Central Library visitors triple

Edinburgh’s oldest public library has reported a leap in visitor numbers following a refurbishment of its children's and music collections.

Children enjoying the refurbished Central Library

The new children’s library, which was relocated from its old home on 9 George IV Bridge in May, has been transformed to feature a special ‘under 5s’ room with artwork by renowned children’s illustrator Catherine Rayner. The space has recorded a 188 per cent increase in visitors (22,178 visits) with lending of children’s books up by 45 per cent (10,543 loans) on the previous year, says a report going to the Council's Culture and Sport Committee next week.

The children’s library now has a dedicated arts and crafts area and parent friendly access including nappy changing facilities. Since the refurbishment five months ago, 16 per cent more children and their carers have been attending events at the library (1,473 visits), including the library’s popular new Lego club.

The report shows that the new music library is also proving a hit with visitors. Launched as a hub for musicians, students and fans alike, the dedicated space for engaging with music has seen a 36 per cent increase in lending (10,543) and a 26 per cent increase in visitors (11,442). The music library’s new streaming service, from Naxos, provides access to a back catalogue of over one million classical and jazz tracks and has already received over 2,100 downloads.

The new facilities have been specially designed to be accessible to all, and for the first time in 40 years allow all of the Central Library facilities to be housed in the same building. The sustainable designs means that the installation of new lighting in some parts of the building saves the library 40 per cent in electricity bills without sacrificing light output compared to the previous lighting installation.

Councillor Richard Lewis said: “The new children’s and music collections have really transformed the Central Library and it is great that the new and enhanced facilities are being so well received by visitors.

“As someone who has worked as a musician and conductor, I’m excited that the music library space is being used more and more and I urge students and those keen to explore music in their own way to pay a visit to the library and experience the facilities.

“The refurbished library offers a unique space for relaxing, reading, and so much more and I think Edinburgh residents have been quick to recognise that.”

The Central Library Transformation report is available to view at the Council website.

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