Top ten emagazines on RBdigital

If you are not using the newly up-dated RBdigital magazine service then you should really have a go! Checking out and reading emagazines is so straight forward and we’ve a fantastic range of over 100 titles. Want to know what our most popular titles are?

No.1  New Scientist is our most popular downloadable magazine by far – what a brainy bunch you are!  If science is your thing, you’ll also find Popular Science and Astronomy magazines available too.



No.2  Hello! has been the best selling feature of newsagents each week since 1988 and covers society and celebrity news. In a similar vein we’ve also got Vanity Fair UK and Tatler.




No.3  Auto Express is hugely popular, perhaps indicating how much our male library users like our downloadable services. If you like cars you can also get BBC Top Gear, EVO, MCN and What Car? magazines.



No.4  Amateur Photographer is available on a weekly basis and unbelievably popular with our readers. Its just one of a suite of photography magazines available on RBdigital including Aperture, Digital Camera World and Digital SLR Photography.



No.5  BBC Good Food is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach! If its not enough to quell your desires then checkout BBC Easycook, Delicious and Olive magazines. If they have a less than desirous effect on your waistline then there’s always Weight Watchers magazine too!



No.6  Webuser is just one of the many computing and technology magazines that are available on RBdigital. Also available are .net, Android Adviser, Apple Magazine, Computer Shopper, Focus, iPad & iPhone User, Mac World, PC Gamer, PC Pro, Stuff and Wired.



No.7  Grazia brings you celebrity news with thought-provoking, real-life features and fashion.  Why not also browse through Elle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire and Red.




No.8  Good Housekeeping – a British classic and still going strong, reaching no. 8 in our most popular magazines. For more women’s classic magazines reach for Woman, Woman’s Own,Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home.



No.9  Heat – its popularity displaying perhaps a love of gossip within our readership! For even more celebrity news check out Closer, Look, Now and OK!.




No. 10  TV Times finished off our top 10 and what a useful title to be able to get for free. You’ll also find the TV & Satelite Week available and if you like your screens bigger we’ve also got Empire and Total Film.



Visit our RBdigital information pages today and find out how to get started with the app or website.


One Hundred Years of Beekeeping in Edinburgh

Varroa mites on a honey bee

This year beekeepers in Edinburgh are marking the Centenary of the Edinburgh Beekeepers Association. To celebrate, Edinburgh City Libraries are hosting an exhibition about Bees, Beekeeping and Edinburgh Beekeepers and will be running a series of talks and honey tasting sessions across the city from April until December. In addition, candle-making sessions will be available for children.

Although people in Edinburgh have kept bees for many years it was not until December 1918 that they came together to form the Edinburgh & District Beekeepers Association. Local Association meetings provided a time for discussion and learning, whether at the winter lectures or summer apiary outings.  In 1928, Edinburgh & District Beekeepers Association merged with the longer established Midlothian Beekeepers to form Edinburgh and Midlothian Beekeepers Association (EMBA) which continues to thrive today. EMBA has almost 200 members who have between 1 and 30 colonies of bees. Overall in Scotland, there are about 3,000 hobby beekeepers.

John Moir, a founder member of the Edinburgh Beekeepers Association, was not only an enthusiastic beekeeper, but also a prestigious collector of books on the topic and his collection is now housed in Fountainbridge Library with the rare items being held in the National Library of Scotland.

A century ago there were more than a million hives in the UK – today there are about 100,000 non-commercial hives. But we need more if we are to stop the honey bee’s decline. Our native bees are more endangered now than 100 years ago. They face threats from bees imported from abroad, from parasitic mites, and potentially from Asian Hornets. Increased use of pesticides in agriculture and loss of habitat also threaten our bees.

EMBA Apiary

If you want to find out more about bees and beekeeping, and what we can do to encourage bees, then why not visit our exhibition which is currently in the foyer of Central Library, George IV Bridge. In May it will move to Blackhall Library then to Stockbridge, Newington, Leith, Currie, Colinton, Corstorphine or Drumbrae, and Portobello before returning to the Central Library in December. At each Library there will be talks, honey tasting and candle making sessions organised. Details will be available via each library.

For more information about EMBA and beekeeping locally visit

EMBA is also affiliated to the Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA) which is the national honeybee and beekeeping charity for Scotland. Details can be found at







Libraries Get Online service: the final part of our conversation with a learner and volunteer

We introduced you over the last couple of weeks to two people who have been involved in the Libraries’ Get Online service. Joyce Young recently completed a series of sessions with volunteer Emily Johnson, learning how to use her iPad. We discover here the benefits to the volunteer too.

Have you enjoyed the sessions Emily, and do you feel they have a real benefit from the volunteers’ point of view too?

Emily: I think I’ve found one of the best things about volunteering is that it takes me away from studying all the time; I’ve found it all very relaxed because we’ve chatted a lot too about what Joyce wanted to learn or was interested in; that’s been a big part of it and it’s been really enjoyable. Apart from that though thinking ahead for me, even with a degree, there is so much competition for jobs out there you really have to have different things on your CV – so this kind of volunteering is an example of the sort of thing that just might make you stand out to an employer. So, it is certainly beneficial to me as well and, in fact, thinking about the sessions, I thought I knew the iPad really well but there were things I discovered and things I worked with Joyce on where we had to refer to Google or Youtube or whatever to find out how to do something. So, I was learning sometimes too and Joyce was learning how she’d be able to find things out on her own. I think that all helps to give the person confidence.

Overall then Joyce, you think it has been a worthwhile process?

Joyce: Definitely. You see, I think when you are older, you think things are going to be more difficult than they turn out, and that’s where the help I’ve had was so important. When Emily showed me how to send a photo, I took notes and did it for myself and I couldn’t believe how easy it was compared to how I thought it was going to be. I always thought it was going to be really complicated, that I’d just find it all too difficult to understand but really, after being with Emily, and being shown things properly, it’s a lot easier than I expected it to be. I’m thrilled with what I’ve learnt

Emily: Do you remember the time we were looking at your email and working through how to use it . . . . . . ?

Joyce: Oh yes (laughing) when I discovered that when I send an e-mail, I just put in the first letter of the person I want to send it to and the address goes in for you. For a long time I had a wee book with email addresses in it! There’s times when you could feel a bit foolish but working 1:1 with someone it really doesn’t matter; we often ended up just laughing about it!

Joyce: ” I always thought it was going to be really complicated, that I’d just find it all too difficult to understand but really, after being with Emily, and being shown things properly, it’s a lot easier than I expected it to be”.

As I said before it’s made a big difference to my life and I now also enjoy just ‘pottering about with it’ sometimes too, just looking at photos and places or finding things on the internet – the time I’ve spent with Emily means I can do that and I’ve lost the worry about doing something wrong and breaking it. It’s been great and I’m going to continue using my iPad and learning more.

If you are interested in finding out more about Get Online in the libraries or you would like to book a place click/tap here. We will be running groups over five weekly sessions at Portobello, Stockbridge, Leith and Central Library between now and June. Please note that these are for any device (laptop, iPad, tablet or smartphone!)


Singing for Spring workshops!

The Music Library is teaming up with community singer facilitator Ellie Logan to deliver two singing workshops for all ages and levels of experience – no sight reading skills required!

Participants will learn songs by ear (words provided) and even experiment with simple harmonies. It will be fun and informal.

There are two sessions running Saturdays 21 and 28 April. You’re welcome to attend either or both sessions as there’ll be different songs at each session.

Ellie Logan is a member of the Natural Voice Network and is an experienced facilitator of community singing.

Previous participants at workshops said:

“Enjoyed Ellie’s encouraging and lively style of teaching, the songs she taught, and singing with a group of like-minded people who enjoy this activity.”

“Came away feeling very happy, will definitely go to any future ones planned if I can”.

Book online via Eventbrite:
Singing for Spring session one – Saturday 21 April, 2 to 3.30pm

Singing for Spring session two – Saturday 28 April, 2 to 3.30pm

If you enjoy community singing, why not join a local choir? There are many which don’t require auditions and are open to all. If you want to advertise or join a choir look on Your Edinburgh, our community information directory.

The Music Library holds a wealth of material available to borrow on singing from sheet music, voice coaching and sight reading to recordings of your favourite singers. We can help you search for songs and provide multiple vocal scores for local groups. Contact or phone 0131 242 8050 for more information.

Food for thought by MECOPP

We’re delighted to be hosting a new exhibition on Capital Collections which gives access to a series of podcasts produced by MECOPP (Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project) exploring the topic of food heritage.

Food for Thought – A Life in Four Courses is an oral history food heritage project that was created to explore and record the cultural heritage and traditions of food with individuals from African, Caribbean, Chinese, Nepalese, South Asian and White Scottish communities living here in Scotland. 20 women and men were interviewed and share with us the role of food in both their own personal lives and in their communities. Through these personal accounts, we hear childhood memories, the food traditions of life events and festivals and we learn of the changes people have seen in the food traditions of their culture. Finally we learn what they feel the future holds for these traditions in a more globalised and fast moving world.

This project was delivered by MECOPP and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. MECOPP is a Scottish charity that assists Black and Minority Ethnic carers to access the support and services necessary to undertake or sustain their caring role.

Listen to these mouth-watering stories of food heritage and tradition on Capital Collections.

Pushing the bindings

Since last October, the University of Edinburgh postgraduate intern, Elliott Jenkins, has been working with the artists’ books and photobooks collection in the Central Library’s Art & Design Library. He has researched the current collection as well as the Scottish artists’ book scene in order to suggest further acquisitions. This research has culminated in an exhibition entitled, Pushing the Bindings: Artists’ Books and Photobooks from the Art & Design Library Collection. The exhibition seeks not only to showcase the wide range of artists’ books in the collection but to explore what makes an artists’ book special – and the artist book scene in Scotland specifically.

Artists’ books are artworks created through the medium of the book form. Typically, these books are printed on a small scale and with limited editions. Sometimes they can even be made as one-of-a-kind objects. Additionally, it is not uncommon for the artists to own the press from which the books are printed. This would be an example of the artist controlling the entirety of the artistic process. However, the artist chooses to create and print their artists’ books, they are sure to set themselves apart from the standard novel or text book. Sometimes the book might follow an artistic narrative or simply a common theme is repeated throughout, but in all cases they are artworks in their own right. The library has an array of styles of artists’ books. The collection holds an international collection of contemporary artists’ books dating from the 1960s onwards totaling approximately 200 items. This includes works by renowned Pop Artist Edward Ruscha, Conceptual artists Sol Lewitt and Joseph Kosuth, and famed Scottish artists Ian Hamilton Finlay and Kate Whiteford. Therefore, the collection spans all categories of artists’ books and is therefore an excellent resource for researching and understanding this form of art.

The Art & Design Library began collecting artists’ books in the 1990s and has been steadily adding to the collection, with a more recent focus on artists working in Scotland. While Pushing the Bindings exhibits books from Scotland, England, France, and the United States, the emphasis is on the Scottish artists’ books in the collection. The Scottish artists include the late Ian Hamilton Finlay, Elaine Fullerton, Joanna Robson, Susie Wilson, and Lynda Wilson – just to name a few. Most of these artists are working today and have prolific careers creating artwork through many mediums including artists’ books. The Scottish artists within the collection also exemplify a signature style that may be developing within the scene in Scotland. In Elliott’s research and in the exhibition, it is argued that Scottish artists take on a style of abstraction and craftsmanship which transforms the book into something more; and, therefore, separates them from other artist book practices. While this argument is not solidified, the exhibition invites visitors to examine and explore the way in which Scottish artists’ books are similar too or differ from practices in other parts of the world.

Another overarching theme within the exhibition is the accessibility of artists’ books and democratic way in which they make artwork available, more so than a gallery or museum would. Artists such as Ed Ruscha and Sol Lewitt, who are extremely important in the history of Modern Art, also used artists’ books to create works of art. While the book itself may not exactly be a work of art, as it may be the case with Scottish artists, it demonstrates Ruscha’s and Lewitt’s desire for their artistic practices to reach a larger audience. By simply requesting to view Rushca’s, Lewitt’s, or any artist’s book from the Art & Design Library, you are participating in one of the most important features of the medium – their accessibility and their capacity to turn a big idea into a book you can hold in your hands.

The final feature of the exhibition is the inclusion of the photobooks in the Art & Design Library collection. A photobook is a collection of photographs usually by a singular photographer in order to display a specific body of work. However, it is more than just a document of work; it is a compilation of the performative act of taking the photograph and then the concluding result of a cohesive narrative or an overarching theme. The specific photobooks in Pushing the Bindings are similar to the artists’ books on display in that they are projects created by a singular artist and about one specific subject. While the artists’ books may focus on an aspect of the artist’s life or on a specific object, these photobooks focus on a topic or issue that is of importance to the artist. Many of these interests lay within the documentation of everyday life and the natural world. The way the photographs are displayed in the book, which sometimes include corresponding text material, inform us of their significance to the project and to the artist. Due to the relational quality of photography, the photobook – similar to the artist book – becomes a medium that allows for a more personal and intimate encounter with art.

Pushing the Bindings: Artists’ Books and Photobooks from the Art & Design Library Collection is on display on the Mezzanine level at Central Library until 30 April 2018.

Elliott and the staff of the Art & Design Library hope that you visit and enjoy the Pushing the Bindings exhibition. We hope that it encourages you to visit the library in the future, peruse the photobook section, and request to explore some of the brilliant artists’ books in the collection. The collection can be viewed on request during normal library opening hours. Appointments can be arranged for group visits. All artists’ books are listed on the Library catalogue and are for reference use only. To view items from the collection, please contact the Art & Design Library. Email and telephone 0131 242 8040.

Libraries’ Get Online service: continuing our conversation with a learner and volunteer

We introduced you last week to two people who have been involved in the Libraries’ Get Online service. Joyce Young recently completed a series of sessions with volunteer Emily Johnson, learning how to use her iPad. We talked with them about how they had each found the experience.

Joyce, do you think being able to work with the same person 1:1 was important? What kind of things have you learned during the sessions?

It was great to be sitting and working just 1:1. I did try classes years ago when I first had my laptop but, honestly, there must have been fifteen people in the class and you had to make the best of it when the teacher could come to you; really, you were going but not learning an awful lot each time. The thing is too that family often just don’t have the time in their own busy lives to help or are living away so it makes it difficult. However, since I’ve come to the library, every week I came I learned a lot of new things – I can do so many things now I couldn’t before, it’s hard to think of them all –

I use apps like the bus tracker, I look up vouchers for restaurants on the internet and I’ve even recently made holiday arrangements and printed out my own boarding pass for a flight.

It really has been so worthwhile and having your own tutor for the sessions was a big part of it – I felt I got to know Emily over the weeks. I could get Emily to go over things again to make sure I had understood them and was doing things properly. I could make notes and check them with her and she’d give me ‘homework’ too! I know I’ve still got a lot I could learn about and use but I now have so much more confidence that I can do it”. To give you another example I had a plumbing problem in the house – I got onto my iPad and looked up a thing called Trusted Traders that a neighbour had told me about; I found a plumber through that and it’s been fixed. I was really happy with that

and that is all about using the internet and the benefits it can bring. . . .

Well, yes, definitely; I find now I will use the iPad every day. I would say it has made a big difference in so many ways. Now it’s great staying in touch with my son – he travels a lot and he’s sending me photos and updates from where he is, it’s marvellous! One thing leads to another . . . I then learnt how to save photos from an email into the photos app so it’s all organised and I can find them. I tell you I could make a list of so many things like that that I have learned so I’m so glad my son signed me up – best Christmas present ever!

Joyce: “I find now I will use the iPad every day. I would say it has made a big difference in so many ways”.

So you feel being able to use the iPad helps you feel more “in touch” with things around you?

Yes, I think it does. It makes me feel like I’ve caught up with things a wee bit – I’d recommend it especially for older people who are wary of trying the internet. What we need is the kind of help I’ve had at the library and it opens up a whole new world to you

“The thing is there are so many things you can’t do or are getting much more difficult to do without the internet”.

I’m now looking at shopping online for instance. I mean, as I get older, it would be a lot easier, I can’t carry heavy things or even getting them into the car is difficult, so, yes, ordering it through the internet and having it delivered makes sense. I’m sure I’m going to be doing that soon!

Emily: Yes, that’s right, Joyce now has the Amazon app on her iPad and we almost bought something!! We went right through the process so Joyce would be able to start using that or other shopping sites and apps. When we started, I remember Joyce saying to me she felt like she was so far behind with all the new technology that she’d never catch up and it was too big an obstacle to overcome – but she has done it!

The final part of our conversation about Get Online with Joyce and Emily will be here next week

If you are interested in finding out more about Get Online in the libraries or you would like to book a place click/tap here