Carnegie Library & Galleries officially launched by Provost of Fife
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
It was gratitude all round at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries earlier today (Wednesday, 6 September) when funding partners, supporters, project officers and champions who helped to deliver the new facility came together to celebrate the milestone.
134 years after the world’s first Carnegie Library opened its doors, the plaque for Fife’s newest cultural hub was officially unveiled by Provost of Fife Jim Leishman MBE.
Boasting a modern, purpose-built museum and art gallery that integrates with the historic listed buildings of the town’s Heritage Quarter, DCL&G has firmly established itself as the ancient capital’s new kid on the block since opening its doors to the public in May.
Jim Leishman said: “I’m extremely honoured to be here today to officially open this remarkable cultural facility and add another significant date in its proud history as the world’s first Carnegie library.
“Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries really does win the hearts of all who visit and today’s event has been a celebration and thank you to the many organisations hundreds of people who shared this vision and helped make it a reality. They have delivered the museum that Dunfermline deserves, showcasing our unique and important place in Scotland’s history. It’s already raising our cultural profile and opening up new tourism opportunities for Fife but most importantly, it’s all about the cultural opportunities that it will give for generations to come.”
Delivering DCL&G has been a decade long journey, funded by Fife Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and Carnegie Dunfermline Trust.
Commenting on the official opening, Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “This was truly a joint effort with many different partner organisations and community groups working together. With the help of National Lottery funding, they have a produced a museum worthy of the ancient capital of Scotland. It will keep history safe while being the cornerstone of the town’s tourism. It is already making a great contribution to people’s education and enjoyment and I congratulate all those who had a hand in making that happen.”
Carnegie Dunfermline Trust Chairman, David Walker, said: “Andrew Carnegie would have been extremely pleased with the outcome of this project which has added to and enhanced his first endowed library. In his own “Gospel of Wealth” he wrote – ‘Closely allied to [a] library, and where possible attached to it, there should be rooms for an art gallery and museum.’ All these years later, this is what Dunfermline has now achieved so successfully.”
The building is managed by Fife Cultural Trust on behalf of Fife Council. Since opening its doors to the public on 18th May, average visitor figures have held strong at 5,000+ per week.
Fife Cultural Trust Chief Executive Heather Stuart said: “Thanks to the dedication and commitment shown by the project team, staff and over 450 volunteers, we have created a vibrant visitor attraction that will be enjoyed for many generations to come. We are immensely proud of what we have all created together. It’s fantastic to see this opening plaque hanging on the wall at long last – it all starts here.”
The Provost was joined by Convener of the City of Dunfermline Area Committee Cllr Helen Law, who began the morning’s proceedings, and fellow ‘wall of famers’ including platinum-selling singer Barbara Dickson OBE and members of internationally renowned classic rock band Nazareth.
Barbara Dickson said: “I’ve been coming to Carnegie Library since I was a little girl and to see the building adapted in this way, incorporating so much local history, is a delight to see. I’ll be bringing as many friends and family here as I can to show the place off. I’m extremely proud.”
Architect Richard Murphy, who has already won several awards for the facility and is nominated for this year’s prestigious Doolan Prize, also offered his welcome to guests. He said: “We have made a contemporary building right at the heart of the city’s historic core and, not least, made a building that is easy to use and find your way around. I very much hope that this new building – acting in tandem with the existing library – will help to regenerate the town centre, bring in visitors to Dunfermline, and most importantly, be taken into the hearts of the people of Dunfermline as “their” museum. The initial signs are all very positive.”