Deaf Awareness Week 4th – 10th May 2020

Deaf Awareness Week 2020 logoEdinburgh Libraries had once again planned a series of events around Deaf Awareness Week. The programme has been cancelled this year but we can look forward to planning for the event in 2021.

There is still a lot of information and help available online that can assist those experiencing hearing loss.

Hearing Link  is a UK-wide charity for people with hearing loss, their families and friends.  They can help you adjust to the practical and emotional challenges that hearing loss can bring – offering shared experiences, practical support and guidance, so you can reconnect with people and face the future with confidence. Whatever your query or concern, whether you have hearing loss yourself or wish to support someone else, you can get in touch.

Edinburgh Hearing Loss Directory is a comprehensive directory from the City of Edinburgh Council, BSL users can contact via contactSCOTLANDBSL, the on-line British Sign Language video relay interpreting service. 

Deaf Action  is a deaf-led charity providing services across Scotland to the estimated 1,012,000 people living with some degree of hearing loss.

C2Hearonline provides information on hearing loss and communication tactics.  There is great advice for friends and family to support people with hearing loss. 

The theme of this year’s Deaf Awareness Week is acquired hearing loss. People with acquired hearing loss face extra challenges when people are speaking from a greater distance or are wearing a mask, since masks make lipreading impossible. Good communication tactics become even more important.

Phone and video calls may be the only way to communicate with people who socially isolate but can be difficult for people with a hearing loss. Ideas for Ears have the ultimate guide on how to maximise communication on the phone or video call.

Ideas for Ears  provides advice on how to communicate well via phone and video call for people with acquired hearing loss.

UK Council on Deafness is the umbrella body for organisations working with deaf people in the UK. Their mission is to assist organisations and the sector as a whole to maximise the positive impact they have for deaf people.






New ways of working with Fiona from the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

Here at Edinburgh Libraries’ Children and Young People’s services, we are finding new ways to work with our partners during lockdown.

Last year the theme of the children’s Summer Reading Challenge was ‘Space Race’ so some Edinburgh Libraries staff prepared by attending outreach and storytelling training provided by the Royal Observatory, getting us ready to share the story of how 50 years ago Apollo 11 landed on the moon. These sessions were run all over the city, including at the Discover initiative.

This year, things need to be different, so we are working on being able to deliver online sessions to our Chatterbooks and school library groups. Watch this space…

Fiona, who works at the Royal Observatory has shared with us the changes to her working day.

“Hello! My name is Fiona and I am part of the Public Engagement Team at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. Our small team can usually be found in the Visitor Centre, which is part of the original Victorian buildings on site. My day-to-day job is organising a public programme of events that aim to inspire, engage and involve people in the amazing technology and science that happens at the Observatory.

Before the lockdown, I would start my day with a long walk up the steep road to the top of Blackford Hill. I had always felt so lucky to be able to look out across Edinburgh every morning: ‘best view in the city’ I would tell my friends and family.

The East dome at the Royal Observatory, with a view of Arthur’s Seat in the distance.

After the lockdown, I now start my day with a short walk downstairs to my ‘home office’ in the dining room. Unfortunately, not the ‘best view in the city’ but it does the job! Myself and the team (including Ivor, my new feline assistant) have been working hard to make sure we can still share the wonders of the universe with you all.

Working from home with Ivor the cat

The first events to make the move online are our Astronomy Talks. Although we can’t invite you in person to the Observatory there is room for people to join from all corners of the world. The record so far is someone watching all the way from New Zealand! If you are interested in astronomy and want to find out more, please join us!

Visit our website to register for free upcoming talks. Talks are most suitable for an adult or young adult audience, but everyone is welcome to tune in and there is always time for questions at the end.

For the younger space fans in your family, we are currently putting together fun interactive sessions for uniformed groups and school aged children. We are also working to create some short videos and easy to follow activity ideas to keep you busy at home.

As we look to an uncertain future, we hope that we can find new unique opportunities to work together. If you represent a local community group or school and have an idea of how you would like to work with us then please get in touch via email, we would love to hear from you.”

You can follow Royal Observatory Edinburgh on Twitter to keep up to date @RoyalObs and follow the #STFCScienceAtHome for lots of free STEM activities for the whole family.

With many thanks to Fiona from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh team for sharing an insight into her working from home day.

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!


Quines Exhibition

Launching next Saturday 7 March on the eve of International Women’s Day is the exciting new exhibition `Quines: poems and textiles in tribute to women of Scotland’ on display across Central Library.

Taking inspiration from Gerda Stevenson’s poetry collection Quines: poems in tribute to women of Scotland celebrating and exploring the richly diverse contribution women have made to Scottish history and society, edge textile artists Scotland members have each selected varied poems from the collection, interpreting them in diverse and inspiring personal ways.

Come to the launch afternoon running 2-4pm Saturday 7 March. Book on Edinburgh Reads to hear Gerda Stevenson reading poems from her collection Quines and take a guided tour led by edge members around the exhibition. Enjoy a cuppa and chat to edge members.

The exhibition is on display on the Mezzanine, on the Staircase and in the Art & Design Library running until Monday 30 March.




February’s Exhibition in the Art and Design Library

The February Exhibition in the Art and Design Library is a group show by two Scottish-based women artists: Barbara Mackie and Rowena Comrie.  Colour in Play is a celebration of their vibrant and striking use of colour to convey landscapes and abstract ideas and emotions.  The exhibition opens on February 3rd.

Rainbow Light by Barbara Mackie

Barbara Mackie is based in Midlothian and first studied painting and drawing at Edinburgh College of Art.  She has participated in numerous exhibitions including group and solo shows at the Scottish Arts Club, Riccio Gallery and West Dean College in London.  “There is both abstraction and representation in my work that I refer to more as ‘settings’ than landscapes. There are traces of skies, coastline, valleys, mountains, farmland and fenland for these are memories carried from the various places I have know or seen, part referenced, part imagined. The nature of my work can be bold and yet restrained in both colour and form.”

Subaqua by Rowena Comrie

Rowena Comrie has worked as a professional artist for the past 30 years; in January 2010 she relocated from Aberdeen to Glasgow where she now works from a WASPS studio in Glasgow’s Briggait. She was born in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, and in 1982 completed her BA(Hons) in Fine Art at Reading University where she embraced expressionist colourfield painting with confidence and passion.

She continues to develop this dramatic and emotive painting style saying: “I make these works from a specific aesthetic point, that personally expresses sublime elements of human experiences. Over many years I have refined and developed my technique, a process that continues to challenge and intrigue“.

The exhibition is open throughout February and runs until 28th.

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



Green fingers at Oxgangs Library

For the past year here at Oxgangs Library we have been working hard to improve the green spaces around the library. This has been done with the help of the community, especially the local children who have played a pivotal role in getting things done!

Initially the kids seemed unsure, can gardening really be that exciting? Well it turns out… it can!

Our first project involved planting some lovely pollinator friendly bulbs at the front of the library, these were a mix of snowdrops, crocus and snakes head fritillary. Although the local earthworm population might be a bit disgruntled, it turns out they have played a key role in getting the kids involved. Who can find the biggest earthworm providing all the motivation needed to get stuck in do some digging.

We then set our sights on bigger goals! Our attention was brought to the wonderful Free Trees scheme by the Woodland Trust, so we decided to apply for a hedging pack. This provided us with a whopping 36 trees, including Dogrose, Dogwood, Crab Apple, Hawthorn and Hazel! These arrived mid-November and were successfully planted once the ground had thawed, again with the kids providing a helping hand.

Box of saplings from the Woodland Trust

We are looking forward to these maturing over the next couple of years. Not only will our new hedge provide food and shelter for local wildlife, it will also provide a nice outdoor space were the community can feel closer to, and learn about, nature.

If you would like free trees from the woodland trust scheme, please find more details here