The Edinburgh Central Library is a Victorian Carnegie library. They have a 24/7 virtual library to cater to their community even when the physical library is not open. They also use plasma screens, a mobile app with directional information that has the potential for actual transactions in the future, and touch screens with information and directions in the lobby. They have a Google map on the homepage that highlights books on or written in Edinburgh. The purpose of the digital services is to provide an alternative to coming into the library but still encourage reading. They use Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and have a blog that receives approximately five to six thousand visits per month.
They have a two person reader development team, which is meant to encourage reading within the community. They hold author events at the central library and at the community libraries. The Scottish Book Trust pays half for the author to visit. The library thinks of a theme and then asks for the writers to visit. They also have a number of book groups, and they sponsor a Book Group Bash to encourage membership in book groups. They also are part of City of Literature, which is a big party ever February.
They also promote computer literacy and adult learning within the library. They have a class for complete beginners that provides a sensitive and encouraging place to learn how to use a computer. The class lasts for six weeks and covers the very basic functions and operations of a computer, including turning the computer on and how to use a mouse. They hold learner celebrations to celebrate accomplishments, and they also encourage their learners to use the free computers in the library. There are also volunteers called IT Buddies who work one on one with beginning learners to help jump start their independence with computers.
These are just a few of the many services they are offering to their communities in and around Edinburgh.
It was great to see another impressive public library with a large amount of programming for the community and to encourage children to read and adults to learn how to feel comfortable using computers. It seems that public libraries in the UK are taking great steps to remain relevant to their communities. It was wonderful to hear all of the innovative ideas they were employing in order to help the people who use the library. Their efforts to have local authors involved in the library and the community to encourage reading is truly impressive. It is also great that they find so many ways of finding assistance with funding all of these great efforts to benefit their community.