On our first day in Edinburgh, Scotland my group visited the National Library of Scotland. We were not allowed to take pictures anywhere inside the building. The outside of the building was under construction, so we were not able to photograph the outside either. I had to find pictures on the internet with creative commons to use for this blog.
This picture was taken by Maccoinnich.
The National Library of Scotland is the legal deposit of Scotland (like the Library of Congress for the United States). They currently receive 5,000-6,000 works weekly. They have an outside agency that handles the claims on the newly published items. The collection currently includes over 7 million books and 2 million maps. The library also collects music scores, films, videos, newspapers, and magazines. The library has a digital legal deposit to use for all items that are available in digital form. Even though we visited the British Library and Kevin told us how many items they receive, I was still amazed at the shear massiveness of the collection. The building is deceptively large. We entered the building on street level, which is the 11th floor out of 15 floors (this actually blew my mind-so much so that I felt ignorant to ask questions about it because I was so confused on how that works)!
The National Library has quite an interesting history. The building and library (built in 1689) originally belonged to the Faculty of Advocates (FOA), a group of lawyers. In the 1700s this group acquired the right to be a deposit library. This seems really crazy that an outside group of people (not government) could request and receive permission to become a deposit library. In 1925 the Faculty of Advocates gave the collection to the the National Library. The law books are still housed at the headquarters of the FOA next door.
Our tour guides and speakers of the morning included:
David McClay, John Murray Archive Curator
Beverley Casebow, Library Education & Outreach Officer
Veronica Denholm, Library Education & Outreach Officer
Koen Van der Staeten, Planning Officer
We were able to tour a couple different floors of the library. The tour guides were very informative and interesting. I personally really enjoyed listening to David McClay discuss the John Murray Archive. The exhibition for the John Murray Archive so AWESOME! John Murray owned a publishing firm that published works by some of the most influential people in history. The exhibit consists of different authors that John Murray published. There are around ten in the exhibit, but my favorites included Lord Byron, Charles Darwin, and David Livingstone. The author is highlighted by many pieces of regalia. The regalia light up (when you chose it on the computer screen) and the computer tells you why the item is important to the author. The exhibit includes lots of primary sources.
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