For over a hundred years, the Central Library in Edinburgh has been offereing a wide variety of books and resources to the people of Edinburgh. Also, the library is a Carnegie Library which means Andrew Carnegie donated the money to have the library built.
For a public library, the Central Library goes above and beyond to offer services to their patrons. They have several electronic services, downloadable e-books, created a community information website, free internet usuage, Cds, Dvds, audiobooks, and of course, books. They have created "Captial Collections" which is a website giving access to prints, photos, engravings, and drawings held by the Central Library. Some of the prints and photos are too fragile to be held, but the patrons can view them online.
The library also offers several different outreach programs. The library will bring in up coming authors for a meet and greet, and they usually receive 150 to 180 people per event. They are participating in the top twenty Scottish books for the year and staying on top of popular books. They also have "Read Aloud" which is a patnership with other libraries to read aloud to people that are house bound and to the elderly.
For a public library, they also have a special collections. They have materials from the 15th century up until now. Unlike other special collections where the patrons can't touch the book or document, it is encouraged at the Central Library to touch, feel, and smell the document. I liked how the librarian wanted patrons to be hands on. Some places yell at you if you get too close to the document. Like most places, conservation is sent outside of the library.
In terms of the library, I really enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy sitting for the first half while they explained the library. I had a hard time staying awake. I understand that since we are such a large group, its easier to talk to us all at once than break us up into different groups for the same talk, but that doesn't make it enjoyable. Beyond the sitting part, I did enjoy the tour of the library though. We saw the original Carnegie Library, the building that is now attached, and the separate building for the music and childrens library. The library is cool, but they already need more space. In the reference library are the original shelves and furniture, but books were stacked sideways on top of the other books because there is no longer space for everything.
Another cool thing the library had was the Scottish Reading room. This is dedicated solely to the purpose of Scottish history. A lot of people come here to research their family history. They also had a great art library which was classified in the American Library of Congress system.
I really enjoyed the Central Library because you can see how they go out of their way to provide service and help the public. By being on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging, they are able to be better connected to the public. Another cool thing about the Central Library is that they gave us cloth bags with the library's information and cool pamphlets and pictures. It's always fun to receive free stuff.
To learn more about the Central Library in Edinburgh, please visit www.edinburgh.gov.uk/libraries
Photograph provided by the blogger.