Big Library Read – Digital Book Group

We’ll be having another Big Library Read from 1st-15th April on OverDrive! Unlimited people can download the ebook version of this very topical autobiography called  Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung. Read the story of Abu Bakr who along with his family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life, but they moved to Syria – just before the Syrian civil war broke out. Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone – and eventually found safety in Canada.

The ebook will be available on the home page of the OverDrive website and Libby/OverDrive apps from the 1st April and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can join an online conversation about the book at 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.

Photography exhibition in Central Library

The March exhibition in the Art and Design Library is a group show from the photography collective, Edinburgh LoFi.  The exhibition is titled Almanac and features a wide range of photography using traditional, alternative and lomographic photographic processes.  The exhibition runs from Saturday 2nd – 29th March.

The theme of the exhibition, Almanac, refers to how events gone by in past years herald those forthcoming in the new. In the exhibition, Edinburgh LoFi’s members record the weather, tides, star paths, seasonal events of the past calendar and personal journeys.

The Edinburgh LoFi group was started nine years ago at the Beyond Words photography bookshop in Berwick to promote and explore film photography. They experiment with and utilise many different formats including pinhole cameras, cyanotypes, salt printing and much more. The group meets once a month to share their photography experiences, run events, hold workshops and plan exhibitions. New members are welcome, and meetings are free to attend. Details are on their website


New partnership between Iisalmi Library, Finland and Edinburgh Libraries

Edinburgh Libraries and Iisalmi Library in Finland are starting an exciting new partnership that offers the opportunity to share and discuss experiences and cooperate by organising joint activities.

Iisalmi is a vibrant middle-sized city in the Upper Savonia  in the northeast of the country surrounded by lakes, rivers, and woodland. It has about 22,000 inhabitants and is known for the Olvi brewery and Genelec speaker factory among others. The library is located in the Iisalmi Cultural Centre, which also contains the Iisalmi Community College, Music College, Nature Museum and two main halls for different cultural events. The building opened in 1989, so it is its 30th anniversary this year.

Like Edinburgh Libraries Iisalmi has a collection of physical and electronic materials with the emphasis very much on printed books which form 80% of the total collection and the library offers a range of activities for all ages.

“Toimintatiistait” (Action Tuesdays), is a monthly programme of guided events organized jointly with the Iisalmi Youth Services. Sessions already organised for this Spring include, robotics, movie trailer workshop and gaming picnic.

Twice monthly reading dog sessions, promote children’s reading skills in cooperation with trained dogs and their owners.

The Reading Circle and Book Café, promote adult reading activities through discussion and reading tips.

Find out more about the city of Iisalmi

This partnership is the latest of many library collaborations under the NAPLE Sister Libraries cooperation programme for public libraries.

February art exhibition: Dispossession

Dispossession, an exhibition of paintings by Karen and Mel Shewan runs from 1st  till 27th February in the Art and Design Library.

The artworks are a complex exploration of themes related to the Highland Clearances, and the artists describe the exhibition like this:

Our exhibition Dispossession, developed from our interest in the Highland Clearances, the mass eviction of tenants, by their Lairds, to make way for large scale sheep farming. We stay for much of the year at our house near Edderton in Easter Ross at the foot of Struie Hill, overlooking the Sutherland Hills and the Dornoch Firth. It is a beautiful setting and yet to remark on all that is striking and lovely around us seems sometimes almost a violation of the lives of those dispossessed of their homes and livelihoods by the Duke of Sutherland. His controversial statue, rising spike-like from the summit of Ben Bragghie, reinforces the tension between the beauty of the land and its history. The evictions in Sutherland were particularly brutal, the tenants often violently evicted, their homes burnt down or pulled apart while they looked on. Their remains are all around us: the outline of foundations in the cropped fields, tumbled stones, broken walls.  Melancholy reminders of a people who, to use the haunting words of a resident of the Strath of Kildonan, were “set adrift upon the world”.

The more we researched the Clearances, both in the Highlands and elsewhere, it was inevitable our thoughts should turn to the victims of violent displacement and indifferent abandonment in our own time. Consequently, some of the work in our exhibition explores ideas of dispossession arising from contemporary issues and events including Brexit and Trump’s presidency; homelessness, the displacement of indigenous peoples, especially in Amazonia, the refugee crisis and the consequences of our abject failure to deal with global warming: a failure that may yet lead to humanity dispossessing themselves of the Earth itself.

January’s Art Exhibition

The Free Personality Test, an exhibition of paintings by Brian Cheeswright opens on 5th January in the Art and Design Library.

Brian Cheeswright (b. Harrow, UK, 1978) is an artist who divides his time between Edinburgh, Scotland where he currently lives and Eastbourne on the South coast of England where he maintains a studio at his parents’ home. He completed an undergraduate degree in Fine Art (Painting) in 2004 at Brighton School of Art.

Although primarily a figurative painter, most of Brian’s work unfolds in free and open experimentation of the painting medium, and as a result many of his pictures move far off into the realm of abstraction. He considers all painting to be an abstraction from nature, but for this show Brian has chosen to put together those works which seem to have crossed completely over into this mysterious territory.  The paintings have an open-ended quality in which they could be on the verge of becoming something else: perhaps suggesting an emergent personality of their own.

The exhibition runs from 5th January to 30th January 2019

Art & Design Library Exhibition

Eclectic Collection, a group show of artworks by visually-impaired artists opens this week on Monday 3rd December in the Art & Design Library.

The exhibition features art works by members of several artist groups including Hillside Visually Impaired Art Group, and VIEW (Visually Impaired Experimental Works).  Hillside Visually Impaired Art Group is a group of blind and partially sighted people from all over Edinburgh and as far as North Berwick.  They meet at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) headquarters in Edinburgh once a week to pursue their love of creating artworks of all forms, shapes and sizes.  VIEW is a small art group of three visually impaired artists who wanted to have more opportunities to go out and about and experience a wider range of art techniques and to take part in more specialised workshops.  Both groups rely on the support of their dedicated volunteers and tutors in creating their work.

Here is how the artists describe their creative processes and techniques:

“Some of us like to paint, mostly in acrylic, others like to model in clay, and one lady even made a truly awesome cardboard robot!  For some of us, tactile materials are important in helping us make the artworks.  Some of our techniques involve using swell paper.  This is a form of paper treated with alcohol.  A carbon marker is used to draw on it, the paper is pushed through a machine which heats the carbon in the marks and causes them to rise, thereby enabling us to feel our drawings.  Another technique is using waxed string.  This was actually developed as a creative activity for children, but we have found it to be incredibly useful in helping to draw lines that can be adjusted to achieve the desired image. Clay is a great material too as it can be used in different ways.  There are many types to choose from, some of which are more suitable for certain activities than others.  One type will be used for straightforward modelling, another used as a base for plaster-work, and some are suitable for using straight onto a picture.”

The exhibition runs for the whole of December.

Together We Read!

Our ebook supplier OverDrive, are holding another UK Together We Read digital book club, giving unlimited access to a popular ebook from the 1-15 November.

They’ve chosen a brilliant title this time – Circe by Madeline Miller, which scores 4.4 stars on Good Reads and is a Guardian “Must Read” title of 2018! This is the latest novel from Orange Prize winner Miller, who continues with her previous theme of Greek mythology. Circe, daughter of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft. It’s an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation!

As usual the ebook can be accessed on tablet, smartphone, computer or ereader (except regular Kindles!) and full instructions can be found on our OverDrive help pages. Why not encourage your friends and family to read it too and host your own book group get-together!

For further information contact or 0131 242 8047