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.
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.
Colinton Library is a great branch library in Edinburgh about 3 miles from the city centre in a mainly residential area. It is a smallish building with one room as the main library and a small room which is used for computers and community meetings etc.
There is a good stock of standard fiction and non fiction books – not a wide variety of different genres but most of the popular categories are covered.
One of the best things about the library are the displays and posters / notices / information. They are really good and interesting and appealing. The one above which is a Love my Library one sets the tone for a positive vibe in the library. There are other displays including a Crime Fiction one and a Women’s Prize for Fiction one.
There is a children’s section and an information section with maps etc.
Newington Library is a perfect small branch library – it is well used, it is in a reasonably good building in a nice area of Edinburgh. It has a wide range of stock although all sections are in one big room but that seems to work out ok and leads onto a garden area. When we visited it was Saturday morning and the children’s activities had just finished. There was a good mix of families and people of all ages.
The book stock is the usual selection that you would expect although it was good to see w variety of genres such as graphic novels and audio books.
The service desks are small which leaves more room for books and seating areas.
There are self-service machines although not all items necessarily have a RFID tag!
Today we visited Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries. We made a specific trip from Edinburgh to visit it as I had read about the new refurbished library on the website. I’d also not been to Dunfermline before so thought it would be good to explore a place on the other side of the bridges. As well as reading about the newly refurbished library, I had read about other local libraries in Fife that had closed recently so felt it was important to see what it is like and what services it offers.
The library is situated in an old building which now links with a new building which contains the library, museum and art gallery. There are also a number of community spaces and rooms and a cafe. It is very impressive. There are gardens and outside areas which have views of the Abbey and the countryside.
The inside of the building is a mix of old leading to new. There is a service desk near the entrance and a shop. The lending library is quite traditional in it’s layout and they have kept some of the old shelving and furniture but combined it with new and this gives it a sense of history and purpose and a sense of place…and makes best use of the space. There are plenty of chairs of various kinds for reading. There is a good selection of fiction and non fiction. We did see a self service circulation kiosk in the main library but it was out of order.
Next we went along to the Reading Room which is the reference library. It is modern and looks beautiful with a tiered layout of seating. There were some PCs as there were in the main library area and study spaces with power sockets.
We had a quick look in the children’s library which looked brilliant and led out into the gardens. I like a separate children’s library, I think it works better as a distinct space that can be designed to suit the needs of those using it.
We had a look round the museum and gallery which was interesting to learn about the history of the area.
The whole building works really well as a learning / cultural / heritage centre – this ‘model of delivery’ if that is what you would want to call it, ticks lots of boxes. It is popular with lots of people of all ages and that’s important. It is similar to Canterbury library which we visited a few weeks ago. There again we saw a range of people wanting to use the space to visit, to learn and enjoy the surroundings. It enhances a library building and importantly enhances the provision of a library service.
We visited Hopetoun House which is a stately house and estate near Edinburgh. The grounds are beautiful and there are some great walks with magnificent views of the Forth bridges. The house is quite impressive too and includes a library. So although it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the library visits that I’ve blogged about here, it is a library and it was very interesting.
Currie Library is near to Heriot-Watt University where I work.
I quickly dashed up there the other day in my lunch hour to take back some audio book CDs that I had borrowed in order to avoid fines.
It looked very good but I didn’t have time to browse or look round so I’ll go back in the next few weeks to investigate further