Buckle your seat belt, because we’re jumping across the pond for today’s virtual library visit! I suppose that might defeat the purpose of calling it a road trip, since we won’t be reaching this one by car (at least not exclusively), but when I heard about this library I knew I had to feature it. This library has history, impressive architecture, and a slew of resources and information to discover. What is this impressive place, and why am I so intrigued by it? It’s the Dunfermline Carnegie Library in Scotland!
Library #2: Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries in Dunfermline, Scotland
I stumbled onto this library while researching a different (much closer to home) Carnegie library, and quickly discovered that Dunfermline was the first Carnegie library! I knew that Carnegie emigrated from somewhere in Europe, and apparently Dunfermline was his hometown. Over the past few years there have been some major additions to this library, so that the original structure is almost unrecognizable from the exterior, but it is still a beautiful and fascinating place. The building now holds (in addition to the library) a local research center, gallery, cafe, and more. The region’s website does a pretty great job of introducing and displaying the highlights of the library, so I highly recommend checking it out if you’re at all interested!
What do you think about the boxy, modern elements towering over the medieval-looking entryway (or is it a small courtyard)? I’m really not sure what to make of it, but overall I think I’m impressed! I would love to wander through the garden or sit and study in the cafe, and the (surprisingly) bright colors on the interior walls are energizing and inviting!
Library Type: Public
Date Built: 1883
Features that Set it Apart: Connected gallery; status as first library financed by Andrew Carnegie; garden; cafe; local history research center
To see more pictures of this library and its interesting architecture and to learn more about its history, check out the links below.
Further Reading & References:
CANMORE. (n.d.). Dunfermline, Abbot Street, Carnegie Central Library. National Record of the Historic Environment. https://canmore.org.uk/site/97117/dunfermline-abbot-street-carnegie-central-library
Dunfermline Carnegie library & galleries. (2021). OnFife. https://www.onfife.com/venues/dunfermline-carnegie-library/
Dunfermline Great Place Scheme. (2019). Andrew Carnegie’s legacy. Dunfermline.com. https://dunfermline.com/andrew-carnegies-legacy
Newsroom. (2017). First Andrew Carnegie library transformed in £12.4m expansion. The Scotsman. https://www.scotsman.com/whats-on/arts-and-entertainment/first-andrew-carnegie-library-transformed-aps124m-expansion-1448027
Robertson, G. (2021). The history of the tradesmen’s library. Dunfermline Historical Society. https://dunfermlinehistsoc.org.uk/the-history-of-the-tradesmens-library/ (this piece also includes original pictures of the Carnegie library and one which came before it)
Books About Carnegie and/or this library:
*Disclaimer: I have not read any of these. Titles are included based mainly on Goodreads’ recommendation.
The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie by Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw
The Man Who Loved Libraries by Andrew Larsen (picture book)
Old Dunfermline: Photographs of Dunfermline and West Fife by Dunfermline Central Library
Did you know that Andrew Carnegie was from Scotland? That seems like the kind of random trivia I ought to tuck away, as a librarian. Not that Carnegie was a flawless human being – no one is. I’m sure this won’t be the last of his libraries that we visit along this road trip.
Do you have a favorite library, or a suggestion of one that you would like featured? Drop a comment if so, and I’ll take it into consideration!
Until the next chapter,