Linen Hall Library #Belfast

Today we visited the Linen Hall Library in Belfast. The entrance and wooden stairs take you up to Level 2 where there is the general lending collection and a enquiry desk and also a cafe.


There is good selection of fiction and nonfiction books and a children’s section. The book shelves are wooden and traditional and look really good as well as displaying and holding the books well. There is a variety of seating, tables and chairs.  It has a great atmosphere, peaceful but not too quiet.

Stairs lead to level 4 where there is Irish and local studies and genealogy and heraldry. There is a new part of the building to which has a performing arts space and staff areas. 

It is possible to have tours of the library and to join as a member and borrow books. There is an exhibition space with a number of interesting displays and there is a series of events.







Bibliotheque Mazarine #Paris

Last week when we were in Paris we visited three libraries one of which was the Bibliotheque Mazarine
I had checked out the website beforehand and it said that the Library Reading Room is open to readers and visitors.  The building itself is very grand and located on the left bank of Seine and looks typically Parisian and impressive.
We found an entrance and, in not very fluent French, asked to visit the Library.  We were duly given a sticker badge and pointed in the right direction.


The reading room is up a stone and marble staircase with various works of art.  There is an entrance room and then the main reading room.  It was very quiet and the people using the library were very studious.  The whole place was beautiful.  We walked around and admired the furniture, art work and books and journals.
The library specialises in historic documents and rare precious books.  It is not your everyday library,  but is is open to all and it was being used by a lot of people who were mainly young people/students. It is France’s oldest public library and the history of the collections is fascinating.  It is worth reading up about and definitely worth a visit.

Oxgangs Library #Edinburgh

Another day, another library visit. On the way home from work for #librariesweek. I’ve not been to Oxgangs before and there was a building site around it but it is a really good library. 

An uninspiring building but inside was a good space, light and bright and welcoming. They had some books for sale in the foyer and were advertising the ‘personal shopping’ option. Also there was a leaflet about the ‘home delivery service’ – is this the mobile library? 

And there was a poster about #librariesweek. I’ve been surprised in the libraries that I’ve been in this week that there has not been more about #librariesweek. 

There is a very good selection of fiction books – lots of them and large print too. Books in other languages. Some nonfiction. The displays were interesting  The childrens area was appealing and had a great selection of books and other stuff in it. 

One thing that was interesting was that they had a Bibliotheca self service machine that was a new version so I tested that out. 

I’ve really mixed feelings about libraries especially public libraries at the moment. Today’s visit was a good experience. 

Balgreen library, Edinburgh

As it is Libraries Week, I thought it was a good excuse to visit a library on the way home from work. So visited Balgreen Library which is only a short detour by car although very difficult to park nearby as it’s on a junction. 

It’s a great building, one part of a school building.  It’s one of those buildings that you walk into and think ‘this could be fantastic but it’s  not…it’s got so many features and proportions that are appealing but they are not used to their advantage’. The ceiling is great and so are the wooden shelves. They look like they have roll down fronts but are locked  My favourite part is the graphic novel shelf built round a radiator. 

The book collection is good for the size of the library although there did seem to be rather a lot of crime and thrillers. 

The new nonfiction was mainly lifestyle leisure etc. There are computers, about 6 I think. There is a variety of information and leaflets about services. 

It’s a good local library providing a good service with helpful staff. It could be fantastic and inspirational – maybe in a different time and place. 

Westerhailes Library #Edinburgh

Westerhailes Library is on the outskirts of Edinburgh and on my way home from work sometimes depending which route I take. It’s part of a shopping centre so in a typical modern, not particularly building. However inside, it’s not bad, quite a big space and set out well. They have a good selection of stock of books and other materials and fiction and non fiction. They also have the non fiction divided into sub categories which are not their library classification number.  I’m not sure whether two systems is helpful or not.

They have the self service issue and return machines and also offer a Personal Shopper service which I assume is to help you find a book if you need help.

The displays were good and they link to events happening in the area / Edinburgh


Berwick Library

We stopped in Berwick on the way to stay in Alnwick for a couple of days. The route from Edinburgh to Durham is one I know well and I often have a brief stop in one or other of these towns.  I’ve never been to the library in Berwick so as I had a bit more time than usual decided to track it down.

I must admit it is a slightly disappointing modern building and it is a shared service with other council services.  It’s much better on the inside than the outside.

There is a reasonable selection of books although the collection seemed very mainstream popular fiction and some of books on the displays were a little sort of patronising.  But it is a good space and welcoming and a good example of a multi service facility.


Murray Library Hostel, Anstruther

The Murray Library is no longer a library but a fantastic place to visit and stay even for someone like me who is definitely not a hostel person.  It’s an interesting building right on the sea front at Anstruther with beautiful views.


We went to stay there on a Friday night in July and the weather was typical of Scotland – grey and dull.  Anstruther is a picturesque harbour town and a popular place to visit on the Fife coast.  I specifically wanted to go in order to stay at the Murray Library Hostel which  had read about online.


It is a hostel but there are very nice double rooms as well as dormitories.  There are shared toilets and bathrooms but they were quite nice and there is a communal kitchen with everything you need and a sitting room.

It is a cool place and it’s worth reading up about the history of the place and why it was first set up and the Murray Library Trust.