I would like to start this post by saying "I love the people of Scotland!" The folks at the Central Library of Edinburgh were so warm and inviting. They were knowledgeable about their library and patrons and city.
When we first arrived, they brought us into a conference room where we could sit and fully absorb what they had to say. Several staff members presented on their departments' roles in the Library and community. Like libraries on this side of the pond, the Central Library is constantly working to increase its profile and draw in new patrons. One of the initiatives they have implemented is the development of their virtual library. It was started less than a year ago as a useful alternative to the physical library. It is not meant to replace the brick and mortar library, though. Instead the hope is it will draw people in. Patrons are able to search the online catalogue for Capital Collections (an image library focusing on Edinburgh) and "Your Edinburgh" (a one-stop shop for local information, health, advice, support groups, business, community, and activities).
Another important initiative the Library has taken on is reader development. The goal is to engage readers and find what they prefer while also trying to broaden their interests. They are working to put books at the core of what the Library does so people will be more likely to fight on behalf of the Library when it is threatened. Author events is one aspect of this initiative.
The Library is fortunate to have been solidly built so environmental fluctuations are not a major fear. However, dust is still a threat to the 1 million items in the collection.
The Library was founded in 1886 with a grant of £50,000 from Andrew Carnegie. At the time the only libraries in Edinburgh were subscription libraries and thus out of reach to the working class and poor. The building still has many historical features, such as the narrow corridor seen above.