What we learned from Carina Contini

Last week we were doubly privileged to get a visit from Scottish restaurateur Carina Contini, who not only imparted her wisdom and culinary knowledge over the course of an hour, but also very generously gifted every library in Edinburgh a copy of her Scottish Garden Cook Book. Thanks so much Carina!

Carina with copies of her book

Carina with copies of her book

Here are some things we learned from Carina:

  • We’ve all heard of endangered species but  there’s also an endangered foods list known as The Ark of Taste
  • The best black pudding comes from Carluke – not Stornoway!
  • One of Carina’s favourite recipes is for Baked Alsaka
  • Princes Street Gardens were used for allotments during the second world war
  • The building which houses the Contini Ristorante on George Street is a replica of a Florentine Palazzo
  • The restaurant changed its name from Centotre to Contini Ristorante to because its former title was too difficult for people to pronounce!

Craigmillar’s new Reading Champion “can’t wait to get started”

Claire Askew is Craigmillar Library’s brand new Reading Champion.

Claire’s appointment was announced yesterday as part of Book Week Scotland.

The residency at Craigmillar Library will aim to connect with the local area, engage with the people who live here and the stories they have to tell. We hope to encourage people to explore the library and become a springboard for creativity and ideas as well as encouraging life-long learning in the community.

Claire, who is a poet, writer and creative writing teacher, said, “I am so pleased to have been selected and I’m especially pleased that I’ll get to work alongside the brilliant team at Craigmillar Library. We’re hoping to engage the teens who come into the library and create a huge, collaborative, story-based role-playing game. We’ll also be asking adults who live in and around Craigmillar to get involved in some interactive story-telling and creative writing activities. I can’t wait to get started!”

Welcome to Book Week Scotland

It’s here folks. This is Book Week Scotland.

Every week’s a book week for us of course, but this is a special chance to celebrate with people all over the country, including some of our favourite authors.

If you’re lucky you might just grab one of the remaining tickets for our events with ‘The last act of love’ author Kathy Rentzenbrink, Ronnie Browne aka That Guy fae the Corries and Legend of Barney Thomson creator Douglas Lindsay. (If Douglas’ blog is anything to go by this event is sure to be a hoot)

There’s complete events listing on the Book Week Scotland site, along with a quote vote and  #thankbooks wall where you can post messages to the people and books who’ve inspired you on your reading journey.

And if you’re looking for the perfect book to read this week, we’d be delighted to help.

“I felt like royalty”: Amy’s week in the library

Amy, a pupil at a local secondary school, recently spent a week doing work experience in Central Library. Here she blogs about what she learned:

Surprisingly, working in a library is not all about reading in books like I first thought. I thought working in a library would just be about scanning books and tidying them away.

However, the Central Library has many different departments like the Scottish/Edinburgh library, Art and Design library, Reference library, Lending library, children’s library, stock management, digital team and reception team.

Amy with Bookbug

Amy with Bookbug

I have learnt lots from each department like the various websites the digital team look after, and how they advertise the library through social media. The Stock Management department is also important as they buy books for all the libraries in Edinburgh. The Scottish and Edinburgh department have ancestry resources and historical records which they help people to find out the history of their family.

I really liked organising things like the Edinburgh festival leaflets and putting them in order. I also saw an Edinburgh theatre play book that had all the advertisements about what was playing 200 years ago.

I really enjoyed my work placement as I got to see the behind scenes that the public can’t see, like the stacks of valuable and old books dating back to the 1600s. I also got to go onto the balcony in the Reference like the one in Beauty and the Beast which was amazing. I felt like royalty.

New support group for adults with dyslexia

Are you an adult with dyslexia, living in Edinburgh and the Lothians?

You are most welcome to attend the first meeting of our new support network for adults with dyslexia.

We’re planning an evening of introductions, support and information, fun, festive refreshments and a discussion of topics for future meetings. Come along and have your say.

Central Library, George IV Bridge

6.15pm – 7.45pm

Wednesday 2 December

If you have any queries, please email helen@dyslexiascotland.org.uk or call 01786 435 126.



Edinburgh as you’ve never seen it before

One of the most fun elements of the Our Town Stories site are the ‘Then and Now’ pictures.

You can move the slider to create a wonderful ghostly effect:

Newington road 'then and Now' from Our Town Stories

Newington Road ‘Then and Now’ from Our Town Stories

Here are the ten most popular ‘Then and Now’ pictures from the site. Take a look and let us know which one(s) you like best.

Lawnmarket and the head of West Bow (1874)

North Bridge (1885)

Newsome’s Circus, Nicolson Street (1890)

Leith Harbour (1912)

John Knox’s House (1880)

Foot of Leith Walk (1912) 

(See how the tram turns into a bus)

Royal Arch, Newington Road (1903)

Croall Place (1890)

The Shore (1910)

Meadowbank Velodrome (1970)

Contributions wanted for the Edinburgh Jazz Archive

Edinburgh Libraries are home to some very special, and unique, collections.

One of these is the Edinburgh Jazz Archive, which is kept at the Music department in Central Library.

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Old Bailey and his Traditional Jazz Advocates, Staten Suite, 1963

As well as charting the rise of stars such as Sandy Brown, Al Fairweather, Archie Semple and Alex Welsh, the archive includes rare recordings and other memorabilia tracking the story of Edinburgh’s unique jazz scene over the last 60 years.

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Stu Eaton (trumpet) and Sandy Brown (clarinet), 1948

There may be other jazz enthusiasts out there who have material which would augment this collection. Do you, or does someone you know, have material relevant to the Edinburgh Jazz scene, which you’d be happy to donate? We’re looking for LPs, CDs, EPs or cassettes relating to Edinburgh Jazz. Photographs, DVDs and other memorabilia would also be welcome.

If you have memories or information you think might be useful we’d love to hear from you. Call 0131 242 8050 or email central.music.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

You can view more photographs from the archive on Capital Collections