Name of the Library: Edinburgh Central Library
Parent Organisation: City of Edinburgh Council
Postal Address: George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EG
Telephone : +441312428000
Web Address http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/libraries
Library Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Library: Central/ Main Library
Population served: 450 000
Project Typ: Refurbishment
Size (square metres): 7140
Date of Completion 15th May 2014 (refurbishment)
Architect Lesley McMillan (original architect George Washington Browne)
Edinburgh Central Library opened in 1890 and sits in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town World Heritage Site, only a few hundred yards from the Royal Mile and a five minute walk from Edinburgh Castle. It is 10 minutes walk from the City’s main railway station and sits on major bus routes. It is also one of a collection of cultural buildings in the area, including the National Library of Scotland and the National Gallery.
The library incorporates 5 different sections – a Reference Library, Children’s Library, Lending Library, Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Music Library and Art Library.
It is built on the site of the mansion of Sir Thomas Hope who was the King’s (Charles I) Advocate in 1626 and the library incorporates two lintels from the original building. Central Library is built in the French Renaissance style and bears a resemblance to some of the French chateaux of the Loire.
The domed ceiling of the Reference Library is the finest of its type in Scotland and the room remains almost as it was originally intended with built in catalogue drawers on the east wall and galleries above the book bays. The cruciform design makes maximum use of natural light. As well of being a place of quiet study, the Reference Library is used, outside of normal opening hours, as a venue for Edinburgh City Libraries’ popular events programmes. Author visits are filmed and are available online – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB648C8455E5B0C5A.
We have also hosted the launch of the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival in our Reference Library.
The Lending Library is also exactly where it was on opening day although then the public were unable to browse for books and had to request items from a board listing titles – now it is the busiest lending library in Edinburgh and operates with four self service units.
The final original room was the News Room, which now houses the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection. This room was originally tiled all the way round, and a frieze of tiles has been retained on the main staircase. The tiles were specially made for the building and incorporate the motifs of the castle and anchor which symbolise Edinburgh.
The library has recently benefited from a refurbishment of the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, the Music Library and the Children’s Library. This has resulted in a blending of old and new. The Music Library now boasts composing software and a digital piano, whilst the Children’s Library has been decorated by an award winning children’s illustrator.
As well as having a striking physical presence Edinburgh Central Library also underpins much of Edinburgh City Libraries’ online presence. The Capital Collections website makes the fabulous collection of prints, illustrations and photographs held in the Central Library available across the world, whilst Our Town Stories takes the collections a step further, allowing the user to explore Edinburgh and its stories more fully.
Awards, case studies, further information
Bookseller Library of the Year Award 2012