Happy Read an eBook Day!

Today is Read an eBook Day!  eBooks enable you to take the stories and authors you love with you anytime, anywhere. If you have a smartphone, tablet or computer you can be connected to a world of literature whether you’re sitting on your couch, on an airplane 30,000 feet in the air and anywhere in between!

They save you space in your suitcases, can’t be lost or damaged and can be accessed at the click of a button. If you’ve never tried reading an ebook before, today is the perfect time to try one out! Borrow one of your favourite books or something completely new and discover the joys of digital reading.

Checkout our OverDrive ebook service today – stop off at the Your Library website first to find all the information you need to be able to start downloading in minutes.

Today you also have the chance to win a Kobo Aura One ereader. Simply check out an ebook from OverDrive and then “share” on social media what you are reading using the hashtag #eBookLove and you’ll be entered into a prize draw. For more information and to see what everyone else is reading see the Read an eBook Day website.


Central Library’s BookCafe is back for Autumn!

We’re almost ready for our autumn season and we’re looking forward to sharing some great new finds with you! We’ve been digging around for interesting new (and old) work that’ll be perfect for your lunchtime listening.

Our BookCafe isn’t an ordinary book group; it’s a shared reading group. We come together to listen to a book, short story or poem being read aloud. You can say as much or as little as you like, and just listening is fine too. It’s a simple as that.

If you’ve never been to a shared reading group before, and are wondering if it’s for you, please come along and say hello. We run 1 – 2pm once a month so you can pop in on your lunch break and see what you think. And, as well as good stories, good poems and good chat – there’ll be plenty tea and biscuits to go round too!

Our dates for Autumn/Winter are:

20th September, 18th October, 15th November & 20th December

We love our BookCafe and we’re sure you will too, but you’ve heard enough from us. Here’s what our members say:

‘It’s an hour of calm in my day’

‘It’s such a great way to leave your day at the door and focus on something completely different for an hour’

‘Coming to the BookCafe really makes my week’

Book online at www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk or drop in on the day!

City’s historic images get a psychedelic makeover in Grassmarket’s free open-air art exhibition

The Greater Grassmarket BID has teamed up with local graphic artist Johnny Dodds and Capital Collections to launch a free open-air Art Gallery this September. Explore Edinburgh’s extraordinary history through a series of artworks that combine rare old photos from the collections of Edinburgh Libraries.

Photographs of hokey pokey man


See the city’s past, its people, places and city life through a psychedelic prism of colour and vibrancy. A unique, contemporary glimpse into Edinburgh’s past in a way you’ve never seen it before.

Photogrpahs of Lamplighter Victoria Terrace


Visit the free open-air walking art exhibition in the Greater Grassmarket area from 4th – 30th September and view all the images on Capital Collections.

Royal Visit, May 1903

Our latest exhibition on Capital Collections is taken from 3 small ‘Kodak’ photograph albums. The pictures document the royal visit of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to Edinburgh in May 1903 following Edward’s coronation in London the previous year.

One of the albums depicts images of colonial troops who had arrived in Edinburgh prior to the King’s coronation in August 1902. Spectators have gathered as the troops are photographed marching through Edinburgh’s streets.

Colonial troops marching in the Canongate, 1902


Many more people converged on Edinburgh for the royals’ visit. The momentous event was described by The Scotsman:

“The railways in the morning brought thousands of people into the city, and the streets were kept in a state of bustle and excitement by the arrival of the troops with their bands of music, by their disposition, and by the hurrying of people to get positions to see the King arriving”.

Crowd and soldiers waiting for coronation parade, Princes Street, 1903

The streets were lined with people trying to get a glimpse of the royal procession as it passed from Waverley Station to Holyrood.

King Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark in their carriage on Regent Road, 1903

There was a public holiday in Edinburgh for the visit and the city was festooned with bunting, decorations and large ceremonial arches were placed across main roads into the city centre.

Ceremonial arch on Lothian Road at the junction with Castle Terrace, 1903

Browse the full exhibition of the Royal Visit on Capital Collections.

The photographer of these images is unknown, but the volumes were kindly donated to Central Library by the Misses D. Morison Inches of Colinton Road.

Part of the King’s visit took him to Colinton Mains where he formally opened the city’s new hospital for infectious diseases, built at a cost of £350,000. Among the welcoming committee of dignitaries were City Architect Robert Morham  and the city’s Medical Officer of Health, Sir Henry Littlejohn.

The King opened the doors to the new hospital with a ceremonial gold key which had been specially crafted by Edinburgh jewellers Hamilton and Inches. Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of the key today, but it does however suggest a connection to the Misses D. Morison Inches and the photograph albums. Robert Kirk Inches, founder of Hamilton and Inches jewellers, was the father of John Morison Inches, a senior figure in Edinburgh’s brewing industry and grandfather to Doris and Denys Morison Inches of Colinton Road. Perhaps the Morison Inches family were keen to acquire a record of the prestigious visit to Edinburgh, in connection with their contribution to the Colinton Mains Hospital opening ceremony.

Switch energy supplier – online workshop

Changeworks is an organisation which informs and enables householders to live in affordably warm homes. Advisors will be at Central Library, George IV Bridge on Wednesday 13 September from 2 – 4pm to show you how to better manage your gas and electricity costs online.

In this interactive workshop you will:

  • find out about cheaper tariffs and discounts
  • learn how to compare prices of different suppliers
  • learn how to choose a new supplier
  • gain confidence in using supplier websites

If you have a mobile computing device bring it along and get help straightaway but, even if you don’t, we will have laptops on which to show you what you can do


New Digital Help partnership with Edinburgh University

Central Library will be hosting a new digital ‘drop-in’ service in partnership with Edinburgh University on Friday afternoons. Beginning on September 8th a group of students will be available to help you with your technology problems be they on laptop, tablet or smartphone. Bring along your device and sort out the issues or problems you are having whether it is perhaps some basics like how to get onto and search the internet, how to set up an email address or perhaps a more specific issue with how your device or a particular app works. The ‘drop-in’ will take place each Friday at the George Washington Browne Room from 1.30 – 4pm. Come along, get that technology headache fixed and have a cup of tea and a biscuit while you are in!

A library is more than a building of books…

‘A library is more than a building of books,’ the anonymous book sculptor wrote on the note attached to her first gift, a sculpture crafted from the pages of books and left anonymously in the Scottish Poetry Library.

These beautiful book sculptures are a love letter to libraries, and a celebration of the power of story. A paper egg at the foot of a swirling paper oak holds a jigsaw of words to form the Edwin Morgan poem, A Trace of Wings –  a poem which tells us that we see beauty in a flash, a glance, and then it is gone like a flash of a bunting’s wings.

The sixth paper book sculpture: Lost in a good book…

The book sculptures, however, remain a glimpse of beauty and generosity in a world which is so often hard and cynical. One gift depicts a reader lost in a forest of words, the trees cut from pages rising high behind her. What you do not see you can imagine – the deep blue sky in the background as night falls, the crackles and rustles and forest-y sounds which the lone reader is too absorbed to hear, the comforting sense of darkness, the warming sense of cold, the cosiness of the sculpture sings. The black text on the white paper has always made me think of snow.



The fifth paper book sculpture: Tea, cake and a book

Other gifts are a paper cinema screen from which the characters explode, running towards the enthralled audience; a dinosaur coming boldly to life from between the covers of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World; an old-school gramophone which you feel really is playing the songs of the 1950s as couples dance slowly unseen in the background; a cup of tea and a cake. From the fantastical to the everyday, the sculptor tells us, there is magic in books and stories which cannot be found elsewhere – a cup of tea and a dinosaur are not incompatible, the comfort of one and the danger of the other sing, and herein lies the beauty of stories.


The seventh paper book sculpture: Magnifying glass

That the sculptures were gifted anonymously is a sign of generosity not only of the sculptor herself (though this is undeniable) but also of stories – the deep humanity of the words we use to pass stories on from one person to the next, mother to child, elder to younger, author to reader. The sculptures reflect the infinite magic of libraries like Edinburgh Central Library, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library, where the shelves are lined with books, between the covers of which are endless adventures and ideas, if you dare to open the cover.



Four of these sculptures are on display in Central Library – works of art for everyone who loves stories, created by a fellow wanderer in the forests of fiction. Stories are what make us human. These sculptures remind us of that, and they are truly beautiful.

This blog post was written by Hope Whitmore, writer and member of the Central Library team. You can read more of her gorgeous writing on her Barnes & Noble Review page.

The last book sculpture: Butterfly Tree and the Lost Child