Often, via the magic of social media, we read people saying, apropos an event held at the SPL or a vacancy we need filled, ‘Oh, if only I lived in Edinburgh.’ Until Star Trek-style teleporters are invented, there isn’t much we can do in terms of helping non-locals attend our readings (although we’ve experimented with broadcasting events on Periscope in the past and will again with Facebook Live in the future). If, however, you’ve ever wished you lived in Scotland’s capital simply because you’re a poetry fan and would like to borrow from our stock – we are, after all, the world’s leading resource for Scottish poetry, while our collection features books from around the world – there is a way that doesn’t involve removal vans.
Perhaps you are unaware that the SPL offers postal borrowing? Yes, we provide a postal loan service throughout Scotland and the UK for borrowers unable to visit our building in Auld Reekie. Postal borrowing couldn’t be easier. After becoming a member (which, again, you can do by post), we can post books out to you which you in turn post back to us when you’re finished with it.
We charge a mere £1 per item for this service; items are sent out with a Freepost label which you use when ready to return the book you’ve borrowed; you, reader, stick a pound coin in the envelope when sending the book back. Alas, we regret we cannot offer international postal loans. If you have a specific enquiry and live overseas, however, do get in touch – we may be able to help in other ways, such as supplying the book you’re after in electronic format if that’s possible.
What’s more, postal loans are free to teachers, school librarians, those registered disabled, and to all Friends of the Library. Friends' membership is £35 (£25 concessions) per year, and is particularly good value if you’d like to borrow regularly by post.
Finding out which books we have on our shelves is easy too. You just look up the title you're after on our online catalogue and it will tell you if book is available or not. And if it isn’t, do feel free to email us a request to get the book you want. It may be the case we have it, and it’s in the process of being catalogued.