Which magazines would you like to download for free?

We’re about to add even more new titles to Zinio – the free emagazine service for library members – and we need YOU to tell us which magazines you’d prefer.

Choose up to three preferences from the following list.

And if you’re new to Zinio we’ve got plenty of help and advice to get you started.

Gourmet Reads – Alex Gray

We are looking forward to hosting Alex Gray in the fourth of our Gourmet Reads event series.

Alex Gray will be no stranger to the crime writing aficionados among you. Her books, featuring Detective Chief Inspector Lorimer and psychological profiler Solomon (Solly) Brightman, have won her an army of loyal fans and seen her win the Scottish Association of Writers Constable and Pitlochry trophies.
gourmet reads

The books have often been praised for their authenticity and the secret of this appears to lie in the research with Gray having a good network of contacts in the legal profession to ensure the stories ring true.

With her latest novel in the Lorimer series, Keep The Midnight Out, freshly on the shelves,  this Gourmet Reads event offers the ideal opportunity to spend the evening with the author and ask some questions over dinner in a relaxed atmosphere.

Alex Gray

Gourmet Read’s is an author event with a difference offering you a unique dining experience where you can share an amazing meal at the Apex Hotel with some of Scotland’s finest writers.

With only 10 spaces at the dinner table it is certainly an intimate occasion giving you time to engage in conversation that you wouldn’t normally get at a regular author event.  So, if dinner with the creator of the Detective Chief Inspector Lorimer series appeals to you then book a ticket soon as these are likely to go fast.

The event takes place on Thursday 30th April at the Apex Waterloo Hotel, 23-27 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3BH. Cost is £50 per person: 3 course dinner and glass of wine.

Book your place now and advise of dietary requirements by contacting Grainne Crawford on 0131 529 7791 or email grainne.crawford@edinburgh.gov.uk

How much do you know about autism?

With the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time coming to The Festival Theatre, we thought it would be a great idea to mark World Autism Day last week by engaging readers in a discussion about the novel.

And so last Thursday Central Library hosted ‘The Curious Incident of the Giant Book Group’.

autism awareness event

Councillor Ricky Henderson opened the event with a useful resume of council services and commitment to supporting those affected by autism.

Cerin Richardson, Learning and Participation Manager from the Festival Theatre then invited people to attempt the ‘Autism Spectrum Conditions Quiz’ which kick-started some interesting discussions among the groups present.

There are more males than females diagnosed with autism. True or false?

True! Well, actually, research suggests that the ratio of males to females diagnosed is about 4:1 although more recent research suggests that there are more females with autism than previously thought.

More than 500,000 people have autism in the UK. True or false?

Indeed that is also true:  research suggests that 1 in every 100 people has autism, and therefore, well over 500,000 have autism in the UK.

The MMR vaccination can cause autism. True or false?

Although there has been massive publicity on this topic, the weight of epidemiological evidence indicates that there is no statistically significant link between MMR vaccaine and autism…

Autism can be cured if treated early enough. True or false?

There is no cure for autism, but with the right support people can continue to learn and develop skills throughout their lives.

Cerin then went on to lead  a fascinating discussion, engaging those who had read and discussed in small groups,with invaluable input from Matthew Day, Service Coordinator at Autism Initiatives who has worked with adults on the Autism Spectrum for many years, and Amanda Wilson, whose son is on the spectrum. Amanda’s  personal experiences were very powerful and particularly appreciated by all participants.

‘ I particularly enjoyed the round table discussion and panel input, and linking the book to the play’

‘…Amanda’s account of being the mother of a boy with autism gave particular insight…’

‘I knew very little about autism at the start of the evening, but went away with much more understanding about the condition…’

Thanks to everyone who took part.

An inspiring comic workshop with Metaphrog

Author John Chalmers and illustrator Sandra Marrs, collectively known as Metaphrog, ran an inspiring comic workshop for young people in the Central Library on Saturday 21st March. Here’s Sandra in action.


Looking at how comics and graphic novels are created and put together, they discussed not only their own publications, including the award nominated ‘Louis’ series of books, but also some of the works that have inspired them.

Jamie and Amy

As you can see the audience were also encouraged to participate by drawing their own comic characters – and one lucky person won a signed copy of Metaphrog’s   ‘Louis – Lying to Clive’!

Edinburgh Reads: Sally Magnusson

This is my story, but it could be anybody’s

Sally Magnusson ‘s ‘Where memories go’ , her account of her mother Mamie’s long struggle with dementia, was one of the most-borrowed books from Edinburgh Libraries last year.

So it was no surprise that the Reference Library was packed for last night’s talk by the author.

DSC_5587 - CopySally talked about how as a journalist she was used to flitting in and out of other people’s lives, rarely digging deeper before moving on.

But then, in the late nineties, her mother ‘started to ‘go off the boil’. As Sally put it, she ‘mislaid her curiosity’.

And so began the biggest story of Sally’s life. A story she had to share. Because by sharing something, we encourage people to talk about it. And talking about something drives away stigma.

Sally spoke lovingly of her mother Mamie’s life story and character, before going on to describe the effect that dementia had on her.

Sally was keen to stress some of the positives of her experience. Mamie was still able to enjoy times of great in-the-moment happiness, and this was something that Sally came to treasure, learning that living for the moment and experiencing ‘the best day of your life’ over and over can be something to celebrate.

Sally also spoke about the lessons she learned. She spoke about the value of community, and how keenly she felt a lack of guidance and reassurance. This goes back to what she had said earlier about the need to talk and share our experiences, and this has been the legacy of the book.

There are other reasons for optimism as well. Sally argued that we are slowly getting better at understanding dementia.

She spoke about the positive effect music can have, and her work with Playlist for Life, which seeks to create a personal playlist for anyone with dementia to help unlock who they are. This is similar in idea to the work libraries do in care homes with Read Aloud.

We are extremely grateful to Sally for taking the time to come and talk so eloquently – gratitude which will be shared by every member of last night’s audience.DSC_5575 - Copy

Reading well: recommended books on dementia

“Dementia is one of the greatest social, medical, economic, scientific, philosophical and moral challenges of our times.”

Sally Magnusson, author of ‘Where memories go: why dementia changes everything’

The Reading Agency have got together with health experts and people with lived experience to draw up a list of the most helpful books for people with dementia and the people around them.

The books are also an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to find out about the condition.

As well as information and practical advice the list of titles includes personal accounts, and suggestions for shared therapeutic activities.

These titles are available to borrow from libraries now. Reserve them online using your library card and PIN to collect at your nearest library.

“It is abundantly clear that with support and books presented in an accessible way, people with dementia can continue to learn and amongst their learning can be an empowerment to help themselves and others in a similar situation.”

Keith Oliver, former headteacher diagnosed with dementia in 2010.






Catherine Rayner and Reading Rainbows

Congratulations to author and illustrator Catherine Rayner who has just won the Peters’ picture book of the year award for Smelly Louie!

Catherine’s been  a great friend to Edinburgh Libraries, and recently helped Gracemount nursery pupils celebrate the start of this year’s Reading Rainbows at South Neighbourhood Office and Library.


She shared some stories before presenting each child with a gift book pack containing 2 picture books, a pen and pad and an activity leaflet.

This year, over 1000 4-year-olds across the city will get a free book pack and hopefully, take part in Reading Rainbows events in libraries and Early Years’ Settings.