James' Jaunts
Central Library
Edinburgh, Scotland
Digital Information Team
Reader Development Team
Information Technology Team

The Central Library is A-MAZ-ING! The library opened in 1890, and is a Carnegie library. Much of the building still features original architecture from the era.

Our visit was conducted by members of three departments, the Digital Information Team, the Reader Development Team, and the Information Technology Team. They discussed the functions and services of each team, then we had a break for tea and biscuits, and a tour of the facility. It is easiest to break this down by team. On the whole, however, the services this library offers its community are extensive and really demonstrates how they care for their community and its needs.

Digital Information Team

The primary purpose of this team is to offer a 24/7 virtual library. They host the online services for YourLibrary. YourLibrary is the collection of online services offered by the Central Library. It includes information resources—reference databases, test tutorials, genealogy, and a database of funding opportunities. They support the plasma screens located throughout the facility, updating announcements, etc. They work to develop mobile apps. They maintain the touch screen kiosks located in the lobby, which offer navigation information, departments and services, and exhibition information. They have a blog and accounts with Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. This team publishes the quarterly newsletter.

Reader Development

The primary purpose of this team is to develop literacy and increase readership within the community. To this end, they frequently host author events. They support monthly events like book bashes and book group quizzes. They host or support community literature events; they work with City of Literature Foundation, which hosts 26 themed events around the city every February. The team conducts online staff development training through Frontlline to help them promote reader development and get them circulating among patrons. There are currently 46 book groups in the Edinburgh and this team helps facilitate them. They offer a Read Aloud service, which provides mobile library services to the home-bound and public readings in group homes. They partner with literary organizations in Scotland and England.

Information Technology

This team works to increase adult literacy and computer literacy. They offer beginning computer classes for adults. Most of those who attend are 50+, but there are some younger. The team reports a number of proud moments for their students each session. They have started to offer a “Beyond Basics” course for those who would like to learn more. They use Survey Monkey to conduct course evaluations to continue to meet the patrons' needs. They offer IT buddies, volunteers who offer private tutorials. This is part of their LearnIT initiative. Soon, the initiative will feature a Family History workshop, to instruct on genealogy research, and help with social media networks and job searches.

This team, along with Reader Development, also supports adult literacy and numeracy through partnerships with community learning and development initiatives. They offer a 6 book challenge, which requires participants to keep a diary. They even extend this service to area prisons. This team also provides books to area book groups. They partner with Dyslexia Scotland to promote online services and chatter book groups.

A new initiative will launch in the fall—Adult Education Matters—to raise community awareness of adult literacy needs. They were also moving into self-service.

This blog only offers a brief description of the services offered by Central Library, but it in no way touches on the level of enthusiasm and commitment these ladies exhibited for their efforts. The teams are quite obviously proud of the services the library offers, as well as the community's response to them. And proud they should be!


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    London Away:
    British Studies
    Summer 2011


    I am a professional student.  I have a formal education--both a Bachelor and Master's degree in English, and I am working on a Master's in Library and Information Sciences.  But I believe that life experience is the greatest teacher anyone can have.  So I am hitting the road to have fun and to learn--and no, that's not mutally exclusive!--and live life to the fullest.



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