Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Edinburgh Central Library

Courtesy of Brian McNeil via Wikipedia
I have never had any desire to work in a public library system, but I think I could definitely change my outlook on that if I were able to work at the Edinburgh Central Library. I feel like it might be extremely cheesy to say so, but this library just felt so alive. You could tell just by walking inside that it was well used and well loved by its staff and its patrons.

The building itself was one of the oldest on the street. It was funded by Andrew Carnegie, and opened in 1890 as the first public library building in Edinburgh.  When first opened, men and women who used the library were separated while inside.

Our guide first took us to the reference library, which was such a beautiful room. We were told that it has not changed much since the library was first opened, and they still have their original card catalog index, which I know most librarians (including myself) would love to get their hands on for a personal library!

The next space our guide took us to was the Central Children's Library, which I had seen in passing its window at least once a day since we arrived in Edinburgh. It looked like such a neat children's library that I so wanted to find a way inside! And thankfully we got our peek!  The children's library was a new edition to the Central Library, and it was wonderful! I feel like my adjectives are just not doing these places justice.  The children's library was currently hosting the Summer Reading Challenge, where the children had to read 6 books during the summer. They also regularly host teddybear sleepovers, and craft times.  Our guide showed us their craft room, where children and their parents could come at any time to play and create.  The library was split into a room for older children, and a room for babies and younger children. The architecture of the rooms was, again, wonderful. Here are some of the photos I took:
The little children's room

The older children's room

The craft room.  The brown paper object on the table is a paper Nessie!
The Central library is a public lending library like the Barbican, so it is natural that the children's libraries are not as similar to that of the elementary schools back at home.  I was, however, very impressed with the organization of the materials, as well as the vast amount of materials they had for all age groups.  I also loved how much effort they spent into getting the children to come to the library and learn to view the library as a place of learning and fun.  I definitely think with younger age groups it is becoming more and more of a struggle to get these children to enjoy spending time reading or visiting a library, and the Central library's Children's section definitely makes it a fun atmosphere for the kids!

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