Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Edinburgh Central Library and New College Library

Edinburgh Central Library and New College Library

The Edinburgh Central Library was one of my favorite visits of the whole trip.  They have such a wonderful organization and I loved hearing about all of the services they provide to their community.  It also helps that their librarians are so nice and welcoming.  They actually won an award for best library service in 2012, and their people satisfaction survey showed 97% satisfaction for the same year.  Their presentation was broken down into 3 sections- social, digital, and physical.  I really don’t know which part I was most impressed with because all of them are really incredible.  For their social section, they have magazines and a lot of programs.  They programs start with Bookbug for 0-3 year olds, and go all the way up to programs for the elderly.  I loved the program they have with Dyslexia Scotland.  This program is great because it focuses on young people to try to get them to come to the library and make reading fun, not a challenge.  They can feel comfortable and get help.  It also raises awareness about dyslexia.  Another great program is the Reading Champion Project that is for children in care who have negative or no education and literacy experiences.  They have about 100 kids in the program.  These are only some of the services the library provides.  There are many more and I think it is inspirational to see all they do and the community involvement. 

The digital library is also extremely popular.  It has been showing exponential growth.  In the future, they want to gear services for the next generation and incorporate new technology.  For digital services, the library has a 24/7 digital library with 50 e-resources.  The most popular is a driving test resource.  They also use social media a lot to promote the library.  There is one employee who spends 100% of his time developing and expanding platforms.  It has show to really pay off for them.  They do YouTube videos, and they promote everything on Twitter, where they have over 7,000 followers!  They also have a blog that is more serious but takes more time and they are trying to use it less.  They also use Facebook for event promotion.  I loved their Your Edinburgh site.  It has a lot of community information.  It is free for organizations to register and create a web presence.  They also have a special collection about Edinburgh with 6-7,000 images.  I also loved ourtownstories.co.uk which has maps of the city from 1890 until now. So cool.  A really great thing they have now is a mobile app for smart phones! It is the first in the UK! I was just really impressed with the Edinburgh Central Library.  They are doing a great job!

Next we went to New College Library, which was very unique.  It actually used to be church, so the building is gorgeous.  In 1936, it became the library.  There are beautiful windows throughout the building.  In 2005-2006, the library was remodeled to include wireless internet and outlets.  The library has ¼ million books.  They receive external funding from the Church of Scotland.  They also received a $1 million donation for special collections.  The library is open to students, as well as the public.  They have 5 stacks which we got to tour, and that was really interesting.  I was impressed that everything after 1985 is available online!  Before that date may or may not be online.  One of the best things I saw was a first edition King James Bible from 1611.  It was really an awesome moment for me.  One of the most interesting things about the library, I thought, was the late returns fines.  I am always interested to see how different libraries handle things like late items.  Here, they use fines as a preventative measure, not as a punishment.  They charge 2p each minute that the book is late!! After a fine reaches 10 pounds, the person is not allowed to check out books.  I had never heard of a policy that goes by each minute late.  It is really interesting, but it seems to work for them! 

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