The Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration

We’ve discovered some works by influential Victorian children’s illustrators in our special collections. The period from around 1880 to the early twentieth century was known as the Golden Age of children’s illustrated books. During the Victorian age literacy improved and children were encouraged to read for pleasure. Childhood was often romanticised in children’s books.

We have work by three prominent illustrators in our collection. Kate Greenaway was a trained graphic designer and artist who started her career designing holiday cards. She later specialised in illustrating children’s books. Many of her illustrations accompanied nursery rhymes and the characters she drew often wore Regency costumes.

Since 1955 CILIP has awarded an annual honorary medal in Kate Greenaway’s memory for outstanding illustration in a children’s book.


A Day in a Child’s Life (1881) with music arranged by Myles B. Foster was illustrated by Greenaway. The songs tell the story of a child’s day from waking up to going to bed. The illustration of playtime shows the attention to detail and choice of delicate colours.


Walter Crane was part of the Arts and Crafts movement and worked in collaboration with William Morris. He also drew highly colourful and detailed illustrations for nursery rhymes and children’s books.  The Baby’s Bouquet is a companion to his earlier book Baby Opera. Many of the rhymes are in French and German.


The beautifully illustrated design below accompanies the rhyme Buy a Broom.


The final item is In Fairy Land (1870) illustrated by Richard Doyle.  Doyle was involved with the Punch magazine for a number of years and designed the cover for the first edition.  He later illustrated children’s books and was fascinated by fairy tales.

fairy land

In Fairy Land was his most important work for children with its attention to detail and focus on the elf world.

fairy land 2


We hope you enjoyed this selection of items. If you’d like to view them or anything else in our collections, please get in touch to book a visit Records and Archives

^Posted on behalf of Caroline Blundell, Records and Archives

Post edited 17.6.19 to update link to Records and Archives centre.

CILIP professional registration event

On Friday 12th February a group of us met in Curzon Building to hear about CILIP professional registration from four speakers.

First up was Lisa Bassini from South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust who spoke about her Certification experience, followed by Head of Library Liaison – Enquiry Services at BCU Annmarie Lee who described her Chartership Journey, BCU Research Fellow Jo Alcock who talked about her work towards Fellowship, and Jo Cornish, Development Officer from CILIP who discussed revalidation, and also the benefits of undertaking professional registration.

The morning was a really useful experience, giving those of us who are considering professional registration a chance to appreciate how valuable the process is, and ask questions to those who have been through it.

What’s the process?

You need to join CILIP and pay an additional registration fee to start the process of professional registration.

All steps towards Certification, Chartership or Fellowship have the following steps in common:

  • A personal skills audit via the CILIP Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) to highlight areas for development.
  • A portfolio of evidence from your work to demonstrate skills, knowledge and learning.
  • Working with a mentor who provides support, critique and guidance.
  • A reflective 1000 word summary statement to be submitted along with evidence to summarise your skills development.

Image (C) CILIP

What’s the benefit?

All speakers found their professional registration experience to be rewarding, challenging, and ultimately enabled them to progress their career.  Employers value CPD in any form, and most encourage staff to develop their skills because it is mutually beneficial. Upskilled, motivated staff are a key asset to any service.

Why revalidate?

Revalidation proves an ongoing commitment to professional development and a willingness to keep skills up-to-date.  The process is less time intensive than the initial registration but demonstrates the same reflective and evaluative practice. It’s free, and requires a 250 word statement and 20 hours of CPD per year.


A day in the life of… a Research Fellow

A day in the life of

I’ve really enjoyed reading the ‘Day in the Life’ posts from my other library colleagues, so am sharing my contribution. My role is a very unusual one so it’s probably not a typical library day in the life, but then maybe there isn’t a typical one really as our roles are so varied!

My job title is Research Fellow and I work in a small department within the library called Evidence Base, which is a research centre specialising in library and information services. I’m a chartered librarian and used to work as an academic librarian but now my role is one that predominantly supports other librarians rather than library users. Some of our research is for BCU Library and Learning Resources, but much of our work is external.

Our work is all project based, so the types of things I do vary depending on the projects I currently have on. At the moment I have three main external projects I split my time between, plus additional tasks to support BCU Library & Learning Resources. Below shows a snapshot of some of the things I worked on one day recently

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CILIP West Midlands Member’s Day 2016

On Thursday 11th February, I was up bright and early to get the train to Worcester for the annual CILIP West Midlands Member’s day (for non-library folk, CILIP is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals).

I was on my way to The Hive, the first integrated public and academic library in the UK.  This was my first visit to The Hive and I was impressed by how spacious, light and quiet the building is.  Coming from an open-plan building, it struck me that despite being busy and having lots of toddlers around at that time of day, the sound didn’t travel between the floors. On the whole, library users were very quiet!  I went on a guided tour at lunchtime, where we saw the mix of library users at work, and the way that all the public and academic resources have been integrated. I think it’s a fantastic way of enabling students and the public alike to access library materials.

The Hive

Image (c) The Hive


The theme of the members’ day was marketing, with the following speakers:

  • Neil Infield, Manager, British Library Business & Intellectual Property Centre
  • Adam Koszary, Communications & Social Media Officer, Bodleian Libraries Oxford University
  • Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive
  • Andy Ryan, Stellar Libraries (Winner of the 2015 PPRG Impact Marketing Excellence Award)

The speakers were all engaging and knowledgeable about the topic.  I was particularly fascinated by Adam Koszary’s recent viral story about the mouse that got caught in the 155 year old mousetrap.  I’d read this story via a link on Facebook to one of the clickbait sites, and it was interesting to hear about the impact it had from the originators point of view!

One of the key ideas from the day was about how blogs should be the social media platform of choice.  They serve as a more useful information archive than Twitter, Facebook and the like, because Google indexes the posts.  I’ve seen this in action looking at our own blog – 3 of the top 5 viewed posts in January were over 3 years old, via people searching for help on Google.  When Twitter ceases to be popular (or exist at all, as speakers were predicting), your blog will still be there.  Your blog is a portal to all other forms of communication that you currently use.

Another key point was about how differently you should be using each social media platform.   For example, I post here on our blog, on our Twitter account, and most recently on our new Facebook page.  I try to mix it up – I post slightly different things on Twitter and Facebook, for example.  According to Neil Infield, people don’t want to be ‘sold’ your services on Facebook, so it’s worth taking the time to craft content (behind-the-scenes snippets, interesting items in your collection etc.).  Twitter, on the other hand is shorter, more transient, and better for quick news and updates.  I think we’ve greatly improved our social media presence in the last year or so – but I didn’t know that Instagram was the most used social media site for 18-25 year olds currently, even though I use it myself more than any other!  The question was asked – why are we not on Instagram when the majority of our students are in that age group? There was a lot of food for thought, and I came away from the day with a much clearer idea about how we can grow and improve our use of social media.

Thanks to CILIP West Midlands and The Hive for hosting us – it was a fantastic day!