Public libraries in Edinburgh

Public libraries in Edinburgh

Is there anything better in winter than to curl up with a good book? If you love reading and are looking for new books, there are great libraries open for the public all throughout Edinburgh which you might want to check out!

1. National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is the largest library in the whole country. It contains over 27 million items, including anything from books, manuscripts and archives to websites and newspapers. It also has some special exhibition pieces, such as the letter in which Charles Darwin submitted his manuscript of the Origin of Species, the first folio of William Shakespeare and the last letter of Mary Queen of Scots. There is also a café selling snacks and drinks as well as a rooftop terrace offering a great view over Edinburgh. The library is located on George IV Bridge.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 9.30 am – 8.30 am; Sat 9.30 am – 1 pm; Sun closed

2. Central Library

Opened in 1890, this award-winning library is the oldest public library in Edinburgh. It offers several special highlights, including the Arts and Design section and the library for children.

Opening hours: Mon-Wed 10 am – 8 pm; Thurs – Sat 10 am – 5 pm

3. The Scottish Poetry Library

This library is one of only three poetry libraries in the UK, and the only poetry library with an extensive lending service. Even if you aren’t into poetry yet, you are sure to find great books here to get you started!

Opening hours: Tues – Sat 10 am – 5 pm

4. Fountainbridge Library

Fountainbridge Library is not the biggest of Edinburgh’s public libraries, but it still has a wide collection to offer. Fountainbridge Library also has several pre-bookable computers which are open to use for the public. Additionally, a wide range of activities is offered, including book clubs and weekly storytelling events for children as well as writer groups, book groups and free computer classes for adults.

Opening hours: Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat 10 am – 5 pm; Mon, Wed 1 pm – 5 pm; Sun closed

5. The Royal Botanical Gardens Library

Located in the Herbarium of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, the library is one of Scotland’s largest research libraries. It contains Scotland’s national reference collection for specialist botanical and horticultural resources as well as many rare botanical books. With items dating from 1486 onwards, it is of great historical and scientific importance.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10 am – 4 pm

6. University of Edinburgh: Main Library

Even though this library belongs to the University of Edinburgh, is it open to the public. The library contains the university’s general collection of resources, including books on all kinds of subjects, university archives and periodicals. There are also special collections of rare books and manuscripts. Advantages of this library include many bookable study rooms, over 500 open access computers and wireless internet everywhere in the building. Within the library, which is located on George Square, there also is a café, which from which you can enjoy a great view over the meadows.

Opening hours: 7.30 am – 2.30 am

As you can see, there are many great public libraries with different specialisations and advantages in Edinburgh. Regardless of whether you are looking to find a nice study place or just want to enjoy a day out discovering new books – you are sure to find a library which suits you!

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