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Safeguarding Scotland's national collections

14/05/2012

Funding to ensure the National Library of Scotland (NLS) remains a national and international asset has been announced by the Culture Secretary.

The exterior of the NLS’s Causewayside building in Edinburgh is to be replaced, with support of over £2 million from the Scottish Government

The building will be transformed into a low energy storage space, significantly reducing energy consumption, and extending its capacity to safeguard more resources for the nation to 2020 and beyond.

Acknowledging the NLS’s important role in bringing the nation’s history and culture to life, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“Our National Collections are a rich resource for promoting Scotland’s unique heritage and distinctive culture, as well as enhancing our learning.

“The NLS provides free access to over 14 million items, and around two million maps, atlases, gazetteers, and cartographic reference works and periodicals are stored in the Causewayside Building, which opened in two phases, in 1989 and in 1995.

“The collections continue to expand, but this investment will avoid the need for new storage to be provided until at least the 2020’s.

“There have been long term problems with the external fabric of the Causewayside building.  Although no items in the National Collection have so far suffered damage, it is clear that re-cladding of the exterior is vital.   However NLS is also using this as an opportunity to transform the building into a low energy storage facility which will significantly reduce energy consumption and extend the life of the property.
 
“The NLS is one of Europe’s major research and reference libraries, offering world-class collections and a range of modern library services for the 21st century.” 

Martyn Wade, National Librarian and Chief Executive of NLS, said:

”This funding support is very welcome in helping to meet our future plans on collecting and safeguarding the knowledge of Scotland. As Scotland’s only legal deposit library we are entitled to claim a copy of all printed material in the UK. This means we take in more than 4,000 new items every week, requiring three kilometres of new shelving a year. 

“Our Causewayside building currently houses half the National Collection. This will allow us to store more material there and, by making the most of the building’s low energy potential, reduce expenditure in the long term.” 

The announcement comes ahead of this week’s Stage 3 Parliamentary Debate on the National Library of Scotland Bill (Wednesday 16 May).

The Bill is designed to modernise for the 21st century the functions and governance arrangements of the NLS, strengthen its role in safeguarding and sharing its collections and support its work in bringing the nation's history and culture to life.

The £2.25 million for NLS comes from the 2012-15 Barnett consequentials, as part of the Spring Budget Revision and additional capital spending, the deployment of which was announced in February as part of the Budget Bill which received Royal Assent on 14 March 2012.

The NLS building at 159 Causewayside, Edinburgh is particularly suitable for low energy collection storage, because it has a number of design features that help to reduce the amount of energy required to store the National Collection: these include a high thermal mass, subterranean storage, a perimeter services zone, and localised environmental control.  The increased levels of insulation and air-tightness that will result from this project will further reduce energy consumption.

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