THE country’s newest public library opens in the Capital today, after two decades of campaigning by local residents.
Drumbrae Library Hub will also have staff from other council services working at its front desk, so that people can pay their rent or report antisocial behaviour at the same time as borrowing a book.
The £5.7 million development includes offices for local police officers, housing advisors and environmental services, along with a day-care centre for the elderly.
Library team leader Nicola Tonner said: “It’s a one-stop shop for the local community – we’re joining up library services with other council services, so people can drop in for housing advice, we’ve got a community safety team and local police officers, so if they’ve got any concerns they can come in and chat them through.
“We’ve got a lot of computer access for people on a bigger scale then most libraries and a big learning suite for people to run computer classes, and free wifi access is on the way.”
The library in Drumbrae Drive is the first in the Capital to include a cafe – currently only equipped with a drinks machine, but soon to include a service area.
Ms Tonner took the library designers to local schools to consult children on its decor and also asked them which authors they’d like to see on the shelves.
She said: “All the stock is brand new – there’s 23,000 books approximately – and we’re proud of every single one.
“I think sharing a space with other services will open up public services to more customers who might not have thought of libraries before.
“There’s never been a library in this area before.”
Library advisor Dawn Smith added: “It’s very exciting, This particular community has wanted a library in this area for quite some time and it’s great that we can fulfil that.
“I think it’s great the whole west neighbourhood team are all in one place and we can provide a joined-up service.”
One of the first people to use the library hub this morning was HR executive Katie Campbell from Clermiston, who said: “My family has been watching the development of the new library with excitement.
“We are so lucky to have this wonderful new resource at the end of our street.”
Superintendent David Carradice of Lothian and Borders Police added: “This new facility will enable us to locate the officers from our Drumbrae and Gyle safer neighbourhood team in the heart of the community which they serve.
“We are delighted that it gives us the opportunity to work even more closely with our partners for the benefit of the public.
“This is not an operational police station but officers will be based there and will be able to respond to incidents.”