A historical summer read

Join millions of others around the world in reading a fantastic historical novel during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 12-27 July, readers can borrow and read the ebook and audiobook versions of The Girl in his Shadow by Audrey Blake from our Libby by OverDrive service. Borrow this suspenseful historical novel with no waiting lists on the Libby app or by visiting our Libby website.

An unforgettable historical fiction novel about one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her. Set in London in 1845, orphan Nora Beady is raised by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Horace Croft after losing her parents to a deadly pandemic. While other young ladies were raised to busy themselves with needlework and watercolours, Nora was trained to perfect her suturing and anatomical illustrations of dissections. Women face dire consequences if caught practicing medicine, but in Croft’s private clinic Nora is his most trusted – and secret – assistant. That is until the new surgical resident arrives and Nora must learn to play a new and uncomfortable role—that of a proper young lady.

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby app and the Libby website from the 12 July and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can even discuss the book online or use #biglibraryread on social media for a chance to win a Samsung tablet and goody bag. Full instructions for using Libby can be found on our Your Library website.

What have you been reading?!

Our downloadable library has proved a lifeline to many during the pandemic and Edinburgh Libraries has seen usage of its ebook, audiobooks, newspaper and magazine services grow over this period. But, what have you all been reading over the last year and is it any different from anywhere else in the UK?!

eBOOKS
You have borrowed over 205,000 ebooks from our Libby by OverDrive service this year! Surprisingly only three* of the titles on our top ten loans match those of the rest of the UK. Many of our top lenders have a decidedly Scottish theme or author –

  1. A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone – 1,050 loans
  2. The Thursday Murder Club* by Richard Osman – 938 loans
  3. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – 689 loans
  4. The Hoarder by Jess Kidd – 652 loans
  5. In Dark Water by Lynne McEwan– 642 loans
  6. What He Knew by Marion Todd– 497 loans
  7. Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming – 432 loans
  8. The Sentinel* by Lee Child – 411 loans
  9. The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson – 407 loans
  10. The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride – 402 loans

NEWSPAPERS
You read over 2.3 million newspaper copies last year through our PressReader service, making newspapers by far our most popular downloadable resource. The Scotsman however is our run-away favourite newspaper read –

  1. The Scotsman – 441,021 loans
  2. The Guardian – 161, 162 loans
  3. Daily Telegraph – 144,243 loans
  4. The Herald – 122, 476 loans
  5. Scottish Daily Mail – 91,279 loans
  6. Daily Mail – 74,421 loans
  7. The Independent – 61,467 loans
  8. Daily Record – 60,645 loans
  9. Daily Express – 44,670 loans
  10. The Observer – 25,510 loans

AUDIOBOOKS
Again only four* of the national top issuers make it on to our Libby list with Scottish themes again dominating some of the top spots. Crime and thrillers also feature strongly. This selection comes from Libby, but we offer three audiobook services with a different range of titles on each –

  1.  Klara and the Sun* by Kazuo Ishiguro – 518 loans
  2.  A Song for the Dark Times* by Ian Rankin – 497 loans
  3.  Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan – 426 loans
  4. The Coffinmaker’s Garden* by Stuart MacBride – 383 loans
  5. The Cut by Chris Brookmyre – 335 loans
  6. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn – 329 loans
  7.  Lockdown by Peter May – 321 loans
  8.  Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie- 289 loans
  9. The World’s Worst Parents by David Walliams – 285 loans
  10. Cold Mourning* by Brenda Chapman – 281 loans

MAGAZINES
Our top magazines on Libby are pretty much the same as everywhere else except for the inclusion of The Week and surprisingly The New Yorker! Both our Libby and PressReader magazine services have over 3,000 magazines in them each. Top magazines on PressReader include the TV Times and Auto Express –

  1.  HELLO! – 2,831 loans
  2.  The Economist – 2,050 loans
  3.  New Scientist – 1,557 loans
  4.  Good Housekeeping – 1,432 loans
  5.  Woman’s Weekly – 1,368 loans
  6.  BBC Good Food Magazine – 1,283 loans
  7.  The New Yorker – 1,211 loans
  8. The Week – 1,052 loans
  9.  Radio Times – 987 loans
  10. Woman – 832 loans

Find out how to use our downloadable services at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/library2go

We’ve added Ancestry to our family history eresources

Ancestry is an invaluable tool for family history researchers and we’re delighted to announce that this resource is now available to all library members from within our libraries!

Ancestry Institutional Access gives you access to over 7000 databases to search millions of genealogical records covering the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Records include censuses, official records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps and more. New content is continually being added too, so you can discover more each time.

U.K. collections include censuses for Scotland, England, Wales, Isle of Man and Channel Islands, Births and Baptisms (1834-1906), Marriage Licenses (1521-1869), Deaths and Burials (1834-1934), and Poor Law Records (1840-1938) in London.

Discover your past with our family and local history resources

Ancestry Institutional Access joins our suite of family and local history resources alongside Findmypast, British Newspaper Archive, Scotsman Digital Archive and Scran and our own Capital Collections, Edinburgh Collected, and Our Town Stories which give an unrivalled view of Edinburgh’s past. Find them all at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/heritage

Remember to book a time to use a computer or study space at one of our reopened libraries so that you can start piecing together your family’s past with Ancestry.

A thrilling Big Library Read!

June2021_BLR_Libby_1200x675Read a fantastic new thriller during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 28 June -12 July, readers can borrow The Quiet Girl by S.F. Kosa, a tightly-woven book that inspires questions about trauma, memory, and how well we ever know the people we love. Borrow it for free from our OverDrive service with no waiting list on the Libby app or by visiting our OverDrive website

Good girls keep quiet. But quiet girls can’t stay silent forever—and the consequences are sure to make some noise. When Alex arrives home to patch things up with his new wife, Mina, he finds an empty wine glass in the sink, her wedding ring on the desk, and a string of questions in her wake. The police believe that Mina simply left, their marriage crumbling before it truly began. But what Alex finds in their empty cottage points him toward a different reality: Mina has always carried a secret. And now she’s disappeared.

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby/OverDrive apps and the OverDrive website from the 28 June and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can even discuss the book online or by using #biglibraryread on social media you’ll be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet and book signed by the author!

Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

A stress-free Big Library Read!

Join millions of others around the world in reading a timely book about dealing with stress during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 5-19 April, readers can borrow and read Dr Brian King’s ebook The Art of Taking it Easy from our OverDrive service with no waiting list. Find out how to cope with bears, traffic and the rest of life’s stressors with the Libby app or by visiting our OverDrive website

Psychologist and stand-up comedian Dr Brian King gives us a practical, yet laugh-out-loud guide to embracing humour to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life. In this brilliant guide he presents hands-on techniques for managing stress by rewiring our brains to approach potentially difficult situations through a lens of positivity. Exploring what stress is, where it comes from, and what it does to our bodies and brains, he delves deep into how to address everyday stress—as well as anxiety, insecurities, repression, and negativity—and gives insight into resulting ailments such as anxiety disorders, depression, hypertension, obesity, substance abuse disorders, and more.

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby/OverDrive apps and the OverDrive website from the 5 April and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can even discuss the book online or by using #biglibraryread on social media you’ll be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet and book signed by the author!

Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

 

Making plans and keeping resolutions

Every new year is an opportunity to start fresh, an opportunity to make plans to achieve things, to make resolutions about what you want to do or don’t want to do in the new year! Many of us make new year’s resolutions, but when we reflect back at the end of the year, we find that they didn’t happen. So, let’s make 2021 different. If you are already struggling to keep up with your resolutions, read on to find out what interesting plans our Central library staff have got for this year…

Eleonora from Central Lending says, 
“My first resolution is to try to finish my graphic novel about food recipes.
I have started it during the first lockdown, and I haven’t completed it yet, this will be my big challenge and maybe… I hope… I can publish it sometime in the future.

My second resolution is BUY LESS. 
I realised how much futile things are surrounding my life, sometimes I feel literally suffocated of them. 
Wardrobes, drawers, kitchen cabinets are packed of stuff that I don’t even know of their existence.
So, the plan is living minimalist. Give away what I no longer need, make my house lighter and most importantly make myself free of that thought of “BUY”. Part of this resolution is also trying to make my own cleaning products, so stop buying dangerous detergents/soaps that aren’t good for me and the planet.
For me this year is; “Less is better”.

Third resolution: learning oil pastels. I already started and I am pretty much into it, I just love it and cannot stop doing it. I can spend hours sitting on the chair and drawing.

I am determined to work on two new yoga poses too, I got my fancy yoga blocks for Christmas so I am sure they will help me to achieve my aim.”

Eleonora finds these amazing eresources helpful to keep up with her resolutions:

The year of less: how I stopped shopping, gave away my belongings, and discovered life is worth more than anything you can buy in a store by Cait Flanders
Available to borrow as an ebook

The more of less: finding the life you want under everything you own by Joshua Becker
Available to borrow as an ebook

Hinch yourself happy : all the best cleaning tips to shine your sink and soothe your soul by Mrs Hinch
Available to borrow as an ebook and an audiobook

Spark joy: the Japanese art of decluttering and organising: an illustrated master class by Marie Kondo
Available to borrow as an ebook and an audiobook

and the Yoga Journal magazine via PressReader.

Doris from Central Lending has very healthy plans for 2021:
“One of my new year’s resolutions for 2021 is to make more vegetarian recipes. This is for two reasons: to widen the variety of fruit and vegetables I eat regularly, and to use up the week-old celery and carrots that occasionally languish at the bottom of my fridge. 

Central Lending Library has at least two whole shelves groaning with recipe books and it’s heartening to see that there’s a good selection available on Overdrive too. I enjoyed reading a sample of The Clever Guts Diet Recipe Book by Dr Clare Bailey on Overdrive and I’m looking forward to borrowing it and trying out new meal recipes.”
Available to borrow as an ebook

Natasha from the Music Library wants to improve some skills she has been working on. She says,
“I haven’t really set myself any resolutions to learn a new skill this year. Instead, I want to improve ones I’m already developing.
I’m an avid knitter and have been knitting for around 10 years now, starting off with a scarf made from no particular pattern. Since then, I’ve made a wide variety of items but one thing I’d really like to learn how to do this year is to draft my own knitting pattern. I received a book about drafting for Christmas which has spurred me on. The various knitting magazines on both PressReader and RBdigital will definitely provide huge inspiration, helping me settle on shape, stitch patterns and construction methods!

Another thing I’d like to improve is my language learning skills. During last summer, I started learning Simplified Mandarin using a few apps on my phone. It’s a beautiful language that I’ve always been fascinated by and have always wanted to learn. I’m now at the point where I can recognise quite a few characters and I have a reasonable idea of what they might mean; I find myself reading the back of packets to test myself! I’d like to get to the point where I can read paragraphs of text and I think looking at the children’s Chinese language magazines available on PressReader will be a great help. I had a look at one the other day and saw the phrase “the girl had long, black hair” so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to understand a little more with further practice!”

Kevi from the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection has plans for gardening this year.
“As the clock struck midnight on 31 December 2020, I raised a glass to celebrate the passing of the strangest year of our collective lives, thankful that my family and friends were safe and realising how lucky we were to be so. On reflection, I realised that many New Years had passed in my life in the same way – with great hope and intentions to change but no action.                                                                                                                        

2020 wasn’t an easy year for anyone, for many it was a year full of tragedy, loss, incomprehension at the new world we were living in, and isolation. The first lockdown was intense, bringing into sharp relief the stagnation caused by years of fearing change and the realisation that when fear is in control, no change can happen. I promised myself that procrastination would rule me no more and a decision, long delayed, has been made, after many years in the same home and in the midst of a global pandemic, I am attempting to move to a new house! It is quite a journey, in fact, one of the most stressful things a person can do, so “why bother”, you might ask?

My longing for a garden is well documented and lockdown only increased my desperation to immerse my fingers in soil. I scaled up my indoor plant growing so much that my family and I now navigate our lives around a proliferation of large fronded friends, flourishing Peace Lily’s, spiky Cacti and Ferns…….my favourite being a little Maiden-Hair Fern which I bought online and am unreasonably attached to, fretting over the slightest crisping of delicate rounded leaf and fine-spraying every morning in devotion to its survival. I experimented with Ginger (so easy, who knew?) and Avocado (fiddly and takes a lot of time but so worth it). Plants have slowly taken over our house, a calming distraction in a year of strife and have convinced me that I must not wait another year but get myself a garden, not the easiest thing to find mid-winter in Edinburgh, a city of many tenements, but one has finally revealed itself as within reach and I can already visualise the veritable verdant forest of plants to be joyfully grown and enjoyed. 
So here is to New Year’s 2021 which, all being well, I hope to celebrate, finally, in my garden.”

Check out these gardening books suggested by Kevi:

Contini’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook by Carina Contini
Available to borrow as an ebook

Wild Your Garden by The Butterfly Brothers
Available to borrow as an ebook

Veg in One Bed: how to grow an abundance of food, in one raised bed, month by month by Huw Richards
Available to borrow as an ebook

Gardening for the Zombie Apocalypse by Isabel Lloyd and Phil Clarke
Available as an ebook and audiobook   

Ania from Central Lending has some different views about new year resolutions:
“I absolutely love planning things! 
I love knowing what I’m doing today and in the following days, from simple things like what I’m cooking for the family, where and at what time I’m going running, to where is the next holiday.
I’m ‘Miss Planning’ simply.

And yet… I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions, especially in current times, when it can be so unpredictable. 

I have to admit I’ve tried before, and I guess as many people, I’ve put trivial things on my “list”: do more exercise, read more, eat healthy, learn another language, loose a kilo or two, be more patient, spend more quality time with my children etc, etc.

Then I thought I don’t need the extra pressure in life, I’m more or less doing the above but without the stress of a written list that needs a tick next to it.

I certainly prefer a “mini, every day resolution”. I’ll try and do my daily run, or yoga, eat 5 of my 5 a day, listen to a great audiobook borrowed from the amazing library selection during my walk, learn few Spanish lessons on Duolingo etc but if I won’t manage…then fine, I’ll do it tomorrow 😁” 

We have got a huge selection of audiobooks which you can enjoy anytime, anywhere like Ania.
Check out our great collection of 1000+ ‘No wait’ audiobook titles.

We have got quite a few members of staff learning a new language this year.
Bageshri from Central Lending has started learning German this year. She says, “Just when 2020 was about to end, another lockdown was declared. With so much uncertainty going around and so much time in my hands, I thought of learning something new. I feel that learning a new skill gives you positivity with feeling of accomplishment. I was always good in literature in my school days and enjoyed learning languages. And was especially good at grammar. I have learnt 3 languages while in school (which is very common in India), Marathi as my mother tongue, Hindi as a national language and English as an international language. I had heard that the grammar of German is quite similar to my mother tongue, Marathi and it was always at the back of my mind that I should learn German one day.

So, here I am learning German now. At Edinburgh Libraries we have got a good collection of language learning material. Both in physical as well as electronic formats. Until our buildings reopen, check out our audiobook foreign language courses on Overdrive.

Apart from learning German I also have decided to practice Yoga and breathing meditation every day. I start my day with an hour of breathing meditation and some Yoga. And within a month, I can see the difference. I am feeling much happier, calmer and more productive throughout the day. In current situations, people are suffering with anxiety, stress, and negativity. I can say from experience that Yoga and meditation can definitely help to overcome these problems. Not only in current situations, but it definitely helps to make your life better.”
Explore ebooks for mindfulness on Overdrive.

Gema from Leith Library and currently also Central Library, has got something interesting to share with us. She says,
“My resolution for this year is not having any, to avoid disappointment! 😄
… but… I am developing a bigger interest on chi kung (or qigong). I enjoy practising it and it helps me feel better in a physical and mental, even emotional, way. It is easy to perform, you don´t need any equipment, it is fun and it can be energizing or relaxing, depending on what you are searching for. I have even used this in conjunction with acupressure to heal a headache or stomach pain.”

We have some physical book suggestions on qigong for when our buildings reopen.

We hope you enjoyed reading about our colleagues’ new year’s resolutions. Please drop a comment below if you would like to share your new year’s resolution or if you have been inspired to try something new after reading this post!

Want to get online? We can help!

Covid-19 has changed people’s lives in many ways. Perhaps, one of the most significant changes is that the use of technology in day-to-day life has become more important than ever before. With no social gatherings, cinemas or eating out, people are turning increasingly to online activities. Whether it’s online shopping, entertainment, work meetings or social gatherings with family and friends, the use of technology is almost unavoidable.

Our libraries have a wide range of books on technology. Whether it’s learning to use a device, learning to use the internet or becoming confident on social media, we’ve got it all covered. As our online presence becomes more and more frequent, staying safe online becomes equally important, so it is essential to know about online safety too.

While our library buildings are closed and there is no access to physical books, we have a selection of resources available online to help! We have a new Get Online collection of ebooks to help you with the basics of computing, the internet and social media available to borrow from Overdrive/Libby app.

If you’re worried about home-schooling and keeping children entertained during lockdown, you’ll find an extensive range of online resources for children on the Your Library website’s KidsZone.

The Digital Team’s Get Online programme have been highlighting resources to help improve life online throughout lockdown and beyond. The team have compiled a help section on the Your Library website of recommended online tools and resources and trustworthy online learning programmes.

And if you need further help to get online, the Digital Team can provide free help and support to anyone who is struggling. They can answer quick digital enquiries and also provide free one-to-one support sessions on, for example, keeping in touch with family and friends, setting up and using emails or learning how to use your device. The Get Online service provides advice and support by phone, email and video call platforms.  

You can also contact the Your Library Helpline if you need help getting started or trouble-shooting our ebook, audiobook, magazine or newspapers services.

So don’t just get put off by technology – get in touch with us at informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk and get going!

Making it this winter with the help of emagazines from Edinburgh Libraries

With many of us confined more to our homes again in the winter months, it’s a good time to get crafting and we’ve a wealth of magazines on our newspaper and magazine platform PressReader to get you started and inspired. Search under ‘Crafts & Hobbies’ to find crafting magazines.

One tip for crafting – don’t throw bits and bobs away. That little bit of wool can be stitched up to a blanket square and odd bits of wrapping paper are great for decoupage. Start simple with a project you can achieve, it’ll build your confidence.

Let’s get started with crochet!

One thing that’s perfect for snuggling up on a cold winter’s day is a crocheted blanket. There are lots of crochet magazines on Press Reader, but we found a lovely pattern for a blanket in this one – Mollie Makes Ultimate Crochet Blanket Collection. It brings together lots of blanket patterns from the pages of Simply Crochet magazine – which is also available on Press Reader.

Mollie Makes is a fantastic magazine covering a wide range of craft ideas so if you’re looking to start something new, this is your first stop for inspiration and is available on PressReader.

Knitting has become a hugely popular activity in recent years with a huge range of new patterns and ideas available. PressReader has a fabulous collection of knitting magazines to choose from. Top of the range is probably The Knitter – good for exploring new techniques and for people who want to knit patterns from some of the best designers. If you are more of a  novice try looking at magazines Simply Knitting or Love Knitting.

Have you been hooked to watching The Great British Sewing Bee? Perhaps you’ve been inspired to take up sewing. Get some help with Simply Sewing available on PressReader a fabulously practical sewing magazine aimed at people who sew or would like to start sewing. It’s a mag with lots of practical tips on techniques and a range of project ideas from garments and home furnishings to toys and ways to customise existing clothes and brighten up your environment, like covering your home office pin board with fabric. You don’t need a sewing machine to get started with small projects. There’s also inspiring profiles of celebrity stitchers and bloggers to get you inspired.

If you enjoy sewing and end up with scraps of material you don’t want to throw away, have you thought about starting patchwork and quilting? Quilting is a great craft for using up scraps. Start with a small, project that is easy and realistic to achieve and work up to that heirloom quilt. Love Quilting is a great magazine for quick and easy patterns to get you going. For more experienced quilters there are tips on developing new techniques. Another favourite quilting magazine is Quilter’s World with tips on techniques and patterns but beautifully inspiring examples of fabulous quilts.

If you like making cards or want to try your hand at a new craft have a go at papercraft. Most of us have bits of paper and card lying about or rummage in your recycling and you’re sure to find materials you can rework. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at pop-up or concertina cards get some inspiration from Papercrafts inspirations magazine and you’ll never buy a birthday card again!

We hope you might be inspired to take up a new craft this winter and we’d love to hear about what you’re making – tweet Central Library at @edcentlib with pictures of your creations!

Edinburgh’s City Read

51zWsBxwofLThis week is Book Week Scotland and we’d like you to join in by downloading our Edinburgh’s City Read ebook title! Specially picked with our readers in mind, A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone is a tense, shocking and darkly funny thriller set in Edinburgh. Download it through the Libby app or OverDrive website and read for free.

Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a funeral-home business…and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined. As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…

Unlimited downloads are available from 16 – 29 November, all you need is library membership so you can login with your library card and PIN. Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

Instant access to ebooks & audiobooks

To kick off Book Week Scotland 2020 we are running a fantastic promotion for non-library users offering them free instant access to ebooks and audiobooks on OverDrive without the need for a library card. If you read this blog you are probably already a member of the library, but do you know someone who isn’t, but would love free ebook and audiobook downloads? Please spread the word to your friends, family and work colleagues!

Anyone over 13 years old with an EH postcode home, work or study address can sign up for instant access in seconds. All you need is a mobile phone number and the access code – Library2go. Thousands of best-selling books for adults, teens and children are available through OverDrive’s website or the Libby app. It’s a fantastic resource to access from home and on the go.

This promotion gives you access to OverDrive for three months.  However, its easy for people to keep on using the service for free by joining the library and receiving a permanent membership card.

To find out how to get started go to  www.edinburgh.gov.uk/IDC This access option will be available from 16 November – 16 December 2020.

RBdigital audiobooks move to OverDrive

This month has seen the transfer of our RBdigital audiobook collection to our OverDrive service. Over two thousand adult, teen and children’s audiobooks were moved to the OverDrive Libby app and OverDrive website more than doubling the collection available here and making it easier to find and download your favourite books. You’ll find best-selling authors such as Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Jojo Moyes and David Nicholls.

Over 4,000 audiobook titles are available on OverDrive along with almost 10,000 ebooks. Many of the audiobooks are multi-access, meaning no waiting and instant access. Over lockdown lots of people have discovered the joy of listening to books whilst at home for company and its great whilst you are doing other things such as cleaning, cooking or gardening. Logging into the Libby app is super-easy too – you just use your library card number and PIN. Full user instructions can be found on our Your Library website.

If you were previously an RBdigital user, but have not been able to login to OverDrive drop an email to informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk and we’ll quickly sort it out for you.

Love audiobooks? Check out our other audiobook platforms – BorrowBox and uLIBRARY for a further range of authors and titles.

A fantastical Big Library Read

Join millions of others around the world in reading a fantastic young adult fantasy novel during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 2-16 November, readers can borrow and read Tim Ryan La Sala’s wildly imaginative ebook or audiobook  Reverie from our OverDrive service. Travel to other worlds with your library card and no waiting lists, with the Libby app or by visiting our OverDrive website. You can even discuss the book online.

Find out what happens when the secret worlds people hide within themselves come to light. All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember anything since an accident robbed him of his memories a few weeks ago. And the world feels different—reality itself seems different.

So when three of his classmates claim to be his friends and the only people who can tell him what’s truly going on, he doesn’t know what to believe or who he can trust. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere, Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident, and only he can stop their world from unraveling.

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby/OverDrive apps and the OverDrive website from the 2 November and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

How to cure an earworm – and other musical niggles!

Once again, we hand over to Douglas from the Music Library who this time tells us how to cure an earworm…

“There will be no medical advice given at all, in the process of the blog.

I have recently been suffering from an earworm, a little snippet of music which wheedles its way into your head and stays there until you workout what it is or why its there. Sometimes they are easy to recognise and you would think easy to dismiss, Sarah Millican the comedy performer was on Desert Islands Discs and one of her choices was Paul McCartney and The Frog Chorus, which is a fine choice and with its lyric of “We all Stand together” a great sentiment for where we are today, as long as we stand two metres apart and perhaps wear a mask, but I digress. A great choice but one that stayed in my head for weeks and writing about it now has put it back in my head.

The other kind of earworm is more difficult to deal with, if you cannot put a name to it and you have no idea why it’s there it is much more tricky to budge. I have been suffering from one of those lately but more of that in a moment.

In an episode of the hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory” entitled “The Earworm Reverberation”, Dr Sheldon Cooper is troubled by a short snippet of tune which he cannot put a name to and has no idea why it’s there, this infuriates him, which in turn infuriates his friends. Eventually he solves his earworm, naming it as Darlin’ by the Beach Boys. Knowing this, the title and the lyric, bring him to the realisation that he must win back his ex-girlfriend Dr Amy Farrah-Fowler and curing his earworm.

For most people, the earworm is a benign happening which for the most part lasts 15-30 secs, for 92% of people they happen once a week. Although there seems to be a majority of people who find the experience, as said earlier, benign, 33% described it as unpleasant with 15% going as far as to say it was disturbing. These figures are from an article in the Scientific American.

The fact that there are facts and figures about this phenomenon, means that people have done work on earworms. Erudite analysis have been produced, papers written by learned people, about why a snippet of a tune appears in your head and why it should annoy you for a little while.  One of those is Dr Vicky Williamson, an independent authority and consultant on the psychology of music who produced a paper and did research with the aid of the good listeners to BBC Radio 6’s breakfast show.

Dr Williamson collect many experiences of people’s earworms and concluded much from that information.

Triggers for earworms include:-

  • Recent music exposure – my experience with The Frog Chorus
  • Repeated music exposure
  • Word triggers or associations – the word Faith on a shoebox from the shop called Faith, on a shelf, caused the person to hear George Michael sing his hit song Faith, every time that person sat down in their office. The solution was to move the shoebox to where it could no longer be seen.
  • People triggers – where sight or memory of a person is associated with a song
  • Situation trigger – weddings can cause you to remember your own first dance song)
  • Stress – another person tells of a time when they were first to sit an important exam and the song Nathan Jones by Bananarama was stuck in that person’s head. Now at moments of stress, into their head pops Bananarama singing Nathan Jones.
    Surprise
  • Dreams
  • Mind wandering

The trigger for this article was my own earworm weeks ago. I was walking it to town when a few bars of a tune entered my head and would not go away. It was a short extract from a work I knew well and, as Thomas Beecham told a NY taxi driver who asked him not to whistle, “You my dear fellow, can only hear me whistling: I can hear the full orchestra.”

I could hear the full orchestra playing this slow building, hypnotic extract and I found myself willing the orchestra to go on to a place in the music in which I could put a name to it. This continued for weeks listening to the same few bars, over and again, as if on some cruel repeat, but just yesterday I succeeded in naming the piece which had been following me for weeks.

As I said I know this piece well and when I  finally came to my eureka moment  I shouted out “Symphony of Psalms” by Stravinsky, which caused my follow shoppers to throw me a glance.

In 1978, for the Higher Music exam, I studied two works, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra written in 1943 and premiered in 1944, this work was commissioned by Serge Koussevitsky for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who also commissioned the Symphony Of Psalms in 1930 for the same Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary. In 1978 I choose to write about the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra for my exam. What caused me to hear that short extract from the last section of the Symphony of Psalms I have no Idea, I have listened to it many time since 1978. So, I found a recording to confirm my theory. Has it cured that particular earworm? As yet, I have no idea.

In my short readings on earworms it would seem that there is no lasting cure, if you are prone to them, they will return. There are tricks to alleviate them, the main ways to reduce your earworm problem is to engage or distract:

Engage – engage the earworm by listening to the full song or piece from beginning to end, so it is no longer a fragment, it is a full work.

Distract – do almost anything to take your mind of the little snippet. Read, sing, play an instrument, do D.I.Y, anything and hopefully if you distract yourself fully, wormy worm will wriggle away.

When my cure came in a eureka moment it was not before I had scoured the playlists of Naxos Music Library and watched concerts on Medici.TV containing likely suspects.

If your earworm is from the world of classical music, Naxos classical on the library’s webpages may guide you to a solution to your worm problem.

If the snippet you are searching for is some cool saxophone playing or some frenetic scream lead trumpet, then Naxos Jazz might be able to find the home of your critter.

Alternatively there are hundreds of hours of concert footage and opera performances on Medici.TV, which you could use to either help or distract you on your search for a cure!

If your earworm problem is from the rock, pop, folk worlds I am afraid we cannot, as yet, help with that. We do not have any apps for those genres but there are websites/apps which can.

Good luck and may all your earworms be little and solvable.”

Libraries Week 2020

Libraries Week is an annual celebration of the best that libraries have to offer. In 2020, it takes place between the 5th-10th October and this year’s theme is “Your Passport to Reading”.

Even with our libraries being closed for a long period this year we have still endeavoured to provide our readers with access to quality reading materials through our downloadable Library2go collections. So why not celebrate Libraries Week with us by exploring these services that have truly proved a passport to reading during lockdown.

Library2go provides a fantastic range of free ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines that you can use on your tablet, smart phone or computer. Sign in using your Edinburgh Libraries membership number and PIN. Forgotten your PIN? Use our PIN Reset service. Not a library member? Use our online Join the Library service.

Newspapers – get access to your daily newspaper without leaving the house. You can get 250 UK newspapers including the Edinburgh Evening news, The Scotsman, The Herald, Scottish Daily Mail, The Guardian and the Daily Record on our PressReader service.

eBooks – thousands of best-selling books for adults, teens and kids can be found on OverDrive. Read through the OverDrive website your computer or with their brilliant Libby app on a phone or tablet.

Audiobooks – listen to best-selling books with fantastic narrators on our OverDrive, RBdigital, BorrowBox and uLIBRARY sites.These four downloadable audiobook services give you a wide range of adult, teen and children’s titles to choose from.

Magazines –  hundreds of UK and worldwide magazines are available to read through RBdigital and PressReader. So whether you’re in to Hello!, Amateur Gardening, Good Housekeeping, Auto Express, TV Times, BBC Good Food or Amateur Photography we’ve got it covered.

There are clear instructions on how to use all these services available from https://yourlibrary.edinburgh.gov.uk. Any further questions please contact informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk.

Join in with the Big Library Read

Join millions of others around the world in reading a historical fiction thriller during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 3-17 August, readers can borrow and read Tim Mason’s “intellectually stimulating and viscerally exciting” ebook or audiobook The Darwin Affair from our OverDrive service. Solve the mystery from home – with your library card and no waiting lists, with the Libby app or by visiting our OverDrive website. You can even discuss the book online.

Historical fiction novel The Darwin Affair takes place in London during June 1860. When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later, Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot. Soon, Field’s investigation exposes a shocking conspiracy in which the publication of Charles Darwin’s controversial On the Origin of Species sets off a string of murders, arson, kidnapping, and the pursuit of a madman named the Chorister. As he edges closer to the Chorister, Field uncovers dark secrets that were meant to remain forever hidden. Tim Mason has created a rousing page-turner that both Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would relish!

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby/OverDrive apps and the OverDrive website from the 3 August and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. If you use #biglibraryread on social media you’ll be entered into a draw to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet!  Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

John Johnson Collection

One of the many online resources we have available that you might not be too familiar with is the John Johnson Collection which gives a unique insight into everyday life in Britain in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is an archive of printed ephemera from the Bodleian Library and contains an amazing amount of weird and wonderful pictorial information.

We’ve been having a dig about in the collection, looking at some of the things that have been keeping us occupied during lockdown and found these gems from the past.

We’ve all been trying to get our hands on soap, handwash, hand sanitiser and cleaning products. This advert below lists Bishop’s Pure Drug Co.’s ‘best and cheapest’ disinfectant supplies for combatting infectious diseases –

Special price list of disinfectants from Bishop’s Pure Drug Co., c1880

And after barbers and hairdressers had been closed a few weeks, we were reduced to some DIY haircutting from family members –

Dick Wildfire preparing for a dash – 1812

And when we all decided to keep fit, we took to the bicycle. Would we have been so keen if we had to wear all this?

The three best lady cyclists dress holders – [1890’s]

And of course, when we were finally able to track some flour down, we all took to baking-

Why they all use McDougall’s Self-Raising Flour – [1920s]

Why not have a browse through the intriguing John Johnson Collection yourself and see what you can find. All you need is your library card to access and if you’re not already a member, now’s the time to join!

Are ye dancin’?

If you’ve been dancing around your living room on your own, now you can take inspiration from the many dance companies streaming performances and making classes available online.

Start with the Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School perform Matthew Hart’s Peter and the Wolf, choreographed to Prokofiev’s charming music, as part of the Royal Opera House’s #OurHouseToYourHouse series. For a real classic watch the Krelim Ballet perform Swan Lake.

You can learn more about the history of ballet and find more step-by-step techniques of classical ballet with BBC Arts Origins of Ballet.

If classical ballet is too formal for you and hip-hop or contemporary dance is more your thing – at BBC Arts Hip-Hop Dance and BBC Arts Contemporary Dance here’s your chance to learn some classic moves and the history of hip-hop and contemporary dance.

If all this inspires you, join Royal Academy of Dance teacher and Silver Swans expert practitioner Sarah Platt as she brings her motivational ballet classes directly to you at home. This is the first in a series of classes aimed at the over 55s, giving you the knowledge to unleash your inner dancer, with new sequences to learn and remember each week. Try this as a family!

Scottish Ballet have launched Dance Health and Wellbeing Classes especially for people with Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, dementia and other conditions – but the classes are suitable for many of us new to dance.

Sadler’s Wells Take Part series have launched a series of Family Dance Workshops. Although designed for younger children we can all enjoy learning how to balance, move like your favourite animal and dance the way colours make you feel.

Do you love musical theatre? Each Friday Andrew Lloyd Webber is releasing a musical available to watch for 48 hours to keep us entertained at the weekend. Check out The Shows Must Go On! Tune in tonight, Friday 10 April for Jesus Christ Superstar!

Read another blog post giving staff recommendations for enjoying music concerts online.

Discovering history online

The Edinburgh and Scottish Team at Central Library share some online resources for discovering history and heritage.

Image: David C. Weinczok @TheCastleHunter/ Twitter

Some residents of Stockbridge have been finding novel ways of keeping themselves busy/entertained in these times of social distancing, see above photo, however if you are stuck inside and looking for ideas here are some suggestions with a history and heritage focus.

Let’s start with anniversaries. April is an important month for two monumental events in the history of Scotland. April 6 marked the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath and there is a fantastic radio programme made by Billy Kay to celebrate the document and assess its impact and importance. ‘The Declaration’ was broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland this week and is available for one month on the BBC Sounds app. For younger people interested in the document, Historic Environment Scotland and National Records of Scotland have collaborated to produce this excellent free printable illustrated activity booklet.

The second anniversary of note this month is the bicentenary of the Scottish Radical Rising of 1820. We were all very sad to have to have to postpone the wonderful Maggie Craig’s talk at Central Library this month, but we encourage you to check out her great blog and new book on the topic. The aptly titled ‘One Week in April’ is newly published by Birlinn.

For the family tree researchers out there – an exciting development from Edinburgh Libraries has arrived. Free access to Find My Past has been extended to home users for the duration of this lockdown period. This was previously only available at a physical library site. For more information on how to access from home please visit our Your Library website.

The National Library of Scotland maps team have been busy producing this very nifty and useful digital map overlay. This allows you to see a comprehensive range of the maps of Edinburgh and its environs, what they cover and within what time period they were produced.

Now for any budding archaeologists out there (young or old…) Dig Ventures have made a fantastic online learning course available for free (usually costs £49.00!) and the next course begins on the 14 April. Archaelogy Scotland have also produced a handy toolkit of resources too.

The always excellent Battle of Bannockburn Experience has created an online classroom, which may be of interest to those currently partaking in home schooling (- we salute you!)

For those of us that perhaps can’t commit or aren’t interested in a formal learning experience but are really missing being able to go out and enjoy visiting a great museum or gallery, please have a look at these virtual options. A very comprehensive list has been produced by the MCN in the US. There are a great many to choose from all over the planet all free to access and enjoy.

Finally bringing things a bit closer to home and in case you missed it – episode 1 from the BBC Scotland series ‘One Night in the Museum’ was recently aired and available for the next month on BBC iPlayer. It follows three groups of primary school aged children on a journey of discovery as they are able to explore the National Museum of Scotland’s collection at night and free from adult involvement. It is adorable and well worth a watch.

Findmypast give temporary home access to library users

During this period of Libraries’ closure, Findmypast are kindly offering our library members free access to their fantastic family history resource from home.

If you’re interested in accessing Findmypast through Edinburgh Libraries whilst you stay at home, please contact informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk with your library card number and we can provide login instructions.

David Doull studio portrait of Daniel Gray and his children, 1866. Photograph from Capital Collections

If you’re used to accessing Findmypast in the library you’ll notice that the site looks a little different from usual but you’ll still have full access to the millions of records available via the Library’s subscription.

With access to UK parish records, census records, Irish records and British military records, Findmypast is the ideal resource for making progress with your family history research and many of us also have a bit more time on our hands to take advantage of this brilliant offer.

 

Visiting art exhibitions from your armchair

This blog is written by Bronwen, Librarian in the Art and Design Library.

“Working in the Art & Design Library we are keen to promote access to exhibitions and make a point of collecting catalogues of the major shows around the UK. This year is a little different but with art museums having their virtual doors open we’ve pulled together some of the many online exhibitions and galleries you can visit without leaving home.

Tour some of the world’s greatest galleries with Google Arts and Culture!

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in Google Street View

With Google Arts and Culture you can take virtual tours around some of the best art museums in the world from the British Museum to MoMA in New York to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris – you can zoom in far closer on individual works than you ever could in real life! You can even take a tour of our National Museums Scotland.

Close to home explore the collections of the National Galleries Scotland; explore their featured artists and art works and get some ideas for getting creative.

Catch up with the latest videos from The Royal Academy, London including virtual curator-led tours and artist interviews and explore the Royal Academy collections from home. The Royal Academy Gauguin and the Impressionists was due to open on 29 March: the Royal Academy are bringing a taste of the exhibition to you at home.

Tate Modern may be closed but you can view their series of Online Displays.

Watch an online-only performance by the Congolese choreographer and dance artist Faustin Linyekula in the Tanks at Tate Modern My Body, My Archive is a performance re-invented for the particular situation of this exhibition and its closure to the public. It combines segments of his works Sur les traces de Dinozord 2006, Statue of Loss 2014, Banataba 2017 and Congo 2019.

Image from the Dai Nippon (Great Japan) exhibition on Capital Collections

Ever wanted to get the National Gallery London all to yourself? Now you have a chance with their series of virtual tours. Tours link directly to painting pages where you can find out more information on the art works on display.

Dai Nippon (Great Japan) is an online exhibition of beautiful Japanese prints on Capital Collections. The artworks are taken from the Henry Dyer Collection of amazing artefacts gifted to Central Library by his family.”