New dawn for Morningside Library

The beautifully refurbished Morningside Library was officially declared open again today - two months ahead of schedule.

Internationally celebrated author and local resident Alexander McCall Smith joined Culture and Leisure Convener Councillor Deidre Brock this morning for a well-attended ceremony to mark the completion of the Library's modernisation and refurbishment.

The revamp, which began in March this year and was originally due to be finished in February 2012, was shaped by the views of more than 800 library users, who completed a questionnaire asking what new facilities they wanted to see in their local library.

The refurbished Morningside Library provides modern interior design and shelving, soft seating, a coffee area, study space, community rooms, computer learning centre, improved internal lighting, the long-awaited customer toilets and new and improved areas for children and teenagers. The building is also now accessible on two levels for the first time, creating much more space to be used by the community.

Cllr Brock said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be able to declare Morningside Library officially open again after its superb refurbishment. The Library has been beautifully modernised and reconfigured so that it can now properly cater to all its customers' needs to the needs of all its customers. This Administration is committed to securing a robust future for the service by delivering the improvements people tell us they want to see in their local library. Thanks to its refurbishment - completed on budget and ahead of schedule - this excellent community facility will continue to play a central role in the Morningside area for many, many years to come."

Alexander McCall Smith said: "A library is the heart of a community. This library is much loved and is now in a position to appeal to even more readers. It is wonderful to see something like this happen in trying times - this is a real cause for celebration of the marvellous work that the library services do in this city. We are very fortunate in having them."

Harry Hawthorne, 94, has used Morningside Library since he worked in the area as a grocery salesman in the 1930s.

Mr Hawthorne, who was a special guest at today's official reopening, said: "I started using Morningside Library in 1934 when I managed to obtain employment in Morningside close to the Library - this meant that I was able to visit the Library every evening after work.

"I have waited a long time to see the refurbishment of Morningside Library; in fact, as I am now 94 years of age, it is 77 years, but now the waiting is finally over."

The City of Edinburgh Council is currently carrying out a public consultation a draft strategy for the future of the libraries service 2012 to 2015. The Next Generation Library and Information Service Strategy presents a model to take the service forward into the 21st century. It  presents a vision of "Better Libraries, Better Lives", a Library and Information Service built on excellence in customer services, inspiring customers and reinforcing strong community connections.

Morningside Library now has its own Facebook page, where you can keep up to date with news and events.

On Monday 19 December at 6.30pm, as part of Morningside Library's Book Group Day, acclaimed Scottish crime writer Lin Anderson will be talking about her favourite books, books for Christmas and bookgroups. This Edinburgh Reads event is FREE but places must be booked - phone Morningside Library on 0131 529 5654 or

The Morningside Library refurbishment project was carried out by T & A Kernoghan Holdings Ltd.

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