Tuesday, 15 July 2014

New College Library- University of Edinburgh

The New College Library of the University of Edinburgh, despite its name is not in fact new.  The library was founded in 1843, and now serves as the library for the University's School of Divinity.  Fitting then that the library is housed in a former church.  Once again I am impressed by this country's ability and determination to re-use historic space and adapt them to fit within the modern world.  The library is open to both the public and the University.  There is a  fee charged to public users wishing to borrow, but using the reference collections is free. 
     The main floor of the library boast a gorgeous ceiling, stained glass windows, and beautiful wooden bookcases crafted from old church pews, complete with intricate carvings.  The space has been adapted to fit with modern needs including Wi-Fi throughout the space, supplying a sufficient number of power outlets, and creating usable teaching spaces.  The lower stacks are open with the exception of the special collections stacks, and our in starch contrast to the main level.  They are dim and somewhat cramped, even more so with fourteen people trying to squeeze in, but basement stacks general are.  The library utilizes the Library of Congress classification system.
      The library classes rare books and materials as dating before 1850.  A special collections room has been set up in a corner of the main floor.  The room is small,  but the glass walls and security system, allow for greater monitoring of materials being used.  There is no written special collections policy for the library.
     The library collection consists of approximately 200000 items with 50000 items in special collections, and around 30000 pamphlets.  The library also has a large number of journals online and is continuing to grow the number of books available digitally.  The library has a modest budget, approximately 60000pounds.  Weeded items from the collection go to support annual book sales which students help to run.  A minimal amount of funding also comes from the Church of Scotland.  Monies raised from the book sales are used to fund conservation efforts.  Special collections items are generally only added to the collection via donation.  However, special fundraising campaigns and donations are usually sought to purchase specific items, generally via auction or private seller.  The majority of the new collection, however, arrive shelf ready.  Currently the library is working on cataloging online material. 

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