Our visit allowed us to tour and learn about the Central Library, which almost acts as one of the large learning institutions in Edinburgh. It almost reminded me of the Barbican Library in London, but with more branches, more employees, and more services. Founded in 1890, The Central Library is a Carnegie Library. Carnegie gave 50,000 pounds for the construction of the library, which translates into about 45 million pounds today. His gift and vision allowed the library to grow into what it is today. Here are some numbers and facts about the library:
|The stacks are really quite beautiful|
- The library gets about 8-10,000 new members each year. The membership is free and anyone can join. Even if you don't live in Edinburgh or Scotland. You are allowed to join the library and use their online services.
- They are strong advocates of self-service and allow their patrons to check out books by themselves. They can be renewed online as well.
- They are pioneers in the digital world for public libraries. They have a very interactive website with online newsletters, access to some of their large collections of documents and photographs, as well as learning resources, such as language courses and driver's licenses classes. All of this is available online and free with your library card, which is also free!
Overall, the Central Library of Edinburgh is a great organization. They really reach out of all of their patrons and are a step ahead of the curve in the digital world. It is truly a library for the world.
Photo Courtesy of The Edinburgh Public Libraries: http://talesofonecity.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ref-lib-from-gallery.jpg?w=584