Your Not-So-Local Library

When you think about it, it’s kind of funny to visit a library as a tourist as you can’t check out a book, but as we know, some of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the world are libraries.

When I found out that I would be going to Edinburgh for the first time, family members (a big thank you to my big brother) and fellow bloggers (a big thank you to gotherereadthis.com and lostintrepid.com) suggested that I visit the Scottish Poetry Library.

Off of Canongate, on the somewhat hidden away Crighton’s Close, the library is a relatively small modern building with two floors.

it’s very easy to miss this “street” so don’t get distracted by the charm of the surrounding area…

For a moment, I envisaged living in Edinburgh, that this was my bicycle, that I was here to choose a new book of collected poetry…

While I couldn’t check out any books, there is a little gift shop where I picked up a book of poetry …what else, of course!

The Scottish Poetry Library is somewhat well known (although when I asked a taxi driver for directions, he had no idea where it was and sheepishly – no Scottish pun intended- told me that it was the first time in 20 years that someone had asked him where the Scottish Poetry Library was).  But, it’s certainly not grandiose or awe inspiring like some famous libraries that we so often visit.  However, its charm left me wondering:

maybe our travels should always include a stop to the local public library, just as we would stop and sit at the local café for an espresso to watch people go by.

Public libraries could help us get a feel for a town and its people.  We could look at what books are being recommended, what literary events are being advertised.  We could observe the children being read to in the local language.  Maybe it would help us imagine what it would be like to live there, the latest novel in our bike basket as we rush home to make dinner before the sun sets……