Emmeline Vyner: poet, psychic, dog-lover

Staff at Central Library have been archiving a box of personal papers, diaries and scrapbooks and in the process, discovering a remarkable life. Emmeline Lillian Vyner was born in Halifax around 1876. She moved to Scotland with her husband and first daughter and stayed here for the rest of her life. She was found dead in her shop in Leith in 1947 by her son.

A mother of five, she possessed a wry sense of humour and a robust outlook on life lived through two world wars. She liked to write poetry and her poems were placed in Edinburgh and Leith newspapers: romantic and natural subjects to start with then moving on to First World War poems, based mainly on the experience of the women and children left to cope at home. She was not afraid to criticise the church and the established institutions of the day and to challenge injustice where she found it with her published articles and in letters to the newspapers. When she felt in a lighter mood, she wrote humorous pieces for magazines, newspapers and lyrics for songs. She had lofty ambitions and received rejection notices from some of the biggest literary agents in Britain. She has pasted one of those rejections in her scrapbook signed by Curtis Brown. He set up the agency which still manages some of the biggest names in the literary world today.

Some of her most interesting pieces are on her activities attending psychic seances in various houses in Edinburgh and Leith in 1942. These circles were well attended by large numbers of participants and, from Emmeline’s accounts, the attendees gained a great deal of comfort from the messages from the mediums. She explains in one article that she has been receiving jealous looks from the other sitters at the number of messages she receives and explains the best way to receive messages from the spirit people. She advises not to eat flesh meat or eggs on séance days, talk to your spirit friends before you leave your house, tell them where you are going and ask them to come with you. Once you are at your circle, sit still and relax and don’t cross the legs, feet, hands, arms or do anything to close yourself up. She writes “Let spirit emanations flow from your extremities and remove your hat if you like.” Always enterprising, Emmeline has typed up these accounts on reused paper (due to wartime restrictions) and has charged between threepence and sixpence for a copy!

It’s her delight in children and dogs that really shines through her journals and scrapbooks. In her work as a cinema pianist, she rails against playing for two hour features with only the shortest of breaks but she delights in the mornings that she played her piano for the children’s features. She loved to hear all the children singing along to her piano and deliberately played tunes they would enjoy although she said that, due to the noise, a brass band might have been a better accompaniment! Dogs she loved, especially old English collies, and her charming article on dogs and their affinity with their masters is illustrated with four photos of Rough, her own example of the breed. She states the reasoning powers of dogs is quite evident and provides several examples of dogs doing just that. The funniest is an Alsatian called Prince whom, upon hearing his mistress’ wish for a fur coat from her husband, promptly went out the door and stole her a mink coat that had been left out to air by a neighbour!

We are glad Emmeline Vyner settled in Scotland all those years ago and left behind so many different types of writing. It has been fascinating to see a glimpse of how an ordinary person dealt with the Great War through poetry and then found support through spiritualism to carry on through the Second World War, brought closer to home by Leith air raids and rationing. We are so glad that we have had a chance to read her papers, her newspaper articles and her scrapbooks and make a connection with such a lively and resilient character.

 

Green Pencil Award 2019

There were smiles all round on 28th November at Central Reference Library when finalists in the Green Pencil Award collected their prizes watched by their families and teachers, at a ceremony hosted by Councillor Donald Wilson, Convener of Culture and Communities.

The environmentally-themed creative writing competition, funded by Edinburgh Libraries, has been running for 11 years and is open to P4-S3 pupils attending City of Edinburgh Council and independent schools across Edinburgh, as well as home-schooled children. This year’s theme was ’Going, Going, Gone-Scottish Wildlife in Danger?’ The competition was launched in August at Blackhall Library by children’s author Vivian French, who led a writing workshop for P6 pupils from Davidson’s Mains Primary.

There was a record number of over 1200 entries, from which 20 finalists and an overall winner were selected by a judging panel whose members came from the Scottish Book Trust, Edinburgh International Book Festival, National Trust for Scotland, Edinburgh Libraries and Schools and Lifelong Learning.

Generous prizes were donated by sponsors, including RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, Jupiter Artland, RSPB, Scottish Book Trust, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Forth Boat Tours, the Woodland Trust, Alien Rock, Scottish Seabird Centre, Camera Obscura, NTS and Scottish Natural Heritage.

This year’s overall winner was Charlotte Schlegel, from Preston St Primary, for her story ’The Different Perceptives.’ Charlotte was presented with the Green Pencil trophy and a medal to keep by Vivian French and last year’s winner, Liam Guyatt.

Green Pencil Award Overall Winner

This year’s overall winner was Charlotte Schlegel, from Preston St Primary School.

The judges commented, ‘What really struck us was the way that Charlotte’s story addressed the topic so well, giving a real sense of her concern for our wildlife. She cleverly managed to tell her story from two different points of view, both human and animal, in her own, very personal way. We were impressed with the originality of the story in depicting both the natural environment of Scotland and Charlotte’s concern for it.’

The 20 winning entries appear in a brochure which goes to all public libraries, sponsors and schools that submitted entries to the competition.

This year’s winners

 

 

Libraries Week focus: Capital Collections

Where can you find a Dalek alongside The Fonz?

A record of the changing face of the city and a view of the castle from all angles?

Or a teddy bear named Gilmour and a half-completed Scott Monument?

Family histories and sporting moments?

Vintage children’s book illustrations and a priceless Japanese scroll?

Fashion tips from the Georgian Lady’s Monthly Museum and a pair of early eighties platform shoes?

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And quite possibly, the best online collection of photographs of old Edinburgh?

You’ll find all this and much more on Capital Collections, Edinburgh Libraries and Museums and Galleries online image library. There are over 20,000 digitized images and dozens of online exhibitions to explore. What will you find?

 

Digital Drop-ins

Need a wee hand getting started using our Library2go downloadable services? Or its been a while since you used them and you can’t remember the password? Fear not, help is at hand!  Come along to one of our digital drop-ins for friendly, easy to understand help with our downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers.

We run the following regular sessions on the Mezzanine, Central Library –

  • Every Tuesday 2-3.30pm
  • Most Fridays 2-4pm (this session running 27 September to 13 December 2019)
  • First Thursday month 10.30am-noon

We’re also running a couple of sessions on a Saturday for those people who find it difficult to make it in during the week –

  • Saturday 12 October 11am-1pm
  • Saturday 12 October  1.30-3.30pm

So come armed with your tablet, phone or laptop and we’ll get you all set-up. Or just bring your questions and we’ll tell you all about our fantastic services!

Celebrating Libraries in a Digital World for Libraries Week , 7-12 October

 

There is only a few days to go until the start of this year’s Library Week.

There’s lots going on in Libraries throughout the week with digital drop-ins to help you get started using library online services, digital inspired craft sessions and lots more!  Here is a taster of some of the great events taking place next week.

Wester Hailes Library

Friday 11th October 2019
3.00 – 4.00pm
Stop Motion Animation
Learn the art of stop motion animation. We’ll show you how to create your own animated movies as part of our FUNgineers programme.
( 6 – 10 yrs)

Drumbrae Library
Friday 11th October
2.00 – 4.00pm
Game time taster session using playstation, VR gaming console virtual reality or Minecraft.

Newington Library

Monday 7th October
5.30 – 7.00pm
Game Programming
Ever wanted to know how to make your own computer game? Curious about what computer programming is? Join us for a quick taster session and tinker with some games to see exactly what is going on under the hood.
(Ticketed, 8+)

Wednesday 9th October
3.30 – 4.30pm
Building With Little Bits
Build electronic circuits and crazy devices with Little Bits. A light that automatically comes on in the dark? A musical synth keyboard? A sound activated fan that cools you down when you shout at it? Anything is possible! Just snap the pieces together and create.
(8+)

Kirkliston Library

Monday 7 October
4.00 – 7.30pm & Friday 11 October 1.00-4.00pm
Come along to the library and experience VR in collaboration with the BBC VR Hub
13yrs+ Booking essential

Moredun Library

Monday 7th October
2.00 – 4.00pm
Digital Bracelets
Learn the basics of coding by making binary bead bracelets.
(ages 8-12 yrs)
Drop-in

Tuesday 8th October
2.00 – 4.00pm
Make your own robot
(5-12 yrs)
Drop-in

Central Library

Saturday 12th October
Digital fun day: introduction to coding

Ratho Library

Tuesday 8th October
(afternoon)
Come along and try 3D Printing, 3D Scanning and 3D CAD Design.
Drop-in

Sighthill Library

Friday 11th October
(morning)
Come along for an introduction to online family history resources including Find my Past.
Drop-in

Stockbridge Library

Friday 11th October
2.30 – 3.30pm
Borrowbox Audiobook Roadshow
Drop-in

These are just some of the events to tempt you into the Library during Libraries Week.  Check out what more is on offer at these Libraries and your local library.

Find out about all our digital services at Your Library.

 

Join in with our Digital Fun Day – Saturday 12th October

We are finishing off Libraries Week 2019 in style with a Digital Fun Day! On Saturday 12th October you can come along to Central Library’s mezzanine and get help setting up Library2go services on your device or your children can join in with a fantastic range of fun events –

Kids & Teen Events

  • Introduction to Micro:bits with CodeBase Stirling 10.30-11.30am
    Use pocket-sized computers to create simple games (ages 8-15 yrs)
  • Introduction to Coding with CodeBase Stirling 11.30-12.30pm
    Use codecombat to explore coding basics (ages 8-15 yrs)
  • Bee-Bot Robot Fun 1.30-3.30pm (drop-in, no need to book)*
    Program the bees to guide them along paths and mazes (ages 5-10 yrs)
  • Digital Bracelets Craft Event 2-3pm*
    Learn the basics of coding by making binary bead bracelets (ages 7-12 yrs)

* Children under 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Adult Events

  • Library2go Drop-in 11am-1pm and 1.30-3.30pm (drop-in, no need to book)
    Bring your tablet, smart phone or laptop along for help getting set up with the library’s ebook, audiobook, magazine and newspaper services.

All events are free, book your place on Eventbrite –        http://www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk

Contact informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk or – 0131 242 8047 if you have any questions regarding these events.

Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service

Libraries have always been a place where people could get the help and information that they needed. That is why we are so proud to be able to offer access to the  Macmillan@Edinburgh Library service which provides support for patients, their families and carers.

Finding out that you or someone close to you has cancer can be a difficult time and sometimes you just need someone to talk to. Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries have highly trained volunteers who will listen to your concerns and offer free, confidential support and information. As well as being good listeners they will provide you with leaflets to take away on all aspects of cancer and can help you access services such as counselling, transport to hospital and other support services.

Six of our libraries have Information Point stands with helpful leaflets that you can take away at any time. Most of these branches also have manned service times where can drop in to talk to one of our volunteers (these new times start from the 1st October)

Portobello Library Mondays 10.30am-2.30pm
Drumbrae Library Tuesday 10.30am-2.30pm
Leith Library  Wednesdays 10.30am-2.30pm
Craigmillar Library Thursdays 10.30am-2.30pm
Morningside Library Fridays 10.30am-2.30pm
Central Library Information Point only

For more information visit www.edinburgh.gov.uk/macmillanlibraries or email macmillan.libraries@edinburgh.gov.uk or phone 0131 242 8125