Central Library of Edinburgh is a Carnegie Library and opened its doors to the public in 1890. The architect George Washington Browne designed it in the French Renaissance style. Above the entrance there is a quote that reads “Let there be light.” Apparently, Andrew Carnegie insisted that this quote be inscribed in the entrances of all the Carnegie libraries. Today the library has two floors below ground, and a lending library, resource center, and learning center on the ground floor. On the first level above the ground floor is the Board Room, and on the second level there is the reference library and fine art library.
This library has a 24/7 online presence. The librarians attribute its increased membership to the continual online availability. On the website users can get information about the twenty-seven community libraries and their services. The library’s goal is to make the entire collection accessible, or into a virtual library. On the homepage there is a link to online services and resources e.g. language learning, businesses, funding, and ancestry. The library’s use of social media can be found in “A Tale of One’s City” on Twitter, YouTube, or the Flikr Channel. The librarians maintain a blog and a quarterly E-newsletter that serves about 1,000 people. Library 2GO provides E-books and E-Audio books online. The overall goal is to increase the use of the library’s resources and collections.
The library does a great deal of outreach and marketing to its users and potential users. It provides author events where authors come to the library and branch libraries to promote their books. They create book clubs/groups and promote readers to read outside of their preferred genre. There are about thirty library volunteers who visit “carehomes” and read poetry and other genres to the residents there. The library has also formed partnerships with other literary organizations such as the Scottish Storytelling Center and the annual Book Festival each August.
The library also provides classes to teach computer literacy, literacy, and numeracy. The computer literacy lessons are informal and usually last for six weeks. The learners are matched up with a buddy and work one on one with that person. The learning center also works with Dyslexia of Scotland and provides support for children and adults with dyslexia.