LIS British Studies – Central Library, Edinburgh

The visit to the Central Library in Edinburgh was pretty neat. This is Edinburgh’s main and first public library. It is a Carnegie funded library which means that Andrew Carnegie donated funds to build this library through his mission to create libraries. There is a bust of him inside as well as a phrase outside the main door that says “Let There Be Light”. I feel as though this means that books are the light to spread knowledge so this is very necessary outside of a place that holds these items of knowledge.

This library has a special children’s area that was established in 2014. There are activities for children ages 5 – 11 such as a craft room and events. There are circles built into the bookshelves that are there to let children grab a book and have a comfortable spot to sit and read. There is also a specific area for children under five. These spaces are designed brilliantly so to draw a child’s attention towards books and activities related to reading.

The building itself was built in the French Chateau style. In the 1930s, the library acquired the Henderson building next door and renovated it to connect with the library.

This library uses a modified Library of Congress classification system so that it works best for them and their patrons. The lending library includes all but art, music, Scottish texts, and certain other specialties. The books were available as closed access shelves when the library was first opened. Our guide said that the lending library room looked more like a store with the books and the librarians all behind counters serving customers. The reference section includes materials that are still organized using a physical card catalog.

The music library houses music of all genres. It was included in the main building in 2014. There are books about music and bands, CDs, and DVDs also included. This part of the library is predominantly lending to people outside the library instead of people coming and listening while they are inside the building.

I thought it was neat that this library has an entire section on Scotland and the city of Edinburgh. There is an entire floor dedicated to materials on the location. Someone could even borrow materials to teach themselves the Gaelic language.

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