Saturday, 9 February 2013

My library visits for National Library Day NLD13

Usually my library visits for NLD are in the Durham area but this year I'm in Edinburgh. I started yesterday as I was at work and needed to check out a few library buildings anyhow. At the Kings Buildings site of Edinburgh University there is a brand new library - the Murray Library. There is still some of the library areas in other buildings but mainly study areas and teaching and learning clusters. This is in the Darwin Building.

There is also a library store with older books and journals

The Murray library is in an impressive new building with a cafe on the ground floor. It is a mixture of books and computer spaces.

It is great but not that spacious I don't think and they have a sort of 'atrium' (inevitably) and so the noise comes up from the cafe. It's well used and there is an outside balcony space with seating for in the warmer weather.
Later in the day I went back to George Square and to the main library. It is a brilliant library, large with a variety of different areas and different resources. It is well used by students and an ideal university library for many people. But it's not for me - I prefer the library at Edinburgh College of Art or the Divinity Library at New College - luckily there is a choice. (When I was in the Main Library I asked if they were doing anything for National Libraries Day - they replied no, nothing - I wonder why not...)

Today I was with my friend Kate who has come to visit. It's a bit mean of me to expect my guests to do what I want when they have made the effort to come and stay so a bit of compromising was needed :) We walked to Fountainbridge Library. It is in an impressive building.

There was a lot going on in the library - lots of people of all ages, plenty of activities, it was fairly noisy but in an upbeat happy way. The staff were friendly and efficient. There was a mixture of books and other resources including newspapers. There were computers in the main area and in a separate area.

It had a good community feel, as if it was part of other support services and mutually beneficial.
We then walked to the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. Beautiful buildings and interesting art although some of it was too outlandish for me - I'm not interested in angry, explicit stuff. I like the buildings and the 'everything is going to be alright' and the 'no miracles'.

A surprise was that there was a library there The Gabrielle Keiller Library - Surrealist artists, authors, poets etc.

Next we headed back into the city centre then George IV Bridge to the Central Library. I visit here quite frequently so it was just an extra visit for NLD. I like this library, I'm not that keen on self service as I think you lose that relationship between the reader/borrower and the librarian and I don't think it is any more economical but it's not a deal breaker for me.

I love the shelving in this library.
We went upstairs with the intention of going to the reference library but instead went to the Fine Art library - it was lovely. Lots of great books and interesting artifacts.

Hinder a librarian at your peril!

Book sculptures
Finally onto the National Library of Scotland for a quick look round

Then it was time for tea and cake. I enjoy visiting libraries - they are a vital resource for many people and should be supported by us all.