comment