History of Printing exhibition

In support of the upcoming Rare Books Festival running from 16 to 25 March, we have an exhibition at Central Library relating to the history of printing.  The history of print is a vast and wide-ranging topic and the titles on show represent only a tiny fraction of the volumes about printing held by Edinburgh Libraries.

The Gutenberg Bible is widely accepted as the starting off point of printing in Western Europe.  Printing in England started with Caxton as the first English printer setting up business in 1476.  Then Chepman and Myllar were Scotland’s first printers, licensed in 1507.  The timeline of these famous printers shows the expanse and progress of printing history. 

The C.L. Psalmes of the Princelie Prophet David, printed in Aberdeen by Edward Raban in 1629

Whilst Central Library cannot claim to have original examples of these printers, it does hold works by the famous, infamous and the obscure.  Highlights include Scotland’s first complete Bible, the Bassandyne Bible, printed by the Edinburgh printer Bassandyne and finished by Arbuthnet in 1579, early works by the Aberdeen based printer Edward Raban, and ‘The Nuremberg Chronicle’ (Latin edition, 1493) printed by Koberger.  These are all available to consult.  Currently some early works are on display in our Reference Library.

The trade of printing flourished in Edinburgh and other towns and cities in Scotland.  The Edinburgh and Scottish Collection holds an array of material including the cheap, jobbing printing of posters, chapbooks, broadsides from early examples to modern times.  Some of these are highly collectable due to their ephemeral nature and often few copies have survived. 

We have on view a broadside from the printing house of Agnes Campbell. Unlike many of her fellow printers, Agnes Campbell made a fortune out of the trade, but for many profits were far from significant.

Sermon preached before the King, 1697 printed by “the Heirs and Successors of Andrew Anderson”, aka his widow, Agnes Campbell.

The art of the printer was and is a highly skilled trade encompassing all aspects from the paper to the embellishment.  Industrial techniques, new inks, papers and binding methods have changed the skills to be more computer and design based.  However, small and specialist presses have always existed through the decades and examples such as the artist’s book on display demonstrate the art of printing is far from dead.

Whether you are a bibliophile, a collector, a reader, or someone interested in all aspects of culture, visit the Edinburgh Rare Books Festival which is supported by many Edinburgh institutions through talks and exhibitions. 

Our exhibition can be found on the main staircase and in the Reference Library until 27 March at Central Library.

What are you reading?!

We’ve recently refreshed the “Popular Magazines” collection on Libby. Previously this was made up of the magazines that we had on our RBdigital service, but we’ve now updated it to feature the top 150 magazines that our readers use on Libby.

So what are our reader’s top ten favourite magazines?:

1. HELLO! magazine
2.Good Housekeeping
3. New Scientist
4. BBC Good Food Magazine
5. Woman’s Weekly
6. The New Yorker
7. Radio Times
8. The Week
9. Woman
10. Woman & Home

HELLO! remains your most popular read, but perhaps a bit of a surprise appearance from The New Yorker! The Economist had also until recently featured at no.3, but has had to be removed from Libby due to the publisher’s new access rules. You can however still read The Economist on our PressReader service.

The most popular genre that people like to read is House & Garden, followed by Women’s titles and Crafts.

Interesting too, to find four foreign language titles in our top 150 –
Paris Match (French), El Jueves (Spanish), Elle France (French), L’Express (French). But theres also a rash of Scottish related titles that are really popular – Scotland Magazine, History Scotland and Homes & Interiors Scotland.

There are almost 3,000 magazines available through Libby. As well as our Popular Magazines collection you can browse through our great range of collections – Women’s & Men’s Lifestyle; Home & Garden; Arts & Crafts; Motoring; Health, Sport & Fitness; Cooking, Food & Drinks; Computing & Technology; Science & Nature; Travel & Hobbies; History & Literature and Non-English Language titles.

Library2go help sessions

Do you need help getting started with Edinburgh Libraries downloadable ebook, audiobook, magazine or newspaper services?

Or do you have a query about using any of the libraries online services?

Then come along with your device to one of our eresources help sessions. We can help get you set up and take you through using our services step-by-step. These happen on Tuesday afternoons in the Central Library.

To attend book a slot in advance by emailing:
informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk with your name and phone number and we’ll call you back to arrange a time.

Further details can be found at:

Get an Instant Digital Card

Do you know someone who would benefit from free access to ebooks, audiobooks and magazines, but who are not a member of the library? This New Year you can get free instant access to Edinburgh Libraries Libby service without a library card. Thousands of best-selling titles for adults, teens and children are available to read on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s a fantastic way to make the most of your electronic Christmas presents and to save money. Please spread the word to relatives and friends!
No library card? No problem! From the 10 January – 9 February 2023 if you are over 16 years old you can sign up for an Instant Digital Card in seconds. All you need is a mobile phone number and the access code – Library2go. To find out how to get started go to http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/IDC.
The Instant Digital Card gives you access to Libby for three months. However, you can keep on using the service for free by joining the library and receiving a permanent membership card. Join online through http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/joinourlibrary
Contact informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk if you have any questions about our downloadable services.

Scottish literary prize winners past and present

Today, with thanks, we hand over to departing member of staff, Lauren from the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection and Reference team at Central Library, who writes about holiday limbo and Scottish prize winning books.

The Christmas rush is over – presents have been unwrapped, turkeys get a second lease of life as leftovers and stomachs and hearts are full. Now the lull of the no man’s land between Christmas and New Year is upon us and all plans have been abandoned. Now is the time, at least in my house, for ‘picky bits’ dinners, sinking into that new book and not having anywhere to be. Above all though, this limbo week is a time for reflection on the year just passed.

In the literary world, towards the latter stages of the year is often when the last of the book prizes announce their winners. No doubt whilst Christmas shopping in your local bookshop, you will have seen those little stickers shining out from the front of covers. ‘Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize’ states ‘A Shock’ by Keith Ridgway, ‘The Arthur C. Clarke Award Winner 2022’ features on ‘Deep Wheel Orcadia’ by Harry Josephine Giles and, perhaps most coveted of all, ‘Winner of the Booker Prize 2022’ sits proudly on the cover of ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’ by Shehan Karunatilaka.

Scotland has a long and storied history with prizewinning literature, from her authors to books about Scotland, set in Scotland and even literary prizes aiming to find the next best thing in Scottish writing. So, in the spirit of reflection, the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection decided to look back on some highlights of the Scottish prizewinning best of past and present.

Wind back all the way to 1937 and the very first Saltire Society Literary Awards were launched, the first awards ceremony since the society’s inception the year before. Scottish novelist Neil M Gunn’s fourth novel, ‘Highland River’ won the inaugural Scottish Book of the Year Award. The title also won the James Tait Black Prize in the same year. Gunn wrote many other novels, including his first novel ‘The Grey Coast’ (1926), ‘Morning Tide’ (1931) and ‘Silver Darlings’ (1941).

Jumping forward 51 years, the Saltire Society Literary Awards introduced the First Book of the Year Award, presented to an author for their debut published book. The inaugural winner was Arbroath-born poet Raymond Vettese for his book ‘The Richt Noise and Ither Poems’ (1988), written in the Scots dialect and compiled of both new poems and ones that had previously been published in popular poetry periodicals such as Lallans and Chapman. His second collection, ‘A Keen New Air’, was published by the Saltire Society in 1995.

In 1994, Scots writer James Kelman won arguably the most esteemed literary prize, the then-named Man Booker Prize (now Booker Prize), with his Scots dialect novel ‘How Late It Was, How Late’. This caused huge controversy and uproar due to its extensive use of expletives, with one judge calling it a ‘disgrace’ and ‘completely inaccessible’. The novel however would go on to become one of the most celebrated books in the Scottish literature canon. An article from The Times (available to view via the British Newspaper Archive e-resource) featured an interview with Kelman (the first Scot to receive the prize) after his win, in which he admitted to journalist Julia Llewellyn Smith that he was unsurprised with the outcry: “I’m very glad it wasn’t a unanimous decision,” he says in his soft, Scots monotone. “Very pleased indeed, ye know. If it had been, I would have to examine what I was doing.’’

Although published in 1994, Christine De Luca’s debut poetry collection ‘Voes and Sounds’ won the Shetland Arts Trust Literary Award two years later in 1996. The collection was celebrated as ‘one of the best collections of poetry to come out of Shetland for 20 to 30 years’, by one of the judges. Since then, she has become an important contemporary voice for Shetlandic literature. The Edinburgh and Scottish Collection holds both the print collection and the audiobook cassette, read in Christine’s native Shetlandic dialect.

Coming into the 21st century now, Edinburgh played host to two literary prizes. The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, laterally known as the Commonwealth Book Prize, came to Scotland for the first time 20 years ago in April 2002, with events held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and attended by Princess Anne. Author William Muir was one of the winners for his novel, ‘The 18th Pale Descendant’ (2001), a psychological tale that explores the implications of the death penalty.

As UNESCO’s first City of Literature, Edinburgh hosted the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in June 2005 and many events were planned in the city, alongside the official prizegiving ceremony itself. The prize was won by Albanian writer Ismail Kadare for his body of work, however bookshops struggled to buy his novels in for the prizegiving as Kadare’s work had previously been banned in his home country of Albania and had to be smuggled out of his country while under Stalinist regime.

Moving into 2020 and the shadow of the pandemic meant that Scottish writer Douglas Stuart became the second Scot to win the Booker Prize, in a ‘ceremony without walls’ that was broadcast online. Stuart’s autobiographical debut ‘Shuggie Bain’ is based on his own upbringing in 1980s Thatcherite Glasgow, and the novel was deemed ‘a book both beautiful and brutal’ by The Times. Stuart himself credited inspiration to the first Scottish Booker winner James Kelman for depicting the Glaswegian people and dialect on the page. In November 2022, it was announced that ‘Shuggie Bain’ would be adapted for a television series on BBC One.

In 2021, Maria Hayward’s ‘Stuart Style’ won the Saltire Society History Book of the Year in 2021, with her research book that looks at how the fashion of the 17th century Scottish royal Stuart family influenced the courts of England. It is the first detailed analysis to be published on elite male clothing in the 1600s in Scotland and centres on James VI and I, Prince Henry, Charles 1 and 11 and James VII and II.

Finally arriving in 2022, Billy Connolly’s much anticipated biography ‘Windswept and Interesting: My Autobiography’ was shortlisted for the British Book Awards Non-Fiction Narrative Book of the Year 2022. It is the first full-length memoir from the famous Scottish comedian and sits alongside his other books such as ‘Made in Scotland: My Grand Adventures in a Wee Country’ (2018) and ‘Tall Tales and Wee Stories’ (2019). Connolly has retired from live comedy due to a Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2013 and can now be found presenting travel documentaries and books on Scotland, still with the flair for storytelling that shone through his stand-up comedy.

So it is then, in this suspended period between Christmas and New Year, that I can be found nestled into the sofa with a cup of tea and the recently announced 2022 Saltire Society History Book of the Year, ‘Slaves and Highlanders: Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean’ by David Alston, now looking forward to the literary year ahead. Who knows what 2023 will bring, except exciting new Scottish books deserving of those little prize stickers.

Discover these and more prize worthy Scottish books in the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection at Central Library.

Some of our favourite books of 2022

Edinburgh Libraries staff tell us which were their favourite books of the past year.

Alannah from Wester Hailes Library recommends not a book of the year, but a trilogy!
The Hell’s Library series by A. J. Hackwith is an incredible journey that deals with budding friendships, coping with loss, and choosing your own family in this crazy, messed up world. The stories are written from the perspective of multiple characters, so you really get a good feel for the world Hackwith has created and the complex relationships that develop throughout the trilogy. I initially picked the first book as it was advertised as an LGBTQ+ novel, and the sincerity with which queer and questioning characters are portrayed is incredibly refreshing. If you’re looking for a series to make you laugh with joy, cry in despair, and bite your nails in suspense – sometimes within the span of a few pages – this is an adventure you will want to embark on.
The Hell’s Library series by A. J. Hackwith –
1st Library of the Unwritten (2020) is available to borrow in print
2nd Archive of the Forgotten (2021) is available to borrow in print
3rd The God of Lost Words (2022) is available to borrow in print

Enya from Newington Library would like to recommend I’m glad my mom died by Jennette McCurdy
The reason I picked this book up is the same reason most people do – I was intrigued by the title and cover. That has got to be one of the most intelligently provocative marketing I’ve ever seen! As someone who grew up watching iCarly on Nickelodeon I was familiar with Jennette McCurdy, but wouldn’t necessarily have been interested in picking up her memoir if it weren’t for that title. Celebrity memoirs can be a bit hit or miss, but luckily this one lived up to the expectations it raised! I could not put it down at all, the audiobook was beautifully narrated by the author and the writing style was clear and concise. She perfectly illuminates her complex relationship with her family, especially her mother and the volatile home environment she had to navigate as a child. Even if the title takes you aback at first, by the end of it, you’ll come away thinking “I would be glad, too”.
I’m glad my mom died is available to borrow as an ebook, audiobook and in print.

Roshni from the Resources Team recommends Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au
My favourite read of 2022, Cold Enough for Snow is a beautiful, evocative book that captures the small details of life and holds them up to the light. It follows a mother and adult daughter on a trip to Japan in the Autumn – exploring the daughter’s longing for connection and the subjectivity of their shared experiences. I love how atmospheric and textured the writing is. Au’s well-observed images stick with you – ferns through a thick mist of rain, light shifting through an art gallery, streets lit up softly like lanterns. It’s a thoughtful book filled with memory, art, and dream.
Cold Enough for Snow is available to borrow in print.

Heather from South Queensferry and Kirkliston Libraries says she’s a big fan of Scottish fiction and one of her favourites this year was Hear No Evil by Sarah Smith.
Historical fiction’s not a genre I’d usually go for, but this book is based on the true story of a landmark Scottish legal case, so I was intrigued to read it.
The book begins in Glasgow, 1817, where a woman is witnessed throwing a child into the River Clyde.  Jean is deaf and struggles to communicate with the authorities to tell her side of the story.  Robert Kinniburgh, a teacher from the Deaf and Dumb Institute in Edinburgh is called upon to translate and becomes involved with investigations.  He listens to Jean’s story at a time when the authorities are quick to dismiss those with disabilities.  I was fascinated by the way the author depicts the conversations between Jean and Robert in the early days of BSL.   
Sarah Smith paints such a vivid picture of Glasgow and Edinburgh that I felt like I’d been pulled right into the past!  A really interesting and important read.
Hear no Evil is available to borrow in print.

Susan from the Digital Team highlights The Edinburgh Skating Club by Michelle Sloan
I love a book set in Edinburgh, there is something that elevates the experience of reading for me when I know the streets and buildings that are described. This year I have finished the latest Ambrose Parry novel set in Victorian Edinburgh and devoured all four of the fabulous contemporary-set Skelf’s series by Doug Johnstone.
My last foray into the literary capital however was for Michelle Sloan’s The Edinburgh Skating Club. It is a gentle, enjoyable romp set in the contemporary city and in Enlightenment Edinburgh with something for everyone – romance, history, mystery, women’s rights and a very famous painting!  Sloan has taken real people for the historical sections of the book and created an interesting series of “what-ifs”, where the main character Alison Cockburn is able to break free from the social norms of the day in a very unexpected way.
The Edinburgh Skating Club is available to borrow as an ebook, audiobook and in print.

Clare from the Digital Team recommends A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
My most memorable book of the year began as a stop-gap read in between reservations. I was browsing the Libby catalogue and came across several titles by Bill Bryson, an author I’d not read in years. I decided on A Walk in the Woods, an account of Bryson’s attempt to hike the Appalachian trail, with his old friend, Stephen Katz. It’s rare for a book to make me laugh out loud, rarer still to find myself crying with laughter.
The Appalachian trail is more that a walk in the woods, it is almost 2200 miles of remote mountain wilderness. Together, Bryson and Katz faced scary animals, weather extremes, other hikers, tantrums and endless noodles. The book is a testament to enduring friendship, an inspiration for all armchair travellers and in parts, very funny.
A Walk in the Woods is available to borrow as an ebook, audiobook and print.

Mel from Corstorphine Library sneaks in two books of the year!
She recommends The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
This was such a fun read. The book is set in an alternate Victorian Britain where there are pirates and assassins who just so happen to belong to a not-so-secret society of ladies who pull off heists and robberies in between attending balls and tea parties. The world that the author created was really interesting and the book had plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and one-liners. There is kidnapping, skulduggery, flying houses and a love story – it kind of has everything to keep you entertained!

Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna
This children’s book was an engrossing tale right from the start when the young protagonist Cassie runs away from her boarding school, is nearly kidnapped by goblins and then finds out that she is part of a family of witches who have been guarding the town of Hedgley and the border with Faerie.
I thought this book was exciting and a real page-turner. Cassie was such a likeable protagonist, and the story has broom-flying, talking cats, creepy forests, and a terrific band of friends. The second book in the series is out early in 2023 and I can’t wait to see what happens next to Cassie and her friends.
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is available as an ebook and in print.
Hedgewitch is available to borrow in print.

Doris from Central Lending says one of her favourite books of 2022 is At the Table by Claire Powell.
The novel focuses on the lives of the Maguire family and how they interact over the course of a year over a series of lunches, drinks and at times, awkward get togethers. Nicole is the daughter of Linda and Gerry and is the heart of the family, while her brother Jamie is the soul. Both react differently to the separation of their parents as they navigate their own lives and question the choices they make and the consequences of these decisions. The razor sharp dialogue is a joy to read and is a highlight of the novel.
At the Table is available to borrow in print.

Nicola from South Queensferry and Kirkliston Libraries book of the year was Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura.
I love Japanese books and find them to be fantastical and whimsical and this book did not disappoint.
This book is about a group of teenagers who are united by not being able to attend school, and are facing their own unique challenges and struggles. This storyline really resonated with me and had a personal connection, which made it an emotional and thought-provoking read. The teenagers are brought together through the magical portal of the mirror into another realm where they can leave their insecurities and anxieties behind and not be judged.
It has a lot to say about loneliness and anxiety and about the importance of being authentic and of reaching out to others. An unusual and captivating fairy tale, which is moving and unusual.

My favourite children’s book this year was Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll. Elle writes about neurodiverse characters in an empowering and positive way. This is a wonderful story set in a magical hidden world within Edinburgh, and I can’t wait to read the follow up which is coming out in February 2023.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror is available to borrow in print.
Like a Charm is available to borrow in print.

Bageshri from Stockbridge Library puts forward The Marmalade Diaries: The True Story of an Odd Couple by Ben Aitken as her book of the year.
I got attracted to the title of the book in the first place. It’s a charming book about a young man in his 30s and a lady in her 80s living together under the same roof during the strange period of Covid lockdown!
Although it doesn’t look like this inter-generational friendship is going to work at the beginning; but they end up having a heart-warming relation between them. The book is a light read full of warmth and humour. It speaks about the lockdown and the effect it had on people’s lives. You will relate to this story if you have or ever had an elder person in your life!
The Marmalade Diaries is available to borrow in print.

What was your favourite book of the year?

Book Week Scotland – Edinburgh Reads title

To celebrate Book week Scotland we have a cracking Scottish multi-access ebook available on Libby by a fabulous Scottish author!

The Bad Fire by Campbell Armstrong is available to download until the 30th November with unlimited copies. In this page-turning, atmospheric thriller a police detective returns to Glasgow to investigate his father’s death. Detective Eddie Mallon is coming home to Glasgow for the funeral of his father, whom he barely knew. Decades ago, the Mallon family split down the middle, and Eddie went to America with his mother while his sister stayed with their father, Jackie. Now Jackie has been murdered and Eddie has no choice but to conduct his own investigation, which takes him into the shadowy history of his father’s past and present and into something bigger and more disturbing than one man’s death.

Libby can be used on your tablet, phone of computer. Full instructions for using Libby can be found on our Your Library website.

Celebrating the Art and Design Library Artists’ Books Collection

Central Library are excited to invite you to the new exhibition on the Mezzanine: a showcase of the Artists’ Books Collection held by the Art and Design Library. The Art and Design Library Artists’ Books Collection comprises over 200 artists’ books and is part of the library’s contemporary special collections.

Artists books display on the Mezzanine at Central Library

The collection includes a significant range of works by Scottish artists, and artists working in Scotland.

The Art and Design Library began collecting artists’ books in the 1990s and has been gradually adding to the collection, with a more recent focus on the Scottish holdings. The Scottish artists represented include Douglas Gordon, Elaine Fullerton, Joanna Robson, Susie Wilson, Kate Whitford, and the late Ian Hamilton Finlay.

A selection of works by Susie Wilson
“Dr Jekyll and My Hyde” by Joanna Robson

The collection also includes many international contemporary artists’ books. Some of the earliest examples in the collection are those produced in the 1960s by the renowned Pop artist Edward Ruscha and celebrated Conceptual artist Sol LeWitt. Indeed, many sources cite Rusha and LeWitt as pioneers of this art form. The Library’s collection contains a range of examples of their work, some of which are simple collections of photographs in a book form. Other prominent international artists represented in the collection include the Abstract Expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler, and the Conceptualist artist Joseph Kosuth.

“Every Building on Sunset Strip” and “Some Los Angeles Apartments” by Edward Ruscha

As you will see throughout the display, artists’ books are diverse in form and concept. This diversity makes them difficult to define, although typically, these books are printed on a small scale and with limited editions. Sometimes they are produced in a conventional book-type form, but some can be produced as scrolls or concertinas, and even paper sculptures handcrafted in unique editions. They can feature unusual materials: glass, tree bark, ceramic, and textiles. The display showcases the wide variety of forms contained in the Art and Design Library collection and runs until the end of December 2022.

“Mysterious Ink” by Li Huang

It’s tapestry month this November at Central Library

Golden Threads reawakened – weaving a legacy

Central Library are delighted to be displaying through November an amazing community woven tapestry, Golden Threads, created by a group of amateur weavers based in Edinburgh. Find this beautiful display in the main staircase cabinets at Central Library.

The tapestry has a very interesting story taking its name from the golden threads it uses that were collected by the German Jew Hedwig Philip and that have not seen the light of day for some thirty years. Hedwig and her husband left Berlin in 1941, narrowly missing the Holocaust, travelling to join family in Pennsylvania.

Photo of Hedwig and the contents of her needlework box not opened for 70 years

Hedwig was a skilled needlewoman: she collected golden threads and embroidered a Torah Mantle for the local synagogue. In 1951 Hedwig travelled with all her belongings to Britain to join her daughter in Newcastle, dying not long afterwards. Hedwig’s box of threads, unopened, was passed from her daughter to her granddaughter, Cathie Wright.

Photo of Golden Threads tapestry

Cathie wanted something purposeful and interesting to be done with the threads. This secular tapestry pays homage to Hedwig’s story using her historic golden threads woven together with contemporary red and gray yarns. The tapestry Golden Threads is divided into sixteen panels designed by the sixteen amateur weavers Judith Barton, Sandra Carter, Sarah Clark, Barbara Clarke, Sylvia Davidson, Jackie Grant, Elspeth Hosie, Joan Houston, Kirsteen Kershaw, Joan MacLellan, Irene McCombe, Francesca McGrath, Lindi McWilliam, Serena Naismith, Anita Nolan, Hilary Watkinson and Ann Smuga. Together the panels pay homage to Hedwig’s story but the quantity and beauty of the threads, the heritage and the journey travelled, called for something more. The result is a modern, secular tapestry incorporating these historic golden threads, drawing on themes of Jewish heritage, refugee travel and survival, conflict avoidance, building bridges and seeking a better world with hope for a brighter future.

To quote from Cathie,

“This is a community enterprise that takes the threads from one spiritual tradition to universal themes that celebrate life and survival”.

The tapestries are woven with contemporary materials (wools and cottons) supplementing the old golden threads. They are joined with an overlay of golden braid which also came from Hedwig’s box. The overall size of the composite tapestry is 30 inches square. Thanks also to professional tapestry artists Joanne Soroka and Jo McDonald.

Supporting the display of the Golden Threads tapestry are books on tapestry weaving from the Art and Design Library.

Art of Tapestry author talk with Helen Wyld

If you enjoy looking at the Golden Threads tapestry and want to learn more about the art of tapestry come and hear author and Senior Curator of Historic Textiles at National Museums Scotland, Helen Wyld, deliver a free illustrated talk about her new book The Art of Tapestry. The book explores the National Trust’s collection of historic tapestries and brings new perspectives to the history of tapestry across Europe.

The Art of Tapestry with Helen Wyld will take place on Tuesday 22 November from 6:30 to 7:30pm in the George Washington Browne Room at Central Library.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

Brilliant fiction to celebrate Black History Month

To celebrate this year’s Black History Month, the Resource Management Team have curated a list of brilliant fiction from Black authors. Featuring a mix of historical and classic titles alongside the best contemporary fiction from exciting new voices.

5 books to pique your interest

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Set in East-London, this is an elegantly told love story between a dancer and a photographer. As the book unfolds Azumah Nelson explores the nuances of race and masculinity whilst celebrating community and Black culture.
Borrow Open Water from the library

Love in colour by Bolu Babalola
A beautiful collection of short stories – Love in colour retells iconic love stories from around the world. It’s a sweeping collection drawing inspiration from West African folktales, Greek myths, and the present day.
Borrow Love in colour from the library

Assembly by Natasha Brown
A short, powerful novel about a Black British woman navigating life marred and stifled by racism and the legacies of colonialism. Told in sharp and sparse vignettes.
Borrow Assembly from the library

People Person by Candice Carty-Williams
The second novel from the bestselling author of Queenie. People Person is a warm, engaging story about messy families, connection, and carving out your place in the world. It follows the story of Dimple Pennington as she gets to know her four half siblings.
Borrow People Person from the library

Lote by Shola Von Reinhold
The luxurious debut novel by Scottish author Shola Von Reinhold. Lote explores the pursuit of beauty and pleasure as a radical act. It follows protagonist Mathilda as she uncovers the life of Hermia Druitt a fictional Black poet lost to the archives.
Borrow Lote from the library

Access the full Brilliant fiction by Black authors collection and reserve a title to pick up from your local library.

Edinburgh’s literary women recognised

Edinburgh City of Literature Trust and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) are honouring five of Edinburgh’s overlooked women writers.

The five literary women were also social reformers, champions of women’s rights and instrumental in shaping Edinburgh’s history.  Plaques have been awarded through Historic Environment Scotland’s Commemorative Plaque scheme for three of these women, and the Trust have hopes for a further two, on buildings in the city associated with Mary Brunton, Christian Isobel Johnstone, Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane, Lady Margaret Sackville and Rebecca West.

Free podcasts have been created and copies of books written by all five women are being donated by the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust to fifteen of our libraries.

A set of five books, one from each featured author, is being donated by the City of Literature Trust with the support of funding from HES, to libraries across the city. From next week, you’ll find the titles at Balgreen, Blackhall, Corstorphine, Craigmillar, Currie, Drumbrae, Fountainbridge, Leith, McDonald Road, Morningside, Newington; Portobello, Piershill, Stockbridge and South Queensferry Libraries.

Each set contains –

Self-control by Mary Brunton
Mary Brunton (1778 – 1818) was a highly acclaimed Scottish novelist whose career rivalled Jane Austen’s. She championed women’s intellectual, creative and religious pursuits and her three novels prioritise sense over sentimentalism, labour over laziness and normalised the idea of the independent, educated, hard-working woman. Her wildly popular first novel, Self-Control, was selected to be included in Richard Bentley’s illustrious ‘canon-forming’ Standard Novels series in 1831 – before Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, which was published in the same year. Her life was cut tragically short and she is remembered with a plaque on her home at 35 Albany Street.
Reserve a copy of Self-control online

The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
Rebecca West’s debut novel The Return of the Soldier documents the aftermath of the WW1 from a woman’s perspective.
Cicily Isabel Fairfield (1892-1983) wrote novels and worked as a journalist and travel writer under the pen name Rebecca West. She is best known for her prolific and daring journalism career, which included writing for most major Western periodicals of the day, including The New Statesman, The New York Herald Tribune, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. Famously she reported on the Nuremburg Trials after the Second World War and was described by US President Harry Truman as “the world’s best reporter” and by Time Magazine as “indisputably the world’s number one women writer”.  She is remembered with a plaque on her childhood home, 2 Hope Park Square.
Reserve a copy of The Return of the Soldier online

Clan-Albin by Christian Isobel Johnstone
Clan-Albin engages with themes on British imperial expansion, England’s economic and political relationship with Scotland and the role of women in public life.
Christian Isobel Johnstone (1781 – 1857) was a prolific writer, not just a novelist but also a non-fiction writer, investigative journalist and a creator of The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, publishing the latter under the pseudonym Margaret Dods. Her prestigious career rivalled that of Sir Walter Scott and she was the first woman to serve as a paid editor of a major Victorian periodical. Johnstone was a true Renaissance woman in Edinburgh’s literary scene who used her considerable skills not only to entertain and educate, but also to advocate for political and social reform. She is remembered with a plaque on her home at 12 Buccleuch Place.
Reserve a copy of Clan-Albin online

Selected Poems by Lady Margaret Sackville
Lady Margaret Sackville (1881 – 1963) published her first book of poetry when she was 19 and over her lifetime published around 40 books, mostly volumes of poetry but also plays, children’s stories and essays. A great supporter of the literary community, and in particular other women writers, she was a devout Roman Catholic and a pacifist, and from the beginning of the First World War was a member of the anti-war Union of Democratic Control.  She was also a supporter of the women’s suffrage movement and member of the British Committee of the International Women’s Congress.  She moved to Edinburgh and became the first president of Scottish PEN and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. An HES plaque will be installed to recognise her life and work at a location to be confirmed.
Reserve a copy of Selected Poems online

Mary Elizabeth Haldane: A record of a hundred years by Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane
A memoir of the writer’s mother.
Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane (1862 – 1937) was an eminent writer, translator, public figure, philosopher, suffragist, nursing administrator and social welfare worker. In her 20s she embarked on the ambitious project of translating the work of German philosopher Georg Hegel – a three volume edition which is still recognised and relied upon today. In addition, she wrote biographies on significant intellectual and cultural figures including the philosophers James Frederick Ferrier and Rene Descartes, and the writers George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell. She became the first female Justice of the Peace in Scotland in 1920.  An HES plaque will be installed to recognise her life and work at a location to be confirmed.
Reserve a copy of Mary Elizabeth Haldane: A record of a hundred years online

Find out more about these remarkable women through ‘Building Stories’, a series of podcasts profiling their lives, careers and major works created by in the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust and HES. Researched and produced by I Am Loud Productions, the podcasts can be found at cityofliterature.com/building-stories-podcasts/

Together We Read 2022

We are holding another UK Together We Read digital book club, giving unlimited access to a popular ebook and audiobook until 20 October. Access it through the Libby app or Libby website.

This year’s brilliant title is How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie which is  outrageously funny, compulsive, and subversive. A wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder.  They say you can’t choose your family. But you can kill them. Meet Grace Bernard. Daughter, sister, serial killer…Grace has lost everything. And she will stop at nothing to get revenge.

As usual the ebook can be accessed on tablet, smartphone, computer or ereader (except regular Kindles!) and full instructions can be found on our Libby help pages. Why not encourage your friends and family to read it too and host your own book group get-together!

For further information contact informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk

New pocket books at Central library!

Pocket book collection at Central Library

Want to find the perfect summer read? Designed to be taken on the go, a new collection of pocket-sized books are ideal for holidays, picnics, or lunchbreaks. The smaller the better. From novellas to short stories, this collection offers readers titles that are short in length but big on content.

Here are a couple of classic titles on offer –

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Explore the mysterious and fanciful world of the chocolate factory. This is a dark children’s classic to be enjoyed by adults too.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
This classic gothic tale from the celebrated Scottish author is an enduring masterpiece. Are people both good and evil? Follow the tale of respectable Dr Jekyll and his alter ego Mr Hyde.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper
The gripping and claustrophobic feminist classic follows one woman’s descent into madness when prescribed ‘the rest cure’.

John Steinbeck’s The Pearl
A heart wrenching and moral short story about the danger of greed. When a pearl diver discovers a valuable pearl he is thrust into the shadow of the evil it attracts.
And many more…

Take a look at the display in Central Library or browse the full pocket book collection online and reserve a title to pick up from your local library.

Journeys of Empire: South Asian Heritage Month

What is South Asian Heritage Month?

Shining a light on South Asian histories and identities – South Asian Heritage Month was founded in 2020 and runs from the 18 July to 17 August. This year’s theme is ‘Journeys of Empire.’ Journeys like the odyssey of indenture in the Caribbean and East Asia, the ones taken by Indian Ayahs paid to travel to Scotland in the 19th century, South Asian migration to Britain, and many others.

Here are a few books available at your local library to explore and celebrate South Asian Heritage Month:

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell
This beautiful translation from Tilted Axis press was the winner of the 2022 International Booker Prize. Set in Northern India, 80 year-old Ma an unlikely protagonist travels to Pakistan to confront her past. It explores big themes like the trauma around partition, feminism, and grief all with a light touch. It’s a sweeping book which defies the borders of language, gender, and country.
Borrow Tomb of Sand in print

Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi
This lyrical work of fiction follows Ruby and Rania, two young British Indian sisters. Growing up in a society rife with racism and sexism, one day Ruby just stops speaking altogether. Arshi is an acclaimed poet and writes in a poetic language that is in turns unsettling and tender.
Borrow Somebody Loves You in print or audiobook

Non – fiction:
Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera
A bestseller recently made into a documentary for channel 4. This book aims to tell the lesser-known histories of empire – for example the story of millions of Indian soldiers who fought for Britain in WW2. This book explores how these histories continues to shape today’s England and Scotland.   
Borrow Empireland in print or ebook 

Coolie Woman: the Odyssey of indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur
This is a unique book which charts South Asian women’s journeys of forced indenture under British colonial rule in the late 19th century. The history of indentured women is specifically hard to unearth as there’s little documentation about their lives. (Note, ‘Coolie’ in the title of the book is a racial slur.)
Borrow Coolie Woman in print

I Belong Here: a Journey along the backbone of Britain by Anita Sethi
After experiencing traumatic racist abuse whilst on a train to Newcastle, Sethi resolved to walk the Pennine Way in an act of reclamation and adventure. This book follows her journey to find solace, confidence and belonging.
Borrow I Belong Here in print  

Brown baby by Nikesh Shukla
Written after the death of his mother and addressed to his two young daughters, this is a memoir of race, family and home. What does it mean to bring a brown baby into the world today? How do we live with hope and joy?
Borrow Brown Baby in print

Let Me Tell You This by Nadine Aisha Jassat
This incredible collection tells us stories of family, of belonging, and of being mixed race. Jassat is an Edinburgh based poet and is featured on the Edinburgh Women’s Mural. This collection explores what it is to be a woman of colour in Scotland today. Her writing is mesmeric, powerful, and moving.
Borrow Let Me Tell You This in print or ebook

How to Wash a Heart by Bhanu Kapil
The winner of the T.S. Eliot prize 2020, this is a sharp and poignant poetry collection which explores the themes of immigration, boundaries and borders, and what it means to be a guest.
Borrow How to Wash a Heart in print

Reserve any of these titles for collection at your local library.

A historical summer read

Join millions of others around the world in reading a fantastic historical novel during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 12-27 July, readers can borrow and read the ebook and audiobook versions of The Girl in his Shadow by Audrey Blake from our Libby by OverDrive service. Borrow this suspenseful historical novel with no waiting lists on the Libby app or by visiting our Libby website.

An unforgettable historical fiction novel about one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her. Set in London in 1845, orphan Nora Beady is raised by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Horace Croft after losing her parents to a deadly pandemic. While other young ladies were raised to busy themselves with needlework and watercolours, Nora was trained to perfect her suturing and anatomical illustrations of dissections. Women face dire consequences if caught practicing medicine, but in Croft’s private clinic Nora is his most trusted – and secret – assistant. That is until the new surgical resident arrives and Nora must learn to play a new and uncomfortable role—that of a proper young lady.

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby app and the Libby website from the 12 July and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can even discuss the book online or use #biglibraryread on social media for a chance to win a Samsung tablet and goody bag. Full instructions for using Libby can be found on our Your Library website.

Breaking the News at Central Library

Read all about it! Currently underway at the British Library is the Breaking the News exhibition.

Photo of new exhibition welcome panel in the Mezzanine area of Central Library

Alongside the British Library’s Breaking the News exhibition, pop-up displays are on view at 30 public libraries across the UK including Edinburgh Central Library. The displays draw upon each library’s individual collection and regional connections to celebrate the value of regional news in communities across the UK. 

Photo of glass display case containing newspaper exhibition material

We have delved into Central Library’s newspaper and periodical collections, with the aim to celebrate the value of regional news and champion the personalities, journalism and stories that have made a mark through the years in our local area.  

It is often the case that national news carries many negative stories, but this can sometimes be quite different when looking locally. Local and grassroots news publications have a wonderful variety of stories, they can speak truth to power and are often free from the restraints and impartiality that is evident in the large mainstream tabloids and daily publications. 

Our exhibition space will be dedicated to Breaking the News through the following themes: 

4 July  – 4 August 2022, Edinburgh: a city of firsts 

We are looking at the local achievements that have put Edinburgh on the map. From the pioneering women known as the Edinburgh Seven, who would not rest until they became the first females accepted into a UK university to study medicine, to modern scientific marvels such as God particles and cloned sheep. Edinburgh has been at the forefront of many significant achievements and breakthroughs, this is your chance to explore and see how these were reported at the time. 

During this month we also have a showcase of the many and varied local news publications that have been produced over the years.

Examples of local news publications included in the display

5 August to 29 August 2022 – Edinburgh: Festival City 

During the exhibition’s second phase, we are ready to celebrate. It is the 75th anniversary of the world-famous International and Fringe festivals in Edinburgh, we are using this period to review our collection of material to discover some key moments and breakthroughs from the festivals’ history.

Display of festival material in Central Lending Library cabinets, until 29 August 2022.

Due to the closure of the Mezzanine area in Central Library for essential building works, we are relocating the British Library’s Breaking the News pop up display to the library’s front hall. This is where the festival material is featured also. (The display in the Mezzanine cabinets will be available to view until Saturday 13 August.)

Pop into Central Library during August to have a look!

Breaking the News festival display in the front hall, until 29 August 2022.

Summer Reading Challenge 2022 – Gadgeteers!

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge for children has started!

The theme this year is Gadgeteers, a science and innovation themed challenge that will spark children’s curiosity about the world around them.

We invite children aged 4 to 11 to take up the challenge of reading six books during the summer holidays. Children can register to take part at any of our libraries.

You can include library ebooks and audiobooks from our Library2go service in the challenge and there is a special collection of Gadgeteers themed titles available to borrow on Libby. Complete all six books to receive the challenge prizes including a finisher’s medal and certificate.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs until Wednesday 31 August.

Gadgeteers is brought to you by Edinburgh Libraries and The Reading Agency.

Don’t forget to drop into your local library or keep an eye on their Facebook page for information about activities and events for children throughout the holidays.

A group of six cartoon children characters pictured in amongst large cogs.

The Learning Professional Award 2022 goes to…

We were delighted when our colleague Julie Sutherland, librarian at Forrester High School, was announced the winner of this year’s Scottish Book Trust Learning Professional Award. We asked Julie to tell us all about it –

“It was completely unexpected when I received a call from the Scottish Book Trust earlier this year to say that I had won the Learning Professional Award. I had absolutely no idea that my colleague Lindsay Craik-Collins, CL of English and Media at Forrester High School, had put my name forward. You don’t expect that. She took the time to chat with pupils who regularly use the library outside of class time and I am led to believe that it was their comments that swung the vote my way.

It’s hard to imagine the effect you can have on a young person, but they are the ones that make my day. They challenge and invigorate me and there is no better way to start the day than chatting to a bunch of teenagers. Every morning we have a Card & Chat Club in the library before school starts. It gets VERY loud as we’re all a bit competitive and there is nothing they like more than making me pick up cards, and which occasionally results in a victory lap of the library!

Two of the lads Mrs Craik-Collins spoke to have been playing cards with me since they came to school in S1 and you can see them in the fantastic Scottish Book Trust film which announced the award at the end of this article. They did so well in their interviews and I’m incredibly proud of them. We had really missed Card & Chat Club when restrictions after school returned post-pandemic, initially prevented us from playing. Very soon we will be inviting our new S1s to join in the fun!

No Librarian is an island, and everything I do is possible because I’m part of a team, or really, lots of teams; working with pupils and teachers to understand what needs they have of the library and how I can help them best, developing citywide initiatives with librarians from other schools and community branches in Edinburgh and seeking help across the UK on the School Librarian Network Yahoo Group. I rely heavily on the knowledge and support of my colleagues, and I can do the things I do in school because of these fantastic teams and in my heart this award is for all of them. I’m a bit nosey, to be honest, and I love being the chair of Cilips East Branch because it gives me the chance to network with all kinds of libraries and their amazing staff. I love visiting them (we call this library bagging – a term coined by Cilips Central Branch – just think libraries instead of Munro’s) and sharing, then pinching, ideas that I can bring back to school. We’ve been to some amazing places that are right on our doorstep, everything from the Tool Library to the Library of Mistakes, including a professional peek behind the scenes at the Museum of Childhood’s library stores… then further afield to Prestonpans and Dunfermline Libraries. Library staff have great chat and love showing off their collections!

I’m not very good at looking back and giving myself a pat on the back for something well done, because I’m already thinking about the next thing I have planned. I get bored really easily, so am always looking for something a little bit different to try, whether it’s a course in graphic novels, ways to diversify the collection or a new reading initiative.

I hope that this award will illuminate the positive effect school libraries and librarians can have on a young person’s life. It’s not just about developing literacy and a love for reading, that’s really important, of course, but it’s also about the whole person and being there for every young person that needs your support.

So, who knows what is around the next corner, I have several cunning plans brewing and am keeping my options open and my eyes scanning the horizon, the next conversation in the library or email from a colleague could start something really interesting…”

Congratulations Julie! Watch this wonderful Scottish Book Trust film to find out what made Julie’s nomination stand out –

Empathy Day

Research shows that only ten percent of empathy is genetic, the rest is learned as we move through the world interacting with others, either in person or through the written word which allows us to literally experience the world as another person. One of the wonders of the library, is all the people you can become. Choose one book and you are an explorer, charting new territories, another and you are a servant in the household of the Bennett sisters. Although you do not feel the peril, the fear, the day-to-day life as if you were living it, researchers at The University of Toronto have discovered that there is some correlation in reading and experience; the parts of your brain related to running wakes up when you read about someone running, just as your grasping reflex turns on when you read of a character reaching for a light.

Empathy Day, founded in 2017, aims to promote empathy through reading. Though the day is mainly aimed at children and young adult readers (with excellent lists where authors recommend books which promote empathy) in Central Library we have widened the remit, with staff looking at adult fiction, non-fiction and children’s books which have increased their empathy, teaching them what it is like to be someone else.

Doris, Library Advisor at Central Lending and Children’s recommends All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Focusing on the themes of loss, bravery, resilience and kindness, this Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells the story of Marie-Laure, a blind girl who lives with her father and great uncle in Nazi occupied France. The other main character is Werner, a German boy who has grown up in an orphanage with his sister Jutta. Werner is a genius with electricals who attracts the attention of the Hitler Youth.

Frederick, “a reedy boy, thin as a blade of grass, skin as pale as cream”, is another character that readers will empathise with. The fact that he feels he has no agency in his life is heartbreaking. His friendship with Werner is tenderly written and there’s the constant fear that something terrible will happen at their military school.

All the Light We Cannot See is full of haunting three-dimensional characters, with many trying to do good in a terrifying world.

All the Light We Cannot See is available to borrow in print, ebook, audiobook or as a talking book.

Ania, Library Advisor at Central Lending and Children’s selects two books: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Oscar and the Lady in Pink by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Oscar and the Lady in Pink is told from the perspective of a 10-year-old Oscar through his letters to God. He is only ten years old and dying of leukaemia. He has been living in a hospital for a very long time feeling lonely, isolated, and unhappy. His parents, who bring him gifts and surely love him, are uncomfortable during their infrequent visits and have a very little connection with their dying son. They feel hopeless and distant as they avoid the subject of his imminent death.

Things change when Granny Rose, a hospital volunteer, enters Oscar’s life. She brings honesty, warmth and comfort to his life and is the only person willing to listen to Oscar’s questions about death.

My other choice, The Little Prince, I believe, is teaching us the secret of what is really important in life. One of the most significant sentences of the book: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” summarises the main message of the story. The importance of looking beneath the surface to find the real truth and meaning.  

The author, rightly, argues that we often see more clearly if we look with empathy (the heart) than if we look with the eye.

The Little Prince is available to borrow as a picture book, print, ebook, audiobook and DVD.

Hope, Library Advisor at Central Lending and Children’s chooses Hard Pushed, a Midwife’s Story by Leah Hazard
The astounding thing about medical memoirs is how practising doctors, nurses and midwifes find the time to write them. Leah Hazard left her career as a journalist to study midwifery after the traumatic birth of her first child, and the less traumatic birth of her second. Throughout the first it was the kindness of midwifes and doctors which made all the difference as she “failed to progress in labour” ending up with an emergency Caesarean.

In Hard Pushed, Hazard tells of the huge and tiny ways she seeks to make a difference to a patient, from cleaning a wound and listening to a woman’s struggles, to identifying full blown sepsis during a routine antenatal appointment.

Leah doesn’t skirt around the terrible pressures on the NHS, the staff shortages, the relentless shifts, the terror when the unit is full and there are only so many midwives on shift, and yet she relates these with empathy, and even good humour.

As someone who’s soon to give birth it’s terrifying reading, but it’s also good to know that midwives like Leah exist, and I am likely to have someone like that looking after me; someone warm, kind, human, who listens and relates.

Hard Pushed is available to borrow in print or talking book on CD

Emily, Library Advisor at Central Lending and Children’s selects The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom gave me a new outlook on life. It tells the story of the life and death of the main character, who is sent to Heaven, and meets five individuals who significantly impacted the life he had. This book is inspiring as it invites you to open up to the possibility that so many individuals, who you either know or don’t know, have an impact on the life you live. By reading this book, it definitely made me more thoughtful and empathetic to others, because just as so many people can have an impact on your life, you also may impact so many others’ lives; by treating people with kindness and exploring empathy, this impact you have can be positive. 

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is available to borrow in print

What book would you recommend for Empathy Day?

Walking books collection

Stockbridge Library has a new walking books collection! Whether you’re an avid walker, an armchair walker, or an amateur, here’s a glimpse into what the collection has to offer…

Walking guides

Walking in the Pentland Hills: 30 Walks in Edinburgh’s Local Hills by Susan Falconer – if you’re looking for easy walks from Edinburgh this book is packed full of options. Including popular Pentland trails around Harlaw reservoir and Scald Law, this book also weaves through historical facts, literary connections, and folktale.

Or try somewhere further afield:

Exploring the Fife Coastal Path by Hamish Brown – this route stretches from Kincardine to Newburgh. The walk can be completed in day trips or in 9 – 10 days. Walkers may wish to spend longer in St Andrews or exploring the beautiful beaches and fishing villages along the way. You can even have a go at the chain walk (at your own risk!)

Walking The Dales Way by Terry Marsh – this book guides you on a 79 mile walk across the Yorkshire Dales, ending in the Lake District. A largely flat walk across rolling dales, riversides, and moor. It’s broken up by picturesque villages making it perfect for long distance beginners. Complete it over 4 – 7 days. 

Day walks in Northumberland: 20 coastal & countryside routes by David Wilson – explore Bamburgh, Hadrian’s wall, Lindisfarne and more. These walks cover wide sandy beaches, ancient ruins, and the rolling Cheviot Hills. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, whales, and seals along the way.

Books on walking

Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit – from social change to famous walkers: this is a meditation on walking, wandering, and writing. Solnit argues we’ve become too focused on the destination at the expense of the journey – when we give up on journeys we give up the opportunity to discover new things about ourselves and the world around us.

Just Another Mountain by Sarah Jane Douglas – after losing her mother to breast cancer, Douglas set herself the challenge to climb every Munro. Through mountain climbing she found solace, hope, and the strength to overcome.  A poignant and moving memoir on walking and grief.

Hidden histories: a spotter’s guide to the British landscape by Mary-Ann Ochota – ever wondered why some fields are bumpy? How to spot a Roman road? Or do you want to learn more about the history of our landscape, from quarries to ancient burial mounds? This beautifully illustrated book encourages you to ‘get out there!’ and find out.

Navigation Skills for Walkers – this book by the ordnance survey will help you build up your confidence or help brush up on old skills. It includes tips on map reading, using GPS devices, and using a compass.

Discover the full walking collection at Stockbridge Library or browse the Walking collection titles online and reserve for pick up at your local library.

And don’t forget to check out Libby for some more great walking-themed ebook, audiobook and magazine titles!