Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Dunfermline Carnegie Library

This is the first Carnegie library in the world!  It is the largest, busiest library in Fife.

 The library opened on August 29, 1883 and ran out of books that same day!  The library was expanded in 1922 and again in 1993.  Many features such as the shelves, panels, fireplace and Gargoyles is considered 'grade B' and requires special attention from craftsmen.

Collections include foreign languages such as Chinese, Urdu and Polish.  Anywhere between 20,000-27,000 items are issued per month out of a collection of 64,000 items.

The Special Collections Room was by far the most interesting.  Originally housing the Erskine Beveridge books and the George Reid collection of medieval manuscripts and books upon opening in 1922, the collection has grown.  Additions include the Murrison Burns and also Robert Henryson Collection.  The librarian was very invested and eager to share her wealth of knowledge.

Rightfully so, the librarians and locals alike are very proud of their heritage and community.  There are many projects to preserve local history and little exhibits throughout the library.  Collections include Scottish Parliament information, local and national maps, newspapers-bound and on microfiche, parish registers, census returns, slides, photographs, Mining Memorial book, and Family and Local History Research. 

The Abbey Room was once the music room.  According to the tour guide, all music tapes and CDs are now discontinued.  The room serves as a venue for exhibits, however it is not open to the public at this time.  There are currently museum quality items inside, however there are no plaques to explain items.
The library hopes to one day have a Dunfermline Museum next door either as part of the library or in conjunction with the library services. Plans are in the works for the combination Library and Museum to open in 2013 to create a Dunfermline Heritage and Cultural Centre. 

Visit them at www.fifedirect.org.uk/libraries

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