Cyril Cuthbert Barnard: a new poster display in the Library

Visit the Library’s Barnard Room to find out more about the first professional librarian at LSHTM – Cyril Cuthbert Barnard (1894-1959).

If you’ve ever taken a book out of the Library, chances are you will have noticed the shelf mark on the spine. All books in the Library are arranged by the classification scheme devised by Barnard in the 1930s (it’s been revised since!). However, there is much more to Barnard than classification.

As Librarian, Barnard oversaw the amalgamation of the libraries of the Tropical Diseases Bureau and the former London School of Tropical Medicine, and had input into the design of the LSHTM Library which opened in 1929. Barnard reclassified the Library’s book collection to his scheme and compiled a card catalogue for readers to find items. He was also a pioneer in providing library instruction, giving tours of the Library, guidance on finding resources and the compilation of reference lists. Barnard was proactive in collection development, evaluating usage of periodicals to inform collection decisions and keeping stock up-to-date with scientific advances. During his time as Librarian, Barnard managed a significant expansion in resources, an increase in Library staff and number of staff and students using the Library. Barnard made the Library integral to LSHTM.

Barnard believed in library co-operation, promoting the sharing of knowledge and resources. He supported several professional library associations and organisations, travelling widely to attend conferences and meetings. The correspondence and papers relating to Barnard are held in the LSHTM Archives, and they reveal Barnard to have been a prolific author, writing articles, reviews, reports, papers and translations.

Another theme which ran throughout Barnard’s time as Librarian, was advocating for librarianship and ensuring that the impact of the Library and Library staff at LSHTM was recognised and properly remunerated. He negotiated for extra Library staff posts and for higher salaries both for himself and his staff.  Barnard encouraged and supported staff who wished to qualify as librarians and promoted attendance at conferences and meetings. 

The Barnard Room, LSHTM Library, Keppel Street

This exhibition has 3 sets of posters:

  • A timeline combining Barnard, LSHTM, and science & technology
  • Professional identity in librarianship
  • A Classification for Medical and Veterinary Libraries

The posters are in display cabinets in the Barnard Room and are viewable during Library opening hours.

Display cabinets, Barnard Room

The Library, Archive & Open Research Services would especially like to thank Phil Chapman for designing and making the display cabinets. Phil was the Instrument Maker at LSHTM, often building instruments not readily available. If you would like to learn more, please visit Changing Face of Keppel Street: Oral History Project

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.