Readers’ Stories 1. Mike Edwards
Library stories launches a series where new and old library users share their experiences of the BSA Library and describe how it has facilitated their research and study. In this post, Professor Mike Edwards, BSA Visiting Fellow 2019-20 writes about his time as a library user.
I first used the BSA Library about twenty years ago, and I fell under its spell immediately. It is an excellent environment in which to study, and I have found over the years that it has a very good collection for scholars such as myself of ancient Greek literature and history. My recent stay at the BSA as the Visiting Fellow, however, highlighted for me just how comprehensive the collection is in other areas that I had not drawn on before, in particular those of epigraphy and topography. These were the materials I needed to use to support my research project on ‘Places in the Attic Orators’, whose aim is to provide for scholars and students a topographical dictionary of the places and buildings in the city of Athens itself and in Attica, and of poleis further afield which are mentioned in the rhetorical texts that survive from the fifth and fourth centuries BC. I was very pleasantly surprised that every single volume I needed to consult for my preliminary work was held by the Library, and many more are waiting for me on my return.
But it is not simply the books and other materials that make the BSA Library such a wonderful resource. The friendly and helpful attitude of the library staff and their consummate professionalism contribute immeasurably to the scholarly atmosphere, while the constant stream of experts who come to the Library and are freely willing to offer their expertise means that there is help and advice at hand for those who are unused to what can sometimes feel like the arcane practices of less familiar disciplines. Incidental remarks (‘oh, you should try so and so’) led me into unimagined areas, many of which bore fruit but all of which were of relevance and interest at some level. Thank you, BSA Library!