Shopping online for beginners!

Never ventured into the world of shopping online? Don’t trust it? Frightened of scams? Come along to our “How To” presentation and workshop – bring along your tablet/laptop – we won’t be doing any actual shopping on the day but we can take you through the things to look out for to keep it all safe and we will also show you typical/well known shopping sites and the simple steps involved in using them. . . . all just in time for Christmas!


Limited places available, contact Kenny Sharkey on 242 8124 / 07809320432

or email



Art & cookery – from Syria and other countries to Edinburgh

An exhibition opens 4 November on the Central Library Staircase, running until 29 displaying art work from an art and cookery project organised by City of Edinburgh Council Lifelong Learning, uniting adult education students from various countries  – Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Scotland – including Syrian and Syrian Kurdish families (refugees) who had only been recently, resettled to Edinburgh.

Sharing favourite foods, cooking techniques and recipes made the group come together very easily, supported by two experienced Italian chefs /adult education tutors.

Artists and adult education tutors Susie Wilson and Justine Woycicka led the art work of the project. Using various different techniques of drawing and printmaking, the students made images inspired by both their experiences of cooking, and the stories connected to these recipes.

Students learnt how to make a book structure to keep their favourite recipes and incorporate their images and words into the pages and covers. Each student could contribute to a collaborative recipe book as well as making a smaller book for themselves.

The project was funded and part of Trans-nationalising Modern Languages: Mobility Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures: a 3 year project funded by the Art and Humanities Research Council and involved researchers at St Andrews, Queen Margaret, Bristol, Cardiff and Warwick Universities.

Just mad about Harry

Harry Potter’s having an amazing year, not only is the first book 20 years old, but the British Library have been joining in the celebration with their Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition. We’ve got our own display in the Central Library featuring specially designed panels, showing images of rare books, manuscripts and magical objects featured in the British Library’s exhibition, as well as images of material from J.K. Rowling’s own collection. Best part is the selfie opportunities though – its not every day you get to dress up in a robe and get your photo taken with Professor Snape!


If you want to find out more about the British Library’s exhibition why not checkout Harry Potter: A History of Magic: The Enhanced eBook of the Exhibition and Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic. These two ebooks are now available through our OverDrive  service and form part of our extensive collection of Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks.

All seven Harry Potter books are available on our OverDrive site in both ebook and audiobook format. You’ll also find spin-off titles such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemHarry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Hogwarts Library Collection and The Hogwarts Collection. So why not re-read these special books or get hooked on Harry for the first time!

Edinburgh City Libraries is positive about dyslexia

Edinburgh City Libraries has an exciting programme on offer for Dyslexia Awareness Week,  6-11 November 2017.

Dyslexia Scotland logo

Central Library will have a one-off showing of the Film ‘Read Me Differently:understanding learning disabilities in family life ’ by Sarah Entine on 8 November.

Stockbridge Library will host an event on 9 November Can’t read won’t read…does this sound familiar? Where experts will be on hand to give advice on choosing dyslexia friendly books for kids and teens. Also on 9 November come along and join us for a special event for Dyslexia Awareness Week, Positive about dyslexia.  The MC is Paul McNeill, Dyslexia Scotland Ambassador and Regional Head for the Scottish Football Association who will introduce author Margaret Rooke talking about her new book ‘Dyslexia is My Superpower (Most of the Time)’ and musician and songwriter Adam Strachan. Dyslexia Scotland will also be launching the new ‘Dyslexia Unwrapped’ website for young people with dyslexia at the event.

There will also be events for schools taking place during the week.

Find our more, and book to join us at these these events.

Central Library to host display inspired by the British Library’s new exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic

Library network launches Harry Potter-inspired displays across UK

From Saturday 21st October 2017, visitors will be able to discover fascinating facts about the History of Magic at Edinburgh’s Central Library. Displays will launch simultaneously in 20 public libraries across the UK in tandem with the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library in London.

The series of displays across the UK will include specially designed panels which are inspired by Harry Potter: A History of Magic, showing images of rare books, manuscripts and magical objects featured in the British Library’s exhibition, as well as images of material from J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury’s own collections. Edinburgh’s local connections to magic and folklore will be showcased too, and will include ancient books from the Royal Observatory, magical herbs from the Royal Botanic Gardens and other amazing artefacts from the library’s archives.

A series of events celebrating the exhibition will also take place across the city over the coming months, ranging from a visit by Hedwig and Pigwidgeon look-alikes from the Scottish Owl Centre, Magic School tutorials and magic stage make-up lessons in different libraries.

The displays have been developed by the British Library in collaboration with public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network, an innovative partnership between the British Library and 22 major public libraries across the UK, and the National Library of Scotland and the National Library of Wales.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic celebrates the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, combining centuries-old British Library treasures with original material from Bloomsbury’s and J.K. Rowling’s own archives. Based on the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this exhibition will showcase material from J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury’s own collections, going on display for the very first time.

Councillor Ian Perry, Education, Children and Families Convener, said: “This fantastic display is set to capture the minds of Harry Potter fans young and old, so we’re extremely pleased to be working with the British Library to bring its magic to the capital.

“As an ancient city, Edinburgh itself is steeped in folklore, so it is particularly fitting to bring the book’s enchantment to our historic Central Library. What’s more, we’ll be running a range of exciting events across the city in celebration of the exhibition, which I would thoroughly recommend.”

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library said of the project:

“We are delighted to be working with 20 different public libraries across the UK to share our exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic. The Living Knowledge Network is all about sharing resources, skills and ideas to make our intellectual heritage available to everyone and here we’ve championed what lies at the heart of the Harry Potter stories that resonates deeply with people across the country to achieve this. The roll-out truly encapsulates the convening power of bringing local and national treasures together through the partners.”

We are delighted to be working with 20 different public libraries across the UK to share our exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic. Using stunning mobile panels inspired by the exhibition, these Living Knowledge Network partners will draw on their own collections and regional connections to magical traditions and folklore to make displays, and I look forward to seeing the results.

Sharing our exhibition in this way is the best possible demonstration of our aims for the Living Knowledge Network, which brings together libraries from across the UK to inspire audiences, share knowledge and to celebrate the transformative and enduring power of libraries.”


The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries: George Washington Browne

Having won a travel scholarship in 1878, the young architect George Washington Browne went to Paris, where he was inspired by the city’s fairy tale gothic design. Later he would use the buildings of this romantic city as his model for Edinburgh Central Library, submitting a design inspired by French renaissance architecture. On winning the competition – his entry was selected from thirty-seven – he created a magnificent stone building, standing three levels tall above George IV Bridge and reaching down to the Cowgate below. The building therefore spans Edinburgh’s disjointed streets, taking into account the multilevel nature of this hilly city.

Architectural drawing of Central Library by George Washington Browne

Beginning his architectural career as an apprentice in Glasgow aged sixteen, George Washington Browne worked for and with many architects before striking out on his own. As well as Edinburgh Central Library, Washington Browne also designed The Sick Kids Hospital in Marchmont, St Andrews House in the east of the city and Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

While Washington Browne’s professional life was one of glory and success, his personal life was marked by tragedy. His first wife died young, leaving him the sole parent of three sons. Two of his sons were later killed in World War One. His surviving son having sustained serious injuries during the war died from a subsequent infection several years later.

Read all the articles in this series of ‘The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries’:

Robert Butchart: City Librarian

Andrew Carnegie: steelmaker and philanthropist

Henry Dyer, engineer, educationist and Japanophile

William McEwan: brewer and philanthropist

David Mather Masson: scholar and biographer

Thomas Ross: architect and antiquarian

Charles Boog Watson: local historian and antiquarian

The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries: Andrew Carnegie

As the teenage son of an unemployed Scottish Weaver in Pittsburgh, Andrew Carnegie understood the value of libraries. Not able to go into his local library because it charged a subscription fee, he and other children from the factory where he worked were offered the chance to use a local merchant’s personal library, where he imbibed knowledge which would later help to make him one of the richest men who ever lived, and the embodiment of The American Dream.

As an adult he would become a steel tycoon, building a huge company which he sold to JP Morgan for $480 million dollars (in 1901 this was the biggest business transaction to have ever taken place). Carnegie didn’t want his money for himself however, instead sowing seeds for future learning, so all children, regardless of their income, would have access to books and the infinite knowledge that they held.

“A Library outranks any one other thing a community can do to benefit its people,” he said, “It is a never failing spring in the desert.”

Carnegie’s trust built libraries across America and the UK, as well as three in European cities devastated by World War 1; but his first library was built in Dunfermline, his birth place. The motto – ‘Let There be Light’ –  is now familiar to borrowers and staff at Edinburgh’s Central Library, where the logo also appears, a reminder of the importance of libraries and what they offer.

Andrew Carnegie laying the foundation stone of the Edinburgh Free Library, 1887

Edinburgh Central Library opened in 1890, and was the first public library in the city. The building was designed by George Washington Browne and is built from Stirlingshire stone. 1428 books were issued on the first day, and 44,774 people registered as readers in the first year alone.

A bust of Andrew Carnegie keeps watch over his collection.

Read all the articles in this series of ‘The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries’:

George Washington Browne: architect

Robert Butchart: City Librarian

Henry Dyer, engineer, educationist and Japanophile

William McEwan: brewer and philanthropist

David Mather Masson: scholar and biographer

Thomas Ross: architect and antiquarian

Charles Boog Watson: local historian and antiquarian