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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Edinburgh Central Library

At the Edinburgh Central Library, our class met with several librarians who all had different areas of focus. The digital librarian talked with us about how the Central Library makes their collection available to their patrons online. There is a 24/7 virtual library for customers. Patrons are able to get service information, join the library, and even check out books online. There are a lot of visitors to the website; making it one of the top 10 websites. The library even has a mobile app for Android and iPhone users which gives the location of the library and in the near future will contain a blog and borrowing capabilities. The library also has a large touch screen in the lobby which gives patrons information such as maps of the library, collection information, and neighborhood information about Edinburgh and local authors and historical places.

The library adopted social media early on. They use Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr to promote the library and its events. Their blog gets around 5,000-6,000 visits per month. The library has seen a large increase in turnout since the use of these outlets. E-books are also available online for patrons to use and newsletters are emailed to patrons giving them more specified information than in the blog. The library also promotes a community information website which promotes organizations and businesses in the community who do not have websites.

While the library places a lot of importance on digitalization and the website, there is also a lot of importance on the traditional services as well. Traditional reference services are also given. All users have free access to things like help with driving tests, family research, language, and business resources. Author events are also largely promoted throughout the library. With the help of the Scottish Book Trust, a theme is picked by the library, and authors will come in and visit and usually read or discuss their books. These events are usually held monthly. Events such as "City of Literature" are also promoted through the library which promote literature throughout the city by the ways of posters, bookmarks, and pamphlets.

The library also feels that training of staff is a vital part of the success of their library. Staff and employees must be trained and complete online modules, a series of seven. These modules teach skills and customer service techniques.

Along with promoting good customer service, the library also works alongside of many other organizations such as the Scottish Poetry Library, Story Telling Center, Book Festival, and the Library Information Council.

In our visit, we learned that the Central Library largely promotes the access to the library, whether it is through traditional means or online. They are very interested in customer service and promoting library services for everyone in the community. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly and I really wish I could work in this library myself!

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