Edinburgh’s War: Events and Exhibitions

Edinburgh's War logo

Here at Central Library we’re remembering the Great War with a series of events and exhibitions in October and November. The events can all be booked via Eventbrite.

Talks and Discussions
World War One Drop in Sessions – Next session 24th October.
Get expert, one to one help with your own World War One family story. Whether you’ve got memorabilia you’d like more information about, or if you just have a name of someone who fought, we can help you find out more. These sessions are held every second Friday at 11am on the mezzanine.

Songs of the Great War
Wednesday 29th October 2014, 14.30-15.30

People and propaganda with Wendy Carle Taylor. Back by popular demand, Wendy Carle Taylor will explore a selection of songs from the Great War. From calls to arms and militaristic propaganda to music hall parody, hymns and lullabies, Wendy will lead us on a musical journey illuminating the lives of those who experienced World War One in all its glory and shame.

Family History Day – part of Previously…Scotland’s History Festival
Saturday 15th November 10.30am-4pm

Lots of family history related events, including a special World War One drop in session.

World War I Reads
Monday 17 November 2014 from 18:30 to 20:00

Following on from last year’s successful Big Book Group read, we invite you to bring along your favourite book about this period in history & be part of ‘Previously’ History Festival November’s events.

In the Company of Nurses
Tuesday 18 November 14:30-15:30

Yvonne McEwen talks about her new book In the Company of Nurses -the authorised history of the British Army Nursing Service in the Great War. This important volume tells the much-neglected story of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) during the First World War.

Casualties and Concert Parties
Wednesday 19 November 14:30-15:30

Wendy Carle Taylor and Yvonne McEwen bring to life the famous concert parties organised by Lena Ashwell on the Western Front during the Great War. These concerts and performances were particularly poignant for the sick and injured in the various base and general hospitals in France and Flanders.

Scottish War Art and Artists in the Twentieth Century – Dr Patricia Andrew
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 from 14:30 to 15:30

Dr Patricia Andrew discusses her book A Chasm of Time: Scottish War Art and Artists in the Twentieth Century, looking at Scottish artists and their experience of war, and how they recorded and interpreted Scotland at war.

In the company of nurses book cover


Silhouettes in the Fog and Guiding Lights: the foundation of Scottish War Blinded.
Mezzanine Central Library, Monday 10th November – Saturday 15thNovember. 10am-8pm, Mon-Wed, 10am-5pm Thu-Sat.

In 1915, rumours began circulating on the Western Front about a deadly, pale yellow fog leaving a devastating scene of hysteria, suffering and death on the Allied trenches at Ypres. Chemical warfare contributed towards 188,706 Allied casualties inflicting permanent blindness, respiratory problems and psychological disorders on those who survived.

Scottish War Blinded will describe the seldom told story of surviving blinded soldiers returning to Scotland from the Western Front. The story will describe the development of chemical warfare during World War One, the reaction of Allied Military and medical officers, changing attitudes towards war disability in the UK and Scottish War Blinded’s foundation in 1915.

Shades of Grey, Scarlet and Tartan – Nursing in World War One
The story of nursing and caregiving during World War One.
Mezzanine. Monday 17th November-Saturday 22nd November . 10am-8pm, Mon-Wed, 10am-5pm Thu-Sat.

We will also have a display of World War One resources from our collection on the main library staircase.

Art from the first world war book cover

How to be a super-borrower

Five tips to help you save time choosing, ordering and collecting your books from the library. Leaving you more time to READ!

Choosing made easy

Out of the many book recommendation sites out there, two of our favourites are WhichBook, which has a really unique way of finding the right book for you, and if you have a favourite author or genre Who Else Writes Like? makes finding new authors you’ll love a piece of cake.

Reserve and collect

So you’ve found the books you want to read. Next step is to reserve them on the library catalogue to be delivered to your nearest library.


We’ll email you when your books are ready for collection. So simple!

Make a reading wishlist. Or two. Or three.

But what if your to-read list is so long that it’s just not practical to reserve everything at once? Log in to your account and save these titles to a list.

save to list


You can have as many lists as you want, and you can make them public to share with other library members, or if you prefer, keep them private.


Add a book review to the catalogue

Once you’ve finished a book you can share your thoughts with other library members by posting a review on the library catalogue.



If you need any help with any of this, JUST ASK! You don’t even need to be in the library to do so. You can phone, email, tweet, or even leave a message on your library’s Facebook page.

Happy reading.

Exciting news for Stockbridge Library

Stockbridge Library has been selected as one of five libraries in Scotland to benefit from a new permanent artwork as part of Book Week Scotland 2014.

Stockbridge Library

The purpose of the installation, which will be unveiled on the first day of Book Week Scotland on 24 November, is to make libraries more visible in their own communities and to raise awareness of them as important assets for local people to enjoy.

The artwork will be created by Glasgow-based artist Rachel Barron and will be inspired by Jackie Kay’s poem Dear Library.

Dear Library highlights the important role that libraries can play at every stage of an individual’s life, from childhood to old age.

Rachel has been given one verse of the poem to inspire her, which is written from the perspective of an expectant mother, and it is hoped that the resulting artwork will encourage the community to visit their library to begin or continue their reading journey.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport, said: “I am delighted that Stockbridge Library has been selected for this project in support of Book Week Scotland 2014. Naturally, Edinburgh’s public libraries champion reading all year-long with a host of activities to help people develop a love of books – but we are also proud to welcome a number of cultural and community events through the doors of Edinburgh’s libraries. We hope this event will entice people to visit their local library in Stockbridge to view Rachel’s art, and let people realise how much more there is to their local library.”

Sophie Moxon, Deputy CEO of Scottish Book Trust, the organisation delivering Book Week Scotland, added: “Following the success of our Reading Murals project in 2013, we are delighted to be unveiling five original artworks by young artists in libraries across the country for Book Week Scotland 2014. Jackie Kay’s ‘Dear Library’ beautifully illustrates the knowledge, inspiration and comfort that libraries can provide for people of all ages and we hope the artworks will too.”

Commenting on the commission, artist Rachel Barron said: “I am delighted to be part of the Artwork for Libraries project, as this is my first opportunity to create a permanent artwork within a public space. I am really looking forward to meeting and engaging with the local community in a series of creative workshops inspired by my current practice and vision for the permanent artwork.”

Rachel lives and works in Glasgow and Gothenburg, Sweden. She graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) from Edinburgh College of Art’s Painting Department in 2011, and since then she has exhibited across Scotland. Her work encompasses print, sculpture and installation through exhibitions and participatory projects that engage directly with the public. Recent projects have transformed gallery spaces into live print workshops, which invite the public to participate by contributing their own artwork to the exhibition display. She aims to encourage artistic expression within people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities; providing the opportunity and environment to uncover the creative potential in everyone.

The other four artworks to be unveiled will be in Musselburgh, Saltcoats, Lennoxtown and Shetland.

Find out more at the Book Week Scotland website

Big Library Read: Get involved!

It’s back and bigger than ever – our third Overdrive Big Library Read!

All library members will be able to borrow and read the ebook or audiobook of Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes, from the 13th-28th October by visiting our Overdrive site.

MisfitThis is a brand new Young Adult fiction title that is a cross between Mean Girls and The Perks of Being a Wallflower! Anika navigates the pressures of high school when she has to choose between keeping her popular status or dating the troubled loner Logan.  Will she think she’s made the right choice though when tragedy strikes, changing her forever? It’s a story that brings up important issues and tears at your heart.

During the Big Library Read there is unlimited simultaneous access to this title. Why not get together with your friends or family and have a mini book group. Overdrive ebooks and audiobooks can be read on a wide range of computers, tablets, mobile phones and other devices (see Overdrive information page for more details).

Gourmet Reads with Ian Rankin

Edinburgh City Libraries are delighted to present ‘Gourmet Reads’ – private dining with celebrity authors.

Edinburgh Reads invites you to our first ‘Gourmet Reads’ event, a unique dining experience with Ian Rankin, Scotland’s best loved, best-selling, award-winning crime writer.

Gourmet Reads takes place on Thursday 30th October at 6.00pm for dinner at 6.30pm at the Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS, in Heights, a private dining area with a unique view of Edinburgh Castle.

Listen to Ian Rankin, mingle with new-found friends, and ask Ian to sign your copies of his books.  Each diner receives an Edinburgh Reads goody bag, including the evening’s menu signed by Ian Rankin.

£70 per person: Book your place now and advise of dietary requirements by contacting Annie Bell on 0131 242 8046 annie.bell@edinburgh.gov.uk or Grainne Crawford on 0131 529 7791 grainne.crawford@edinburgh.gov.uk

Keep up to date on our blog for the authors in this programme:-

November 20th 2014 –  Alex Grey

February 28th 2015 – Doug Johnston

March 26th 2015 – Shari Low

Net income from this event will be redirected to Edinburgh City Libraries budget.


I wonder what it’s like to be dyslexic

What happens when you combine Sam Barclay’s talent for typographic design, experiences of reading difficulty and a great deal of research?

Something beautiful, that’s what.

We’re delighted that Sam is coming to Central Library as part of Dyslexia Awareness Week in association with Dyslexia Scotland.

Book a free place and view the rest of the programme.

“Wow… she’s posh!”

Some great moments in this short film of Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve’s visit to Leith Library to present our Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge winners with their medals. As you can see a great time was had by all, so much so some interviewees were lost for words!