Having seen the blog post about visiting Riccarton Library during National Libraries Day, Lindsey and I decided to take advantage of the offer of a self-guided tour, and we took the #45 bus to Riccarton with the intention of seeing round Heriot-Watt University Library (where I worked for many years up to 2009), and then walking back into Edinburgh along the Sandy Road, Wester Hailes and wherever else the route took us.
Riccarton campus seemed almost deserted when we arrived, at about mid-day. We found a cafe, which seemed to be the only place open, and enjoyed a fairly nice curry. Afterwards, on the way through the main buildings, I could see very few signs which mentioned the library. It would in fact be quite difficult to find it, if you didn’t already know where it was.
At the library entrance the first thing I noticed was that they had replaced the display posters that I had some part in producing seven years ago. My display had replaced some very scruffy plants, which previously had been the first things people saw when they came to the library. The new display is nice and colourful, and in fact the entrance area is much better than it used to be.
We were warmly greeted by the staff on duty, at the new service desk. The library has been transformed since my days there. Gone are the horrible tables, and apart from the lower level floor all areas are now very pleasant. There are various well kitted out study rooms, numerous group pods and different seating arrangements. I would expect that students enjoy studying in the library nowadays. Some of the print books have gone, as have most of the reference texts and new journal displays, and the print journals have been weeded. There’s a self service checkout facility, and we were told that the building is now open 24/7 for much of the year. The area where I had my desk for several years is now a study area, and our project room where we worked on EEVL, PERX, Gold Dust, TechXtra and other services is now a group study room with a fantastic view over the sunken gardens to the north of the library.