On Monday afternoon we visited The Edinburgh Central Library, which is a public library located directly across the street from The National Library of Scotland. This was the first Carnegie library that I have ever been to. Carnegie libraries were built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie. Mr. Carnegie was a Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist who funded more than 2,500 public and university libraries.
The Edinburgh Central Library was first proposed in 1868 and then again in 1881, being rejected both times by the Edinburgh Town Council. In 1890, the Central Library finally opened to the public. It consisted of a Reference Library, a Lending Library, and a News Room. Today it has more than 850,000 items available to borrow, free internet and computer services, and several subject libraries. Their art library covers fine art, design, art history, and architecture. The music library holds their audio and dance collections and they have a delightful little children's library. The Scottish Library is a department completely dedicated to Scotland. It holds a myriad of material covering the Scotland's past, present and future.
The folks at the Edinburgh Central Library were very welcoming and hospitable. They took the time first to show us around the building and then sat down with us to discuss more about their institution. I was fascinated with their reader outreach programs, intrigued by their efforts to extend their services to youth in delinquent homes, and very moved by their stories and efforts to gain new readers. This was one of my favorite places that we visited and I really enjoyed the librarians that took time and taught us not only about their institution, but about Scottish hospitality as well.
Some Edinburgh Central Library information can be found at http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/internet/leisure/libraries/your_nearest_library/Central%20Library
Edinburgh Central Library
*photo courtesy of www.edinburgh-scotland.net
Edinburgh Central Library (reference room)
*photo courtesy of www.edinburghguide.com