World Autism Awareness Week 27 March – 2 April – A personal story Part 2

Following on from Hope’s post yesterday.

So how can I work in libraries, working not only within a team, but also serving customers, dealing with their enquiries, advising them on where to find a book, or how to get a bus pass, or which part of the library to go to?

Hope

Hope working in the Central Library

Ever since I can remember I have loved libraries; I remember the childhood treat of being allowed to choose new books every Saturday, which would be my bedtime stories for the week ahead, learning to read myself, making slow but crucial sense of the strange characters on paper which make up words, sitting on the little plastic orange chairs and reading story books about kids who also felt isolated, or awkward or were in some kind of jeopardy. The monsters who they fled from seemed similar to the bullies who I spent my lunch break hiding from.

The books in the library told stories of outsiders, kids like me who although they weren’t autistic, had something separating them, something which meant that they weren’t like all the other kids, something a bit magical. Through the magic of libraries and the kindness of librarians I learnt a lot, and even as a child, frightened of the world and the people in it, I always thought it would be sort of cool to work in a library.

As I got older I learnt to disguise my weirdness and fear, until the fear was far smaller and the weirdness transformed into something people called ‘quirkiness’ or ‘magic.’ I went to University and graduated at the height of the recession then worked as a waitress, because there was literally no other work. I found to my amazement that excepting the odd person, working with members of the public is kind of nice.

Tomorrow Hope talks about her experience of working for Edinburgh City Libraries.

 

World Autism Awareness Week 27 March – 2 April : A personal story

This is the first in a three-part series of blog posts written by Hope, who’s a member of library staff and who is on the Autistic Spectrum. In part one she talks about her experiences as a child.

It is not always obvious that someone is on the Autistic Spectrum. I am a thirty-one-year-old Library Adviser in  Central Library. I also happen to be on the Autistic Spectrum.

As a child, I was lost in unfamiliar social situations, filled with a fear of strangers, separate to that created by the ‘stranger danger’ messages with which all children are familiar. My fear was more complex, less easy to express. I was afraid of being disliked, of being thought of as weird, of seeing strangers’ eyes glaze over as I spoke to them, or worse, seeing them look sideways at the person next to them in a glance they thought I couldn’t catch – a glance which said – ‘isn’t she a freak?’

Work can be frightening for people on the Autistic Spectrum, as it entails working with people (members of the public as well as colleagues.) The fear comes not from the other people, but from the Autistic person’s inability (or their low perception of their own ability) to read social cues. Some people who have Autistic Spectrum disorders may talk too much to cover up nerves, some may hardly speak at all – both can be construed as inappropriate.

Tomorrow, Hope talks about the importance of libraries.

Roses are red, violets are blue, we’ve delved into the British Newspaper Archive…. just for you!

Today is Valentine’s Day and with that in mind we’ve been having a look at some historical newspapers to see what we could find.

If you think that the heavy burden on the postie was a relatively new thing, think again. Back in 1876, the Edinburgh Evening News reported that the pillar box at the GPO had to be emptied 5 or 6 times to cope with the demand.

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Edinburgh Evening News 14th Feb 1876

In the Dundee Evening Telegraph, you could win £2 2s for pouring your heart out….

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Dundee Evening Telegraph 10th Feb 1931

And a few years later this little drawing appeared, can you work out the message?

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Dundee Evening Telegraph 14th Feb 1936

And if you forgot to send off that card, there was even a belated Valentine’s message.

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There are over 14 million digitised pages from more than 700 UK and Irish newspapers available on the British Newspaper Archive. You can browse for FREE in Central Library’s Edinburgh & Scottish Collection and Reference Library.

So do come and have a look yourself and use the Libraries’ computers or wifi to explore thousands of newspapers from 1710-1954 for FREE.

February’s Art Exhibition

michael-topley-poster-image-2Why not pop along to the Art & Design Library and see their February exhibition. This month’s exhibition is entitled Edinburgh Scenes & Others and is by Michael Topley. You can see his work from 3 – 27 February.

Michael lives  in Morningside having moved up from North Somerset five years ago and started painting seriously having been previously involved in photography. His job as an engineer and family commitments prevented him from giving too much time for art, but he has always had a strong interest.  Along with his wife he is a member of an Edinburgh Art Group which meets once a week.

About his work Michael says “As I hope I have expressed in my paintings, I like to reflect modern life, particularly with urban street scenes, but don’t limit myself to these and will tackle most subjects with varied results. I feel that watercolours can be as expressive as any other medium and try hard to show this in my work”.

 

Providing cancer information and support in Edinburgh

macmillan-logoFinding out that you or someone close to you has cancer is life changing. For many it is an introduction to a new and unfamiliar world; one which impacts on every aspect of your life, from your emotions and relationships to your health and even finances. And this can often feel overwhelming.

Knowing what practical, emotional and financial support is available in your area can make the future seem a little less daunting.

macmillan-2Our Macmillan @ Edinburgh Libraries programme is there to give free and confidential information and support to people affected by cancer, whether they are newly diagnosed, finished treatment, a friend, family member or carer. Trained volunteers and cancer support specialists are on hand to provide a listening ear and information on everything from local support groups to help for the financial problems cancer may create.

Information and support sessions can currently be found in Central and Craigmillar Libraries, with sessions at Leith and Drumbrae Libraries set to open in the spring. And you don’t need to make an appointment to visit. Each library has worked hard to provide a warm and welcoming space where people can find lots of information on cancer and its impacts, as well as reading material that may help on a range of topics such as healthy eating.

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All of the cancer books can be requested free of charge from any of our
Libraries. And if the library information point hasn’t got exactly what you are looking for, more specialist information can be ordered free of charge from Macmillan.

Knowing that there is someone else to talk to, and can understand what you’re going through can be a huge help. Our library service is there to make sure that no one in Edinburgh has to face cancer alone.

The opening hours of the service are:
Craigmillar Library            Monday 11am – 3pm
Central Library                 Tuesday 3 – 7pm
Craigmillar Library           Thursday 11am – 3pm
Central Library                 Friday 11am – 3pm

For more information call 0131 242 8125 or email Macmillan.Libraries@edinburgh.gov.uk

Funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, Macmillan @ Edinburgh Libraries is part of a £1 million initiative to provide support to people affected by cancer in the capital. It works closely with other Macmillan projects in the area, including our Move More Edinburgh programme with Edinburgh Leisure, Macmillan and the City of Edinburgh Council’s Welfare Rights programme, and Cancer Support Scotland’s counselling and mindfulness courses.

 

Bobby visits Central Library

We celebrated the life and times of Greyfriars Bobby by inviting champion Skye Terrier Hanna and her pup Murren to the library to meet with a group of schoolchildren from Abbeyhill Primary School.

At Central Library

Moira and Katie with their Skye Terriers Hanna and Murren at Central Library

Hanna’s owner Moira shared her lifelong fascination with this legendary Edinburgh story and her dedication to the now rare Skye Terrier breed.  Moira’s granddaughter Katie took charge of the pup, but like many youngsters Murren was too fidgety for a photo shoot at the famous statue. But well done to Hanna for staying put, and we were glad that no one rubbed her nose!

Hanna and Bobby

Hanna and Bobby

Holocaust Memorial Day 2017: How can life go on?

Holocaust Memorial DayOn 27 January we mark Holocaust Memorial Day. We remember not only the millions killed in the Holocaust under Nazi persecution, but also those who have been victims of subsequent genocides. We honour the survivors and reflect upon the lessons of their experiences to challenge hatred and persecution and to prevent future atrocities.
This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day asks the question `How can life go on?’, asking us to consider what happens after a genocide.

From Wednesday 11 – Saturday 28 January a display from library collections on the Mezzanine floor, Central Library, considers the creative response to the Holocaust and the contribution that peoples of Jewish origin have made to the cultures of the countries that they were displaced to. We explore how suffering can be channelled and expressed through art, music and writing through pieces reflecting on the Holocaust and how artists, musicians and writers emerged from their experiences, demonstrating how life can go on.

At Central Library on Friday 27 January, 2 – 3pm,  Dr Hannah Holtschneider from the University of Edinburgh is delivering a talk entitled `Holocaust Memorial Day – `How can life go on? The long way home’, reflecting on the aftermath of the Holocaust for refugees and survivors who came to Scotland.