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.