Scotland Libraries

Monday July 27th- This morning we visited the National Library of Scotland and were given the opportunity to learn a bit about how and when the library was founded. From 1689-1925 the National Library of Scotland was known as the Advocates Library and today it holds approximately 14 million books and manuscripts, 2 million maps, 300,000 music scores, 32,000 films, 25,000 newspapers and magazines and on average it receives 6,000 new items a week. Pretty impressive!

We also walked through the exhibit on emigration from Scotland. The exhibit was a display of actual letters home from Scots who had emigrated to various places around the world, items they might have taken with them and statistics relating to how those who emigrated faired in their new homes. It was an amazing exhibit.

This afternoon, before we met up at the Edinburgh Public Library, we ventured over to the Elephant House which is know known throughout the world as “the birthplace of Harry Potter”. This cafĂ© was the place JK Rowling would sit in day after day, working away on the first Harry Potter book so as to save on her heating bill. Needless to saw we were in awe and many of us felt inspired by sitting in a place where such an amazing book was created!

Our final stop of the day was at the Edinburgh Public Library which was built by Andrew Carnegie between 1887 and 1890. He donated approximately £50,000 for the library to be built. The library was designed and built by George Washington Browne in the French Renaissance style. Above the entrance into the library is the inscription “let there be light”, it was put there at the request of Andrew Carnegie.

After our tour of the library, we had tea with a few of the librarians. We were introduced to Colm Linnane, a Children’s and Youth Librarian who provided us with several tricks of the trade as well as with the crafty analogy of “make reading seem more like cake than spinach”. His work with children from all ages, stages and backgrounds was inspiring to a lot of us and sounded challenging but very interesting. It was clear that he loved his job. We were so fortunate that he and a few other librarians gave up much of their afternoon to sit and talk with us. Overall it was a very inspiring day.

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