Tuesday, May 29, 2007

First interview

Greg and I visited the national library (a.k.a. the black diamond) today. The building is remarkable -- one whole wall is windows, five storeys high. It is right on a canal, so the view out the window is very pretty. There is a cafe with very reasonable prices (well... reasonable for Denmark) and it has tables inside and outside by the canal. We had some very good sandwiches there for lunch and espressos that tasted like they were flavored with cinnamon or cardamom.

There are two reading rooms in the library. One is stocked with periodicals and the other is for serious researchers. We started out in the research room, but found it to be too strict and nerve-wracking. So in the afternoon we migrated to the periodicals room. Both rooms were packed with students and eerily quiet -- only the sound of typing and an occasional loud sneeze (from me -- forgot to take my allergy medicine). Readers are not allowed to bring in any bags -- only books, papers, laptops and writing instruments. I was able to get a library card, but it only works in the reading rooms. If I need to read a book, I can order it online and have it delivered to a reading room and I can read it in the room. The librarians actually check when you leave the room to make sure you aren't smuggling out any library material.

I found some interesting periodicals, but none related to my research. I know the library has at least some of the journals I read for research, but they must be stored somewhere else. I did get to glance through copies of Spiegel, the New York Review of Books, and l'Express.

I had my first interview today. It was with a civil servant who works with the parliamentary committee I am studying. She was very kind and informative. She even had coffee and danish pastries ready for us to eat while we met. I expected to have about 45 minutes for the interview, but it went twice that long. I have pages and pages of notes and learned some new, interesting things about this committee.

If you are at all interested in the committee I am studying, you can read about it here. You can access information (in English) about Denmark and the European Union here.

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