Break a record this summer

Need to know more? Visit the official site or ask about the challenge at your nearest library.

Dyslexia Chatterbooks celebrates another year

Our Chatterbooks group for youngsters with dyslexia recently had its annual knees up celebrations and the ‘special guest’ Mr Bookbug caused a stir when he arrived to present certificates and yearbooks to each member.


Parents and siblings enjoyed stories, songs, drama and games giving them a taste of what the group gets up to on a monthly basis!

The group meets in the Central Children’s Library on the last Tuesday of each month and is for children from Primary 4 upwards.

To cater for those moving up to senior school a new group has recently started, REDit! Senior 1-3 pupils with dyslexia are welcome.

We meet on the second Tuesday of each month, on the Mezzanine, Central Library. If you are interested in finding out more about either of these popular groups, please contact

Which travel guide should you choose?

Holiday booked and ready to go? Which guidebook are you taking? Which guidebook should you be taking?

Indeed, in the age of Trip Advisor, is there even a need for travel guides? While it could be argued that most of us go online for hotel and restaurant reviews, there’s still a massive demand for travel guides, a fact borne out by the fact that they are among the most borrowed non-fiction books from libraries (and probably among the most travelled books too, come to think of it).

So which one should you go for? Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Insight Guides, Eyewitness, Footprint…?

Of the general guides, the two big beasts are Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. Both have their champions and detractors. We wouldn’t recommend one over the other but would offer these three pieces of advice.

  1. Don’t take anyone’s word about what’s ‘best’. Take a look at both to see which you prefer.
  2. Don’t be blindly loyal to one brand. Just as every holiday is different so is every guidebook.
  3. Finally, and most importantly: other guide books are available! So let’s look at some of them.

Many people prefer foregoing pages of closely typed text for the colourful Eyewitness Guides. Marketed as the ‘guide that shows you what others only tell you’, page after page of glossy colour photographs and three-dimensional cutaways give you a sense of exactly what to expect when you get there.

One potential drawback to the Eyewitness books (and the similar Insight Guides) is weight. These can be fairly hefty, so if you’re not keen on lugging one of these round a historic city centre you might be better with their smaller sibling, the pocket-sized Top 10 series.

(Or, lighter still, you could of course download your travel guide from OverDrive)

Written by locals, the stylish Time Out guides have a strong emphasis on shopping, entertainment and nightlife. Colourful and informative, these are particularly good for city breaks.

For the more adventurous, Footprint guides are aimed at ‘independent travellers looking to get off the beaten track’ and Bradt champion more unusual destinations such as Suriname, Malawi and Kyrgyzstan. They also have a different take on some more familiar locations so you’ll also find guides to areas such as Suffolk or Dumfries and Galloway.

For the active traveller, Sunflower focus on walking and touring holidays and the Cicerone series is aimed at trekkers, cyclists, climbers and mountaineers.

In conclusion then, the guidebook you choose should reflect what you want out of your holiday – whether your emphasis is on activities, sightseeing, budget backpacking, getting to grips with the language or enjoying the nightlife.

Borrow a selection from the library to find the one that best suits your needs.Then, enjoy your trip!

Overcoming a reluctance to read. Part 6 of 6: series and reviews

by a dyslexic library member

In the previous four blog posts in this series, we’ve been looking at  helping reluctant readers to engage with books through:

  • ·         using different formats;
  • ·         booklists on the library catalogue and elsewhere; and
  • ·         creating and editing your own booklists

By the term ‘reluctant reader’ I mean anyone who is reluctant to read for whatever reason, including reading difficulties and dyslexia.

This final blog post in the series gives information on book series and tells you how to add your own book reviews to the catalogue.

What is the difference between a list and a series?

  • A list can have any type of publications on it, in any combination e.g. one ‘Quick Read’, two ‘Barrington Stokes’ and five ‘Penguin Classics’
  • A series contains all the titles on the catalogue of one type of publication only e.g. ‘Very Short Introductions’
  • As a library member, you cannot create a series

Series and lists can complement each other.  For example, if you want to identify this year’s ‘Quick Reads’ books, you can look up the ‘Quick Reads’ series and save the 2015 titles as a list.

How can I find a series on the catalogue?

You can only find a series by using the catalogue’s search box.  Key in the word ‘series’ followed by a colon then the name of the series in brackets.

For example, to search for the Quick Reads series, key in ‘series:(Quick Reads)’ . Omit the speech marks.  Do not insert a space between the colon and the first bracket.

Recommend books to others by adding reviews to the catalogue

Another way to recommend books using the catalogue (as well as sharing booklists) is by adding a review of a book you have read or listened to.  Reviews are also sometimes tweeted on the library’s twitter page.  See the last paragraph in the following document for step-by-step instructions of how to add a review:


Top tip on adding a review: copy and paste your review into Word before clicking on Save because if the webpage has timed out you will lose all your text when you click on Save.

Summary of this blog post

This sixth of six blog posts in our series has explored:

  • The difference between a list and a series;
  • How you can find a series on the catalogue; and
  • How you can add a book review to the catalogue

Which books would you recommend to others?  Why not create a list or write a review – or both?  If you do not have any recommendations to give just now, this blog post will always be here for future reference.

Summary of this series of blog posts

We have reached the end of this series of blog posts. In these posts, we have explored some things that can help reluctant readers to engage with books, namely:

  • engaging with books in more than one format;
  • finding and making recommendations through booklists and reviews; and
  • five useful resources offered by the library and others

Finally, if this blog series has made you curious to find out more about dyslexia, please see

“No one feels judged on their opinion.” Conversation and cake with Morningside Library’s Book Group

IMG_4950The reading experience is something we take very seriously in Edinburgh Libraries, and one of the most successful methods of promoting the joy of reading  is through book groups.

There are dozens of book groups meeting in libraries across Edinburgh. These include specialist groups for teens, dyslexic readers, sci-fi fans and a group concentrating specifically on contemporary European Literature.

With  National Reading Group Day (20th June) fast approaching we visited one of our groups to join in the discussion on The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver


The group have been meeting at Morningside Library for a couple of years now and everyone was quick to point out the benefits. Martha, a first time book-grouper tells us:

“I’ve been really impressed by the level of conversation and all the different ideas which are brought to the group. Even if you have read a book you didn’t like so much, usually, following a discussion you want to read it again.

Also, books you may have rejected before you are now pushed to have an opinion on and think more carefully about them.”

Katrina agrees: “I think it adds more enjoyment to the book to think about in that way. The group is quite good in that no-one feels judged on their opinion. It is quite relaxed and open and easy to make conversation about the books.”


While  they enjoy tea and generous slices of birthday cake everyone agrees that the social aspect is a key thing for them.

Katrina tells us “it’s a regular group so we’ve all got to know each other pretty well. We’ve started meeting for coffees outwith the group. It’s a good way to reduce isolation for some people and an opportunity to make new friends”.

Do you run a book group? If so, you can borrow up to 15 copies of a title for your group – and with over 250 titles to choose from, you should find something to suit.

And if you want to find out more about book groups in your area visit Reading Groups for Everyone.

Looking for holiday reading ideas?

We asked our colleagues about what they’d been reading:

I’ve just finished Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed. It investigates whether top sports people or musicians etc are just born naturally gifted or whether we could all excel given the right training and environment. It was a very interesting and well researched read, which has now made me feel guilty for not putting in those 10,000 hours of practice that would have turned me in to a world class chess player! Quite inspirational though as it makes you realise you can do anything if you really want to.

Twelve minutes of love by Kapka Kassabova. An insightful warning….

Just finished Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. A moving story narrated by Maud, an elderly lady with memory loss. As she struggles to communicate, you can sense her distress and frustration with those around her as she continues in her search for her missing friend. Her memories of growing up and her older sister who disappeared, intersect her quest to find Elizabeth. As the fragmented story unfolds, it becomes clear that the past and the present are not only interlinked in Maud’s jumbled memory. A brilliant and haunting read.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Have read this now on and off since it was released back in the day and still it is the long, perfect and happy marriage of story and art.

Michael Booth – The Almost Nearly Perfect People.  Is a great book for anyone interested in the Nordic region or thinking about visiting Scandinavia.  There are entertaining stories as the author struggles to understand local custom often resulting in humiliating but amusing encounters. Travelling between countries he tries to find answers to many puzzling questions about the Scandinavian success story including why the Danes are the happiest people in the world? And how the Norway spends its huge oil wealth?  Well worth a look!

I’m reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and it’s spooking me out!

Really enjoyed Isabel Greenberg’s The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. A beautiful graphic novel about myth, gods, stories and storytellers. Enchanting. 

Still looking for ideas? Fill in this simple form and we’ll email five suggestions chosen especially for you.

Overcoming a reluctance to read. Part 5 of 6: lists and tags

by a dyslexic library member

In the previous three blog posts in this series, we’ve been looking at things that can help reluctant readers to engage with books, namely:

  • taking a flexible approach to books using different formats;
  • booklists for reluctant readers on the library catalogue; and
  • five other resources that can help reluctant readers

By the term ‘reluctant reader’ I mean anyone who is reluctant to read for whatever reason, including reading difficulties and dyslexia.

This penultimate blog post in our series gives information on:

  • creating your own lists on the library catalogue; and
  • sharing your lists or keeping them to yourself

 How can you create and share your own lists?

Book recommendations can help reluctant readers.  If you are a reluctant reader, you can recommend books to other reluctant readers that you have found to be ‘good choices’ for you.

For an example, see my list Recommended print books by contemporary Scottish authors for dyslexic adults.  You can recommend books to others by creating a list then sharing it anonymously.

Follow these step-by-step instructions on creating your own lists.

Do I have to share my lists?

Sharing your lists is optional.  In other words, if you want to create a list for your own reference, you can keep it to yourself.  This can be a handy way to keep a note of which books you want to read next.

How many lists can you make? 

You can make as many different lists as you like.

How many books should there be on a list?

You can have as many or as few books on each list as you want.  For example, one of my lists has just one book on it, while another has twenty-five.

How can people find your lists?

If people search for a list using the catalogue search box, they will not find it.  They will only find lists in one of the four following ways.

People can find your lists by looking through ‘Everybody’s lists’. There is no limit to how many lists can be added to the catalogue. So if you share them, your lists will always be visible under ‘Everybody’s Lists’, no matter how many pages of lists there are.  Any lists you choose not to share will always be visible (to you only) under ‘My Lists’

  • People can find your lists in the record (under ‘Community Contributions’) of an individual book that you have put on a list
  • People can find your lists by clicking on a tag on a list
  • If you click on a tag on a list, if there are any other lists with the same tag, they will appear when you click.
  • See a separate section below for more about tags.
  • People can find your lists through the library’s twitter page 
  • The library sometimes posts tweets about newly shared lists

What is the function of a tag on a list?

  • If you add a tag to a list it means people will be able to find that list from any other lists that have the same tag (by clicking on the tag)
  • You cannot search the catalogue for a tag

Saving and editing lists

  • You can save lists and keep them to yourself for as long as you like before sharing them on the catalogue
  • You can edit lists after you have shared them, for example you can add or remove books from a list
  • You can delete lists
  • You are the only person who can edit your lists – people cannot add items to one of your lists and you cannot add items to other people’s
  • There is a time delay of around 20 minutes between when you make an edit to a shared list and when it shows up on the library catalogue

Next week, in the final blog post in this series, we will look at the roles that series and reviews can play in helping reluctant readers.