Unit 8.1



Education and culture: Libraries, museums and cultural centres

Conditions of life and social structure

Main Services Offered by Libraries

  • Local councils in England have to provide a “comprehensive and efficient library service” and present evidence that it is going to meet the needs of the local population.
  • If you think that your local councils are not complying with its obligations related to the provision of library services, you can:
    • Engage with the council by responding to its library services proposal, or by attending council meeting and rising your comments and questions regarding library services.
    • Make a complaint to the Secretary of State.
  • Public libraries are free to enter, and most of their services are also free, but usually, they require to have a reader pass.
  • The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and the largest library in the world. The Library is open to everyone who needs to use its collections. Anyone with a permanent address can apply for a Reader Pass; they only need to give their signature and address. To read more about acquiring Reader Pass visit bl.uk/help/how-to-get-a-reader-pass.
  • The British Library makes several copies of items available online.
  • British Library’s online collection contains nearly 57 million records and may be used to search, view and order items from the collections.
  • The British Library Sound Archive holds more than a million discs and 185,000 tapes.
  • You can find your local library here: gov.uk/local-library-services.
  • Many libraries have computers where you can access the internet, often for free. Some of them offer computer courses.
  • Libraries have their own rules that you need to follow. Most of them expect you to:
    • Keep quiet, not perform any form of calls unless there is designated space in the library for that;
    • Not eat or drink unless there is designated space in the library for that;
    • Take care of the library collection;
    • Leave your bags in the locker room.

Types of Museums

  • The private museum is a collection usually focused on a specific subject and is operated by private enthusiasts, clubs or whole companies.
  • The art museum also known as an art gallery, prepares displays of art, usually from the museum’s collection.
  • National History Museum or National Historical Museum is a history museum which exhibitions showing and learning about the history of a certain nation.
  • Natural History Museum scientific institution with natural history collections that include current and historical records of living organisms, history of the earth, palaeontology, climatology, etc.
  • Science and Technology Museum is a museum which is focused on science and technology history.
  • The virtual museum uses the latest information technologies to present collections. The virtual museum can be part of a traditional museum.

Library, cultural centre and museum times

  • Typical opening hours for libraries:
    • Usually, Libraries building open around 9:30 am, and close around 8 pm or 9 pm.
    • Children’s libraries usually are open for a shorter amount of time.
    • During weekends libraries can open later and close earlier. For example, the British Library on Sunday opens at 11 am and closes at 5 pm.
    • Different parts of libraries can have different opening hours. It is advised to check them on the library website if possible or to ask about them directly at the library.
    • During bank holidays libraries can be closed or may have only some parts opened in different hours.
  • Typical opening hours for cultural centres:
    • Usually, they open around 9 am or 10 am and close around 5 pm and 6 pm.
  • Typical opening hours for museums:
    • Usually, they open at 10 am and close at 5 pm.

Price of Museum Tickets

  • Some well know and big museums like the British Museum or the Natural History Museum in London are free, with only temporary exhibitions requiring payment. Free museums will ask for donations.
  • Usually, adult ticket varies from around £10 to £20.
  • In most cases, kids below 16, students, groups, elderly people and unemployed people have discounts.
  • Tickets bought online are usually cheaper than standard ones.

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