What is a Death Cafe?

On 16 May 2020, Carol Marr, librarian at Stockbridge Library and Tamsin Grainger, writer and Shiatsu practitioner hosted a Death Cafe. It was initially planned as a live event in the hall at the library, but due to the COVID-19 lockdown situation, it was held online.

We asked Tamsin to explain what a Death Cafe is and how the library fitted in.

Certain places and times of the day or year are more poignant than others when we are managing loss in our lives. Photograph by Tamsin Grainger

“What is a Death Cafe?
A Death Cafe is a place where people can come to talk about death. Group directed discussion is supported by a cafe environment and everyone is there for the same reason. There is an emphasis on listening and sharing, and the focus is that life is finite and we want to talk about that. We all have interests and concerns about bereavement, loss, grief or dying, especially at this time when we are dealing with the Coronavirus.

The Death Cafe movement started in 2011 when Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid held their first in London. Inspired by Swiss-born Bernard Crettaz, it was to open up discussion about death and death-related subjects. Thousands are now held all over the world with today’s list on the Death Cafe website standing at 2262 in the UK alone.

It is important to note that Death Cafes come with very clear guidelines: they are

  • accessible
  • respectful
  • confidential.

There is no set agenda, no objective or theme. It is not a grief support group nor a counselling session. There is no intention by the organisers to lead participants to any conclusions, buy any products or take any course of action. They are not religious, and are always ‘not for profit’ events.

A decade ago, not long after the death of his first wife Yvonne, Crettaz had come up with the idea of cafés mortels, informal gatherings where the sole topic of conversation was every living thing’s inevitable demise.

Sophie Elmhirst, Prospect Magazine

There is a history of Death Cafes in Edinburgh. Held at venues as diverse as Summerhall and the Love Crumbs cafe in West Port; organised by St Columba’s and the Marie Curie hospices; by individuals and through organisations such as the Just Festival (formerly the Festival of Spirituality and Peace) and Death on the Fringe.

The goal of the movement is to enable people to share their fears and hopes in a fashion which does not have to treat death as a taboo – that is, as something that needs to be addressed through euphemisms or abandoned in silence.

Maddie Denton, Reflections of the Self: Death Cafe and the Search for Personal Meaning (An exploration of death in modern society).

Tea and cakes
Without knowing how many would attend, research into former such occasions in Edinburgh lead us to believe that we might expect between 20-30 people who we would invite to sit around circular tables to promote equality of participation and exchange. Tea and cakes are an integral and vital part of a death cafe which aims to provide a convivial atmosphere for the open and honest discussion about death. It is over a cup of tea and a slice of cake that memories may be shared and thoughts exchanged in confidence. It can be easier to trust somebody with a cup of tea in their hand, and across the world sweet cakes are part of the tradition of a funeral tea.

Coliva – Greek food for mourners. This beautiful creation is made for Greek Orthodox mourners to eat after the interment. (More details available on the Walking without a donkey website.)

If we had been able to meet in person, we would have made a display of related books: first-hand accounts of dying, spiritual and practical guides to grief, accounts of death rites and ritual around the world, and so on. The charity, Macmillan Cancer Support has support and information services in some Edinburgh Libraries and so, leaflets and other information would have been made available, together with referrals for support should any attendee need one.

How did it go?
We publicised our Death Cafe via Eventbrite, the libraries website, through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and word of mouth. 15 places were offered for the meet-up which was held on a Zoom, online meeting forum and it was sold out. Ten people attended on the day – men and women of all ages – and although it was predicted that the live event would attract those local to Edinburgh, the ‘virtual’ Death Cafe drew folk from across the UK and Hungary.

We started together with an explanation of the event and its history, and then each of us introduced ourselves. The reasons for coming varied from a general interest in talking about death to specifics of end-of-life care. Some attendees deal with death-related topics in their work or study, and all were personally involved in planning or thinking about their own death. About half of the group had never been to a Death Cafe before.

After this, we divided into two smaller, private groups and everything was fully confidential. Discussion arose naturally. We looked at how tricky the current situation is: not being able to touch each other for consolation, and how hard it is to be unable to travel to visit dying relatives or attend funerals. We discussed what makes for a ‘good death’ and ‘advance decisions’ regarding preferred treatment when near death (ADRT). Some of us addressed the preparation of a Will, living funerals, and elective suicide.

While this latter is an important subject for discussion, a public Death Cafe is not the place for highly emotive, individual sharing on any subject, and the organisers would limit such (behaviour) at future events.

We are pleased to say that the online logistics were smooth, and immediate feedback indicated that those who attended found it refreshing to be able to discuss these topics openly and in a non-judgmental situation.

“I only wish it could have gone on a bit longer – another hour would probably do it. Is there any chance of a follow up session?”

“Saturday was a real success and I hope you do more of the same. Very revealing and thought provoking.”

Talking about death is not something that we all feel we can do with our families and friends, and yet it is something which is so often on our minds. Having a place to go where you can listen quietly or participate in a chat about bereavement, grief, dying, or even what will happen afterwards, is healthy. Hearing that others are concerned about the same things, knowing that you are not the only one who is nervous or fears death can be such a relief and can help manage the sort of worries that can only too easily spiral out of control and bring about mental health issues, such as depression, if they are not faced. Death Cafes are one way to tackle some of these issues in a trusting atmosphere, and the tea and cake are an added bonus!

The Death Café was part of Death Matters Week, Dying To Be Heard, 11-17 May 2020.”

Death leaves a gap in our lives and it takes time to adjust to this. Photograph by Tamsin Grainger

About Tamsin
Like most of us, Tamsin has personally experienced grief and loss with the death of her father from cancer, miscarriages, divorce, leaving home, pets dying and numerous other episodes involving change which were sad and raised questions about mortality. She is the writer of Death and Loss in Shiatsu Practice, works at a local hospice, and teaches workshops in Edinburgh and abroad on the subject.

Further reading

The Nine exhibition

A new photography exhibition illustrating the rich diversity of Scotland’s population is now showing in Stockbridge Library until 13 January 2020. The portrait exhibition will feature images of twenty people that were captured for the opening titles of the BBC Scotland channel’s flagship news programme, The Nine.

The library exhibition has been developed as part of a partnership agreement between the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and BBC Scotland.

Public libraries are at the heart of our communities and are accessible to everyone, making them the perfect place to host this wonderful exhibition. It’s further demonstration of the range of activities on offer in modern libraries.

The Nine exhibition at Stockbridge Library

Next time, it could be you… here’s how to get involved.

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.

 

Libraries Week 7-12 October

 

We are looking forward to celebrating Libraries in the digital world during this year’s Libraries Week which takes place in early October.

There will be lots going on in Libraries, visit Wester Hailes Library to try stop motion animation or Raspberry Pi or Stockbridge and Drumbrae Libraries for an introduction to Bolinda BorrowBox one of our great downloadable audio book services. Wester Hailes and Stockbridge will both run sessions to help you get started with our e-services whilst Drumbrae Library will host a game time taster session. These are just some of the events to tempt you into the Library during Libraries Week. Check out what’s on offer at  your local library.

In addition to these special events there will be the regular digital drop-ins in Central Library, on Tuesday 2-3.30 get help with Edinburgh Libraries’ downloadable ebook, audiobook, magazine or newspaper services and on Friday 2-4 get help from the University of Edinburgh’s Digital Ambassadors with any kind of digital problem.

Find out about all our digital services at Your Library.

Dark matter monster workshop at Stockbridge Library

Taking inspiration from this year’s Summer Reading Challenge Space Chase theme, children at Stockbridge Library created dark matter monsters in a digital media workshop last Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t yet seen the fantastical ink blot monsters and videos of artist and illustrator Stefan Bucher, you are in store for a wonderful treat! Stefan Bucher is the wacky, creative mastermind of The Daily Monster, and is a designer, writer, and artist living in California.

Using his ‘Daily Monster’ app for the iPad, children were hooked with the process of producing an ink blot creature digitally – the abstract shapes they generated came alive as cartoons and children explored ways of conveying personality, emotion, action, etc through adding crazy body parts, clothing and additional objects to their monsters.

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As you can see from their creations, these dark matter monsters are out of this world!

There’s still time to complete this year’s Summer Reading Challenge and to join in the Space Chase children’s activities taking place at your local library.

Digital Music

This session at Stockbridge Library will introduce you to the way the internet has radically changed how people find, organise and play music. Records and cassettes gave way to CDs and they have now largely been superceded by digital music. We will look at how you can buy and download/save music on a laptop, tablet or even a phone but will be concentrating mainly on services such as Spotify, Apple Music (and less well known ones such as Naxos) which allow you to ‘stream’ music, create playlists and save all your favourites. Then, of course, you can play your music on a wireless speaker/s. Come along for an introduction to this new world of Digital Music.

STOCKBRIDGE LIBRARY, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3RD, 2.00PM

Join in with our audiobook group

Love audiobooks? Then come along to our monthly Stockbridge Library audiobook group starting on Friday 16 November, 2.30-3.30pm. You’ll get tea, biscuits and some lovely chat about our chosen audiobook! Our first title is Shaun Bythell’s The Diary of a Bookseller.

Shaun owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. In these wry and hilarious diaries, he provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates, recommends books and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life.

This audiobook is available for you to borrow for free from our RBdigital service. Simply download to your phone, tablet or computer to join in. Full user instructions can be found on our RBdigital help pages or get in touch with the Digital Team if you need any extra help (informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk  0131 242 8047).

Have you heard a good book recently?

Do you enjoy listening to books? Want to meet new people? Enjoy discussion? Why not join our new Audiobook Group!

This monthly group starts on Friday 21 September from 10.30-11.30 at Stockbridge Library. At our first meeting we’ll be choosing the titles we are going to listen to and getting an introduction to the RBdigital downloadable audiobook service that the group will be using. You’ll need a smartphone, tablet or computer to use this service.

For more information contact 0131 529 5665 or email Stockbridge.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

One Hundred Years of Beekeeping in Edinburgh

Varroa mites on a honey bee

This year beekeepers in Edinburgh are marking the Centenary of the Edinburgh Beekeepers Association. To celebrate, Edinburgh City Libraries are hosting an exhibition about Bees, Beekeeping and Edinburgh Beekeepers and will be running a series of talks and honey tasting sessions across the city from April until December. In addition, candle-making sessions will be available for children.

Although people in Edinburgh have kept bees for many years it was not until December 1918 that they came together to form the Edinburgh & District Beekeepers Association. Local Association meetings provided a time for discussion and learning, whether at the winter lectures or summer apiary outings.  In 1928, Edinburgh & District Beekeepers Association merged with the longer established Midlothian Beekeepers to form Edinburgh and Midlothian Beekeepers Association (EMBA) which continues to thrive today. EMBA has almost 200 members who have between 1 and 30 colonies of bees. Overall in Scotland, there are about 3,000 hobby beekeepers.

John Moir, a founder member of the Edinburgh Beekeepers Association, was not only an enthusiastic beekeeper, but also a prestigious collector of books on the topic and his collection is now housed in Fountainbridge Library with the rare items being held in the National Library of Scotland.

A century ago there were more than a million hives in the UK – today there are about 100,000 non-commercial hives. But we need more if we are to stop the honey bee’s decline. Our native bees are more endangered now than 100 years ago. They face threats from bees imported from abroad, from parasitic mites, and potentially from Asian Hornets. Increased use of pesticides in agriculture and loss of habitat also threaten our bees.

EMBA Apiary

If you want to find out more about bees and beekeeping, and what we can do to encourage bees, then why not visit our exhibition which is currently in the foyer of Central Library, George IV Bridge. In May it will move to Blackhall Library then to Stockbridge, Newington, Leith, Currie, Colinton, Corstorphine or Drumbrae, and Portobello before returning to the Central Library in December. At each Library there will be talks, honey tasting and candle making sessions organised. Details will be available via each library.

For more information about EMBA and beekeeping locally visit www.edinburghbeekeepers.org.uk

EMBA is also affiliated to the Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA) which is the national honeybee and beekeeping charity for Scotland. Details can be found at www.scottishbeekeepers.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

I

Stockbridge Library celebrates LGBT History Month

Stockbridge Library is delighted to be hosting Edinburgh City Museum’s Proud City exhibition. This celebrates LGBTQIA+ lives in Edinburgh. It incorporates material from the 2006 exhibition Rainbow City: stories from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Edinburgh which opened at the City Art Centre.

The current exhibition revisits these collections, plus some new material has been added. Museums working with LGBT Health and Wellbeing chose objects for the new display, and some of the participants gave interviews for a film about their lives in Edinburgh in 2016.

Many thanks to Diana Morton, Outreach and Access Manager and her colleages from the City Art Centre. The exhibition runs through LGBT History Month until the end of March where Stockbridge Library also have a great selection of books on display too.

 

 

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.

Build a Robot!

robocode01Want to learn how to program your own virtual robot? Are you aged 10-17 and familiar with the basics of programming?

edinburghdojoIf yes, then sign up for Edinburgh CoderDojo’s new Robocode project. Robocode is an easy-to-understand, fun way to learn more about programming! The project starts on the 14th November and will take place at Stockbridge Library – it will last several weeks so make sure to book the first 4 week block now.

Dazzle the Library this Easter!

During the First World War, the artist Norman Wilkinson was stationed on minesweepers in the Mediterranean. He came up with a clever idea to confuse and misguide U-Boat crews who wanted to sink ships.

© Imperial War Museum (Art IWM PST 4624)

© Imperial War Museum (Art IWM PST 4624)

Using striking patterns and clashing colour schemes, Dazzle camouflage was put on thousands of ships, many of them stationed at Leith. The Dazzle Unit, stationed at the Royal Academy of the Arts, was composed mostly of women who were students at the RA and who produced designs on paper and onto models.

This Easter, Edinburgh Libraries want to see your Dazzle ideas. Why not come along and try out your ideas on one of our specially designed templates!

We will have events in Central Library, Fountainbridge, Balgreen, Muirhouse, Granton, Sighthill, Wester Hailes, Stockbridge, Ratho and South Queensferry.

Keep an eye on local library Facebook pages and our events calendar for details of what’s happening, there’s something for everyone so get involved!

This is the start of an experiment about doing more with art and design in Edinburgh Libraries.

How could we make Dazzle bigger and better? How could we scale up your designs? What would you like to do once you’ve created your pattern, selected your technique, where will your Dazzle lead you?

Dazzle the Forth has been made possible by partnership between Edinburgh Libraries and City of Edinburgh Council Arts and Creative Learning. The partnership aims to sustain work undertaken on the Heritage Lottery funded Project Kitbag which encouraged young people to respond creatively to the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War using objects and documents from the period as a stimulus.

The template has been designed by local designer Ellis McKenzie and printed using the RISO print studio at Out of the Blueprint, sustaining work Edinburgh Libraries have been doing with #artcore.

For more details about Dazzle in Edinburgh Libraries contact Colm Linnane, Service Development Leader, Edinburgh City Libraries. colm.linnane@edinburgh.gov.uk

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.
roundup1

Finally, Many thanks to Tatsuya Yamauchi, Shun Mizobuchi and Kaori Kozakai for bringing a mix of Scottish and Japanese music to Morningside Library.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Lunch with the Gruffalo

A special Gruffalo-themed party helped to launch this year’s Big Lunch at Stockbridge Library.

Opened by Councillor Richard Lewis, the City of Edinburgh Council’s Convener for Culture and Sport, toddlers were treated to a Bookbug session, which involved listening to the Julia Donaldson story and songs, rhymes and party treats.
GruffaloSee more terrific photos from the launch on Flickr
The Big Lunch – the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours – is funded by The Big Lottery Fund and partnered by Halifax and ASDA. Now in its seventh year, the simple idea from the Eden Project aims to provide neighbours with an opportunity to get to know one another better. The Big Lunch happens on the first Sunday in June each year – Sunday 7 June 2015.
This year, The Gruffalo is The Big Lunch’s animated ambassador and The Big Lunch in Scotland has partnered with the Scottish Book Trust and Bookbug to help encourage more Scottish communities to take part.
Councillor Richard Lewis said: “We wanted to tie in with The Big Lunch this year as there is a shared community ethos between the campaign and the work we do in our libraries. Libraries are a community hub and an important local resource. We know that Bookbug sessions are popular with young families across the city. This is especially important as being a new parent can be an isolating time and having additional support within the community can really help.

“Initiatives like The Big Lunch are encouraging people to break the ice with their neighbours in a fun and easy way. We’ve loved supporting the campaign and hope to hear of lots of lunching going on in Edinburgh this June on Big Lunch day!”

Edinburgh neighbours are being encouraged to host Big Lunch events to help build community spirit and connect with those they live beside.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved can get started by requesting a free Big Lunch pack from www.thebiglunch.com. Packs contain invitations and posters to adapt for your community, Gruffalo stickers as well as seeds, recipes and activity idea

Take two minutes to enjoy this beautiful short film telling the story of Rachel Barron’s art installation at Stockbridge Library

Book Week Scotland artwork unveiled at Stockbridge Library

The waiting is over. Stockbridge Library’s special Book Week Scotland artwork was unveiled earlier today.

‘Under the Shy Moon’ was created by artist Rachel Barron and takes the form of a vinyl installation and geometric mobile, which is suspended from the beams within the library.

Image credit: Rob McDougall

Rachel explained:“Working directly with the architecture of the library, the installation has been made in response to Jackie Kay’s poem, which expresses the excitement and aspirations of an expectant mum. Inspired by astronomy and lunar cycles, the artwork represents the phases of our journey through life, using a gradient of colours. I am delighted to be part of the ‘Artworks for Libraries’ project, as it has allowed me to develop my work within a new context, towards my first permanent public artwork. It has been a pleasure to meet and work with the library community during the creative engagement workshops.”

The artwork was inspired by Dear Library, a poem written by best-selling Scottish author and playwright Jackie Kay as part of Book Week Scotland. Dear Library highlights the important role that libraries can play at every stage of an individual’s life, from childhood to old age. Rachel was given one verse of the poem to inspire her artwork, written from the perspective of an expectant mother. The full poem can be read on the Book Week Scotland website.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport at the City of Edinburgh Council said: “Thanks to Book Week Scotland, Stockbridge Library is now the proud home of Rachel Barron’s one-of-a-kind literary inspired artwork, which was developed with local children and their families. The library is a place anyone can visit freely, which means people across Edinburgh can stop by when they are in the area to take a look and enjoy the installation. We hope the artwork will entice people to visit  their local library and appreciate how much more there is to the surroundings and services.”

Stockbridge is the first of five Book Week Scotland artworks to be revealed this week, with Musselburgh, Saltcoats, Lennoxtown and Shetland due to be revealed over the next four days. Each artwork is inspired by a different verse of Dear Library and members of the communities have been given the opportunity to work with the artists during the creative process.

The First Ladies of Football

There’s still time to catch Stuart Gibbs’ wonderful exhibition tracing the history of women’s football in Scotland.

first ladies of football

‘The First Ladies of Football’ is on display at Stockbridge Library until the end of October.

Exciting news for Stockbridge Library

Stockbridge Library has been selected as one of five libraries in Scotland to benefit from a new permanent artwork as part of Book Week Scotland 2014.

Stockbridge Library

The purpose of the installation, which will be unveiled on the first day of Book Week Scotland on 24 November, is to make libraries more visible in their own communities and to raise awareness of them as important assets for local people to enjoy.

The artwork will be created by Glasgow-based artist Rachel Barron and will be inspired by Jackie Kay’s poem Dear Library.

Dear Library highlights the important role that libraries can play at every stage of an individual’s life, from childhood to old age.

Rachel has been given one verse of the poem to inspire her, which is written from the perspective of an expectant mother, and it is hoped that the resulting artwork will encourage the community to visit their library to begin or continue their reading journey.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport, said: “I am delighted that Stockbridge Library has been selected for this project in support of Book Week Scotland 2014. Naturally, Edinburgh’s public libraries champion reading all year-long with a host of activities to help people develop a love of books – but we are also proud to welcome a number of cultural and community events through the doors of Edinburgh’s libraries. We hope this event will entice people to visit their local library in Stockbridge to view Rachel’s art, and let people realise how much more there is to their local library.”

Sophie Moxon, Deputy CEO of Scottish Book Trust, the organisation delivering Book Week Scotland, added: “Following the success of our Reading Murals project in 2013, we are delighted to be unveiling five original artworks by young artists in libraries across the country for Book Week Scotland 2014. Jackie Kay’s ‘Dear Library’ beautifully illustrates the knowledge, inspiration and comfort that libraries can provide for people of all ages and we hope the artworks will too.”

Commenting on the commission, artist Rachel Barron said: “I am delighted to be part of the Artwork for Libraries project, as this is my first opportunity to create a permanent artwork within a public space. I am really looking forward to meeting and engaging with the local community in a series of creative workshops inspired by my current practice and vision for the permanent artwork.”

Rachel lives and works in Glasgow and Gothenburg, Sweden. She graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) from Edinburgh College of Art’s Painting Department in 2011, and since then she has exhibited across Scotland. Her work encompasses print, sculpture and installation through exhibitions and participatory projects that engage directly with the public. Recent projects have transformed gallery spaces into live print workshops, which invite the public to participate by contributing their own artwork to the exhibition display. She aims to encourage artistic expression within people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities; providing the opportunity and environment to uncover the creative potential in everyone.

The other four artworks to be unveiled will be in Musselburgh, Saltcoats, Lennoxtown and Shetland.

Find out more at the Book Week Scotland website

Performance art comes to Stockbridge Library

Here’s an intriguing way to start the weekend. This Friday at 4pm Stockbridge Library hosts some performance art to mark the opening of the ‘Foreign Bodies – Corpi Estrani’ exhibition at the nearby Alpha Art Gallery.imagesCAHMDWAZ

The organisers promise:

“interactive public performance of body to body animations involving the two artists Monticelli&Pagone and members of the public.

Other lively and engaging participatory activities are being planned during the course of the event. Entertainment is key to this project in which a key word for the promoters is the fun of creative expression.

People who participate in this event will experience a different sense of style and maybe a different approach to life. Why shouldn’t this extend from the Alpha Art Gallery to the spaces and lives we inhabit every day?”

See you there?