|Edinburgh Central Library|
|"Knit Your Own Scotland" project completed |
by the crafty librarians here!
|This Cyberman is so ready for Banned Books Week|
New College Library which serves the University of Edinburgh School of Divinity. The facility is appropriately located in a neo-gothic structure (c.1864) very close to Edinburgh castle which functioned as a church until 1934. The library consists of 5 levels which house one of the largest theological collections in the UK. It is fascinating that these theological works are utilized in such surroundings, with the reading room furniture made from the oak of the pews which resided in the church all set beneath the stained glass windows which were installed between 1911 and 1934. Three floors of basement stacks were added during the conversion to a library, and the bottom two of these comprise the closed access portions of the quarter million volume collection. Because so many of the materials are rare and antiquarian, they added a CCTV system for security purposes. The majority of their annual funding is allocated to conservation measures for special collection materials, which is not surprising as they have sooo much of it. We descended to the closed access stackroom III (furthest underground) and got to tour this area which was most definitely book heaven. I'd like to think when librarian's die, eternity is spent in a place like this, where the air is thick with the perfume of rotting leather, which is simply divine. Or perhaps all of this is just the special collection of 631 bibles affecting my brain.
Back on the surface we had a short talk about their services which presented quite a contrast from this morning's public library experience now being in such a specialized academic library where due to their sacred roots they are not even open on Sundays! While the Central Library was set on its mission to foster literacy and promote constant access for all, New College Library seeks to offer access in a controlled environment with ensured security for their valuable collection. While they do lend materials- borrower beware: it's a 2 pence PER MINUTE fine for overdue books.
|First edition of Calvin's Institutes of |
Christian Religion, 1536
|Galileo's Dialogus de Systemate Mundi, 1663|
(The book that earned him imprisonment)
|Book of Common Prayer, 1637|
Again we had the opportunity to handle some rare volumes and also some time to enjoy the library. I'd been taking a lot of pictures of ceilings and I took a shot here, too, I suppose it was bound to happen that I ended up caught in the act in someone else's photos eventually!
|Photo credit: Catherine Boddie|
After we were done here I nabbed the first train back to Dalkeith so I could try and get my ticket sorted out, which turned out to be right down to the wire as the bus didn't get to our stop until after 5 and it's still a short hike back to the estate from the center of town. I made it, and I amended my travel plans so I can leave first thing in the morning in order to arrive back in London and start my mini-break as soon as possible... I have a guest coming to spend break with me!!!