Hundreds of books delivered to vulnerable Edinburgh families in isolation

Families with vulnerable children who are shielding at home in Edinburgh are to have hundreds of books delivered to their doorsteps thanks to a new charity partnership.

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) – which supports the Royal Hospital for Sick Children – has teamed up with Edinburgh Libraries to help children and their siblings feed their imaginations while shielding for 12 weeks.

Edinburgh Libraries’ Book Bus

With libraries currently closed, Edinburgh Libraries has made available a Book Bus filled with around 1800 books for children and young people to ECHC. The bus will be stationed at the charity’s office, where volunteer delivery drivers will collect book packages and deliver them to local families who are known to the Sick Kids hospital on a regular basis. Through the book deliveries, the charity aims to bring fun and distraction to children and to help improve their mental wellbeing during lockdown.

The book delivery service has also been made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from Baillie Gifford.

Caroline Leishman has been shielding her family of three boys for eight weeks as her youngest son is on active treatment for Leukaemia.

She said: “Coming up with new and exciting ways to keep everyone occupied and distracted while also looking after a clinically vulnerable child becomes a little bit harder as each week goes by.

“It was such a relief when the book parcel from ECHC arrived on our doorstep. The kids were so excited to open it and discover all the new books they had to read which gave us some much needed breathing space!

“Books are such a wonderful resource for children who are shielding. They let their imaginations run wild so they can go on all sorts of fantastic adventures without ever leaving the safety of home.”

Book bags ready to be delivered

Roslyn Neely, CEO of ECHC, said: “We know from our work in the hospital that taking part in fun and creative activities that feed the imagination is the best way to take away children’s fear and feelings of isolation when they are unwell.

“It must be unimaginably tough for children and their siblings having to shield at home when they already face significant health challenges. We know the power of storytelling and the benefits that brings to children in hospital so we’re positive it will have the same effect in the home.

“We believe that nothing should get in the way of being a child. Even though they can’t physically be out and about in the world right now, children have a huge appetite for adventure and there’s a whole world of creativity and magic in their imaginations.

“Bringing books to their doorsteps through this wonderful partnership with Edinburgh Libraries is a great way to ensure they still have access to that. We’re also so grateful to Baillie Gifford for their sponsorship and to all our volunteer drivers for making this possible.”

City of Edinburgh Council Leader Adam McVey said: “We’re delighted we can help families known to the Sick Kids and thanks to our library team who have been superb. One of our mobile libraries is filled with about 1,800 children’s books so what better way of putting these books to good use.

“Books are a wonderful resource and will really help families having to self-isolate in their homes for 12 weeks. Reading as a family is a joy and can help to improve well-being – a recent study found that six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 60%. This is a great example showing how working together with partners in the city can respond to the needs of our communities.”

Book deliveries are one of a number of things that ECHC is doing to support children and families during the pandemic, all of which are being delivered safely in line with government restrictions during this time. All books that are returned to the Book Bus will be held on board for 72 hours for infection control before being recirculated.

Staff preparing the Book bus and bags

The charity is also distributing Emergency Care Packs of food and essential supplies, toiletries and arts and activity items. Families known to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children who would like any of the emergency care packs on offer are asked to contact Leigh at ECHC on 0131 668 4949 or leigh.drake@echcharity.org.

If you wish, you can make a donation to ECHC’s Emergency COVID-19 Appeal online.

Libraries on lockdown – keeping connected online

During these strange times while our buildings are closed, our libraries are keeping in touch with their communities online in innovative and inspiring ways.

Here a just a few of the things we’ve spotted. Follow your local library on Facebook to keep in touch with them whilst we’re all staying safe at home.

Moredun Library have moved their usual Bookbug session for babies, young children and parents and carers online! You can tune in every week on Tuesdays at 10.30am to join Susannah with rhymes and singing on their Facebook page.

 

Muirhouse Library are regularly producing printable activity sheets for children. Visit Muirhouse Library’s Facebook page to see all their beautifully illustrated instructions for getting creative.

Snippy Sticky Foody Folk collage activity from Muirhouse Library

Central Children’s Art Club created a fantastic drawing tutorial showing young artists how to draw Polpo, the Club’s octopus mascot.

 

And this Thursday evening, 23 April, to celebrate World Book Night, Carol from Stockbridge Library will host a special family-friendly book quiz streamed live on Facebook from her living room!

There will be four rounds of questions and a couple of riddles and short readings thrown in as well. There’ll also be a short interval at 8pm so that everyone can join in with the Clap for our Carers.
Get your virtual team together and tune in from 7.30pm on Thursday!

 

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

 

 

Spooky Halloween Reads

Looking for a spooky read this Halloween? Here are some of our favourite children’s titles! Click on the title to reserve a copy at your local library.

Christopher pumpkin by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
Christopher Pumpkin is delighted to be magicked to life by a witch – until he discovers she wants him and the other pumpkins to get her creepy castle ready for the spookiest party ever! Chris just can’t bring himself to hang cobwebs and cook curried slugs – he’s much more into bunting and fairy cakes!


Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire by Francesca Simon
Henry’s class are on a spooky school trip to the local museum, but could there be a terrifying zombie vampire on the loose? Henry soon has his classmates believing Miss Battle-Axe and Miss Lovely might be scarier than they seem. Originally published: as part of Horrid Henry and the zombie vampire.

 

Embassy of the Dead by Will Mabbit
Welcome to the Embassy of the Dead. Leave your life at the door. Jake likes to stay out of trouble, usually. But when he opens a strange box containing a severed finger, trouble comes knocking at his door. Literally. Jake has summoned a reaper to drag him to the Eternal Void (yep, it’s as deadly as it sounds) and his only option is to RUN FOR HIS LIFE! Alone (and a tiny bit scared, to be honest), Jake makes another spooky discovery – he can see and speak to ghosts and, with the help of his deadly gang (well dead, at least) – ancient butler Stiffkey, hockey stick-wielding Cora, and Zorro the ghost fox – Jake has one mission: find the Embassy of the Dead and seek refuge. But the Embassy has troubles of its own and may not be the safe haven Jake is hoping for.

Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Goblin Army by Alex Gardiner
It’s Halloween, and Roger is yet again pulled into a bonkers adventure with the grouchy dwarf warrior Mossbelly MacFearsome. It turns out that Roger has accidentally set free the vicious Goblin Chief Redcap, who is looking to open an ancient portal back to his own world. Now Roger, Moss and their friends must track him down before he unleashes a mighty horde of goblins hellbent on destruction, mayhem – and pickled onions. But how exactly does one find a ghoulish goblin on the one night of the year when everyone is in spooky fancy dress?

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab
Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake, even more than usual. She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs. When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter – and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger. And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

Look out too for the Spooky Reads collection of ebooks and audiobooks on our Kid’s OverDrive site and Halloween Horrors on the Teen OverDrive site.

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.

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.

Wester Hailes Library celebrates #Apollo50

On Saturday 20 July, Wester Hailes Library hosted ‘Mooniversary’, a special drop-in event to commemorate 50 years since the Apollo 11 Moon landing. ‘Mooniversary’ was our first event, as part of the Library’s new FUNgineers programme at Wester Hailes Library, which aims to get kids aged 4+ engaging with STEM topics in a fun and accessible way.

Children (and their adults) had the chance to take part in a range of fun activities including an Apollo scavenger hunt in the Children’s Library, studying the Moon using meteorites, using the 3D printer to recreate the Copernicus crater and making a lunar surface using marbles, flour, cocoa powder and a lot of enthusiasm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all the science activities were over, our ‘library astronauts made straw rockets and tissue paper stained glass pictures of the Moon. Over 30 children and adults took part in our ‘Mooniversary’ celebrations and everyone went home happy and covered in flour.

FUNgineers is running weekly on Fridays at 3pm throughout the summer at Wester Hailes Library and will continue afterwards, alternating with Tiger Tales.