John Johnson Collection

One of the many online resources we have available that you might not be too familiar with is the John Johnson Collection which gives a unique insight into everyday life in Britain in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is an archive of printed ephemera from the Bodleian Library and contains an amazing amount of weird and wonderful pictorial information.

We’ve been having a dig about in the collection, looking at some of the things that have been keeping us occupied during lockdown and found these gems from the past.

We’ve all been trying to get our hands on soap, handwash, hand sanitiser and cleaning products. This advert below lists Bishop’s Pure Drug Co.’s ‘best and cheapest’ disinfectant supplies for combatting infectious diseases –

Special price list of disinfectants from Bishop’s Pure Drug Co., c1880

And after barbers and hairdressers had been closed a few weeks, we were reduced to some DIY haircutting from family members –

Dick Wildfire preparing for a dash – 1812

And when we all decided to keep fit, we took to the bicycle. Would we have been so keen if we had to wear all this?

The three best lady cyclists dress holders – [1890’s]

And of course, when we were finally able to track some flour down, we all took to baking-

Why they all use McDougall’s Self-Raising Flour – [1920s]

Why not have a browse through the intriguing John Johnson Collection yourself and see what you can find. All you need is your library card to access and if you’re not already a member, now’s the time to join!

William Nicholson’s portraits

A selection of celebrated personalities of the early 1800s (men, that is) sit for their portraits in a publication of etchings and engravings by William Nicholson (1781 – 1844) which makes up our latest Capital Collections exhibition.

It is notable that all the portraits are of men and this reflects attitudes towards the female sex during the early 1800s which precluded recognition of their contribution towards society and opportunities for women to gain an education and take up significant positions in Scotland. Our historic collections in Edinburgh Libraries reflect these attitudes and have impacted the make-up of our collections dating from the past.

Nicholson’s series comes with the somewhat grand title of Portraits of Distinguished Living Characters of Scotland, and although William Nicholson began the series in 1818, no date is given for this particular volume.

It’s a large book. The pages are embossed either from the typesetting or the prints, the endpapers are marbled, and the corners are rounded and worn. Usually it sits on a shelf in a closed access area of Central Library – down the back stairs, around a few corners – a companion to the darkness, dust and a lot of quiet.

Walter Scott, an etching and engraving by the artist William Nicholson

William Nicholson was born on Christmas day, 1781, in Northumberland. He was a painter and printmaker (not to be confused with the later William Nicholson (1872 – 1949), also a painter and printmaker), and he spent his early life predominantly in Newcastle and Hull. In Newcastle he studied in the studio of the Italian, Boniface Muss (or Musso); in Hull he painted miniatures – and around 1814 he moved to Edinburgh. By 1820 he was well settled there, and remained in the city for the rest of his life.

The prints use both the techniques of etching and engraving in the same image (etching is the chemical process of eating into the metal plate so that a groove is created for the ink to sit in; engraving uses only tools, without a chemical process, to change the surface of the plate). Especially at the edges of the pictures, it’s easy to see the looser marks of William Nicholson’s etching needle as opposed to his engraving tools.

For his subjects, he drew from his own paintings and from those of other artists’. Robert Burns, for example, is drawn from the famous Alexander Nasmyth painting (1787) in the National Galleries of Scotland’s collections; Henry Raeburn from his self-portrait (painted just prior to, or in, 1815, and is also held by the Galleries). And throughout the volume other Enlightenment heroes sit for their portraits, some with accompanying biographical text, some without.

Robert Burns, an etching and engraving by the artist William Nicholson

As well as his work as an artist, William Nicholson was instrumental in the founding and establishing of the Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which we now know as the Royal Scottish Academy. In 1826 he was elected its first secretary, and this involvement was something for which he was well-regarded at the time.

Have a browse on our exhibition on Capital Collections for a closer look at the pictures.

Make music with Natasha from the Music Library

With Make Music Day fast approaching, Natasha from the Music Library reflects on how the department is still very much available to music lovers whilst the building remains closed.

I’ve worked in the Music Library for nearly two and a half years now and ever since my first day I’ve continued to discover a whole new world. When you step into the department, you’re greeted by a huge selection of CDs, DVDs, sheet music, and books – not to mention the vast amount of stock in the annexes! I’ve found it’s so very easy to get lost amongst such spoils, so easy to find the piece of music I need to practise for my choir rehearsals, so easy to browse the CDs for something new, so easy to chat to customers and my colleagues and hear what they recommend. Whilst we’re all unable to visit the building, you could be forgiven for thinking that all of those lovely things about the library stop too. That’s certainly not the case: much can be found, enjoyed and shared through the online resources Edinburgh Libraries offer. I already knew of the wonder of using these platforms and now, through lockdown, I’ve come to appreciate them even more.

Listen – Naxos Classical and Jazz catalogues
The Naxos streaming service gives users access to over 150,000 recordings through the Naxos Classical Music Library and almost 20,000 recordings in the Naxos Jazz Library. This means there is easily something for everyone, with new recordings being added constantly to each. The Naxos catalogues are completely free to use, no adverts interrupt playback and tracks can be downloaded to be listened to offline for 30 days.

At work, the Music Library often has music streaming from Naxos, in particular the classical catalogue. Staff either scour the new releases tab and have a listen to something unfamiliar and intriguing, or perhaps a new recording of a famous work. Often, if we’ve been discussing a particular composer or performer, we’ll find examples of their work to play. It’s a real treasure trove. If classical and jazz music are things you struggle to find a way into, there’s plenty that could appeal. For example, I recently found myself down a rabbit hole of Led Zeppelin covers and arrangements, varying from contemporary jazz to chamber music interpretations. There’s also a huge range of film music and a growing section of a genre I am very taken by, video game music. One album I find I come back to time and time again is Symphonic Fantasies, a live album of orchestral arrangements of music from a selection of Square Enix games – some of which are my absolute favourite games to play, with their music often being a huge factor in my enjoyment.

There’s something so pleasing about being able to switch so easily between Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an ExhibitionThe Lego Movie Soundtrack, classical guitar arrangements of The Beatles’ hits, traditional music from across the globe, and back again. In the absence of communal listenings in the Music Library, this variety is most welcome.

Watch – Medici.tv
A newly acquired service currently being piloted is Medici.tv which has a vast collection of concert and performance videos, documentaries and master classes to be enjoyed. As with Naxos, this service costs nothing to use and is free from adverts during playback.

If you’re like me and are unable to partake in the normal music-making you do, watching some of the masterclasses is a really informative way to learn more about your musical practice and it has certainly helped me feel less ‘out of the loop’; even though I’m nowhere near the mantle of opera singer, I’ve found Joyce DiDonato’s master classes illuminating when it comes to technique and performance.

Master Class with Joyce DiDonato at Carnegie Hall, available to watch on Medici.tv

The range of performances available to view is rather impressive and I am hoping will serve as a gateway for me to understand a little more about opera, a genre that I must admit I am less familiar with. Armed with some recommendations from my uncle – whose car is constantly filled with arias, overtures and symphonies – I also turn my focus to the selections from my colleague Douglas, with whom I naturally talk about music most of the time when in the library:

“There is such a lot to recommend from Medici.tv that it is difficult to know where to stop. I have, so far, had time to watch a few operas and dip into the concerts, recitals and documentaries.

The opera productions seem to fall into two categories: as the composer intended them and the just plain weird. There is nothing wrong with either of these categories, though there is at least one production from the first category that should come with a warning about prevailing attitudes to race, gender and ethnicity which makes it uncomfortable to watch.

One production which would fall into my second category is Puccini’s Turandot, performed by Teatro Regio’s: a stunning, stylised, watchable production with sublime singing, notably from In-Sung Sim as Timor, the deposed King. Puccini died leaving this opera unfinished so it was completed by Franco Alfano. This production stops the action approximately where Puccini laid down his pen and, although he had sketched out an ending which Alfano more or less worked to, the Teatro Regio’s ending seems to make more sense of the work.

Puccini’s Turandot, a production by Teatro Regio Torino, available to view on Medici.tv

On my ‘list to watch’ is Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain and Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer. The list grows by the week as I discover more I would like to sample.”

Read – RBdigital and PressReader
In a time where information is instantly available at our fingertips thanks to the internet, it’s easy to forget the simple pleasures that come from reading publications. Our digital publications platforms, RBdigital and PressReader, have access to hundreds of specialist magazines, including the music-specific BBC MusicMojoQRolling Stone, and Billboard amongst many others. An advantage these apps give over print magazines is that you’re able to change font size, background colour and can enable text to speech, making them much more accessible to some readers.

One thing I have enjoyed about lockdown is the ability to revisit things I had overlooked before or felt I hadn’t the time to do before. This has taken the form of finishing knitting projects I’ve left abandoned, drawings I’ve not had the energy to do. The same can be said for music magazines.

I’ve looked back at my RB Digital profile; January 2019’s copy of Mojo has been downloaded, waiting to be read, the front cover emblazoned with a striking image of one of my favourite artists, Kate Bush. Other names that caught my interest are on the cover: Peter Gabriel; Jimi Hendrix; Christine and the Queens; Kamasi Washington. I’d downloaded the issue so I could read through it at my own leisure but, until recently, it had remained untouched. With slightly more time on my hands than usual, I’ve been able to come back and see what I’d missed. Looking through the Best Albums of 2018 List, seeing which of them I’d already borrowed from the Music Library, including the wonderful second albums Fenfo by Fatoumata Diawara and Chris by the aforementioned Christine and the Queens, the latter of which often finds itself played in the Music Library when Rehana and I are on duty together. Finding more albums that I’ve overlooked and making notes that I should definitely borrow them when I can be in the department once again, filling the void of feedback we get from borrowers; libraries are brilliantly communal places that allow a wealth of shared knowledge and experiences. I also finally read the piece on Kate Bush, dotted with images of her in bold costumes and bright knitted jumpers. I found a BBC Music issue I had downloaded that I have no recollection as to why I chose to keep it. It’ll be quite exciting to remember what made it catch my eye, alongside trying to find recommended recordings on Naxos.

There are aspects to music and library life that cannot fully be replaced during this very odd time of lockdown. It has, however, opened my eyes to parts that I perhaps overlooked a little before. Make Music Day takes place on Sunday 21 June and, in honour of that, I shall spend this week in particular celebrating all of the Music Library’s facets.

If you have queries or need help with any of the online services Natasha recommends, please contact informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk.

Reading towards an anti-racist world

Today, our blog is handed over to Roshni who works in the Library Resource Management Team.

“I’m a Library Adviser for Edinburgh Libraries as well as a poet and a writer. I’m also a Woman of Colour and a member of an Edinburgh-based Women of Colour (WOC) Reading group. This past week there has been an increase in the discussion over how to combat racism in our communities. This comes in response to a history of anti-Black racism and racial injustice – most recently the murder of George Floyd in the US and the race hate attack on Belly Mujinga in the UK. Working in a library, I know that books are a great tool to educate and affect positive change in the world. Under lockdown I have found myself with more time to read and I have been making use of Edinburgh Libraries’ digital collection. I have had several people get in touch with me asking for book recommendations – so I have compiled a short list of anti-racist non-fiction and fiction books which I have personally enjoyed and found informative. All of these are available via the library and most are also currently available as an ebook or audiobook.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison writes beautifully and powerfully about the Black experience. Every sentence that Morrison writes is precise and packed with meaning. This book is a coming-of-age story following Macon Dead jr, AKA Milkman, who is the son of a wealthy Black family in 1930s America. In this novel Morrison deals with the themes of pain, escape, and forgiveness. It is a story about masculinity, family, and patriarchy. All of Toni Morrison’s books are worth reading – and this is one of her best.
Available as an audiobook

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Sukla
This is a collection of personal essays by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in the UK. This is a good way to read about the racism that lurks in our homes and in our communities. In this collection there are moments of comedy, moments of grief, and moments of anger. All the essays in this collection are very moving. For example, the teacher and writer Darren Chetty discusses how his primary school aged students believed that the main characters in story books had to be white.
Available as an audiobook

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
This book addresses racism in Britain today and the reluctance of white people to discuss it. It’s a good starting point if you’re striving to learn more about racism at a systemic level. This book is primarily aimed at white readers and the title refers to Eddo-Lodge’s fatigue at having to continually explain racism. In the introduction she states that when she talks about race to white people, ‘You can see their eyes shut down and harden… It’s like they can no longer hear us’. This book has won the Jhalak prize and has received international acclaim.
(Available as an ebook and as an audiobook)

Surge by Jay Bernard
This is a collection of poetry that was written with the Grenfell tragedy at the heart of it. Bernard melds Britain’s past with its present, expressing what it means to be Black and British in the modern day. ‘Surge’ won the Ted Hughes award for new poetry.

 

 

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
This is an essential collection of essays and speeches and includes her famous essay  ‘The  Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House.’ Lorde writes about the intersection between race, gender, and sexuality. Her collection ‘Your Silence Will Not Protect You’ is also available at branches in paperback. I found this collection formative in my personal understanding of racism – Lorde writes about the necessity to speak out against racism in all forms at all times.
Available as an ebook

How to be an antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
This is a highly informative read. Kendi dissects each way in which a person can be consciously and subconsciously racist. Kendi argues that no one can be neutral when it comes to racism – we can only ever be either anti-racist or racist. Kendi invites us to interrogate our own unconscious racial biases. Kendi also discusses quick changes we can make to the language we use to discuss racism. For example, he suggests using the more apt ‘racial abuse’ instead of ‘microaggression’.”

What is a Death Cafe?

On 16 May 2020, Carol Marr, librarian at Stockbridge Library and Tamsin Grainger, writer and Shiatsu practitioner hosted a Death Cafe. It was initially planned as a live event in the hall at the library, but due to the COVID-19 lockdown situation, it was held online.

We asked Tamsin to explain what a Death Cafe is and how the library fitted in.

Certain places and times of the day or year are more poignant than others when we are managing loss in our lives. Photograph by Tamsin Grainger

“What is a Death Cafe?
A Death Cafe is a place where people can come to talk about death. Group directed discussion is supported by a cafe environment and everyone is there for the same reason. There is an emphasis on listening and sharing, and the focus is that life is finite and we want to talk about that. We all have interests and concerns about bereavement, loss, grief or dying, especially at this time when we are dealing with the Coronavirus.

The Death Cafe movement started in 2011 when Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid held their first in London. Inspired by Swiss-born Bernard Crettaz, it was to open up discussion about death and death-related subjects. Thousands are now held all over the world with today’s list on the Death Cafe website standing at 2262 in the UK alone.

It is important to note that Death Cafes come with very clear guidelines: they are

  • accessible
  • respectful
  • confidential.

There is no set agenda, no objective or theme. It is not a grief support group nor a counselling session. There is no intention by the organisers to lead participants to any conclusions, buy any products or take any course of action. They are not religious, and are always ‘not for profit’ events.

A decade ago, not long after the death of his first wife Yvonne, Crettaz had come up with the idea of cafés mortels, informal gatherings where the sole topic of conversation was every living thing’s inevitable demise.

Sophie Elmhirst, Prospect Magazine

There is a history of Death Cafes in Edinburgh. Held at venues as diverse as Summerhall and the Love Crumbs cafe in West Port; organised by St Columba’s and the Marie Curie hospices; by individuals and through organisations such as the Just Festival (formerly the Festival of Spirituality and Peace) and Death on the Fringe.

The goal of the movement is to enable people to share their fears and hopes in a fashion which does not have to treat death as a taboo – that is, as something that needs to be addressed through euphemisms or abandoned in silence.

Maddie Denton, Reflections of the Self: Death Cafe and the Search for Personal Meaning (An exploration of death in modern society).

Tea and cakes
Without knowing how many would attend, research into former such occasions in Edinburgh lead us to believe that we might expect between 20-30 people who we would invite to sit around circular tables to promote equality of participation and exchange. Tea and cakes are an integral and vital part of a death cafe which aims to provide a convivial atmosphere for the open and honest discussion about death. It is over a cup of tea and a slice of cake that memories may be shared and thoughts exchanged in confidence. It can be easier to trust somebody with a cup of tea in their hand, and across the world sweet cakes are part of the tradition of a funeral tea.

Coliva – Greek food for mourners. This beautiful creation is made for Greek Orthodox mourners to eat after the interment. (More details available on the Walking without a donkey website.)

If we had been able to meet in person, we would have made a display of related books: first-hand accounts of dying, spiritual and practical guides to grief, accounts of death rites and ritual around the world, and so on. The charity, Macmillan Cancer Support has support and information services in some Edinburgh Libraries and so, leaflets and other information would have been made available, together with referrals for support should any attendee need one.

How did it go?
We publicised our Death Cafe via Eventbrite, the libraries website, through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and word of mouth. 15 places were offered for the meet-up which was held on a Zoom, online meeting forum and it was sold out. Ten people attended on the day – men and women of all ages – and although it was predicted that the live event would attract those local to Edinburgh, the ‘virtual’ Death Cafe drew folk from across the UK and Hungary.

We started together with an explanation of the event and its history, and then each of us introduced ourselves. The reasons for coming varied from a general interest in talking about death to specifics of end-of-life care. Some attendees deal with death-related topics in their work or study, and all were personally involved in planning or thinking about their own death. About half of the group had never been to a Death Cafe before.

After this, we divided into two smaller, private groups and everything was fully confidential. Discussion arose naturally. We looked at how tricky the current situation is: not being able to touch each other for consolation, and how hard it is to be unable to travel to visit dying relatives or attend funerals. We discussed what makes for a ‘good death’ and ‘advance decisions’ regarding preferred treatment when near death (ADRT). Some of us addressed the preparation of a Will, living funerals, and elective suicide.

While this latter is an important subject for discussion, a public Death Cafe is not the place for highly emotive, individual sharing on any subject, and the organisers would limit such (behaviour) at future events.

We are pleased to say that the online logistics were smooth, and immediate feedback indicated that those who attended found it refreshing to be able to discuss these topics openly and in a non-judgmental situation.

“I only wish it could have gone on a bit longer – another hour would probably do it. Is there any chance of a follow up session?”

“Saturday was a real success and I hope you do more of the same. Very revealing and thought provoking.”

Talking about death is not something that we all feel we can do with our families and friends, and yet it is something which is so often on our minds. Having a place to go where you can listen quietly or participate in a chat about bereavement, grief, dying, or even what will happen afterwards, is healthy. Hearing that others are concerned about the same things, knowing that you are not the only one who is nervous or fears death can be such a relief and can help manage the sort of worries that can only too easily spiral out of control and bring about mental health issues, such as depression, if they are not faced. Death Cafes are one way to tackle some of these issues in a trusting atmosphere, and the tea and cake are an added bonus!

The Death Café was part of Death Matters Week, Dying To Be Heard, 11-17 May 2020.”

Death leaves a gap in our lives and it takes time to adjust to this. Photograph by Tamsin Grainger

About Tamsin
Like most of us, Tamsin has personally experienced grief and loss with the death of her father from cancer, miscarriages, divorce, leaving home, pets dying and numerous other episodes involving change which were sad and raised questions about mortality. She is the writer of Death and Loss in Shiatsu Practice, works at a local hospice, and teaches workshops in Edinburgh and abroad on the subject.

Further reading

Make Music Day 2020

This time last year, the Music Library team were busy planning and preparing to take part in their first Make Music Day of all-day live music sessions in Central Library. This year things are a bit different. We hand over to Douglas from the Music Library to tell you how Make Music Day will be celebrated later this month.

Douglas with other members of the Music Library team on Make Music Day 2019

Make Music Day is an annual worldwide celebration of live music making, this year will obviously be a bit different, with practically all of the performances being either recorded and broadcast online or live streamed on one of the many social media platforms.

With Make Music Day fast approaching. We thought we would try and highlight some of the ways you could get involved.

There are three main different strands to how you can be involved on the day or in the lead up to Make Music Day on 21 June: Perform, Create, Watch.

The starting point to any of the mentioned strands – Perform, Create, Watch – should be a visit to the Make Music Day website: makemusicday.co.uk. Once there, depending on how you wish to be involved in the day, there are many guides and pointers on what to do.

If you are a music fan and wish to pack your Sunday 21 June with live streamed performances, Make Music Day’s website has an interactive event map, with a list of all the performances available on the day and links to join them.

If, for the past few months you have been locked down and are looking for new ways to entertain yourself and the folks you may be locked down with, apart from watching, you could take part by joining the virtual choir in a performance of Auld Lang Syne. You can also find instructions for how to make your own various musical instruments courtesy of Bang The Trash!

If you had hoped to perform, either at the library or somewhere else in Edinburgh on the day, there are many ways to do that and again, the Make Music Day website has many useful hints how to achieve that. For those of you like me, not particularly adept with technology, there are many ways to put your performance out there. All the social media platforms have a live element and although that might be something quite daunting it is not to be feared – pressing the LIVE button does not take you LIVE immediately, they all ask a second or even third question to confirm you are ready to go.

The decision on which platform to use, depends on who you wish to reach. Certain platforms may have a different demographic mostly based on age and how people consume their media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have pros and cons and all are fairly simple to use.

If you are in a band or group and wish to practise social distancing, there is a program called Streamyards which allows users to appear on the same screen at the same time  but not in the same room.

Once you have a lot of all this set up you could also look at Make Music Day’s official  Facebook Frames and Twibbons to frame your performance. Don’t forget to include the Make Music Day hashtag (#MakeMusicDayUK) and tag Central Library (@edcentrallib) and Make Music Day (@MakeMusicDayUK) so that we can help promote your event in advance.

If you or your group already have a Facebook page and followers there then that might be the best place for your performance. Facebook allows you to schedule a recorded performance or put on a live performance. The same can be said about Twitter and Instagram. You may wish to think about using either YouTube or one of the meeting platforms like Zoom or Jitsi. YouTube has a ‘Creator Academy’ training area which is a great resource. Zoom might serve your purposes but bear in mind that there is a 40 minute time limit on the free version which may limit what you want to do.

Now that you have sorted how to stream your event and on what platform you are going to appear, you should put some thought to the performance. It goes without saying but I’m going to say it now anyway – be prepared, rehearse well and as often as you can. Think about where you are going to perform and how it is going to sound.

Some top tips for making a video:

  • Use a tripod
  • Frame the subject
  • Consider your lighting.

If you don’t have a tripod, something like a music stand might do. Some phone cases or tablet cases turn into stands, which could also be useful. Don’t stand or sit in front of a window as you might end up backlit.

Tips for ensuring good sound quality:

  • Using a phone, tablet or laptop is quick and easy, but the sound can be variable depending on the surroundings and how many players, singers you have round the device. The microphones on devices tend to be Omni directional, recording everything in a radius around the device. The sound loudest or closest to the device may overpower everything else. A separate directional microphone many be preferred.
  • USB microphones can be fairly inexpensive
  • Use a quiet space
  • If you are unable to get hold of a microphone before the day, a pair of headphones or a small speaker can be used as a microphone but check this first as the quality may be no better than your phone or tablet’s microphone
  • Check how it sounds a few times before the real event. Try a few test recordings.

Tips for promotion of your event:

  • List your event at the Make Music Day website
  • List your event wherever they are still providing local events listings
  • Advertise and schedule posts across your social media channels
  • Tell as many people as you can – word of mouth is still a big part of promotion
  • Design a flyer or poster to put up wherever you can.

Canva.com is a great free website for with loads of useful templates for creating eye-catching posters and flyers.

If the music you are planning to perform is not your own you will have to check out the copyright and/or whether you are covered by Performing Right Society (PRS).  One or two of the social media platforms have blanket PRS licence but check all this out before you start.

You could Make Music for Macmillan. Edinburgh Libraries are hosts to Macmilllan Cancer Support with information and support hubs in four of our libraries. If you register your event with Macmillan, you can then ask any attendees to think about making a donation. All events for Make Music Day should be free as that is one of the mainstays of the day, but it is quite within the spirit of the day to suggest a charity to donate the equivalent of a ticket price to.

Make Music Day session in Central Lending Library, 2019

 

Getting to grips with finding my past

Bronwen from Central Library’s Art and Design and Music team offers an insight into her first steps in family history…

“One of the great offers from the Library’s eresources over the lockdown period has been the opportunity to search the genealogy site Findmypast from outside the Library’s computer network. The site has always grabbed my attention but I’ve always been too busy… well, now’s the time and the opportunity.

With help and encouragement from the Library’s Digital Team guidance posted on Stay at home family history help, I’ve been dipping into this fantastic resource on family history. I’ve been focusing my search on one of my relatives.

Clarice Mary Watkins was my maternal grandmother. She later became Clarice Mary McGregor after she married my grandfather Michael Joseph McGregor in 1924 in Monmouthshire, Wales. Clarice died when I was 17 and for my part I knew her to be kind, softly spoken, an abstainer of alcohol and very good at making apple charlotte. After my own parents died I was passed down some of my grandmother’s writings and diaries. Married to an army school teacher she’d lived in Egypt, India and Germany at significant stages in the history of these countries and she’d written down much of her impressions of these experiences. I was fascinated to know more about this lady.

Clarice Mary Watkins

To begin with I found it quite difficult to find much information on Clarice. I was jumping in at the deep end wanting to insert a name and find records pinging back at me in a matter of seconds. It’s not as easy as that and takes a bit of patience.

Findmypast has some really good advice on how to start your family tree journey, writing down what you think you know, and asking relatives for information. There’s lots of advice on how to start creating and building a family tree should you wish to record this. For myself, I needed to go back to the basics.

I started off with the obvious – putting in the name Clarice Mary Watkins. I was fortunate to know my grandmother’s full name but you can use wildcards if you don’t know someone’s full name or the spelling, for example I could have searched for Clar* Watkins but I’d need to wade through more results. I knew she was slightly older than my grandfather who was born in 1900, so when some results came back with records dating 1896, I thought I’d struck lucky. I found a record for what was my grandmother’s birth and also a record for her in the 1911 Census but the dates of birth were out by a year. I knew the Census was a correct record because the names of her parents’ occupations and her brothers and sisters were correct. I’d learned a valuable lesson; not all dates, names, places etc are transcribed correctly in records at the time or later.

I started searching under my grandfather’s name to look for more information that might lead me back to Clarice. I was more sure of my grandfather’s birth and death dates but the only information I could find initially was an entry in the 1901 Census, and to me more interestingly, the record of his marriage to Clarice.

Findmypast includes information taken from many sources of records. This includes census returns, birth, death and marriage certificates and parish records but also some more unusual records, for example, passenger lists of people leaving the UK. Searching again under Clarice’s married name of Clarice Mary McGregor I found her bound for Port Said, Egypt in 1933: one of the clever features of Findmypast is that it lists other people with the same surname on the ship and there was my grandfather’s name Michael Joseph and my mother and her elder sister, so I knew for certain this was the right Clarice. Her date of birth on the passenger list was different to the earlier Census return and birth certificate so I now had her date of birth listed variously as 1898, 1897, and 1896 – and they say ladies don’t always tell the truth about their age!

Rather frustratingly I could never find my grandmother’s death dates nor my grandfather. I knew the dates of their deaths and also that they both died in Cupar, Fife. However, what I’ve learnt is that although Findmypast is a brilliant resources, it doesn’t have all the answers. With guidance from my library colleagues I was referred back to ScotlandsPeople where I was able to track down confirmation of Clarice’s death in 1980 and my grandfather a little later on.

I’m just on the start of my family history journey here. What I’ve learnt is this journey takes persistence but also patience and that you need to look at various sources and records. Different websites offer access to different sets of information and records from Scotland can be different from the rest of the U.K. A good starting point is to quiz relatives and stretch your own memory, gather together what you know, and be prepared to search records in different ways. But it’s addictive and I’ve discovered a brother to Clarice, a Benjamin Llewellyn Watkins, born 1895, who I’d never heard of before … he was never mentioned by the family … now that’s another story and given the timeframe I’m guessing one that didn’t end well.”

Find out more about how to gain temporary access to Find my Past from home and go to the Library’s Family Tree guide providing information on Library resources to help you trace your family tree.

Edinburgh School Libraries in Lockdown

We asked Fiona who is the school librarian at Boroughmuir High School to reflect on both her own and the experiences of her colleagues during lockdown.

Working in an Edinburgh school library is an incredibly busy role. As the sole person delivering the library service in our schools, we wear many hats including being:
• A book recommendation sage – using our encyclopedic knowledge of children and young adult fiction to give tailored suggestions
• Guardian of the library for pupils in need of a quieter space – including supporting mental health and wellbeing
• Guru of information literacy skills – delivering lessons to pupils to encourage good practice in finding information
• A wizard who can magic up activities and events – from World Book Day to Book Week Scotland. If there is a celebration, we are celebrating it
and…
• An expert in every subject delivered in school – often we are asked for information resources to support a subject’s curriculum and/or assignments.

There is never a quiet moment in a school library – it is a fun place to work. The relationships and engagement we have with our pupils means that there is never a dull moment. Like everyone else, our roles changed dramatically in March.

Moving to ‘working from home’ has created several challenges for us. The two biggest challenges have been delivering a virtual ‘school library’ and finding ways to keep our pupils engaged with reading.

The first challenge – delivering a virtual ‘school library’ – has varied between schools. Part of our role is to tailor the service to the school community’s needs. There are so many different examples of the work we are doing, at  Broughton High School the librarian is delivering #Bibliotherapy sessions; Craigmount High School is running an online book group and; Boroughmuir High School is delivering a ‘I wonder…’ information skills project for S1 pupils.

The other challenge -keeping pupils engaged with reading – has been something no matter the school we can do together. One of our key jobs is to visibly promote reading across the school and engage pupils with the joys reading can bring.

As a group, we are a creative and collaborative bunch. It is collaboration and a sense of fun that inspired the creation of the #EdinburghSchoolLibrarians on Twitter. We can’t take all the credit here as the Glasgow school librarians started it off – but we have taken the idea and made it our own.

Every weekday we have a different daily challenge that promotes reading and often reveals insights into the school librarians’ personal reading choices. The rules are simple! One school librarian picks the daily challenges for the week and tell us the hashtags we need to use in our Tweets. We all then have one day to post our challenge. It is that easy!

We have used the daily challenges to celebrate World Book Night, create our own superheroes and post ‘shelfies’ of our personal libraries and book faces, and the response has been incredible. It has grown a lot with departments from our schools and members of our school community also taking part. 

We have many more daily challenges to go and are coming up with new ideas for them every week. So, if you are up for some fun, and would like to part in our daily challenges, come join us. We would love to meet you!

History of the house: Cammo House

In 1977, a fire ripped through Cammo House and the house that had been in disrepair for many years, was sadly no more.

Built in 1693 by John Menzies of Cammo, the house had over the years built up a strange and mysterious story.

It had seen many owners through the years, each making additions to the house. One of the owners was brewer Alexander Campbell whose city residence was number 6 Charlotte Square, now Bute House, the official residence of Scotland’s First Minister.

Over the years he would go on to collect memberships to the boards of various organisations in the city including being made an ordinary director of the Commercial Bank of Scotland in 1851.

Alexander Campbell died on 12th June 1887 at Cammo House, his retreat on the edge of the city near Cramond which his beer fortune had enabled him to purchase.

In the 1900s it had been bought by the Clark family. Margaret Louisa Tennent was born in Edinburgh in 1859. She married David Bennet Clark in 1887. Their first son Robert was born in 1892 and his brother Percival in 1898. By 1900 there was trouble in the marriage and they later divorced in 1910. When Margaret’s father died in 1891 his estate was valued at £80,000 (which equates to £10 million in 2020) Her father Robert Tennent had accumulated his fortune from sheep farming in Australia. When her mother died in 1914, her will stated that the trust set up by her father was to be left to Margaret.

After separating from her husband in 1909, Mrs Clark, continued to live at Cammo with her son Percy and adopted the name Maitland-Tennent. She dismissed almost all the staff and rented a portion of the estate to Cramond Brig Golf Club, moving herself and Percy into a caravan nearby. She left behind a house full of valuable paintings and antiques.

Stories began to spread about the family, with Mrs Maitland-Tennent being called by locals the Black Widow, as she was only ever seen being driven in a black car, on regular visits to the bank in Davidson’s Mains.

In 1955, Mrs Maitland-Tennent died aged 95, and was buried under the lawn to the west side of the house. After she died, her estate was estimated to be £500,000.

Between 1955 and 1975 Percy lived in a farmhouse located near the main gate. The farmhouse was home to the tenant farmers a Mr and Mrs Little, who looked after him and cooked his meals.

Cammo Tower – 1960

Percy stayed on becoming more and more of a recluse, only being seen with his pack of dogs that were given free run of the house. Cammo House was deteriorating fast, and the furniture and floors were collapsing.

Over the next few years Cammo suffered several break-ins where paintings and silver were stolen.

Percy died in 1975 and is buried in the family plot in Dean Cemetery. The estate was passed on through his will to the National Trust for Scotland. In 1977 Cammo House was destroyed by fire and in 1980, the NTS feud the estate to the district council. By this time, it was so severely damaged that most of the house was demolished.

In 1980, Cammo Estate became the UK’s first Wilderness Park and was handed over to the public in an official ceremony involving representatives of the National Trust, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the local MP and local residents.

Although little remains of the house itself, one remainder of Cammo House still remains, the early 19th century fresh water tower built to supply water to the house.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Cammo Estate nowadays, visit Friends of Cammo.

Read more articles in this ‘History of the house’ series:
History of the house: King’s Wark
History of the house: Bowhead house
History of the house: Nicolson Square and Marshall Street
History of the house: White Horse Close
History of the house: 94 and 96 Grassmarket
History of the house: Stockbridge Colonies
History of the house: Milne’s Court
History of the house: Melbourne Place
History of the house: Falcon Hall
History of the house: North British Hotel

 

What books are staff reading to help them through the lockdown?

We asked staff at Central Library to tell us a bit about the books they’ve been reading that have helped them through lockdown.

It turns out we’ve got a bit of a Marian Keyes fan club with a number of us reading her books that so engagingly tackle complex and difficult subjects with humour. Depression, alcoholism, bulimia, being broke, being unlucky in love … you name it … why are we reading about all these topics just now?

Fiona who’s been reading The Mystery of Mercy Close says `the reason it helps is basically because of the humour in it even though the main character suffers from depression’. Lesley is just starting on The Break, Joanna is reading Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married and Bronwen’s reading Grown Ups and says `I can be in someone else’s life while I’m reading; I love the characters and even though the book portrays real personal suffering, I’m laughing out loud one minute and crying the next’.  So thank you Marian Keyes – your writing is clearly helping us pull through. All of the Marian Keyes books noted are available from Edinburgh City Libraries’ RBdigital audiobook service.

Some books we read help us put our troubles in perspective. Doris’ last two are American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara.

Doris says “Both reminded me that as challenging as things are with lockdown –  the situation could be so much worse! Djinn Patrol deals with poverty and the slums in India and is heartbreaking yet is told with a deft sense of humour by the main character Jai. I loved the first 100 pages of American Dirt but must admit, I found it a bit implausible, as misery upon misery was heaped on the protagonists as the book progressed.”

Sometimes we want to read old favourites. Joanna has gone back to re-reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld stories. She says they are a “total escape from everyday problems and a lot of fun”. Discworld is a parallel time and place which might sound and smell like our own but looks completely different. Start with The Colour of Magic.

Historical stories set in difficult times can provide a sense of perspective on today. After reading a magazine article about the history of Agony Aunt columns, Clare found a suggested read, Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce on Overdrive. “Set during the London Blitz, it doesn’t avoid the hardships and destruction experienced on the home front, yet manages to be light-hearted and optimistic in tone. The  characters have setbacks but refuse to be beaten by events. Every day routine, worries, friendships and romances carry on. It was the perfect, easy, uplifting book I needed right now.”

A bit of time can also see you getting round to a book you’ve thought about reading. Jeanette says:
“During lockdown, I read a book I’ve meant to get to for ages, which is This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. I might be the one of the few people in the country to not to have read this book since it was written in 2017 to great acclaim. It’s a collection of Kay’s secret diary entries which he wrote whilst working as a junior doctor. As a woman of a certain age, experiencing hot flushes and insomnia, I started to read it at 3am one dark morning, hoping it would help me drift back to sleep. I could not have been more wrong. It is both hilarious and shocking from the offset, filled with the author’s experiences of working on the front line of the NHS. By the time I had reached page 22, an account involving objects stuck in orifices, the book had to be put down as I was unable to stifle the laughter any longer and was in danger of waking my sleeping partner up!

This is not a book for the faint hearted or easily offended: strong language is used throughout, there are details of gruesome injuries that made me cringe, truly heartbreaking stories about births and deaths, and “a constant tsunami of bodily fluids” throughout. That said, it is an important book for all of us and especially now, as it is an eye opener, and insight into our essential yet underfunded and overstretched NHS.

After the first 22 pages, I took the book downstairs where it became my day time read. I could laugh out loud all I wanted to it, and also shed a tear as it is genuinely devastating in parts. I’ve finished the book now, but have gone back to it and from time to time read the funny bits to my partner and son which always raises a laugh. I have come to ‘This Is Going to Hurt’ late but I’m glad I did because it’s been a fantastic and uplifting addition to my time in lockdown.”
This is going to hurt is available to borrow as an audiobook and ebook.

Tell us what you’ve been reading in lockdown and how it’s helped.

 

Local and family history enquiries with the team from the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection

Over the past few weeks, members of Central Library’s Edinburgh and Scottish Collection team have been busy trying to solve various family and local history queries that members of the public have been sending in by email.

Examples of the kind of questions asked have ranged from the straightforward to the devilishly tricky. So far, staff have fielded questions about whether the Library holds Edinburgh Electoral Rolls for the year 1845 and copies of the Evening News for 1959. (‘Yes’ was the answer to both questions). They’ve helped trace ancestors by finding birth, marriage and death certificates. And really got their thinking caps on when asked – what influenced 19th century emigrants to the US and Canada to choose one town over another in where they eventually settled! There have been some great questions about the local area too, from helping to date a school building in Leith, to finding resources on who was working as a pharmacist in Edinburgh in the early 1800s (and under what conditions).

Answering enquiries in the Edinburgh Room, 1954. Image from Capital Collections.

With only having online resources to access currently and sadly, not the full library collection there are limits to what can be answered. However, if you do have your own local or family history query, please send it to central.edsc.library@edinburgh.gov.uk and they will do the best they can to help out.

Here are some links to great history and heritage resources that may begin or continue your own research journey and assist with enquiries also.

Friday book quiz: round 3 (the answers)

The answers to the third round in the Friday book quiz from the Library Resource Management Team are below.

1. From which language is the novel “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” translated?
a) French
b) Czech
c) Italian

2. With which title did Salman Rushdie win the Booker prize?
a) Moor’s Last Sigh
b) Satanic verses
c) Midnight’s Children

3. In what publication was Wilkie Collins’ novel “The Woman in White” first serialised?
a) All the Year Round 
b) Bentley’s Miscellany
c) Household Words

 

4. What is the profession of C.J. Sansom’s character Shardlake?
a) Doctor
b) Lawyer
c) Soldier

5. Olive Kitteridge is married to a
a) Pharmacist
b) Teacher
c) Piano player

 

6. Complete the title of Sue Black’s book “All that remains”
a) A life in death
b) Life after death
c) Death is not the end

7. What is the name of the Labrador in Kate Atkinson’s novel “Big Sky”
a) Hercules
b) Barney
c) Dido

8. Who features in “Elizabeth is Missing”?
a) Maud
b) Eleanor
c) Sybil

9. In “His Bloody Project” by Graeme Macrae Burnet from what village is Roderick Macrae?
a) Cullen
b) Culbokie
c) Culduie

10. In which novel by Jane Austen does the following quote appear?
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid”.
a) Persuasion
b) Northanger Abbey
c) Sense and Sensibility

Friday book quiz: round 3

Try the questions below in the third round of the Library Resource Management Team’s book quiz.

Answers will be revealed on Monday here on the blog.

1. From which language is the novel “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” translated?
a) French
b) Czech
c) Italian

2. With which title did Salman Rushdie win the Booker prize?
a) Moor’s Last Sigh
b) Satanic verses
c) Midnight’s Children

3. In what publication was Wilkie Collins’ novel “The Woman in White” first serialised?
a) “All the Year Round”
b) “Bentley’s Miscellany”
c) “Household Words”

4. What is the profession of C.J. Sansom’s character Shardlake?
a) Doctor
b) Lawyer
c) Soldier

5. Olive Kitteridge is married to a
a) Pharmacist
b) Teacher
c) Piano player

6. Complete the title of Sue Black’s book “All that remains”
a) A life in death
b) Life after death
c) Death is not the end

7. What is the name of the Labrador in Kate Atkinson’s novel “Big Sky”
a) Hercules
b) Barney
c) Dido

8. Who features in “Elizabeth is Missing”?
a) Maud
b) Eleanor
c) Sybil

9. In ‘His Bloody Project’ by Graeme Macrae Burnet from what village is Roderick Macrae?
a) Cullen
b) Culbokie
c) Culduie

10. In which novel by Jane Austen does the following quote appear?
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid”.
a) Persuasion
c) Northanger Abbey
c) Sense and Sensibility

Heard any good art recently?

It seems counter intuitive as there are no pictures but the art podcast is thriving. When you hear people talking about art the images spring to life in your imagination.

Art and Design Library staff get asked to recommend good art podcasts. It’s a difficult enquiry to answer on the spot but here’s a round-up of some you might like to explore.

The Art Newspaper Podcast from the London publication The Art Newspaper provide some of the most topical podcasts around. Hosted by Ben Luke, the weekly show is not a digest of recent articles, but a chance to hear experts talk in depth about new developments or trends.

Find out what it was like to be a woman artist making art during the feminist and civil rights movement with Recording Artists Radical Women. Drawing on the archives of the Getty Research Institute, podcast host Helen Molesworth explores the lives and careers of six women artists spanning several generations. Contemporary artists and art historians join Helen in conversation.

If conversational, gossipy and fast-paced is more your style try Talk Art: actor-collector Russell Tovey and musician-turned gallerist Robert Diament speak to some big name artists and collectors. Listen in to explore the magic of art and why it connects us all. Special QuarARTine episodes picking up on the latest responses to the pandemic across the world.

Photography Down The Line from Stills Centre for Photography in Edinburgh is a weekly series of conversations between artists, photographers and the Director of Stills: starting during the coronavirus lockdown this series shares the ideas of artists during this challenging time.

Meet Me At The Museum is a series of podcasts from The Art Fund featuring well-known faces taking someone they love to a favourite museum or gallery. The current series is available every week for four weeks from 20 April 2020 and features Mel Giedroyc, Edith Bowman, Katy Hessel and Anneka Rice, all exploring museums they love.

Podcasts on art are proliferating. If you find an art podcast you like and think others would enjoy why not share this with us @edcentrallib

A Frog he would a-wooing go

Capital Collections (www.capitalcollections.org) provides a window into Edinburgh Libraries’ Special Collections and gives the public opportunity to view photographs, illustrations and books in a manner that makes them much more accessible to a wider audience.  The latest Capital Collections exhibition displays a digitised view of one such special book, ‘A Frog he would a-wooing go’ brimming with gorgeous, colourful images by the acclaimed and widely celebrated artist Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886).

‘A Frog he would a-wooing go’, front cover

The book was first published in 1883 as part of a series of highly successful picture books illustrated by Caldecott for children. His success continued throughout the 19th century and by 1884, sales of Caldecott’s Nursery Rhymes, which by this point consisted of twelve books, reached 867,000 copies leading him to international acclaim. Despite his relatively short life time, Caldecott work is considered to have been transformative in the nature of children’s book in the Victorian era. Caldecott is considered a leading figure in children’s literature with his work considered part of the influential ‘nursery triumvirate’, along with Walter Crane and Kate Greenway. Following the popularity of these authors it became the norm for children’s books to consist of more images and less text.

‘”Pray, Mr. Frog, will you give us a song?”
Heigho, says Rowley!
“But let it be something that’s not very long.”
With a rowley-powley, gammon and spinach,
Heigho, says Anthony Rowley!’
from ‘A Frog he would a-wooing go’

This book tells the story of a Frog, with the help of his friend the Rat, as he attempts to gain the affection of a Mouse. His books such as the one presented in this exhibition, are praised for their sense of fluidity and repeated phrases, which creates a sense of movement from one page to the other, a style which appeals to children. Not only do Caldecott’s books have a bright, humorous and inviting nature, their brilliance lies in his ability to express subtle but profound meaning in stories dominated by image and only supplemented with text.

The Capital Collections exhibition attempts to highlight the brilliance and vibrancy of Caldecott’s work. Although originally marketed at children, the images in this book are full of life and can be enjoyed by young and old alike, those with an interest in the history of children’s illustration and those who simply appreciate Caldecott’s artistic style.

Browse all the pages from this delightful Victorian illustrated children’s book on Capital Collections.

Recording history today for the future

Central Library’s Edinburgh and Scottish Collection have a long history of collecting material relating to the changing life and times of the city.

Today, we also collect digital submissions from people who can upload their own pictures and memories to Edinburgh Collected, our online community archive (www.edinburghcollected.org).

During these strange times of lockdown living we are asking the public to help us record the visual signs of how life in Edinburgh has changed so that these momentous times are preserved for history.

Saturday at the Grassmarket, shared by Sufly9 on edinburghcollected.org

We’re particularly keen to see the little acts of creativity and messages of thanks and positivity that are helping us all to keep smiling.

We’ve received some lovely picture memories so far but we’d like to capture a complete picture of Edinburgh at this time. Do you have any photos of your neighbourhood that you’ve taken whilst out for your daily exercise or going to the supermarket that you could share?

Anyone can create an account and add pictures and memories to Edinburgh Collected. Once added, we’ll add your contributions to the ‘Edinburgh 2020 – coronavirus pandemic’ scrapbook.

Stay home, shared on edinburghcollected.org by jintyg

Our colleagues in Museums and Galleries and in the City Archives are also collecting material related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Museums and Galleries Edinburgh are looking to collect objects for their museum collections which represent experiences of people in Edinburgh during the pandemic. They’re hoping for donations of everyday objects that have helped you get through the lockdown, e.g. certain equipment you’ve used to keep you safe, a note from your neighbour or the rainbow you made for your window.

If you have something to offer, please email anna.macquarrie@edinburgh.gov.uk. Explain what the item is, what it means to you, and include a photo if you can. (Please note, staff won’t be able to physically collect any material until it is safe to do so and venues reopen.)

Edinburgh City Archives are collecting diaries and journals covering this period. They will collect these in various forms; whether that is paper or digital, text or audio-visual, published on a website/social media or kept privately in an app, book, or document.  If you keep any of these and would be willing to donate it to the Archives for posterity please visit their webpage for more information: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/archives/edinburgh-city-archives-1/2

Friday book quiz: round 2 (the answers)

The answers to round two of the Friday book quiz are revealed below. Come back on Friday for round three.

1. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South – in which novel?
a) Where the crawdads sing
b) Queenie
c) An American marriage 

2. Which creature features in the title of this Maja Lunde’s novel?
a)
The history of people
b) The history of bees
c) The history of unicorns

3. “A natural” deals with the struggles of a young footballer, the author is?
a) Ross Raisin
b) Andy Apple
c) Fraser Fish

4. “Stories of the law and how it’s broken” is the subtitle of which novel?
a)
Crime and punishment
b) The cases of Taggart
c) The secret barrister 

5. Which novel deals with the disappearance of three pupils from Appleyard College and the aftermath from this?
a)
Ghost wall
b) The Van Apfel girls are gone
c) Picnic at hanging rock 

6. The “Salt path” by Raynor Winn follows the coastal path from where in the UK?
a) Somerset to Dorset 
b) Kent to Hampshire
c) Lincolnshire to Northumbria

7. Witold Pilecki is the subject of which award winning book by Jack Fairweather?
a) The survivor
b) The volunteer 
c) The hero

8. Which of the following is the title of a novel by Charlie Mackesy
a)
The boy, the fox, the badger and the horse
b) The boy, the goldfish, the fox and the horse
c) The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse 

9. Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are the main characters in which novel by Hallie Rubenhold?
a)
The girls
b) The five 
c) The circle

10. Which workplace features in the title of this Joanne Ramos novel?
a) The farm
b) The office
c) The factory

New classical music streaming service available

Libraries are hoping to introduce Medici.tv for members later in the year, however from  now until early June is your chance to try out the service and let us know what you think?

Photograph of Gustavo Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel, © Silvia Lelli

Medici.tv is the world’s largest collection of classical music, opera and dance videos. It gives free online access to 3500 musical works filmed from the 1940s onwards plus over 2500 videos of concerts, operas, ballets, documentaries and master classes.
It’s easy to access all you need is your library membership number.

Don’t forget you can also listen to the best orchestras and classical performers on Naxos Music Library (NML) the world´s largest online classical music streaming library. With your library membership you can access 1000s of CDs with over a million tracks. Latest releases are added every week. Stream tracks via the website and app or download tracks and playlists via the app to listen offline for up to 30 days.


Friday book quiz: round 2

Our second round in the Friday book quiz from the Library Resource Management Team.

The answers will be revealed on Monday and look out for the third round next Friday.

1. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South – in which novel?
a) Where the crawdads sing
b) Queenie
c) An American marriage

2. Which creature features in the title of this Maja Lunde’s novel?
a) The history of people
b) The history of bees
c) The history of unicorns

3. “A natural” deals with the struggles of a young footballer, the author is?
a)
Ross Raisin
b) Andy Apple
c) Fraser Fish

4. “Stories of the law and how it’s broken” is the subtitle of which novel?
a)
Crime and punishment
b) The cases of Taggart
c) The secret barrister

5. Which novel deals with the disappearance of three pupils from Appleyard College and the aftermath from this?
a)
Ghost wall
b) The Van Apfel girls are gone
c) Picnic at hanging rock 

6. The “Salt path” by Raynor Winn follows the coastal path from where in the UK?
a) Somerset to Dorset
b) Kent to Hampshire
c) Lincolnshire to Northumbria

7. Witold Pilecki is the subject of which award-winning book by Jack Fairweather?
a)
The survivor
b) The volunteer
c) The hero

8. Which of the following is the title of a novel by Charlie Mackesy
a)
The boy, the fox, the badger and the horse
b) The boy, the goldfish, the fox and the horse
c) The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse 

9. Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are the main characters in which novel by Hallie Rubenhold?
a) The girls
b) The five
c) The circle

10. Which workplace features in the title of this Joanne Ramos novel?
a) The farm
b) The office
c) The factory

Hundreds of books delivered to vulnerable Edinburgh families in isolation

Families with vulnerable children who are shielding at home in Edinburgh are to have hundreds of books delivered to their doorsteps thanks to a new charity partnership.

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) – which supports the Royal Hospital for Sick Children – has teamed up with Edinburgh Libraries to help children and their siblings feed their imaginations while shielding for 12 weeks.

Edinburgh Libraries’ Book Bus

With libraries currently closed, Edinburgh Libraries has made available a Book Bus filled with around 1800 books for children and young people to ECHC. The bus will be stationed at the charity’s office, where volunteer delivery drivers will collect book packages and deliver them to local families who are known to the Sick Kids hospital on a regular basis. Through the book deliveries, the charity aims to bring fun and distraction to children and to help improve their mental wellbeing during lockdown.

The book delivery service has also been made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from Baillie Gifford.

Caroline Leishman has been shielding her family of three boys for eight weeks as her youngest son is on active treatment for Leukaemia.

She said: “Coming up with new and exciting ways to keep everyone occupied and distracted while also looking after a clinically vulnerable child becomes a little bit harder as each week goes by.

“It was such a relief when the book parcel from ECHC arrived on our doorstep. The kids were so excited to open it and discover all the new books they had to read which gave us some much needed breathing space!

“Books are such a wonderful resource for children who are shielding. They let their imaginations run wild so they can go on all sorts of fantastic adventures without ever leaving the safety of home.”

Book bags ready to be delivered

Roslyn Neely, CEO of ECHC, said: “We know from our work in the hospital that taking part in fun and creative activities that feed the imagination is the best way to take away children’s fear and feelings of isolation when they are unwell.

“It must be unimaginably tough for children and their siblings having to shield at home when they already face significant health challenges. We know the power of storytelling and the benefits that brings to children in hospital so we’re positive it will have the same effect in the home.

“We believe that nothing should get in the way of being a child. Even though they can’t physically be out and about in the world right now, children have a huge appetite for adventure and there’s a whole world of creativity and magic in their imaginations.

“Bringing books to their doorsteps through this wonderful partnership with Edinburgh Libraries is a great way to ensure they still have access to that. We’re also so grateful to Baillie Gifford for their sponsorship and to all our volunteer drivers for making this possible.”

City of Edinburgh Council Leader Adam McVey said: “We’re delighted we can help families known to the Sick Kids and thanks to our library team who have been superb. One of our mobile libraries is filled with about 1,800 children’s books so what better way of putting these books to good use.

“Books are a wonderful resource and will really help families having to self-isolate in their homes for 12 weeks. Reading as a family is a joy and can help to improve well-being – a recent study found that six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 60%. This is a great example showing how working together with partners in the city can respond to the needs of our communities.”

Book deliveries are one of a number of things that ECHC is doing to support children and families during the pandemic, all of which are being delivered safely in line with government restrictions during this time. All books that are returned to the Book Bus will be held on board for 72 hours for infection control before being recirculated.

Staff preparing the Book bus and bags

The charity is also distributing Emergency Care Packs of food and essential supplies, toiletries and arts and activity items. Families known to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children who would like any of the emergency care packs on offer are asked to contact Leigh at ECHC on 0131 668 4949 or leigh.drake@echcharity.org.

If you wish, you can make a donation to ECHC’s Emergency COVID-19 Appeal online.