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

Spanish Week Festival

Well even if you are not heading to sunnier climes this summer, Spain can still come to you! Craigmillar Library is hosting a Spanish Week Festival from 16th-23rd June, filled with amazing events.

During this celebration of Spanish culture you’ll have the opportunity to meet one of Spain’s best female film and documentary directors, Iciar Bollain as well as exhibitions, dancing, book sessions, workshops, live music and more.

Pop in any time to see the exhibition “The Diversity of Spain’s Landscapes and Cultural Heritage“, an art exhibition by Marta Giron Adan and a crafts display. Or come along to the following events:

Saturday 16th June
10:30-12:00 Film Zipi Zape (English subtitles, 8+ years). Booking required
12:15-13:45 Animation Workshop by illustrator Pilar Garcia (8+ years)
15:00-16:00 Lingotot Nursery – songs, games & storytelling (0-5 years)

Monday 18th June
17:30-19:00 CinemaAttic. KIMUAK Basque Country short fils, from animation to comedy

Tuesday 19th June
15:00-16:00  Spanish footballers, writers, singers etc… event for teens
17:45-19:30 Talk by Iciar Bollain, one of Spain’s best directors plus a showing of her  film “The Olive Tree” (English subtitles +12 years). Booking required

Wednesday 20th June
15:30-16:30 Children Crafts
17:30-19:00 Books showcase by Manu Rodriguez, and Introduction of Therapeutic Writing (Spanish/English)

Thursday 21st June
10:30-11:30 Spanish Bookbug and Crafts
13:00-14:00 Flamenco session by Cheekyrrikis Flamenco Power

Friday 22nd June
10:30-11:30 Spanish Bookbug
15:30-16:15 Alba Flamenca School dancers

Saturday 23rd June
13:30-16:30 Live Music Day 

All events are free and no need to book, except for Zippi Zappe film and Iciar Bollain’s talk and Film – book online at http://www.facebook.com/CraigmillarLibrary or phone Craigmillar Library on 0131 529 5597. Anyone under the age of 8 will need supervision by a guardian aged 12 or over.

 

Tools out for summer!

Library users across Edinburgh can now pick up something a little different with their holiday reading. Thanks to the Edinburgh Tool Library, three libraries in the north of Edinburgh will soon host a ‘Tool Box’ – an extensive selection of tools available to borrow for an annual donation.

The Edinburgh Tool Library works exactly like a traditional library, except instead of books they have over 4000 tools to choose from. Since the Tool Library started in 2015, they have received donations of a wide range of power tools, hand tools, gardening gear and decorating kit. For the 800 members who have joined the Tool Library it has been of significant benefit to their pocket – and the planet!

The Tool Library are expanding their lending services to three libraries in the north of Edinburgh – Portobello, Piershill and Craigmillar. Each library will have its own fully equipped Tool Box, manned by a knowledgeable member of the Tool Library team ready to answer any questions you might have.

In addition to lending out tools, the Tool Library also undertakes numerous community projects, working with local people and groups to help them build the project of their dreams. Their Tools for Life programme offers mentorship opportunities to young people seeking employment. Working alongside retired professionals, participants get the chance to learn a wide range of joinery and craft skills.

The Tool Library welcomes donations of tools, used and new! They thoroughly check all tools to make sure they are in full working order before being lent out to members. They have a team of awesome volunteers and are always looking for people to join them! Whether you want to learn a new skill, or contribute one you already have, they can find a place for you in the team.

Joining the Tool Library is straightforward, and the annual membership fee is by donation – flexible depending on what you can afford. All members have access to the full range of tools and the fully-equipped wood-working workshop in Custom Lane in Leith. The Edinburgh Tool Library is a charitable organisation and any profits generated are fed back into their projects to enable them to help as many people and communities as possible.

Find the Edinburgh Tool Library at:
Portobello Library, Mondays at 4.30 – 7pm

From 15 August at Craigmillar Library, Tuesdays at 1 – 3.30pm
From 16 August at Piershill Library, Wednesdays at 4 – 6.30pm

If you have any questions, contact Anna at the Tool Library: anna@edinburghtoollibrary.org.uk

“O”, it’s Othello… Black Star Film Season continues

Black Star Film Season is a celebration of the range and versatility of black actors on film taking place at Craigmillar Library.

The season runs until 22 May. These free screenings will encompass different genres, decades and styles for all audiences. Black and white.

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On Monday 27th March we are showing O (15) which takes William Shakespeare’s Othello onto the basketball courts of a high school. Film runs from 6 – 7.40 pm. Doors open at 5.15pm.

To book your place just contact Craigmillar Library by email craigmillar.library@edinburgh.gov.uk or phone 0131 529 5597.

Check out the full Black Star Film Season and save the dates!

Do The Right Thing on a Monday and come along to our free film season

Black Star Film Season is a celebration of the range and versatility of black actors on film taking place at Craigmillar Library.

The season runs until 22 May and opens with two special launch events funded by BFI Blackstar. These curated free screenings will encompass different genres, decades and styles for all audiences. Black and white.

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On Monday 27 February there’s the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing (18). There will be music and food from 5.30pm and the film’s running time is 6 – 8.10pm. Doors open at 5.15pm.

On Monday 10 April you can watch the British Sci-fi film Attack The Block (15). Film runs from 6 – 7.30pm. Doors open at 5.15pm.

For the younger ones, come along on Monday 24 April and watch the animated Disney film The Princess & The Frog (U). Film runs from 3 – 4.40pm. Doors open at 2.30pm.

There’s a throwback to the 70s on Monday 8 May when Car Wash (PG) will be showing. Film runs from 6 – 7.40pm. Doors open at 5.30pm.

And finally ending with The Greatest on Monday 22 May Ali {15) starring Will Smith. Film runs from 5 – 7.45pm. Doors open at 4.30pm.

To book your place just contact Craigmillar Library by email craigmillar.library@edinburgh.gov.uk or phone 0131 529 5597.

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.

 

Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries service starts today

The new Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service starts on 30th August at Central Library and 5th September at Craigmillar Library and will then be available at the following times.

Craigmillar Library        Monday 11am – 3pm

Central Library             Tuesday 3-7pm

Craigmillar Library        Thursday 11am – 3pm

Central Library              Friday 11am – 3pm

The Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries service is a free service aiming to provide information, support and signposting to people affected by cancer.

Mac cancer Central 1

The service will offer a listening ear, helping people who have been affected by cancer in Edinburgh. The service user may be the person with the diagnosis but could equally be a family member, friend, or colleague.

As well as listening to the service user, there will be a number of options for further support.  They will also have access to a range of Macmillan information materials and books to assist people affected by cancer.

Contact Macmillan.Libraries@edinburgh.gov.uk for more information.

Follow @MacmillanEdLib

Free CBBC family event at Craigmillar Library!

There’s two action-packed days of activities and live talks celebrating Awesome Authors coming this weekend at Craigmillar Library.

Craigmillar is one of the libraries partnering with CBBC and BBC Learning with the aim to get children excited about reading, creative writing and storytelling.

Come along and hear awesome authors talking about their writing, some in the library and others streamed live from the Library of Birmingham. Come along and experience the Wolfblood storyteller and the Dangermouse Detective Hunt. You can also learn how to draw like your favourite top illustrator or improve your football skills with tips from professional coaches. The event will be hosted by Tyler West from CBBC’s MOTD Kickabout.

Join in the fun at Craigmillar Library on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July, 10am – 5pm. (Children must be accompanied by an adult).

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Volunteer with Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries

MacmillanThe Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries service will launch in the autumn of 2016 in selected Edinburgh Libraries. This will be a free service aiming to provide information, support and signposting to people affected by cancer.

We are recruiting volunteers now!

We are looking for people with good listening skills and an interest in helping people. Full training will be given and expenses are payable.

Interested? Then come along to one of our information drop-ins and find out more:
Craigmillar Library
Monday 11th July 11-3pm
Monday 18th July 11-3pm

Central Library
Thursday 14th July 11-3pm
Thursday 21st July 11-3pm

Calling all gamers, aged 12-18!

Do you want to help devise and develop a brand new game?

Craigmillar Library, in collaboration with Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion Claire Askew, are launching an ambitious new project.  They’re looking for game enthusiasts aged 12-18 to help them build a new story-based game, which they’ll launch during Book Week Scotland in November.

Game Club at Craigmillar Library

They don’t know yet what the game will look like because they’re leaving that up to YOU. If you come along to their weekly Game Club*, you’ll get to tell them what you think the game’s story should be, what rules and mechanics it should use, and how and where it should be played.

The game YOU make will be distributed for free to audiences across the country as part of Book Week Scotland.

It doesn’t matter if you like to play card games, board games, computer games, RPGs, dexterity games, party games…
It doesn’t matter if you have no experience in game design.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore gamer or you’ve just dabbled… or if you’re not a gamer at all, but you’ve always fancied having a go.

Anyone aged 12-18 is welcome.

The Game Club* will meet every Monday evening, from 5.30pm until 7pm, at Craigmillar Library on Niddrie Mains Road. The first meeting will be on Monday 6th June 2016.

In the meantime, if you’d like more information about Game Club*, you can email careadingchampion@gmail.com, or pop into Craigmillar Library.

 

*working title

More!fun Children’s Book Festival 24 – 27 May

This year’s festival a celebration of words inspiring children to enjoy reading, writing and other creative activities takes place in Craigmillar, Portobello and Piershill Libraries in the east of the City.

There are lots of activities for local primary schools but also events open to the public.

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Library staff are teaming up with Into Film, Puppet Animation Scotland, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature and the Scottish Poetry Library to deliver an exciting  programme of  creative writing and illustration workshops, animation screenings and lots more.

Book online to reserve a place

Digital toybox – Noisemakers: Build and keep your own synthesiser 

Meet the author Mirabelle Maslin talking about sharing stories and books with infants and children 

Minecraft Storylines  – an interactive story-writing workshop using minecraft to guide young writers to explore plot, character and dialogue and much more

Up! screening – More!fun festival presents a screening of Disney Pixar’s Up.

See the full programme.

Crime writing without clichés

Do you write crime fiction, or have you always fancied trying your hand at a crime novel?  If so, we’d like to invite you to our creative writing workshop, designed to help you create brilliant crime plots… while avoiding typical crime clichés.
crime without cliches
The workshop will be run by writer Claire Askew, who’s also the Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion at Craigmillar Library.  Claire is a crime novelist whose debut novel-in-progress, Three Rivers, has been longlisted for the Peggy Chapman Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award, and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.
This workshop will include some hands-on writing exercises to get you started, along with practical advice to take away and apply to new projects or works-in-progress.
The workshop is free, AND because this is a World Book Night event, every attendee will receive a free copy of Sarah Hilary’s dark crime novel “Someone Else’s Skin” to take away with them at the end.

 

My first fortnight as Edinburgh’s Reading Champion

by Claire Askew

It feels like a long time since Scottish Book Trust‘s four new Reading Champions were announced, as part of Book Week Scotland 2015.  I was thrilled to be selected as the Reading Champion for Craigmillar Library in Edinburgh, and couldn’t wait to get started.

Fast-forward to mid-March 2016, and my first day in post. Walking into Craigmillar’s huge, modern, colourful Library, I couldn’t quite believe I had first-day-of-school butterflies!  I was about to meet most of the Library staff for the first time, and be thrown headlong into the busy schedule of clubs and activities.

It turns out, I needn’t have worried: my first week was full of warm welcomes.  I met the Library Link group, a weekly drop-in group for older people, run on Thursday mornings.  Library Link mornings mean lots of cups of tea, tasty snacks, chatting, and exchanging books.  At my first meeting, some of the Library Link ladies introduced me to the library’s rotating stock of knitting magazines, and we bonded over our shared experiences of knitting disasters and triumphs!

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Claire at Kids Knitting Club

That same week, I sat down with some of the library’s biggest fans: the local children who come along after school to spend time here.  For many of them, the library provides a handy space to meet up – they play games on the computers and games consoles, and attend the various kids’ clubs run by library staff.  Craigmillar Library runs a twice-weekly Minecraft Club for over-7s, a drama group, and a variety of crafting activities (you can find out what’s on at Craigmillar by visiting the Library Facebook page).  Naturally, I was keen to attend the Kids’ Knitting Club!  While we learned some new stitches, I asked the kids what they’d put in their dream library.  The answers varied from “books about Viking boats” to “a chocolate funtain” and “a resident library owl”!

A Monster Murder Mystery the crime scene.jpg

A Monster Murder Mystery the crime scene.

I had to get my sleeves rolled up right away: the library staff and I were keen to run some kind of event to launch Scottish Book Trust‘s new public writing campaign – and we had less than two weeks to decide what it would be!  Library advisor and resident games expert Joe suggested a murder mystery style game, as the theme of the writing campaign is “Secrets and Confessions.”  I got to work, figuring out how to incorporate books and reading into a (family-friendly) murder mystery activity.

The resulting activity was A Monster Murder Mystery – a scenario in which Frankenstein’s monster had escaped from his book (we all know fictional characters do this when we’re not looking, right?), and turned up lifeless in the library, with no explanation.  We invited amateur sleuths aged 8+ to come into the library, examine our crime scene, and hunt for clues in order to solve the mystery.

A Monster Murder Mystery the crime scene.jpg

I created the game in order to introduce participants to the variety of titles stocked in the library, and to teach useful library skills, like how to search the online library catalogue, how to find out what activities are offered, and so on.  On the day of the activity, over twenty kids and teens came along to the library to get involved.  They worked in teams (with wonderful, alliterative names: Mystery Marshmallows!  Monsters In Crime!) and worked their way around the library collecting my clues, following their hunches, and using their case files to record the evidence.

In the end, the Master Minds team took first prize, solving the mystery first – though it was a photo finish!  By the end of the day, we could see that several of the kids had benefited from getting involved – within half an hour of the game ending, one young man used the library catalogue to reserve a book for the very first time!

In case you were wondering what adult readers got to do while all this was going on… never fear!  Also to launch “Secrets and Confessions,” I ran a Twitter hashtag for adults to get involved in: #IConfessINeverRead.  I invited adults to let me know what books they thought they probably ought to read, but never had… and the results were very interesting indeed!  Who knew so many people had blagged their way through classes in school, essays at Uni, and even exams on books they’d never actually read?!

It’s been a whirlwind fortnight, but I don’t have time to stop now… my next task is to prepare some exciting activities for World Book Night, coming up on 23rd April.  Craigmillar Library will be giving away three different texts: Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive, Sarah Hilary’s dark crime novel Someone Else’s Skin, and, for the poetry lovers, Carol Ann Duffy’s Love Poems.  If you want to keep an eye on what I’m plotting, you can follow my Reading Champion blog on Tumblr.  Watch this space!

 

Solve the Monster Murder Mystery!

If you fancy a bit of amateur sleuthing, why don’t you come and join the Monster Murder Mystery at Craigmillar Library tomorrow from 3.30pm?  An INCIDENT has taken place in the Library, and we need YOUR help to find out whodunit!  

The culprit has left clues hidden in books all over the Library.  Can you help us piece the clues together and figure out who committed the crime?

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This is the first public event organised by Claire Askew, Craigmillar Library’s brand new Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion.  The event will mark the launch of Scottish Book Trust’s brand new public story-writing campaign… we’ll be revealing the theme for submissions on the day!  

The event is open to everyone aged 8+, and there will be Easter-themed prizes, as the event is part of our Easter holiday programme.

Library news round-up

As one month comes to an end and another begins let’s take a quick trip across the city to see what’s been happening in the capital’s libraries.

Much excitement among the members of Muirhouse Library’s children’s garden club as their daffodils and gladoli are beginning to bloom. Spring has almost sprung!

Sticking to the great outdoors, visitors to Portobello, Craigmillar and Piershill Librares have been having their say on the design of the new park in the area.

stockbridgeMeanwhile, Stockbridge Library has been exhibiting pictures by Boris Bittker (1916 -2005). A native New Yorker, Boris was a keen amateur photographer who travelled to many exotic and intriguing countries.

Next, news of some new groups and clubs meeting in libraries:

Satellart is a new group for 8 – 14 year olds in and around Oxgangs which brings together art, science and crafting. At our first meeting on Saturday we looked at the work of Mondrian.

Over at Corstorphine Library we are just about to launch a Colouring-In group for adults and a beginner’s chess club. Details on our web page.

Balerno and Colinton Libraries have both started Friday afternoon knitting clubs for kids. Balerno’s meets at 2.30pm and Colinton’s an hour later.

Star Wars fever is still in full ‘force’ down the road at Currie Library, where youngsters have been hard at work creating  Paper Plate Millennium Falcons and these terrifying Gamorrean Guard masks.
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Finally, Many thanks to Tatsuya Yamauchi, Shun Mizobuchi and Kaori Kozakai for bringing a mix of Scottish and Japanese music to Morningside Library.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Craigmillar’s new Reading Champion “can’t wait to get started”

Claire Askew is Craigmillar Library’s brand new Reading Champion.

Claire’s appointment was announced yesterday as part of Book Week Scotland.

The residency at Craigmillar Library will aim to connect with the local area, engage with the people who live here and the stories they have to tell. We hope to encourage people to explore the library and become a springboard for creativity and ideas as well as encouraging life-long learning in the community.

Claire, who is a poet, writer and creative writing teacher, said, “I am so pleased to have been selected and I’m especially pleased that I’ll get to work alongside the brilliant team at Craigmillar Library. We’re hoping to engage the teens who come into the library and create a huge, collaborative, story-based role-playing game. We’ll also be asking adults who live in and around Craigmillar to get involved in some interactive story-telling and creative writing activities. I can’t wait to get started!”

New group for writers aged 16 – 25

Craigmillar Library are starting an ‪#‎artcore‬ Creative Writing group for young people aged 16-25 in collaboration with The Out of the Blue Drill Hall.

You’ll get advice on how to write, edit, design and publish your own material and even look ways to perform or have your work performed.

Interested? The big launch is at 6pm on Wednesday 7th October at Craigmillar Library.

For more information email craigmillar.library@edinburgh.gov.uk or ask for Ioannis on 0131 529 5597.

The story of Edinburgh Libraries. Part 3 of 3

From one public library in 1890 there are now 28 branches across the city each providing an important service to the community. As well as providing access to information, libraries soon became places to gather and attend events.

Edinburgh’s newest libraries at Drumbrae and Craigmillar have developed this idea with the library housed in a community hub where members of the community can also access other council services.

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Drumbrae Library Hub

Craigmillar Library

East Neighbourhood Centre and Craigmillar Library

There’s always been more to the library than books on shelves. In Edinburgh, libraries have played host to some great events and celebrations over the years.  The recent development of Edinburgh Reads has seen numerous author events take place across the city.

Story hour at McDonald Road Library

Story hour at McDonald Road Library, 1962

 

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Ian Rankin and Jeffery Deaver at an Edinburgh Reads event

On opening the library’s catalogue was listed in books. Technology has come a long way since then.  Computerisation came in 1974 when Central Fiction began lending through an offline system. Public internet access was introduced in 1998 and now all libraries have WiFi. Readers can also access services through a mobile app and a growing collection of electronic resources and e-books are accessible online and through mobile devices.

Public access internet launch in Central Library

Public access internet launch in Central Library

Brodie's Close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh

Brodie’s Close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh. Reproduction of Bruce J. Home pencil drawing from ‘Old Houses in Edinburgh’. One of the many treasures you can find on Capital Collections.

Over the years, a number of donations have helped shape the special collections held by Edinburgh Libraries. Particular highlights of this collection include the Henry Dyer Collection of Japanese woodblock prints, woodblock printed volumes and painted scrolls; the personal items bequeathed by Charles Boog Watson. Robert Butchart and Thomas Ross as well as an extensive collection of early photography documenting Victorian Edinburgh.

Many of these items form the backbone of Capital Collections, our online image database.

Find out how much you know about Edinburgh Libraries with this quick, fun quiz

masthead quiz

 

Libraries: Getting Edinburgh Online

GetOnline2Edinburgh Libraries’ Kenny Sharkey is spearheading a new council initiative to widen digital participation in Edinburgh.  Get Online, as the name suggests, aims to demystify the world of the internet for people with little or no experience and help give them the skills and confidence to get online and take part in the digital world.  We dropped in to a session at Craigmillar Library to get a feel for the project.

Kenny explains that widening participation is key to the project. “It’s remarkable that studies show that 15% of people have never used the internet.  To me digital inclusion is all about helping people access the world of technology that many of us take for granted but get enormous benefit from. We’re trying to reach as many people as possible that can benefit from taking part in this.”

GetOnline3As a tutor of the popular LearnIT courses which were run across Edinburgh Libraries, Kenny had recognised the need to keep up with technology so as well as using  laptops, help is also offered in the use of Ipads, tablets and smart phones.

Sessions are delivered across a 5 week plan and each lasts for 2 hours.  Participants are divided up according to device and asked to choose options from a ‘learning menu’ in order to get the learning experience best suited to their needs.

GetOnline5The success of the sessions also relies upon a band of loyal volunteer tutors which has enabled 1-1 tuition in most cases.  During our visit, Jennifer was helping Mina get to grips with her new tablet.

Jennifer: “It’s really beneficial to people who are scared of learning in a more formal environment. It’s more personable here and people seem to respond better with 1-1 tuition.  You can take it for granted if you have grown up around this stuff. If you are new to it there’s a lot of buzz words to get your head around. ”

Mina:  “I’m starting over again. I’m 90 so I think I can be excused for forgetting things. I’m completely new to this and want to get more out of it. I’ve been using it to do a bit of historical research and to send emails to my family in Australia and Canada.”

Kenny tells us that relying on volunteers is what gives Get Online a strong sense of community. The project has also worked in partnership Castlebrae High School creating a great inter-generational feel.  Barry Ferguson, Head of IT, says: “We tried to get involved with something like this before but it hadn’t worked out.  Since Kenny started this though, things have really taken off. It’s definitely been a confidence booster for the kids involved and helps show the positive role the school can play in the community.”

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Castlebrae pupil Jordan was helping Jill learn what her new IPad had to offer.

Jill: My daughter lives in Australia so I wanted to be able to use Face Time and things like that just to keep in touch.  I want to be able to use it to book tickets and the I-pad doesn’t come with instructions on how to do things like that. I have had about 5 lessons and I’m definitely improving. I’ve face-timed my daughter now and we’ve emailed. It’s great.”

Jordan:  It’s great to help people in this way and as I’m close to leaving school this is great work experience for me.

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Kenny is pleased with the reaction to the service and the way it is helping people feel more connected in their communities and often with family in other parts of the world.

Kenny: “In  a lot of situations people are leaving after 5 sessions and confidently ordering things online and Skype-ing relatives abroad and that’s what it’s all about: ensuring people are confident enough to participate in the digital world”

Initially established in Craigmillar, sessions are now being delivered across the city in locations like Leith, BlackhallMorningside and Central Library.  Check the Get Online blog for future dates around the city or email Kenny for more details.

BookCode: Locative Literature at Craigmillar Library

Writer and artist Matt Blackwood tells us about BookCode, a piece of locative literature at Craigmillar Library.

Ok so here’s the deal.
I applied for a grant, partly out of frustration from my longer pieces only getting to second base with publishers, and partly because I needed to pay for a root canal. Who would have guessed that four years later I would be infected with Locative Literature and spruiking City of Literature initiatives in an attempt to make the world a more literary place.

BookCode for Craigmillar Library 05

Although it hasn’t been easy. There’s been plenty of “What’s a QR code?”, and even “Literature only belongs in a book,” and yes, I probably could have penned three more doorstops by now, but I think it’s been worth the pain. I think. My thinking tends to get me into trouble.  A Tuesday thought, some four months ago, said I should take weeks hunting for particular books which could be hand carved, LED’s inserted, an acrylic QR code placed on top, and then link this glowing scannable artwork to a narrated short story set at the place where the piece would be exhibited. Fourteen Tuesday’s and six prototypes later and I had a bespoke functioning BookCode for Craigmillar Library in Edinburgh.

The choice of Craigmillar was partly because they were one of the seven libraries who said the magic phrase “Right here, right now”, and partly because while deep in research of all the potential locations to set the story, I stumbled across a Google Map image that fascinated me. It was taken outside the Craigmillar Library, or what would be the library, as even though the image before and further up the road showed the library in its finished form, there was a single shot of what the site once was; a weedy paddock with dirt mounds for boils, hemmed in by a rusty iron fence. This was the image that conjured the story of two boys playing football; one pretty good, one not so great, one from a cashed up family, while the other could only dream of Luca Rolls Royce ice cream parties.

My hope is to create more bespoke BookCodes in the future and have them presented in places not usually associated with literature; like glass cases at train station platforms, shop fronts on busy streets, or even in illuminated advertising spaces at bus stops. This publishing of literature in public spaces is a powerful way for Cities of Literature to share stories and engage broad audiences. After all, literature is Ventolin for the soul.

Find out more about the project on Matt’s web site or head along to Craigmillar and see it for yourself.