5 reviews of Central Lending Library in English
Have never used the main lending library here but used the reference library a lot when at Uni.
The reference library is a fantastic place to study - it is quiet, no distractions and you feel you can stay there all day gathering books up to read and take notes from. They have good history books which I found difficult to source elsewhere. A good referencing system so books are easy to find and it's likely that if you find one, you'll end up finding a good few other relevent ones in the same section that you didn't know about but are really helpful.
Staff have always been helpful, both in the library and over the phone. The edinburgh libraries website is good for checking if they have a book available. Here's a link:
On George IV Bridge just opposite the National Library, the Central Lending Library is housed in a historic building and is worth a wander round even if you don’t intend to borrow anything. The actual lending library is surprisingly small but that’s partly because a lot of the books are separated out into other rooms in the building (such as the Scottish library downstairs). The fiction is varied and there is a lot to choose from and I’ve always found the staff to be helpful and friendly. The travel section is sometimes a bit outdated as there is often only one copy of the most recent guidebooks, which is inevitably out when you want it; however the recent policy change to allow you to reserve books for free should help this. All in all a good service and a relaxing space to take some time out.
On George the IV Bridge just off the Royal Mile you’ll find Central Lending Library. It is next to the famous Elephant House cafe and is an excellent resource. The reference section is an atmospheric place to study with lots of large wooden desks with lots of space to spread out. Downstairs is the fiction department with a lovely view out to the Castle. On Tuesday mornings at 10am parents of young kids will be happy to learn of a free creche run by some lovely friendly ladies in the surprisingly shabby library boardroom. The fine art section in the roof of the library is also worth a look although it does feel a bit like being up in the crow’s nest.
As far as libraries go, I’ve found the Central Lending Library to be rather lacking. There is an unimpressive selection of books and the central nature of this library means that if someone comes in who’s researching a paper on say, Ian Rankin, they are likely to take out all of his books and keep them out until their paper is due! Also, despite a decent crime fiction section and good dvd/cd choices (which you need to pay extra for), the science fiction and fantasy area is very weak for such a key city library. Also, the size of library is not reflected in the amount of books they have available. There’s a lot of open areas and empty spaces that would be better served by bookshelves filled to the brim with the choices they severely lack. That said, there is a nice reading area, perfect for escaping the bitter cold of winter.
One piece of good news is that they have recently scrapped the unnecessary reservation fees so book reservations from other libraries are completely free now, handy if you don’t fancy trekking out to Wester Hailes or somesuch out-of-town library to get out those rare books you’re after.
The lending department of Edinburgh’s Central Library hosts adult fiction and non-fiction, and teenage stock, including a good choice of graphic novels and manga. A wide selection of titles on a vast range of subjects, and friendly staff to help you find your way around. The computers in this department are strictly for browsing the library catalogue - no internet access here. (Internet access is available elsewhere in the building.)
DVDs, a mix of popular titles and world cinema, are available to borrow - hire fee £1.20 (£2.40 for multiple discs) for one week.
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