The Central Library was opened as a "free library" in 1890, thanks to a donation from Andrew Carnegie. A more detailed history of the Central Library can be found here.
Today, the Central Library includes several departments. These are the Central Children's Library, the Central Lending Library, the Edinburgh Room, the Fine Art Library, the Music Library, the Reference Library, and the Scottish Library.
Edinburgh City Libraries are making a major effort to develop a Web 2.0 presence. They hope to use these technologies to raise the profile of the library and to bring all online services together in one place.
One way they are accomplishing this is through a blog, Tales of One City. Their goal is to post at least one post a day with news and information relevant to the library and/or of interest to patrons. Sidebars on the blog include links to vital library resources.
The library also produces electronic newsletter called Word Up. It appears every other month and currently has about 2000 subscribers.
The library has a presence on Facebook, Flickr, youtube, and Twitter. It encourages participation by its users by posting mystery photos (often from collections of of photos donated to the library) and asking patrons to help identify streets and locations. The library also subscribes to a monitoring service that allows them to monitor what users are saying about the library in the Web 2.0 world.
The library maintains a community information site called Your Edinburgh. Digital versions of many of the library's special collections are available through the Capital Collections website.
This image shows the Central Music Library. Interesting features include a music-related reference collection and a collection of bag pipe and fiddle music.
The Music Library also hosts live music events.
The Children's Library host story times and features a collection of children's books in Gaelic.
This image shows the Fine Art Library.
This image shows the magnificent reading room of the reference library.
Since were on a group tour, our guide allowed us to take the stairs up to the gallery for a birds-eye view.
The Lending Library features approximately 60,000 volumes available for check out. This includes a wide selection of foreign language material in several languages.
The library participates in the Tesco Bank Summer Read, a summer reading program for adults that is designed to promote new Scottish books.