15 July 2014

Central Library

Central Library entrance
Reading Room
After lunch today, the class did a tour of the Edinburgh Central Library, which is one of over twenty public libraries in Edinburgh. The Central Library is a modern space inside a Victorian building. I thought that was an interesting contrast, but was glad to see some of the older elements still peeking through around doorways and in stairwells.

One of the most impressive rooms is their reading room, which houses the reference library. I was excited to learn that this library is another that still uses its card catalog! The cards are still used for items from 1918-1980 that have yet to be digitally cataloged. I like the card catalog at my library, so I was glad to see another still in use.

Children's Library
Central Library has several smaller specialist libraries that were introduced in the 1930s including a children's library, local history library (the Edinburgh & Scotland Library), an art library, and a music library. This is another library that has a newly-created young adult section, which is exciting because the need for these areas means more teenagers are becoming involved with their libraries and are reading. This space is near the music library to promote the link between teenagers and music. It has a couple of couches that form group seating, a study table, and computer for teens to use.

Although the reading room might be the most impressive space, my favorite would still be the children's library. This area is filled with modern shelving where kids can sit inside areas on the wall, a tree-shaped shelf with painted animals clinging to the branches, and a separate craft room that is kid-friendly. Having a craft area for kids in a children's library makes so much sense, and I wish more libraries in the US would do this. Crafting encourages creativity just like reading does, so both benefit a child's learning and development.

The art library was another cool stop on our journey through the library. The books are about half and half lending and reference materials, and there are some really cool items in the collection including a copy of The Corpuscle Story by James Clegg that is completely covered in fur on the outside. It looked like something straight out of Harry Potter! The art books were probably some of the most beautiful in the library, and they are also a valuable resource for artists in the area.