British Studies 2014

kimiekelly's Having Fun Abroad album on Photobucket

University of Edinburgh New College Library - Tuesday - July 15th

New College Library is located in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It is one of many libraries belonging to the University Of Edinburgh.  Our guide today is Sheila Dunn, Site and Services Supervisor.  The New College Library was founded in 1843 and possess one of the largest theological collections in the United Kingdom.  It services the University's School of Divinity.

The library is located in a building that was previous a church.  For this reason it is prone to echos and quiet is a necessity.  The building became the New College Library in 1934.  They re-purposed the ends of the church pews and turned them into the ends of the library stacks.  In addition, the library has also kept the stained glass windows that were installed in the church just before its closure.  They give the library a sacred and majestic feel.

The collection contains a large assortment of books, as well as journals.  Books are shelved using Library of Congress classification.  There is wireless access throughout the library.  They also offer E-books, E-journals, various databases and E-reserve for course materials.
Although the library receives some funds from the federal government, it is not a public library.  However, they do offer limited services to the general public some of which require a fee. 

During our tour we were also given a tour of the library archives.  We traveled down to a storage section of the library that housed many old manuscripts and various works.  On one floor it was very warm and humid.  I asked why it was not temperature controlled.  I was told that while this collection was antique it was not rare enough to require special care.  The floor below with the older and rarer books was climate and temperature controlled.  That was one of the things that was the hardest to accept for me.  Many of items in the collections of the various libraries we visited would be considered antique in American libraries.  Because the history of the United Kingdom is so much older than America they have a different idea of what is considered "old".  

The most interesting part of this library was the rare theological books on display.  We were welcomed into a section of the library that was sectioned off by clear, glass walls.  Contained therein were various items of rarity.  The oldest one was this Torah scroll.  It was the one item we were asked not to touch.  Sheila told us that it was donated to the library.  A local had found it in her basement and was unsure what to do with it.  What a find!