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
Canterbury Cathedral Library was one of those that I sort of got into but not enough to take any good photos or have a good look round. We were looking round the Cathedral which is beautiful – a bit like York Minster but not as awesome as Durham Cathedral and spotted signs and a door to the Library. So needless to say went in and then stood there gazing around. It was only small and there were people in there looking at books and other materials. Then a librarian came along and chatted to us and told us all about the Library and the Archives. Nearly all the materials are held in closed stacks and then brought out on request for people to consult and refer to you. They have a wide range of historical materials about the Cathedral and about Canterbury city. You can make an appointment to use the Reading Room. https://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/heritage/archives-library/
Today we visited the library at Lambeth Palace.
In fact it was the reading room as most the collection is closed and can be retrieved by request. It was really interesting and we used some of the databases for specific research. The staff were very helpful.
The Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London is well worth a visit. I had found out about it when I was researching libraries to visit in London that were either unusual or less well known. I found this Time Out article and so we decided to add it to the list of places to investigate. It is easy to get to as it is centrally located in Great Queen’s Street and is an imposing building. It is very grand inside but the staff there were very welcoming and helpful. It is possible to have guided tours of the building and other areas, but we just looked round the Museum and Library.
The exhibition was very interesting and explained the history of Freemasonry. The artefacts in the Museum were fascinating and it gave an insight into social history as well as freemasonry. There were photos and books in the library and places to study and read. The books are all reference only and many are unique and valuable.