Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Edinburgh Central Library

     The Edinburgh Central Library is located in the city center of Edinburgh, across the street from the National Library of Scotland. The Central Library was opened as a Carnegie Library in June of 1890. The library is part of the Edinburgh City Libraries. 

The foyer of the library includes some magnificent pieces of book art. These precious works of art were donated anonymously to the library. I found it very strange that someone would not want to take credit for these.

     Our group was split into three or four groups upon arrival to make our tours more personable. My group visited the Reference Library as their first stop.  The Reference Library was absolutely beautiful. It has double tall bookshelves and a magnificent painted dome ceiling. I was amazed to find out that the books in this section that were published before 1980 are still organized by a card catalog. The digitization of the book records has began, but the process can only move so quickly. The patrons who use the room do not mind having to look through the card catalog for the information they need.

     We then moved to the Art Library. The ceiling of the Art Library had these really cool windows. The architecture in this building was superb. People who are looking for a book on Art would be in heaven in this library. The displays showed a range of different topics and techniques of the art world. I was introduced for the first time to the artist's book. For those of you out there like me: the book is made by an artist and therefore a piece of art itself. The third picture shows an example of an artist's book.

Next stop, the Children's Library...my favorite. The Children's Library was just added in the library. It is truely a lovely sight to see. The decorations and themes in this library are awesome. The children are also participating in The Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge. The library has planned many events for the children to go along with the theme. This library has its own craft room for the parents and children to use at any time they like. I loved the board in the craft room where the staff wrote a prompt for the children to respond at their leisure.

     The main section of the library contains the fiction books. The books are organized by author's last name and by genre. Separating the books into their genres seems to me to cause some authors to be shelved in more than one place. As a patron, that would annoy me. It annoys me at bookstores. I think it is done to give the patron the feel of a bookstore. If you read adventure, then you just go over to this shelf. I am personally not fond of this shelving method, but it seems to be the most common way to handle the fiction sections in the United Kingdom. Here are a few pictures of the fiction area.

Although I am not a Doctor Who fan (bad library student, bad library student), I thought this signage was AWESOME!!!!

We met back for refreshments and a nice slideshow. The representatives from Edinburgh all introduced themselves to us. Here is a list of all of those who gave tours and/or spoke to the group:
Fiona Myles, Senior Library Officer
Jim Thompson, Development and Quality Manager
Bronwen Brown, Web Communications Officer
Wendy Ball, Digital Information Officer

The website for the Edinburgh City Libraries is quite impressive and efficient. The libraries have a Facebook page and a Twitter.

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