Personal communication from David H. W. Wilson, Emeritus Fellow, British Antarctic Survey, January 20, 2014.

The late David Walton was a lecturer on this cruise and his description of library facilities on the cruise tells a good deal about changes in book and information provision aboard expeditionary ships, including commercial trips, in the 21st century.

The library is shelved in Seabourn Square which is the social hub of the ship and equipped with 10 internet terminals and the best coffee bar on the ship. It is divided into several parts –

Reference books such as the Oxford dictionary, an almanac for 2013, dictionaries for French/German/Potuguese/Spanish/Italian/Scrabble and Quotations.

General interest books including books on houses in many countries, gardens, travel photo books, classic movies, art including both modern and classic picture books, biographies etc. with a considerable number of large format books

Travel – a very large collection of travel and cruise guides to most of the world (c.120 volumes mainly Brandt and Lonely Planet) but also with travel narratives such as Chatwin, Darwin, books on the ocean and Cape Horn, Argentina, Patagonia, Chile, Atlas of climate change

Extensive sections on crime, thrillers and romance (several hundred books) which was mostly modern novelists but did include some classic material such as Dickens

Polar section included Boothe (Storied ice), Bridges (Uttermost part of the Earth), Cherry-Garrard, Gurney (Race to white continent), Larson (Empire of ice), Lansing (Endurance), Walton(Antarctica), Huntford (Scott and Amundsen), Wilson (Lost photos), Stump (Roof at the bottom of the world), McGonigal (Secrets of white continent), Turney (1912), Bickel (Mawson will), Lanting (Penguin), Burns (Just tell them), Burton & Croxall (Wildlife of South georgia), Bingham (Penguins), Frazer (Penguins), Jouzel (White planet), Ussher (Still life), Carey & Franklin (Cruising guide), Cox (South with the sun), McClintock (Lost Antarctica), Matthiessen (End of the Earth), Post (Glacier ice), Fox (Antarctic Peninsula). Some of these were there in multiple copies – Ussher, Larson, Boothe, Walton, Gurney, Lansing, Jouzel

There was no control or record over taking the books out – you just helped yourself. The large books like Ussher were rarely borrowed. All copies of my book were permanently out on loan and I only saw them at the start and end of the voyages! The books on Patagonia were heavily used when we were in the Chilean fjords.

Many of the passengers had Kindles and had stocked them before coming whilst others used the internet to download new titles.

The library also provide on line access to newspapers from around the world from almost every country you could imagine.

The passengers came from around 20-25 countries with the largest contingents from USA and Australia but some of the minor countries – like Nicaragua and Finland – changed each voyage.

Hope this is helpful! As I was working I had limited time to read and when I did it was recent crime novels on my Kindle, although I did use the polar reference library that we had in the expedition office for checking on facts. That included the recent book by David, Readers Digest, Naveen, Poncet and other practical guides for landings, etc.