A Design Classic

Originally published in 1856, Owen Jones’s Grammar of Ornament is still in print, with its most recent re-publication this year by Ivy Press.

Title page from original 1856 edition

Title page from original 1856 edition

Owen Jones was an architect and designer who taught Applied Arts at South Kensington School of Design in the 1850s and Superintendent of Works at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The Grammar of Ornament represents Jones’s theories on design and features patterns and ornament from around the world from sources as diverse as ancient Egypt to India and China and in particular the Islamic world.

Moresque No 5 Plate XLII Design for tiles

Moresque No 5 Plate XLII Design for tiles

Jones’s theories on the use of colour, geometry and abstraction continue to resonate with designers today. It was the definitive sourcebook in 1856 and remains so today.

Get inspiration for your own designs by viewing the original edition held in the Art & Design Library’s collections. Recent editions are available to borrow through our catalogue.

Collecting contemporary children’s illustrated picture books

Regular visitors to Central Library may know that the Art & Design Library holds a historic collection of children’s illustrated books by Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, and Arthur Rackham, many of which can be viewed on Capital Collections.

Ross CollinsWe’re adding to this collection with a new special collection of contemporary children’s illustrators focusing on mainly illustrators working in Scotland. Books illustrated and/or written by illustrators Catherine Rayner, Alison Murray, Debi Gliori, Mairi Hedderwick and Ross Collins are now available to view in the Art & Design Library.

Catherine RaynerExamples of children’s illustrated picture books provide a valuable resource for students of illustration and we’re hoping that the start of this new collection will inspire artists and designers both today and in the years to come.

Debi GlioriView our collection at http://bit.ly/childrensillustrators. Please note these items held in the Art & Design Library are for use in the Library only but there are plenty of lending copies available from Central Children’s and community libraries.

Children grown? Donations of picture books to this new collection can be placed with the Art & Design Library. Please contact central.artanddesign.library@edinburgh.gov.uk if you wish to donate a picture book. Please note we can only accept items in good condition.

Around the world with Bookbug

We’re getting ready for a trip ‘Around the world with Bookbug’ to mark Bookbug Week (16 – 22 May).

Libraries are already working on ways to make this another fun-filled Bookbug Week and there will be special events in many libraries to mark the occasion. Please contact your local library here for more details. You’re welcome to join in the conversation on twitter using the#bookbugweek hashtag

The international theme will inspire children and adults alike to explore songs and rhymes from around the globe, and is a chance to celebrate a real library success story.

Find your nearest session  and join in the conversation on twitter using the #bookbugweek hashtag.


More about Bookbug in Edinburgh City Libraries

The Bookbug programme is managed by Scottish Book Trust but run in partnership with libraries, health professionals and nurseries. The programme encourages all parents and carers to enjoy books with children from as early an age as possible, developing a lifelong love of books in children all over Scotland. As well as a host of activities in libraries, every year in Edinburgh, nearly 7000 bookbug packs are gifted to children before they start primary school


Find out more at www.scottishbooktrust.com/bookbug

More!fun Children’s Book Festival 24 – 27 May

This year’s festival a celebration of words inspiring children to enjoy reading, writing and other creative activities takes place in Craigmillar, Portobello and Piershill Libraries in the east of the City.

There are lots of activities for local primary schools but also events open to the public.


Library staff are teaming up with Into Film, Puppet Animation Scotland, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature and the Scottish Poetry Library to deliver an exciting  programme of  creative writing and illustration workshops, animation screenings and lots more.

Book online to reserve a place

Digital toybox – Noisemakers: Build and keep your own synthesiser 

Meet the author Mirabelle Maslin talking about sharing stories and books with infants and children 

Minecraft Storylines  – an interactive story-writing workshop using minecraft to guide young writers to explore plot, character and dialogue and much more

Up! screening – More!fun festival presents a screening of Disney Pixar’s Up.

See the full programme.

Upcoming talks and workshops


Our events calendar has details of what’s happening in libraries over the next couple of months. Here are a few of the highlights:

Alison Demarco: The Signature from Tibet

Wednesday 11th May, 2.30pm. Free – book online

Alison Demarco’s The Signature of Tibet is a breathtaking four-part, epic fictional story inspired by true events and follows the lives of four main, inspirational characters: The Soldier, Pembuti, Anne, and Palden.  Spanning the Highlands of Scotland to the remote and isolated Lowlands of Tibet, the book travels back in time to 1904 when a young Scottish soldier enters Tibet with the British Expedition.  Signature From Tibet is a must-read for anyone seeking spiritual enlightenment—or would just like to share in a fantastic journey the likes of which they’re unlikely to ever encounter again!

Edinburgh Tales: Charles Piazzi Smyth

Wednesday 18th May, 2.30pm. Free – book online

Charles Piazzi Smyth was appointed as Astronomer Royal for Scotland in 1846, where he was based at the Calton Hill Observatory. Bruce Vickery will be talking about the context of Smyth’s arrival in Edinburgh as Scotland’s second Astronomer Royal, and about some of his multi-faceted activities while in this post. Bruce is a retired mathematical physicist with an interest in astronomy and its heritage in Edinburgh.

The Waves Burn Bright by Iain Maloney

Tuesday 24th May, 6.30pm. Free – book online
In 1988 the Piper Alpha oil platform exploded killing 167 men. The Waves Burn Bright is a deeply affecting, sensitive portrait of its devastating aftermath on one family.
Author Iain Maloney talks about his new novel, which is based on this tragic event. His other novels are  First Time Solo and Silma Hill. He was also shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and in 2014 he was shortlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker prize.


Monday 30th May, 6.00pm. Free – book online

Whither ettlin tae write in Scots frae the affset, or whither aready applying yer creative skeels tae the leid, the Scrieve-It workshoap will luik tae weys o explorin an developin new or existin writin in Scots, wi the National Library o Scotland’s resident Scots Scriever, Hamish MacDonald.

Former Robert Burns Writing Fellow for Dumfries and Galloway, Joint Artistic Director of Dogstar Theatre Company and Director of Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, Hamish has written numerous warks in Scots includin plays, fiction and also bairns’ verse, short stories and a teenage novella for Scots imprint Itchy Coo Publishing.

How to promote your book

Thursday 2nd June, 2.30pm. Free – book online

Are you an aspiring, small or self-published writer and want to know how to promote your book?  Come along and learn how to put together a basic campaign that is sure to get you started.

Diane Hinds is an experienced entertainment PR who has taught Campaigning & Persuasive Skills at the University of Westminster, on its BA: Public Relations & Advertising course and is a frequent Guest Visitor at Victoria Zackheim’s Personal Essay Writing course, part of UCLA’s Extension programme.

Magnus Linklater – Little Sparta, a guide to the garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay

Wednesday 15th June at 6.30pm. Free – book online

Chairman of the Little Sparta Trust, Magnus Linklater discusses Jessie Sheeler’s publication ‘Little Sparta – a Guide to the Garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay’. Ian Hamilton Finlay’s garden in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, is widely regarded as one of the most significant gardens in Britain. In addition to being a spectacular example of garden design, it also features almost 300 art works by Finlay and others which form an integral part of the garden scheme.

The guide tells the story of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s extraordinary creation, exploring the underlying themes, and introducing and explaining the significance of the main elements and art works in each part of the garden. The publication also features new photographs by photographer Robin Gillanders as well as archival material.




Borrow a Book from BorrowBox

bolindaeAudiobooks are increasingly one of Edinburgh Libraries more popular online services so we’ve added a new Audiobook provider to keep up with demand! Have a look at BorrowBox for a great range of titles and authors that you can download and listen to anytime or anywhere. Use it on your computer or through it’s super easy-to-use app on your Apple, Android or Kindle Fire device.

There are over 400 fantastic titles to choose from including:Door
A God in Ruins & Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Night Manager by John Le Carre
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
The Revolving Door of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
The Lake House by Kate Morton

Check one out today!

Crime writing without clichés

Do you write crime fiction, or have you always fancied trying your hand at a crime novel?  If so, we’d like to invite you to our creative writing workshop, designed to help you create brilliant crime plots… while avoiding typical crime clichés.
crime without cliches
The workshop will be run by writer Claire Askew, who’s also the Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion at Craigmillar Library.  Claire is a crime novelist whose debut novel-in-progress, Three Rivers, has been longlisted for the Peggy Chapman Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award, and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.
This workshop will include some hands-on writing exercises to get you started, along with practical advice to take away and apply to new projects or works-in-progress.
The workshop is free, AND because this is a World Book Night event, every attendee will receive a free copy of Sarah Hilary’s dark crime novel “Someone Else’s Skin” to take away with them at the end.