History of the house: 4 Balcarres Street

In the late 18th century, Morningside was a rural, agricultural village to the southwest of Edinburgh. Located on the principal drove road into Edinburgh from the south, the village served farms and estates nearby, including Plewlands, Egypt, Comiston and Buckstone. From the early to mid 19th century, Morningside developed as a suburb of Edinburgh, attracting wealthy people who built large villas within private grounds.

Morningside expanded considerably between 1852 and 1877, merging with Newington to the east and Merchiston to the north, becoming a residential suburb of the city. Improvements in transport links, firstly by the introduction of a tram service after 1871 and secondly by the opening of a suburban railway line in 1884, accelerated the growth of Morningside.

Tenements started to appear throughout with the first ones appearing in Morningside Road and by the late 1800s they began to outnumber the large villas.

One of the tenement streets is Balcarres Street where construction began in 1884 and was completed in stages over 15 years. The first part to be built, originally called Balcarres Terrace, commenced at Morningside Station, opposite Belhaven Terrace. You can see how Morningside developed in this National Library of Scotland map.

Balcarres Street map courtesy the National Library of Scotland.

We are highlighting one of the tenements, Number 4, which is the middle point of the small row of 7 tenements before it turns on a corner and continues along to Craighouse Gardens. Balcarres Street was almost directly opposite Morningside Rail Station which allowed very easy access across Edinburgh.

Findmypast has a very helpful tool when searching census returns. You can search by street name. On 5 April 1891 the census was taken, and on that night, there were seven households in the tenement. The ages of the occupants ranged from the youngest Henry Alstone who was 5 months old to the eldest 65-year-old Catherine Elliot. Occupations of the householders were varied. There was a grocer, a coal merchant, an insurance clerk and several who were living by ‘private means’ – indicating some kind of independent income, perhaps savings or shares, an allowance, rental income, a private pension or family support. The Alstones also employed a servant.

By the time of the next census taken on 31 March 1901, only one family, the McGalls were still living there, all the other flats had new occupants. Again, occupations were varied, and once again several were living from ‘private means’. The place of birth section of the census shows that all but two residents were born in Scotland. A James A (Angus) Fowler was born in America. Looking up his birth record on Findmypast, we are able to see a copy of his original birth registration in Boston, Massachusetts where he was born on 18 June 1873. Both his parents were born in Scotland, and his father who was a slater had perhaps emigrated to America to seek work.

With the 1911 census as yet not available in Scotland we have to look at other ways of finding out who lived at number 4 Balcarres Street in the following years. Post Office Directories are a good way of finding out. They don’t list everyone as you had to pay to be included. But it’s a good start. I’ve jumped forward a bit and in the 1959/1960 directory I have found a listing for a A.R. Stewart, who just happens to be my grandfather, there in the flat that I was brought up in and spent my childhood.

4 Balcarres Street, May 2022 by Jinty G via www.edinburghcollected.org

If you’re interested in doing some research into the history of the property you live in, our library service has many resources you can use whether online or in person. Make a start with our local and family history page on the Your Library website or drop into the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection at Central Library for some friendly advice.

The National Library of Scotland has Edinburgh and the whole of Scotland covered with their brilliant digital map resource.

Read other 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
History of the house: Cammo House
History of the house: Newhailes

Edinburgh Women’s Mural online

Earlier this week we announced the unveiling of the Edinburgh Women’s Mural at Central Library which celebrates Edinburgh’s trailblazing women, past and present. The mural will be on display in Central Library until 2 July 2022.

But what if you’re unable to visit, or you simply want a sneak preview?

Stencilled portraits from the Edinburgh Women’s Mural

Well, you can find a selections of the pioneer’s portraits in a new mini-exhibition on Capital Collections and in a new story on Our Town Stories!

Women and the environment: Activists, pioneers, and gardeners.” 

Join us next month for an exciting programme of events celebrating women activists, pioneers and gardeners.

Part of the Harpies, Fechters and Quines 2022 events programme, Women and the Environment: Activists, Pioneers, and Gardeners is a collaboration with the Bonnie Fechters, Glasgow Women’s Library and Edinburgh City Libraries.

The Three I’s: Isobel Gunn, Isabella Bird and Isobel Wylie Hutchison
Tuesday 7 June at 2pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Jane George, a tutor in Scottish women’s history and a member of the Bonnie Fechters, will give a talk on The Three I’s: Isobel Gunn, Isabella Bird and Isobel Wylie Hutchison, three unconventional, intrepid and inspirational women whose lives spanned three centuries and whose enthusiasm for exploring and travelling in relatively unknown environments challenged the social conventions of their time.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

“Scots women who chose to challenge”
Wednesday 8 June at 11am, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Jackie Sangster is a Learning Manager with the Learning & Inclusion team at Historic Environment Scotland – working across Scotland to bring people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to discover, explore, understand, and be inspired by our historic environment. Mostly Jackie works with digital archive material from Scran – that’s ½ million records, not counting all the other HES archives such as Canmore. As a former teacher, she endeavours to make engagement with school and community groups as creative as possible. Allowing people to explore heritage in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

Her talk will explore archive material, meeting Scots women who‘ve made their mark in their respective fields whether in politics, law, medicine, the arts or the world of sport. Introducing some well know faces through archive photography and perhaps a few less familiar, but nonetheless inspiring individuals who chose to challenge their world.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

Sister Earth – Story Café
Wednesday 8 June at 1pm on Zoom, a women only event

In these uncertain times, nature has become more important than ever to us as a source of calm, and healing. In this story cafe, we look to women’s writings and stories of action that celebrate our natural environment, from urban gardeners and wild walkers to women working together on issues of climate change and preserving and protecting our natural environment. We’ll be reading from poetry, prose and fiction about how ordinary and extraordinary women are getting to grips with the present and future of our precious landscapes.  Grab a cup of tea and bit of cake, then sit back and enjoy!
Book through Glasgow Women’s Library

An introduction to climate change and why it’s important that we do something about it.
Thursday 9 June at 2pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Kirsten is a Climate Change Consultant for Arup and a tutor on the online Carbon Management Masters at the University of Edinburgh. She is heavily involved as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Ambassador in schools teaching students and young people about the causes and consequences of climate change. In January 2020, she presented evidence to the UK Climate Assembly on the solutions to reaching the UK Government’s net-zero emissions target by 2050 and has since represented young people on the Stewarding Group for the Scottish Climate Assembly.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

The ‘green’ electric car: The tragic human and environmental costs
Friday 10 June at 2.30pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library 

A talk by Prof. Yvonne McEwen on the reality of the environmental impact of ‘the green electric car’.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

The garden Ella grew – a Japanese garden in Scotland 
Monday 13 June at 11am, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

The Japanese Garden, Cowden is a ‘wee’ gem, hidden amongst the hills of Clackmannanshire in Scotland. Created in 1908 by Japanese landscape architect Taki Handa, it was the dream of Ella Christie, independent traveller and explorer, who had journeyed to Japan herself the year before. In 2018 the garden opened to visitors after an extensive restoration project and today it’s unique beauty amongst the Ochil hills is available for everyone to see. 

Join us as we share its history and layout.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

Canada – Living between two worlds
Tuesday 14 June at 2pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Pauline Johnson, Indigenous-Canadian, writer, poet and environmentalist.

Pauline Johnson was Indigenous but of Native/Scottish/English Native ancestry.

She inhabited both worlds and her mixed ancestry is evident in her writings and observations of nature.

The speaker, Yvonne McEwen, is a Professor of War and Conflict Studies and currently working on the historical ties between the Scots and Native peoples of North America, particularly, Canada.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

Ground-breaking: Women at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Thursday 16 June at 2pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Graham Hardy is a member of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Library and Archives team. 

RBGE’s history has always been told from the vantage point of the Regius Keepers and Principal Gardens/Curators, because they leave the biggest historical record.  Tucked away in manuscript accounts and notebooks are the names of the men who were paid to do the work and also as time progressed from the middle of the eighteenth century women’s names start to appear.  

Using original source material from the collections, Graham will give an overview of some of the women who worked or were heavily involved with The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh from 1750 to the present. Their roles range from the anonymous women paid to weed to illustrators, tutors/teachers, gardeners, plant collectors, laboratory and herbarium staff, administrators, scientific researchers and research students. 

Graham’s research, undertaken when not working in his professional capacity, has been much helped by research both national and international on the topic and also by input and enthusiasm from colleagues, volunteers and research associates.  His research is ongoing.  There may be much for Graham and others still to unearth, but we will receive an excellent insight to how much has already been discovered.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

Natural and Cultural Heritage in the Pentlands Hills Regional Park
Friday 17 June at 2pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Laura Shelbourn is a Natural Heritage Officer within the Pentland Hills Regional Park Service. She will be giving us an insight into her work and this wonderful environment, which is on our doorstep and in which we can all share.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

All events, apart from the online Story Cafe, take place in the George Washington Room at Central Library. The George Washington Browne Room is accessible by stairs or the public lift.

New drawing and art books for children

For this month’s blog from the Art and Design Library, Jen reviews a few of our 


They’re exciting additions, and we have more to come. We’re planning a collection of travelling stock to send out to our community libraries – so do keep a look out for some smart new books on our shelves.  

For this year’s spring/summer exhibition, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art are showing a Barbara Hepworth show at Modern Two. It opened on 9 April and will run until 2 October 2022.  

Meet Barbara Hepworth by Laura Carlin therefore seems an apt title to begin with. Laura Carlin is an illustrator and ceramicist based in London, and the book feels so fresh. It’s a wonderful introduction, for anybody, to thoughts about form and shape. About what is it that we do in front of a sculpture; about how learning to see is a bodily thing; about how feelings and shapes collide; and how shapes talk to each other.  

I always love seeing the insides of books, so here are some sneaky shots. 

Meet Barbara Hepworth by Laura Carlin
Meet Barbara Hepworth by Laura Carlin
Meet Barbara Hepworth by Laura Carlin

As you can see, Laura Carlin’s illustration work is a fantastic medley of mixed media-collage-drawing/everything work. And as well as being about Barbara Hepworth and her sculptures, the book also includes prompts for how you might make your own sculptures inspired by the natural world.  

Some extra links – to the Hepworth Wakefield gallery and Barbara Hepworth’s biography page (great photos and snippets of inspiring thoughts); and her sculpture garden and museum in St Ives if you’re ever that end of the map.  

Laura Carlin won the prestigious V & A Book Illustration Award in 2011 for her illustrated edition of Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man. And one of my favourite books of hers’ is A World of Your Own. On play and creativity, it just sparkles.   

There are more in this series. Tate Publishing is the publisher, and the series is called Meet the Artist. As with the Barbara Hepworth, Tate have commissioned a contemporary illustrator to respond to an older artist. Lizzy Stewart has made one on Turner; Rose Blake on David Hockney and Andy Warhol; Nick White on Giacometti; Hélène Baum-Owoyele on Frank Bowling, Helena Perez Garcia on the Pre-Raphaelites.  

They encourage observation and imagination, and they are brilliant creative introductions to art history, and to artmaking. 

(A further peek – these next couple of pictures are from the David Hockney book.)  

David Hockney by Rose Blake
David Hockney by Rose Blake

Another exciting little cohort in our new stock collection are several books by the French artist and educator Hervé Tullet . Art Workshops for Children; Draw Here; I Have an Idea!; andMy Stencil Kit: Draw, Colour and Create Your Own Stories.For sheer joy, energy, and a perfect explication of what it means to play, I totally recommend these books.

Here’s a look inside for you: 

Draw Here by Hervé Tullet
Draw Here by Hervé Tullet
Draw Here by Hervé Tullet
Art workshops for children by Hervé Tullet
Art workshops for children by Hervé Tullet

I find it endlessly interesting watching my toddler with his felt-tip pens. His compulsion and delight, the variety of things that need to be done to and with a felt-tip pen. Whoever knew. I can see the process of him learning – how do I hold this object; what can it do; it’s a tool, oh wow – and with that, comes his discovery of all kinds of concepts… His drawing is totally process-based, he’s busy exploring stuff (until suddenly he’s not!) but mostly he is, and it’s fun for him. What I love about the Hervé Tullet books is that he takes this boundless curiosity and intuitive need to create that all children seem to have, and he plays with it. It’s the visual equivalent of handstands or cartwheels, or just lying on the grass wiggling your toes. The books contain activities and workshops that are adaptable for pretty much any age group. It’s easy to forget how to play, and these books are a bundle of fun and cleverness that remind us how important it is.  

On this workshopping topic I’d just like to mention a couple of other books we have: Drawing Projects for Children; and Make Build Create. Both are by the artist-educator Paula Briggs.  

And here’s an endorsement for the Drawing Projects book by Quentin Blake – “A beautiful book, full of ideas and a vivid sense of materials – truly appetising and stimulating.”  

It wets my appetite too. The book is a collection of simple exercises and activities about making thoughtful and meaningful marks in all kinds of media. I find more each time I go back to them. There are also helpful notes for the facilitator/parent of an activity, and one of the tenets behind the books is that the facilitator need not be a specialist at all.  

Paula Briggs has also set up a charity called Access Art which is a treasure trove of resources for children’s art activities, both for Primary and Secondary age groups.  

And one more picture from some of our new children’s stock:

If you’re at high school reading this, or you’re the parent of someone who is, I thought I’d include a few gems from our stock – some personal gems anyway, from my personal canon, as I’m sure everybody has their own. 

The writer and illustrator, Mervyn Peake, creator of Gormenghast, wrote a little treatise on drawing called The Craft of the Lead Pencil. Originally published in 1946, it is full of the essence of what drawing is (or should be). It is a simple telling, just a few pages long. We have it compiled in another book, Mervyn Peake: Writings & Drawings. 

Similarly, Kimon Nicolaides’ The Natural Way to Draw, is a wonderful (old) how-to book. It is a year’s schedule of drawing that looks at the components of making a drawing – gesture, line, form, feeling, the materials you are working with… – and always with an eye on artists working in the past.  

Also in the 1970s, John Berger (1926 – 2017), artist, art historian, and writer, wrote his influential Ways of Seeing to accompany the BBC TV series of the same name. And in the early 2000s, he wrote a little book of essays and fragments on drawing. It begins,  

For the artist drawing is discovery. And that is not just a slick phrase, it is quite literally true. It is the actual act of drawing that forces the artist to look at the object in front of him, to dissect it in his mind’s eye and put it together again; or, if he is drawing from memory, that forces him to dredge his own mind, to discover the content of his own store of past observations… “

This is illustrated so well, I think, by the artist Sargy Mann in an introductory essay to a book on Bonnard’s drawings. It is about how the very best drawing is discovery, and about how we see. 

We have a lot of books on drawing, of course; on artists’ drawings and artists’ sketchbooks. Come and look at the golden oldies. (How does Rembrandt draw? How did he draw so much heart, I’d love to know that. And Hokusai – he draws with so much facility, so much life – we have his Manga sketchbooks in one of our stores. Originally published in 1814, they are a handbook of over 4,000 images. They contain drawings of everyday life, people, expressions, architecture; drawings of the natural world and animals; myths and stories.) 

And here are just a few extra pictures I pulled off the shelves from our drawing section to entice you: 

Drawing and Painting by Kate Wilson
Drawing and Painting by Kate Wilson
Drawing water by Tania Kovats
Drawing birds by John Busby
Drawing books from the Art and Design Library collection
Comics Sketchbooks by Steven Heller
Comics Sketchbooks by Steven Heller
Anatomy for the artist by Sarah Simblet
Anatomy for the artist by Sarah Simblet
Botany for the artist by Sarah Simblet
Sketching books from the Art and Design Library collection

What I mainly want to say though, is, we have lots and lots of great books. Please do come into the Art and Design Library and explore! 

Edinburgh Women’s Mural

During Women’s History Month in March this year, Central Library began work on creating a public mural celebrating Edinburgh’s trailblazing women, past and present. This was inspired by another project entitled ‘Work in Progress’ by the artists Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake which has been running in the USA since 2016.

We had a fantastic response from the local community, and we’d like to say a big thank you to everybody that contributed, whether you provided nominations for our list of unsung heroines, or helped spread the word, or attended one of our stencil workshops. Thanks also go to Creative Scotland, who awarded us funding for the project, and to local artist Madeleine Wood and graphic designer Greg Stedman.

The Edinburgh Women’s Mural is now finished and ready to display, at Central Library! See below for a sneak peek of one of the eight panels. How many people can you recognise?

Edinburgh Women’s Mural – detail

Please come in to visit us and have a look at the full mural. We’d love to hear your comments and feedback, and if any portrait on the mural inspires you to learn more about a particular individual or subject, staff will be on hand to signpost you to relevant books and other resources from our collections. There will also be a “who’s who” to help you identify each of the women depicted, and a supporting display of interesting material about the women of Edinburgh. 

Check out this short video about how we made the stencilled portraits:

As you will see, one of the women featured prominently on the full mural is the Rector of Edinburgh University, Debora Kayembe. She kindly took the time to speak to us about her inspiring life and varied career. Watch her video here: 

We look forward to seeing you at Central Library, and if you are interested in attending one of our upcoming mural-themed free talks and events, please watch this space, or keep an eye on social media channels! 

The Edinburgh Women’s Mural is on display at Central Library from 23 May to 2 July 2022.

Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday

All our libraries will be closed on Friday 3 June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday.

Remember Your Library is always open online to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines.

Central Library’s Book Talk Group ‘Keep the Heid’ with a six-minute read-in in the Lending Library

Last Wednesday, three members of Book Talk, a group who meet fortnightly at Central Library had a ‘read-in’ in the lending library, to celebrate Keep The Heid.

Margaret, Lily and Kenneth from the Book Talk Group at Central Library

Keep The Heid, a Scotland wide initiative, saw over 400,000 people pledge to read for six minutes on the eleventh of May to promote health and wellbeing.

Before the read-in, group members Kenneth Macleod, Lily Johnston and Margaret Lobban spoke to library advisors about their group, libraries and why reading is important for so many reasons.

“We started off following an SQA,” says Lily, “but when we lost funding for that we decided we wanted to continue ourselves, so we moved the group to the library. We all work together, bringing texts and making suggestions of what we should read next. Margaret was a volunteer with the group, and when we moved, she chose to come with us.”

Lily from the Book Talk group at Central Library

The group have read books including a A Street Cat Named Bob and Greyfriars’ Bobby and often read short stories or a couple of chapters of a book together.

“It’s improved my reading a lot” said Kenneth, “I’ve been reading lots of books, I like science fiction, railways, music books.”

Lily agrees that reading with the group has hugely improved her confidence in her own ability both reading, and speaking publicly; “Quickreads have really encouraged me to do more reading, only if picking a book up for five or ten minutes. We read aloud in the group and it’s given me the confidence to do readings in church.”

“Reading out loud is really important”, agrees Margaret, “it gets across the fluency of the written word.”

“It’s a friendly group”, says Lily, “we give everyone the chance to do the reading and we help each other out, after we’ve read something we have a chat about it among ourselves. We’ve been doing this for ten years in some shape or form. It’s a great way to build up your confidence.”

Group members can bring in things other than books to share with the group, Lily has previously bought in some wordsearches she enjoys doing, another way the group can share their interest in words.

The group have found particular value in Quick Reads, short books and great stories by bestselling authors which provide a route into reading through accessible and easy to read writing styles and Journey For Learning books. The group also recommend titles in large print. “Large print books are magnificent”, says Margaret, “for those with dyslexia say, or people who aren’t confident and fluent readers”.

Margaret from the Book Talk group at Central Library

“We recently read a chapter from In My Life by Alan Johnson”, says Margaret, “and it was brilliant, it’s a music memoir, so everyone was saying, ‘Oh yes, I remember that year, what music were we listening to?’ And talking about it.”

“I like MC Beaton books”, says Kenneth, talking about writers the group has introduced him to, “Agatha Raisin [the detective] always arrives in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The group illustrate brilliantly the importance of reading for mental health and wellbeing, the key aim of Keep the Heid.

For the read-in, Lily has chosen Heidi by Joanne Spyri, which she reads on her ereader. Kenneth has chosen Red River Ransome, a mystery novel by Eric Wilson, while Margaret, a beekeeper, has chosen Dancing With Bees by Brigit Strawbridge Howard.

Kenneth from the Book Talk group at Central Library

As they move off to take position in the library, library advisor Fernando photographs them, and they read their chosen text for six minutes to show their commitment to Keep The Heid.

Margaret is eager to emphasise the importance of libraries, not only as a place for the group to meet and talk about books, but for everyone  – “you have more range here than any bookshop, I see over there, you have Urdu, Arabic, here you have large print and audio, there’s something for everyone, a library is such a gateway”.

Watch the video of the Book Talk group talking about books for Keep the Heid, Scotland’s Reading Moment on Wednesday 11 May.

Do you want to improve your reading in a friendly, supportive group for adults?  The Book Talk group welcomes new members.
They meet at Central Library every second Thursday from 2.15 to 4.15pm to read together and discuss their reading. If you’d like to find out more, please call Liz on 07922 416232.

Bookbug Week 2022 – join Bookbug’s big journey!

It’s Bookbug Week! We’ll be celebrating all kinds of journeys, whether it’s the excitement of riding on the bus or a train, strolls through the park, an adventure to outer space or even just a wee trip out in a buggy!

There’s lots of excitement in store this Bookbug Week.

Blackhall Library
Special multilingual Bookbug session takes place in the library garden (weather permitting) on Thursday 19 May at 10.30am. Please see Blackhall Library Facebook page for booking details.

Central Library
10.30am on Tuesday 17 and Friday 20 May
Join us in our Children’s Library for special journey themed sessions. Please see Central Library’s Facebook page for booking information.

Craigmillar Library
On Friday 20 May Bookbug is going on a big journey camping! Join Hannah for a walk around the Library garden with your favourite teddy bear, have a ‘camp-fire’ sing-along and then we will go to Bookbug’s campsite! Inside our special black-out sensory den you will be able to watch the Northern Lights, see the stars come out and enjoy a sleepy storytime.

This event is limited to small groups of five families, and is designed to be inclusive of children with autism or sensory processing issues, or who may find larger, noisier groups overwhelming. If the weather is too bad for an outdoor adventure we will still host the event indoors, and if all the tickets for this session get snapped up, we will add more sessions later in the day. Please check Craigmillar Library Facebook page for booking details.

Mobile Libraries
Our Mobile Library team will be popping along to Fox Covert Early Years Centre on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate Bookbug Week (closed event).

Moredun and Gilmerton Libraries
Bookbug is taking his Big Journey to the Union Canal on the Lochrin Belle, on Tuesday with his friends from Rainbow Kindergarten Nursery (closed event).

There will be two special Big Journey themed sessions at Gilmerton Library during the week, at 2.30pm on Tuesday 17 May and at 10.30am on Friday 20 May.

Oxgangs Library
Join our friends from Oxgangs Library for a special outdoor session at the Oxgangs Spring event at Colinton Mains Park on Friday 20 May between 1 and 4pm.

Stockbridge Library
On Monday 16 May, we will have a special storytelling and craft session around the Bookbug week theme Big Journeys. On Saturday we will have themed Bookbug and storytelling session with songs, rhymes and stories about buses, cars, rockets and boats.

Wester Hailes and Sighthill Libraries
Staff at Wester Hailes and Sighthill Libraries are joining forces to take you on a special Bookbug buggy walk. Details will be released on their Facebook pages.

Central Library staff pledge to Keep Their Heids this Mental Health Awareness Week

Keep The Heid is a campaign encouraging people to read for six minutes on the eleventh of May. It’s been proven by MindLab that just six minutes reading every day can reduce stress and improve sleep  – more so even than going for a walk or holding a steaming cup of tea.

I guess it’s not a surprise; reading takes you away from your anxieties, and for those six minutes you can be immersed in a world completely other than your own. Researchers are keen to emphasise that reading any book for pleasure will have the same effect.

Below our Library Advisors, Supervisors and Development Leaders share their #KeepTheHeid pledges, telling us which books they plan to immerse themselves in this week.

Bronwen, Art and Design and Music Library Development Leader, has pledged to read All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison as part of #KeeptheHeid
The book I’m pledging to read is ‘All Among the Barley’ by Melissa Harrison which I’m reading just now with my book group.

I’m taking it slowly which is a deliberate choice to relish the book’s wonderfully descriptive portrayal of rural England in the autumn of 1933. Told through the character of Edie, then a teenager growing up on a family farm and with the Great War still casting a shadow over everyone’s lives, themes of class, folklore, changing rural traditions and patriarchy are explored. I’ll be reading my six minutes on the bus to work, I find it helps to distract me from thinking about the challenges of the day ahead and to bring me some stillness and peace despite the busyness around me.

All Among the Barley is available to borrow both as hardback, large print, talking book and ebook.

Joanna, Library Advisor in Art and Design and Music Libraries has chosen Children of Our Era, a poem by Wislawa Szymborska as her six minute read
I have chosen this poem because of its ideas about society, citizenship, and peoples’ and communities’ involvement in political subjects. Some people told me: ‘I’m not voting. I’m not interested in politics.’ Which is obviously a wrong decision. There is a saying: ‘you maybe have no interest in politics, but the politics easily becomes interested in you’.

Miracle Fair by Wislawa Szymborska is available to borrow and we also have several other collections of her poetry.

Natasha, Art and Design and Music Library Supervisor is reading Last Order at the Liars’ Bar: The Story of the Beautiful South
I came across this book whilst searching for items in our Music Library annexe. The Beautiful South have long been favourites of mine, so I was intrigued to find out a little more behind the catchy melodies and Paul Heaton’s sharp lyrics. The band’s music has been very beneficial to my mental health over the years so I thought it would be fitting to read this book for my pledge.

Last Order at the Liars’ Bar is available to reserve from the Central Music Store.

Ania, Library Advisor in Central Lending and Children’s Library has chosen to read Akin by Emma Donoghue
‘Akin’ is a tale of love, loss and family, in which a retired New York professor’s life is thrown into chaos when he takes his great-nephew to the French Riviera, in hopes of uncovering his own mother’s wartime secrets.

I very much enjoy reading it, taking part in their journey through beautiful Nice, its restaurants, cafes, galleries, watching them clash, fight but also learn from each other. ‘Akin’ is a quietly moving novel that shows us how little we know one another, but how little, perhaps, we need to know in order to care.

It has two things I love in a novel: a beautiful city you can imagine being in with the main characters and a complicated, deep but also fascinating relation between people who are so different from one another and yet manage to gain some mutual trust and respect towards each other.

Akin is available in paperback, hardback, large print, talking book on CD and audiobook.

Zoe, Library Advisor at Central Lending and Children’s is reading The Young Team by Graeme Armstrong
I’m reading ‘The Young Team’ by Graeme Armstrong, a book published in 2020 which tells the candid tale of a young man and his pals growing up in the housing schemes of Airdrie. I’m enjoying this book so much and can’t wait to find out what the wise and brave protagonist will do next. This is Armstrong’s first book, yet he writes with such unwavering confidence  – definitely one to watch. 

The Young Team is available in Edinburgh Libraries as hardback, paperback and talking book on CD.

Jeanette, Central Lending and Children’s Library Adviser is reading Thin Places by Kerri Ni Dochartaigh which was shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize
Getting out into nature, no matter how bad I feel, almost always lifts my spirits, and I am curious about the impact of nature on others. ‘Thin Places’ by Kerri Ni Dochartaigh is a mix of memoir, history and nature writing. Born in Derry, Ireland at the height of the Troubles, the author’s childhood was shocking and traumatic. Her account of how nature; moths, foxes, birds and ‘thin places’, contribute to her gradual recovery is magical. Nature is healing but so is reading, and this book has had me absorbed from the first page. Highly recommended.

Thin Places is available to reserve in hardback or paper back.

Emily, Library Advisor in Central Lending and Children’s has pledged to read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun for #KeeptheHeid
For my pledged six minutes of reading for Keep the Heid, I will be reading ‘Klara and the Sun’ by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book is classed as a dystopian science fiction novel, and explores themes of faith, rationality, and love through the eyes of artificial intelligence. I’ve chosen to read this book as part of my pledge because I’ve only heard good reviews for it since it was published in 2021, and I have high hopes that it will challenge my thoughts and views on the themes seen throughout. 

Klara and the Sun is available to borrow as hardback, paperback, talking book on CD and ebook.

Hope, Library Advisor in Central Lending and Children’s is reading Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
The Swan Inn is known for storytelling. People come from miles around to hear tales told by Joe Bliss, the innkeeper’s husband. One winter night (the longest of the year) just as Joe says, ‘Once Upon a Time…’, an unknown and injured man stumbles through the door holding a child in his arms. The man collapses. The child is drowned, or is she?

It is a story of stories, of maybe ghosts and longing, of the river which feeds the land and its people, yet can take them as well. I’m loving this strange and twisting novel.

Once Upon a River is available to borrow as paperback, hardback, ebook and audiobook.

Doris, Library Advisor at Central Lending and Children’s, is reading Taste by Stanley Tucci
Having recently finished Ruth Ozeki’s second novel The Book of Form and Emptiness, I was in the mood for something lighter.
I immediately picked up Stanley Tucci’s new book Taste. I’ve been avidly watching his TV programme and was looking forward to tucking into his memoir, which has a similarly reminiscent and urbane style. Something light yet with substance and a book to be savoured.

Taste is available to reserve as a hardback.

Dawn, Library Advisor at Central Lending and Children’s, chooses Edinburgh – Jarrold Short Walks
I was posted to Portobello library during Central’s ‘glow up’ and there found a bountiful book of walks in and around the Edinburgh area and this has lead to some new-to-me areas of the Pentlands. These explorations in the wilderness are crucial to maintaining my mental health which, in truth, like so many of us, has taken a severe bashing over the last two years.  If I had to choose one of these it would be Edinburgh – Jarrold Short Walks.

Edinburgh – Jarrold Short Walks is a little yellow paperback, available in four of our libraries

Vesna,  Central Lending and Children’s Library Development Leader pledges Burning Questions, Margaret Atwood’s third collection of essays and occasional pieces, covering 2004 – 2021
This choice was the result of practising the art of serendipity: a book voucher gift from a friend with an instruction to let the book chose me! I’ll be reading my six minutes during my lunch break, and if the weather is fair, outside in the park.

I am not sure which piece’s siren call will be the strongest today.  Perhaps a call to courage in ‘We Hang by the Thread’ (2016)? Or the wonderfully punctuated, firmly titled piece from 2019 Just.Tell.The.Truth. The most burning question of them all: How to Change the World (2013)? There are tempting pieces about other writers too: Doris Lessing, Alice Munro, Marie Clair-Blais. Whichever piece it is, I know that Atwood’s masterful writing, with generous sprinkle of wicked fun, will bring me back to the joy of reading. I’ll walk back to the library a little wiser, calmer, readier to carry on!

Burning Questions is available to reserve as an audiobook or hardback.

What will you read today to Keep the Heid and Read?

On 11th May…

Music Library, Central Library

Central Library is undergoing some repair works, some of which has meant having to close for a couple of weeks, but tomorrow, we will be back open. 

Tomorrow is 11 May, and here are a few bits and bobs about 11 May. Firstly May, May is the fifth month of the year, likely named after Maia Goddess of Spring, embodying growth and fertility. May has 31 days and in the northern hemisphere is the last month of spring, ushering in the summer. 

11 May is the 131st day of the year, with 234 days remaining till Christmas, if Christmas is what you look forward to. If this were your birthday, your star sign would be Taurus. Salvador Dali was born in 1904, the IBM computer Deep Blue beat Chess Grandmaster Gary Kasparov in the final match of a six-game series in 1997. Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister ending Labour’s 13-year run in power. In Vietnam it is National Human Rights Day, India celebrates National Technology Day and it is Statehood Day in Minnesota, USA. 

These are a few things that happened in the music world on 11 May. 

Way back in 1963 the Beatles started a 30-week run at the no. 1 slot in the UK album Chart with their debut album “Please Please Me”. They were knocked off the no. 1 slot by themselves and their second album, “With the Beatles” which stayed at the top slot for 21 weeks. Looking at the history of the UK album charts, the Beatles are the only band holding four of the top slots in the run-down of most weeks at no. 1. Those four albums being Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, A Hard Day’s Night and the two previously mentioned, Please Please Me and With the Beatles.

Roger Miller had recorded King of the Road in 1964 and released it as a single in January of 1965. It eventually reached no. 1 on 11 May. I spent some time trying to check this information was true and it is but according to different chart histories, websites, and books there is a slight difference in when in May and for how long it stayed at number one. What we do know is that it has been covered by many different, disparate groups from REM’s shameful shambolic, drunken version to the Proclaimers chart-topping 1990 version. It has spawned comedy versions and an answer called the Queen of the House by country music star Jody Miller (no relation), who wrote a new lyric to Roger Miller’s music. 

According to The Top of the Pops Archive, The Bee Gees first ever performance on the programme was on 11 May 1967. Broadcast on a Thursday and presented by Pete Murray, the Bee Gees performed “The New York Mining Disaster 1941”. This was the first of 89 appearances on the programme. 

Born on 11 May in 1888, composer Irving Berlin came into the world as Israel Beilin, one of eight children, thought to be born in Byelorussia, the family immigrated to New York in 1893. Berlin had his first hit in 1911 with Alexander Ragtime Band. Variously described as “The Greatest Songwriter who has ever lived” by George Gershwin or by Jerome Kern “Irving Berlin has no place in American music – he is American Music.”  Berlin lived to the age of 101, dying in in 1989. 

Irving Berlin
Samuel Johnson Woolf, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Still rocking and rolling Eric Burdon of the Animals, famous for their hit “The House of the Rising Sun,” was born, or you could say – the son rose in the Burdon household – in Newcastle on 11 May 1941. 

Eric Burdon interviewed by Judith Bosch after performing in the Dutch TV programme Fanclub, 1967
Photographer: F. van Geelen, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL via Wikimedia Commons

On 11 May 2006, the late, great George Michael was discovered “tired and emotional” behind the wheel of his car and then was involved in his second small car smash in as many days, trying to evade the pestering paparazzi. 

Richard Harris
City of Boston Archives, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Dumbledore (Richard Harris) recorded and had a hit with the enigmatic Jimmy Webb song MacArthur Park, in 1968. Richard Harris could only magic up a number nine place in the charts. Ten years later Donna Summer had a no. 1 with her disco version. Bass trombonist and arranger Adrian Drover, who played with the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra, scored a massive hit with his arrangement of MacArthur Park for the great Canadian trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and his band. There are several recordings of his arrangement at our Jazz streaming service Naxos Jazz.

Donna Summer performing at the inaugural gala at the Convention Centre in Washington DC, 19/1/1985
President (1981-1989 : Reagan). White House Photographic Office. 1981-1989 (Most Recent), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Reggae Legend Bob Marley passed away in 1981 from cancer. Exodus by Bob Marley and the Wailers was voted best album of the 20th century by Time Magazine. A 1984 compilation Album “Legend” became the best-selling reggae album ever with sales of over 20 million. 6 February, the day of Bob Marley’s birth, was made a national holiday in Jamaica in 1990. 

Bob Marley live in concert in Zurich, Switzerland, 1980
Ueli Frey, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are reading this on 12 May, then you can celebrate with us the birth of French Composer Jules Massenet known mainly for his work in opera but probably most famous for the Meditation from Thais. This piece written for solo violin and orchestra is an entr’acte or intermezzo between scenes one and two in Act 2 of the opera. This work has a life of its own and has become the chosen encore of many of the world’s greatest violinists. It perhaps overshadows the opera it came from and probably all of the composer’s other works. Massenet was born in 1842 and died in Aug 1913.  

Jules Massenet in 1880
Pierre Petit (d. 1909). Tim riley at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are reading this on 13 May then we can all celebrate the 81st birthday of the wonderful Joe Brown, entertainer, rock ‘n’ roller and ukulele player. His version of “I’ll see you in my Dreams” (written by Isham Jones and Gus Kahn), is the reason I took up the ukulele. 

Access our catalogue and search for books and music of The Beatles, Massenet, Donna Summer, The Animals and much more. Stream and download music from our two online collections: 
Naxos Music Library
Naxos Jazz.

Watch music documentaries, concerts, operas including 3 versions of Werther by Massenet and one production of his Manon, ballets, and masterclass at Medici TV

Welcome back (for tomorrow), come in and see us soon. 

What libraries mean to me with Silé Edwards

Silé Edwards is a top London literary agent at Mushens Entertainment. Here she tells us about the impact libraries have had on her life and her choice to become an agent. She is open to submissions from passionate new writers!

Silé Edwards

What do libraries mean to you?
They mean so much to me, but mainly they are a special place where books are at their most accessible. They mean adventure, fun and sanctuary. I love that they are open to all and so welcoming.

What is your earliest memory of a library?
I think my earliest memory is quite hazy because I was very young, I remember lots of plastic covered books, and a sense of joy and wonder at the amount of books around. There was also a guy who dressed like a pirate running the café, which was so cool and just made the experience magical for me.  

Did libraries influence your ambition to become a literary agent?
My favourite early memory though is going into my local library and ordering in a copy of the latest Lemony Snicket Book (I think it was book 11 in the Series of Unfortunate Events). I was so happy because I would not have been able to buy it myself but was desperate to read it after devouring the last ten. The librarian was so helpful, and it was my first time reserving a book which made it super special. She was there when I went to pick it up too, and asked me to write her a review on it for the wall, which got me thinking not just about whether I liked it, but why and also how I would convince others to read it too – the foundations of being a Literary Agent.

Did you struggle without a library in lockdown?
It was really difficult, as the library is one of my favourite places to go when I work from home or need a book (as we don’t have many bookshops in our local area). I really missed the sense of community you find in libraries and was so pleased when it reopened after lockdown.

How do you think libraries can grow and connect and thrive in the post lockdown world?
I think that if libraries keep the community they serve at the centre of their functions, they will continue to be a place for people to learn, grow and discover books in the post lockdown world.

With huge thanks to Silé for sharing with us what libraries mean to her.

The 200th anniversary of the Union Canal

This year marks 200 years since the opening of the Union Canal, linking a waterway from Edinburgh to Glasgow. As printed in The Caledonian Mercury dated, Monday 6 May 1822, “On Saturday the first boat, since the junction, arrived at Port Hamilton, with flag stones from Denny….”

As well as transporting goods back and forth, a passenger service between the two cities operated using fast boats called Swifts carrying passengers on a six and a half hour journey averaging nine miles per hour.

View of Port Hamilton – c1920

However, the introduction of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Railway only twenty years later meant the once busy passenger service was effectively finished.

The decline in commercial use was slower but eventually led to the Canal’s closure in the 1960s.

A new millennium saw the Union Canal revitalised by funding which financed the closed section at Wester Hailes to be dug out, new bridges and walkways and the route reopened.

Help us celebrate by viewing a brief history of the Union Canal and the many industries that flourished on its banks by visiting Our Town Stories where you’ll also find many fantastic historical images.

F M Crystal’s Union Canal

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Union Canal.

Our latest exhibition on Capital Collections features some wonderful images taken in the early 1920s by Francis M Crystal, who although not a professional photographer (he was a doctor) captured many images of the canal and surroundings. We know that he lived for many years in Gilmore Place, so this area would have been very familiar to him.

Union Canal looking west to Viewforth Bridge with North British Rubber Works c 1920

F. M. Chrystal has captured the atmosphere and every day activity of life around the Canal. By the time the photographs were taken, the Union Canal had ceased to be the working canal it once was, although many factories and breweries were still located in the nearby areas of Fountainbridge and Slateford. Buildings and houses surrounding the Canal had fallen into disrepair and were starting to be demolished to make way for new streets.

Some of the images show the leisure side to the canal, where pleasure boat companies were starting to offer boat trips and rowing boat hire.

Take a trip back 100 years and see how life along the Union Canal has changed in the F. M. Chrystal’s Union Canal exhibition.

Most remarkable views of Edinburgh

A new exhibition on Capital Collections showcases the “most remarkable buildings of the city of Edinburgh”. The images are taken from a volume credited to the Honorable J. Elphinstone and dated around 1740.

Many of these highlighted buildings endure as iconic landmarks today, whilst others have since disappeared.

A view of St. Roques, image from Capital Collections

One lost to time, and already a ruin in the 1700s, was St Roque’s Chapel which stood close to Blackford Hill. It was dedicated to a saint associated with the prevention and cure of plague. Many victims of the disease visited the chapel hoping for divine assistance.

Another church still stands but has moved from its original location. In the Elphinstone print, Trinity College Church is located in grounds close to where Waverley Station is now. It was dismantled to make way for the station and after a delay, rebuilt on Chalmers Close, and known today as Trinity Apse.

A perspective view of the Trinity College Church with the adjoining buildings, image from Capital Collections

Elphinstone’s authorship of some of these images is uncertain. Some of the images appear to be of a slightly different artistic style. One image in particular raises questions. “A view of the new-bridge of Edinburgh” depicts the original stone-arched North Bridge. However construction on this first North Bridge began in 1765, many years after the dating of this volume and also after the death of John Elphinstone. You can read more about the puzzling provenance of these images by going to the exhibition on Capital Collections.

A view of the new-bridge of Edinburgh, image from Capital Collections

Regardless of the doubt over who created all of these images, they remain an interesting and valuable record of Edinburgh’s architecture and cityscape during the 1700s.

View the exhibition of the most remarkable buildings of the city of Edinburgh on Capital Collections.

What would make it onto a shortlist of the city’s “most remarkable buildings” today? Perhaps the Scottish Parliament building, or Dynamic Earth, or Fountainbridge Library?

Writers of Edinburgh

Our latest story on Our Town Stories highlights authors who have helped put Edinburgh on the literary map through their own connections to the city or because the city plays a central role in their stories.

We feature Jenni Fagan, Quintin Jardine, Doug Johnstone, Alanna Knight, Alexander McCall Smith, Ambrose Parry, Aileen Paterson, Ian Rankin, J.K. Rowling, Sara Sheridan, Muriel Spark and Irvine Welsh. 

The changing face of the city is captured in its various guises from the dark Victorian streets of Inspector Jeremy Faro to the genteel private school of Miss Jean Brodie to the stark realities of Renton’s 1980s Edinburgh.

Advocates Close by Alexander Adam Inglis, c1890

So, if you’d like to know a wee bit more about the people who created these books and characters closely connected with the city, and perhaps discover some reading gems you’re not so familiar with, take a look at Writers of Edinburgh on Our Town Stories.

The story is part of a wider project with the Living Knowledge Network Libraries for Breaking the News. Look out for other activities, exhibitions and events happening across our Libraries soon.

Investing in Central Library

Edinburgh Central Library building works programme

During 2022 Central Library is undergoing a major £1.8m building works programme to make sure that our 130-year-old building will continue to serve our citizens for another 130 years.

Since January, scaffolding has been put up around the building to allow our contractors to repair parts of our roof, windows, and replace any stonework which is in poor condition.

Investing in Central Library – building works programme, 2022

Work inside the building includes upgrades to our electrical system, lighting and fire safety equipment.

We aim to make this work as disruption free as we can. However, for safety reasons we will have to close the Central Library from 25 April. It will reopen on Wednesday 11 May. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Please check yourlibrary.edinburgh.gov.uk for information and details of alternative library locations and services.

Additionally, the Reference Library will be closed from 11 April to 17 June 2022 so that the lighting can be replaced. During this time

  • Study spaces – available in the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection and on the mezzanine
  • Resources – email us if you would like to consult any of our Reference Library resources.
  • Public PCs – reduced number available in Central Library or at other libraries.

This works programme is an important investment in the library’s future to ensure it can be enjoyed by generations to come.

Easter opening hours for libraries

The opening hours for our reopened libraries over the Easter holiday are:

Friday 15 April – closed
Saturday 16 April – open as normal
Sunday 17 and Monday 18 April – closed
From Tuesday 19 April – open as normal

Remember, Your Library is always open online to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers.

Happy Easter!

View of Edinburgh Castle by Kevin McLean, 2007, www.capitalcollections.org.uk

Aleksandra Zawada – Ceramics display

A new exhibition of ceramics by Edinburgh artist Aleksandra Zawada opens on the main staircase at Central Library running from 5 April to 28 May.

Aleksandra Zawada studied Painting at Edinburgh College of Art. She lives and works in Edinburgh. Aleksandra creates hand-built, creature-looking sculptures. Her work is focused on simplicity of forms and yet is playful. Borrowing from an artist’s imagination as well as surveying ancient and oriental ceramics, she creates deliberately irregular, at times rough, works with a distinctive sense of style (and often humour!)

Aleksandra’s pieces are hand-built from mainly raku clay and bisque fired. They are hand-painted using oxides and glazes and then fired again. The artist’s love of colour makes her work not shy away from using strong tones. However, she often uses ones that reference historical glazes. Her sculptures are unique, escaping straightforward categorisation.

Aleksandra writes, “My work is inspired by Ancient; Oriental, Japanese and Outsider ceramics, and colour comes from my training as a painter. I respond to clay in the process of making. I have always had an affinity for simple materials and for works that are tactile. 

I do not make many pieces. 

My work is immersed in a dialogue with all the sculpture that has inspired me regardless of their origins and times they were made. Subconsciously, I am making my own museum collection.”

A selection of books on ceramics complementing Aleksandra’s work from the Art and Design Library at Central Library are included in the exhibition.

For more information on the artist go to www.aleksandrazawada.com, or follow on instagram at www.instagram.com/bertola_fruitz.

Calling all musicians! Calling all musicians! Calling all musicians!

Tuesday 21 June will be Make Music Day and Edinburgh Libraries are calling out to all musicians, groups, ensembles, choirs, orchestras to join us. We will be putting together a varied programme to fill midsummer’s day with music all across our service.

Clarinite, Make Music Day, Central Lending Library 2019

In 2019 we ran successful programmes of events in Central, Morningside, Craigmillar and Stockbridge Libraries. With a range of groups performing Opera to Klezmer, recorder solos to the Rolling Hills Chorus. In 2020 and 2021 we were forced online with a curtailed but no less interesting programme of events with choirs, instrumentalists and Library staff singing the Make Music Day anthems Bring Me Sunshine and Stand By Me.

Kleyne Klezmer, Make Music Day, Central Lending Library 2019

Make Music Day started life 40 years ago in 1982. In France under President Mitterrand’s Socialist Party, Maurice Fleuret, was appointed as Director of Music and Dance at the French Ministry of Culture with a responsibility for festivals and events. He immediately saw that there was a discrepancy in the number of children and adults able to play musical instruments and the numbers who actually participated in any form of music making.

Craigmillar Library, Make Music Day 2019
Stockbridge Library, Make Music Day 2019

Fete da la Musique was born. Fleuret’s statement rang loud: “Music is everywhere and the concert is nowhere”. The mission statement for the day became that amateur and professional musician should give of their time freely and that all performances should to be free to attend. Forty years on those statements are pretty much the same.

Year on year the festival grew and not just in France. By the early 90s the festival had become an event in approximately 80 countries and this year that number stands at 126 countries around the world. The 21 June was chosen as it is normally the longest day of the year or the summer solstice. If you wished, and some people do, you could have musical events from the early hours when the sun rises to when it sets late in the evening, and those performances could be anywhere – street corners, driveways, concert halls, libraries, bandstands, telephone boxes. Anywhere and everywhere, performed and watched by anyone and everyone.

Louise Guy, Central Lending Library, Make Music Day 2019
Magnus Turpie, Music Library, Mezzanine, Make Music Day 2019

In that spirit, this year we are back and able to welcome musicians into the building to perform and we will welcome audiences to the library to watch live music. Please get in touch with us if you would like to take part. Please give us a description of what you do or what you would like to do on the 21 June. If you are able to link us to any online examples of your previous work, that would be useful, but certainly not essential.

Calling all musicians, calling all musicians, calling all musicians!

We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

0131 242 8050

The Rolling Hills Chorus, Music Library, Mezzanine, Make Music Day 2019

Breaking the News photography competition

Enter Edinburgh Libraries’ Breaking the News photography competition and become part of a community archive of Edinburgh memories.

Show us what’s happening in your area! Take a photograph that tells a story from your neighbourhood. The story can be big or small but should be related to your community.

For example, what is the greatest change happening where you live? What are people interested in locally? What events are taking place?

Aeroplane Enthusiasts 1990s, shared by Living Memory Association on Edinburgh Collected

The competition is free to enter but all submissions must be submitted via Edinburgh Collected (www.edinburghcollected.org) where they will become part of an online community archive for Edinburgh. The image should be titled and can include a text description of up to 1500 characters but the image should really tell the story.

There are fantastic prizes to be won! Enter for a chance to win:
1st prize – afternoon tea for two at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh
2nd prize – afternoon tea for two at the Mercure Hotel, Edinburgh
3rd prize – an Edinburgh Monopoly board game.

Entrants must create an account with Edinburgh Collected to upload your image(s) and add the tag ‘BreakingTheNews’ when uploading entries to the website so that they are identifiable. (Please also read the Edinburgh Collected terms and conditions.)

The competition runs from 1 April to 30 June 2022 and is open to all.

Potterow Port – skaters, shared by arghnothingworks on Edinburgh Collected

This competition is part of a wider project in collaboration with the British Library and the Living Knowledge Network of libraries on the theme of Breaking the News.

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date for entries is 30 June 2022
2. The photograph submitted must be your own work
3. You must agree to Edinburgh Collected terms and conditions
4. The place featured must be within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary
5. Add the tag ‘BreakingTheNews’ to all competition entries
6. There is no limit to the number of entries you can submit, but there will be only one winning entry per participant.