Get an Instant Digital Card

Do you know someone who would benefit from free access to ebooks, audiobooks and magazines, but who are not a member of the library? This New Year you can get free instant access to Edinburgh Libraries Libby service without a library card. Thousands of best-selling titles for adults, teens and children are available to read on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s a fantastic way to make the most of your electronic Christmas presents and to save money. Please spread the word to relatives and friends!
No library card? No problem! From the 10 January – 9 February 2023 if you are over 16 years old you can sign up for an Instant Digital Card in seconds. All you need is a mobile phone number and the access code – Library2go. To find out how to get started go to
The Instant Digital Card gives you access to Libby for three months. However, you can keep on using the service for free by joining the library and receiving a permanent membership card. Join online through
Contact if you have any questions about our downloadable services.

Together We Read 2022

We are holding another UK Together We Read digital book club, giving unlimited access to a popular ebook and audiobook until 20 October. Access it through the Libby app or Libby website.

This year’s brilliant title is How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie which is  outrageously funny, compulsive, and subversive. A wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder.  They say you can’t choose your family. But you can kill them. Meet Grace Bernard. Daughter, sister, serial killer…Grace has lost everything. And she will stop at nothing to get revenge.

As usual the ebook can be accessed on tablet, smartphone, computer or ereader (except regular Kindles!) and full instructions can be found on our Libby 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

Art and Design Library’s August exhibition

The August exhibition in the Art and Design Library is “Embrace the Elemental” by Edinburgh-based artist and musician, Burnt Paw. It features experimental watercolours, oil pastel paintings and charcoal impressions. He found inspiration from a recent trip to the United States, where he explored the Rodin Museum collections in Philadelphia and the Renaissance art collections in the National Gallery in Washington D. C. Closer to home, he found inspiration for this new body of work within the pages of some of the Art and Design Library’s own books. He has renewed his fascination with Georgia O’Keefe’s stunning colour-dream paintings in the many books on her work held in the library, as well as Alfred Stieglitz’s portraits of O’Keefe’s elegant hands, which feature in books in our photography collection.

The artist explains his art and vision in his own words:

“Within the realm of the elemental, the body becomes an unknown landscape, colour is a sacred energy, drawing is an act of transformation. I move between figurative and abstract images to open up spaces of sensory and psychic exploration. My images dissolve and drift outwards from the edges of body and landscape into luminous encounters with elemental energies. My quest is a search for images. As both an artist and musician, my practice is a constantly shifting exploration of creative energy to seek realms of illumination, healing and the potential for transformation.”

Burnt Paw’s work has been shown in exhibitions in the United States as well as the UK.  As a resident of Edinburgh, he is a regular participant in the Colony of Artists exhibitions in the Abbeyhill Colonies. He describes himself as a “fingerstyle psychedelic-folk musician” and has collaborated with many inspirational sound makers in countless music gigs.

The exhibition runs from 2nd to 30th August in the Art and Design Library. We look forward to seeing you there!


Instant Digital Card promotion

Do you know someone who would benefit from free access to ebooks, audiobooks and magazines, but who are not a member of the library? This New Year you can get free instant access to Edinburgh Libraries Libby from OverDrive service without a library card. Thousands of best-selling titles for adults, teens and children are available to read on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s a fantastic way to make the most of your electronic Christmas presents and to save money. Please spread the word to relatives and friends!

No library card? No problem! From the 18 January – 16 February 2022 if you are over 13 years old you can sign up for an Instant Digital Card in seconds. All you need is a mobile phone number and the access code – Library2go. To find out how to get started go to

The Instant Digital Card gives you access to Libby for three months. However, you can keep on using the service for free by joining the library and receiving a permanent membership card. Join online through
Contact if you have any questions about our downloadable services.

Always available seasonal reads!

Get in the Christmas spirit by indulging in a seasonal read. Can’t be bothered getting off the sofa to get one? No problem as we’ve got some great “always available” titles that you can access on your phone, tablet or computer.

Nothing like a festive romance set in the country to get you in the yuletide mood. A Country Village Christmas by the very aptly named Suzanne Snow will be available on Libby throughout December. Can the magic of Christmas bring two lost souls together in love? Olivia doesn’t have time for Christmas or for romance. This year, she’s spending the festive season packing up her dad’s old house. But her dad failed to mention she wouldn’t be spending her time there alone…

‘I absolutely loved this beautiful, cosy, heart warming read that was so much more than just a Christmas book. This was the perfect escapism read.’

For something completely different try listening to James Patterson’s19th Christmas on our BorrowBox service. Christmas is coming, but crime never stops for the Women’s Murder Club. Sergeant Lindsay Boxer is looking forward to spending time with her family, but when she receives a tip-off that the biggest heist ever to hit San Francisco is being planned for Christmas Day, everything changes.

“Murder, mayhem and mystery. It’s a slow burner opening, stick with it as it picks up pace. A most unlikely twist, the ending is not obvious even to seasoned Paterson readers. Thought that it was going to be a dud but no it’s a cracker.”

Set on the Scottish island of Islay, The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan, is a gripping story filled with emotion. Head to BorrowBox to hear how Alex Hyde, business adviser,  heads to Kentallen Distilleries to help CEO Lochlan Farquhar, before he brings the company to its knees. But as she gets closer to him, boundaries become blurred and Alex finds herself faced with an impossible choice as she realizes nothing and no-one is as they first seemed.

“If you’re anything like us, then a book by Karen Swan has become synonymous with Christmas, and her latest is arguably her best yet … smart plots, brilliant characters and juicy romance”

Get traditional with an ebook by the world’s most famous Christmas writer – Charles Dickens. Read his A Christmas Carol, preferably with a mince pie and a glass of port in hand. Available on Libby by OverDrive.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean, miserable, bitter old man with no friends. One cold Christmas Eve, three ghosts take him on a scary journey to show him the error of his nasty ways. By visiting his past, present and future, Scrooge learns to love Christmas and the people all around him.


Listen to a classic Christmas murder tale with A Mystery in White by J.Jefferson Farjeon with uLIBRARY’s Talking Books book group.

‘The horror on the train, great though it may turn out to be, will not compare with the horror that exists here, in this house.’ On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea – but no one is at home. Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst.

Find full user instructions for all our downloadable services at Your Library and lots more always available titles on Libby.

Celebrating Book Week Scotland (15-21 November) in the Music Library

Music, writing non-fiction or fiction, art, painting, poetry, sculpture – all these things can and have inspired the others. In this short blog and our display in the Music Library on the mezzanine of Central Library, we have highlighted a few items from or collections of music which has been inspired by Scottish writers or writings. 

Often a collaboration between a writer and a composer is a result of a meeting, a long-held wish to work and share ideas with a like-minded soul.  As often as these collaborations are real meetings, just as often they are separated by distance, by language or by time, or all three. 

The earliest collaboration in our display, a real collaboration, is between the poet Allan Ramsay and the composer Lorenzo Bocchi.

Allan Ramsay (1686 – 1758), wigmaker, poet and literary antiquary, also responsible for opening a theatre in Edinburgh and turning his wig making shop into one of the earliest lending libraries. 

Ramsay trained as a wigmaker, a noble profession in the 1700s but it was the literary arts where he seemed to find his calling. In 1712, the year of his marriage, he also helped to found the Easy Club, a Jacobite literary society. His pennames whilst involved in the club were Isaac Bickerstaff and Gawin Douglas. Later, in 1736,  he opened a theatre in Carrubbers Close off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, despite much opposition from the Presbyterian establishment. During its three years, Ramsay wrote an impassioned plea in an open letter, extolling the benefits and moral advantages of having an appropriate outlet for the theatre arts but ultimately he was forced to close .  

During its lifetime, Ramsay changed his shop from a wigmakers, which had a few books to a book shop and a book shop which was also a lending library. Patrons could rent books, rather than buy books to furnish their bookshelves, they were able to rent titles by the month or by the year.   

It is known that Ramsay met the composer and cellist Lorenzo Bocchi prior to his publication of the Gentle Shepherd. Not much is known of Lorenzo Bocchi. Born in the later 1600s in Italy and probably arrived in Edinburgh around 1720 with the Scottish tenor Alexander Gordon. Bocchi worked on “A Scots Cantata and The Gentle Shepherd with Ramsay. In his book the Life After Death: The Viola Da Gamba in Britian from Purcell to Dolmetsch, Peter Holman, gives a brief outline of Bocchi’s life and states that Bocchi was probably Viola Da Gamba Player, citing his compositions for that instrument. Bocchi seems to move between Ireland and Edinburgh publishing music in both places and the last mention of him is in Edinburgh in 1729. Ramsay published the Gentle Shepherd in 1725. It is probable that the inclusion of songs and the development of this poem from the pastoral comedy it was published as, to the ballad opera as it became known, was due to Ramsay’s work with Bocchi.  

The “big three” Scottish writers which composers return to time and again are Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Of the three it is only Stevenson who wrote music and there exists some Robert Louis Stevenson songs with words and music by Stevenson, there is not much and it is said to be naïve. Burns poems have been set by many different people in many different ways but they almost take second place to the words, such as Burns socialist anthem “A Mans a Man for a’ that” or the the great love songs  “Ae Fond Kiss” or “My love is like a Red Red Rose”. Sir Walter Scott wrote big expansive novels with the kind of storytelling which lends itself to opera. Many of Scott’s works were turned into the librettos of works which are still the staples of the opera house.

Nannie from Tam O’Shanter by George Cruikshank, 1884
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

We have displayed three versions of Tam O’Shanter by Robert Burns. Burns’ epic poem was first published in 1791. The first of the three versions we have on show is not music but an illustrated version produced by the artist George Cruikshank. This edition was published in 1884, shortly after Cruikshank’s death. Cruikshank, son of Edinburgh born caricaturist Isaac Cruikshank, was born in London in 1792. Initially like his brother, Isaac Robert, he followed in the family business of caricatures. In the 1820s however, George took a different path into book illustration. Cruikshank worked regularly with Charles Dickens (aka BOZ). 

“Sketches by Boz” (Charles Dickens), illustrated by the British artist George Cruikshank, front cover. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

There are two musical illustrations of Tam O’Shanter, the first by Learmont Drysdale (1866 – 1909).  Drysdale died young, but in his short life produced many interesting works, one of which was performed at the Proms in London. Unfortunately his works are now most forgotten and overlooked. Drysdale’s concert overture Tam O’ Shanter, was awarded a prize of thirty guineas by the Glasgow Society of Musicians in 1891 and was given its first performance in the same year in a series of concerts given by the Glasgow Choral Union.  It is true that like most of Drysdale’s works, it is rarely performed and remains unrecorded. The score of Tam O’Shanter was awarded a posthumous publication under the Carnegie Trust in 1921. 

On the other hand, Sir Malcolm Arnold’s 1955 Tam O’Shanter concert overture is a regular on the concert platform and often included in CDs. It was given its first performance at the proms of 1955, this musical version of Burns magical tale is like a lot of Arnold’s music programmatic and cinematic in its scale.

Lots of people have had a go at either setting the words of Tam O’Shanter to music or interpreting it in music – Eugene Goossens, George Chadwick, Jim Malcolm, John Mason, with more classical interpretations, jazz and folk versions, narrated and without the spoken verse.

Scott seems to have captured the imagination of so many composers, we have featured six works by six different composers taken from more than six of Scott’s novels.  Many more of Scotts novels have been adapted for the operatic stage and his words have inspired songs and music almost as soon as they appeared. 

Our list of operas based on the works of Sir Walter Scott are in no order whatsoever, Ivanhoe, Lucia Di Lammermoor, The Fair Maid of Perth, Jeanie Deans, La Dame Blanche and La Donna del Lago. 

Of the list above La Dame Blanche (The White Lady) is based on no fewer than five Scott novels including Guy Mannering (1815), The Monastery (1820), and The Abbot (1820). The Opera was composed by François-Adrien Boieldieu  (1775 – 1834) in 1825. It is perhaps now best known for its overture. Boieldieu is remembered as an opera composer but  of his other works the harp concerto in C Major, is a staple of the harp repertoire. One other work of interest is a collaboration between Boieldieu and eight other French and Italian Composers, in the unsettled times after the 1830 (July) Revolution and at an Opéra-Comique which was struggling financially, Boieldieu, Auber, Batton, Berton, Blangini, Carafa, Cherubini, Hérold and Paer, worked to produce an opera – La marquise de Brinvilliers, in a very short space of time. The opera had a limited run and was relatively successful at the time, it was repeated by the Opéra-Comique for a short run but there has been no recorded performances since. 

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, University of Salford Press Office,
CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Peter Maxwell Davies  (1934 – 2016), long-term resident of the Orkney isles found inspiration from a novel by fellow Orcadian, George Mackay Brown (1921 – 1996), Magnus.  Magnus was Mackay Brown’s second novel published in 1973, Davies created his own libretto for his one act opera, The Martyrdom of  St Magnus. This work was commissioned by the BBC for the Silver Jubilee of the Queen in 1977 and given its first performance in Kirkwall, Orkney as part of the St Magnus Festival.  

Davis turned to a work of non-fiction for the subject of his 1980 opera, The Lighthouse.  The book by Craig Mair,  ’A Star for Seamen’ is a work charting the engineering successes of the  Stevenson family, known by many as the Lighthouse Stevensons. The Scottish historian recounts in the very few details of  the story of the Flannan lighthouse and the disappearance of the three keepers. On the 26th December 1900, the supply ship Hesperus tied up at the leeward side of the island, As usual expecting to be met by one of the keepers to take ashore their supplies. When no one came to meet the ship, the captain sent a runner ashore to go to the lighthouse. There they found the lighthouse deserted and no signs of struggle. As if the keepers had just stepped out for a moment. The last entry in the headkeeper’s log was made on the 15th December at 9.00am and passing ships had reported seeing a light on the evening of the 14th December. The three keepers seem to have vanished into thin air. Various theories have been put forward into their disappearance, but nothing has, or ever will be, proved.  

Robert Louis Stevenson, the black sheep of the Lighthouse Stevenson family and despite some early training in the ways of the family and the engineering of the Lighthouse, he pursued his literary/artistic bent. As one of the big, go to, names of Scottish literature, there have been a lot of settings of Robert Louis Stevenson words, we have included three. A setting of three verses for A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885) by Leon Coates, it was written in 1990 and premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe of that year. Jekyll and Hyde the Musical by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse, from the 1886 Novella the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. A setting of the song – She Rested By the Broken Brook from Songs of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson, music by Samuel Coleridge Taylor.

Tommy Smith recording his epic Modern Jacobite piece with The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
DerekClarkPhoto, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Side Portrait of Scottish poet Edwin Morgan, aged 89 Alex Boyd,
CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Separated by 47 years but sharing the same birthday, Tommy Smith, the Edinburgh born saxophonist and composer, and poet Edwin Morgan were born on the 27 April 1967 and 1920 respectively. Their working collaboration began in 1996 with the album on show in our display, The Beasts of Scotland, commissioned by the Glasgow International Jazz Festival. Smith and Morgan continued to work together on projects until the poet’s death in 2010.  

Of the other things on show in our Music Library display is a novel by Scots Makar Jackie Kay, Trumpet, inspired by the life of Billy Tipton, a jazz saxophonist and band leader, born Dorothy Lucille Tipton in 1914. Around 1933, Dorothy started binding her breasts and dressing in suits to fit in to the jazz lifestyle. Tipton never legally married but 5 women called themselves Mrs Tipton, it was not until Tipton was on his death bed and lifesaving procedures were being attempted, Billy’s secret was discovered.

Alexander McCall Smith, the most prolific of Scottish writers penned a libretto for the opera, The Okavango Macbeth, with music by the composer Tom Cunningham, based on the play by William Shakespeare. 

Many of these works and many more examples of the collaborations inspired by Scottish writers and writings are available at our streaming sites Naxos Classical and Naxos Jazz, many of the operas are available to watch at MediciTV and of course, many of the original novels and writings are available to borrow form our Libraries around Edinburgh or as ebooks or audiobooks from Libby or Borrowbox.

A thrilling Big Library Read

Join millions of others around the world in reading a fantastic young adult thriller novel during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 1-15 November, readers can borrow and read the ebook and audiobook versions of Five Total Strangers by Natalie D Richards from our Libby by OverDrive service. Perfect for suspense fans, borrow this chilling ride of a book with no waiting lists on the Libby app or by visiting our Libby website.

In this novel Mira thought being stranded was the worst thing that could happen. She was wrong. Needing to get home for the holidays when an incoming blizzard results in a cancelled connecting flight, it looks like Mira might get stuck at the airport indefinitely. Then her seatmate from her initial flight, offers to drop her off on their way home. But as they set off, Mira realizes her fellow travellers are all total strangers. And every one of them is hiding something. Soon, roads go from slippery to terrifying. People’s belongings are mysteriously disappearing. Someone in the car is clearly lying, and may even be sabotaging the trip—but why? And can Mira make it home alive, or will this nightmare drive turn fatal?

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby app and the Libby website from the 1 November 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 from the 1-15 November for a chance to win a tablet, Libby goodies and signed books by the author. Full instructions for using Libby can be found on our Your Library website.

Face-to-face digital surgeries

This November we are re-starting face-to-face digital help sessions!

Do you need a hand getting started or troubleshoot problems with our ebook, audiobook, magazine and newspaper services? On Tuesday afternoons in November we are running sessions in the Central Library where you can bring your device along and we’ll help you get set up.

You must book in advance by emailing with your name and phone number. We will phone you back to arrange a session time. You’ll find details of our Covid-19 arrangements at

Not ready for face-to-face help yet? Our team can still support you remotely via phone call or email. Please contact us via email at: or message us on Facebook or Twitter.

Together We Read 2021

We are holding another UK Together We Read digital book club, giving unlimited access to a popular ebook and audiobook from the 29 September -13 October. Access it through the Libby app or OverDrive website.

This year’s brilliant title is Klara and The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro which has been nominated for 2021’s Booker Prize. In his first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly-changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love? From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

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

Read an eBook Day

Its Read an eBook Day! Organised as a celebration of modern storytelling, by our ebook provider OverDrive. You can be part of the festivities by checking out an ebook from Edinburgh Libraries. Join in the conversation by sharing what you’re reading, why you love ebooks and by using the hashtag #ebooklove on social media.

Not tried our ebook service yet? Then now is the perfect time! we’ve got thousands of great titles to borrow for adults, teens and kids. You can use them on your tablet, phone, computer or ebook reader (except Kindles). Find out everything you need to know at

Feel-good gardening

Edinburgh Libraries continue to bring awareness of diversity and inclusion in the public arena by teaming up with Trellis for Mental Health Awareness Week whose theme this year is nature. Trellis the place to go for know-how about therapeutic gardening and the art of using gardening to help people take care of their physical, emotional and social well being. To get to know more about Trellis visit:    

Today, we hand over to Trellis to tell us how to connect with nature.

“You probably know that feeling that comes when you’ve been in a garden for a little while: a subtle slowing of your heart rate, a moment when you notice all is quiet inside your head – the anxious, irritated thoughts from earlier, now gone, and your breathing, fallen into an even, easy rhythm. You may find you’ve lost track of time, the knot in your shoulders has loosened up. These are the feel-good effects offered by gardens or parks, for free, any time you care to wander out and let them have a few minutes to do their thing.

Trellis is the charity that promotes and supports therapeutic gardening all across Scotland. That means harnessing these feel-good effects and deliberately using them to help people feel better and improve their quality of life. Gardening is used to help people manage or recover from depression, stroke or trauma. It can be a way to build strength after an accident and a step towards getting back into work. Garden programmes help people build confidence, gain qualifications and surprise themselves and others with their achievements. They help people stay fit or manage chronic pain. No matter the circumstances, we offer guidance on adapting gardening so its benefits are within reach for everyone.

Therapeutic gardening with Trellis

Did you know just being near a plant can reduce your blood pressure, slow your heart rate and decrease feelings of pain, stress and fear? There are some fascinating Japanese and Korean studies that have measured such changes taking place, though the precise mechanisms remain somewhat mysterious. We don’t know quite how gardening works its magic on us, simply that it does.

Therapeutic gardening with Trellis

Gardens restore us in so many ways, coaxing us into a better mood or getting us moving when we don’t feel like it, or, when a beautiful blossom opens, gently distracting us from nagging worries. It’s no wonder then, that each week skilled practitioners at 480 therapeutic gardening projects harness these benefits, helping over 12,000 people feel better. For Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, why not try out the feel-good effects of gardening for yourself with some easy tips coming your way.

  • Lots of people can relate to the idea of gardening being therapeutic, but there’s lots more to find out about the amazing therapeutic gardening projects quietly tending corners of neighbourhoods across the country.
    What is a Therapeutic Garden?
  • A tender and tasty treat that is easy to grow and perfectly suited to our cool northern climate, why not try your hand at raising a crop of broad beans this year?
    How to Grow Broad Beans
  • Everyone loves a fairy tale – and you can create your own beautiful, enchanted world in a small corner, even if you don’t have an outdoor space.
    Fairy Gardens
  • Peas are possibly the nation’s favourite vegetable and easy-peasy to grow, producing a feast for the eyes as a bonus with their gorgeous, scented flowers. They’re the perfect take away food – no washing or preparation required.
    Early Peas
  • Watching wildlife from your window or doorstep is a great way to switch off for a moment and allow your mind some breathing space. Here’s a cheap and simple way to welcome the birds to your place.
    Cheery Cheerio Ring Bird Feeder

Hearing aid batteries

How to get your replacement hearing aid batteries during COVID

There is a special COVID-19 service in operation so that you can get replacement hearing aid batteries.

To get supplies of hearing aid batteries while libraries are still closed, contact the audiology department in Lauriston Building.

For replacement batteries, please contact the audiology department by phone or email. If you are unable to do this, you can also send your yellow battery book to the address below.

For repairs, post the faulty hearing aid to the address on the back of your battery book with you name and date of birth and description of the problem. Audiology will try to repair hearing aids on the day they are received and post them back the same day via first class post.

Audiology contact details:
NHS Lothian Adult Audiology
Level 1, Lauriston Building
39 Lauriston Place

Phone number – 0131 536 1637 (10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm)

How to get your replacement hearing aid batteries when libraries are open

Currently, it is necessary to book a time to visit one of our reopened libraries to get replacement hearing aid batteries.

Take your yellow battery book which shows how many hearing aids you have and what type of batteries you need to your nearest open library.

The type of battery you need is shown on the inside cover of the battery book.

Library staff will check your yellow battery book and issue you with the correct replacement hearing aid batteries.

If you do not have your yellow battery book Library staff will still issue you with replacement hearing aid batteries. They will remind you to bring the book next time. If you have lost your yellow battery book you will need to contact the audiology department and they will send a new book out to you. See contact details for audiology above.

Deaf Awareness Week 2021

3rd – 9th May 2021 is Deaf Awareness Week.

Edinburgh City Libraries are privileged to work with excellent partners, making sure we get the correct information to our readers.

For Deaf Awareness, Dawn Lamerton, Principal Audiologist/Head of Service for NHS Lothian shared some excellent resources for us to recommend for Children and Young People:
Royal Hospital for Children and Young people web page
NHS Lothian’s webpage
Hearing Impaired Network for Children and Young People
Deaf Action (Youth Group) 
National Deaf Children’s Society
National Deaf Children’s Society Webinar series 
National Deaf Children’s Society YouTube channel
Recommended videos on YouTube: Deaf teens describe the support they get at school 
YouTube playlist for deaf teenagers
Deaf vloggers
Working with deaf young people: Youth Employment & NCDC Webinar
Young and Deaf: Dean’s Story

Further general information:
Edinburgh hearing loss support directory

Hearing Aid Batteries
To get supplies of hearing aid batteries while libraries are still closed, contact the audiology department:
NHS Lothian Adult Audiology, Level 1, Lauriston Building, 39 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9HA
0131 536 1637 (10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm)
or email
When libraries are open, you will be able to take your yellow battery book to your nearest open library for replacement batteries.

And later this week on the blog:
In conversation with Nick Coleman and Professor Raymond MacDonald
We are honoured to be in conversation with two renowned professionals raising awareness on music and deafness. Nick Coleman and Professor Raymond MacDonald.

Composers, musicians and hearing loss
Douglas and Natasha from the Music Library will take a look at some composers and performers who have experienced hearing loss and highlight their music available to enjoy on Naxos Music Library.

Magazines now on OverDrive!

There are now over 3000 worldwide magazines available on our Libby app and OverDrive website! If you were previously a fan of RBdigital magazines you’ll find them all here as well as thousands more exciting titles.

As well as bestselling UK magazines, there are loads of great titles from English-speaking countries such as the USA, Australia and Canada. And if you want to practice your language skills you’ll find mags in French, Italian, Chinese, Spanish and many more languages too.

On Libby there’s a couple of magazine collections on the homepage to whet your apetite, but if you click on Explore, you can access the Magazines reading room. On the web version just click on Magazines near to top of the homepage. In the magazines reading room you’ll find them divided into genres such as Home & Garden; News & Current Affairs; Motoring; Health, Sport & Fitness; Cooking; Computing; Arts & Crafts; Movies, TV & Music; History etc. –

Libby/OverDrive is now home to thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and comics that are all free to download. All you need is your Edinburgh Libraries membership card and PIN to access all these amazing resources. Share the news with your Edinburgh-based friends and family – they can easily join online at Full instructions for accessing OverDrive can be found at

Lockdown library services

Whilst libraries are closed you can still access a fantastic free range of online services to fulfill your reading needs.

Put your tablet, phone or computer to good use by accessing our Library2go collection of downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers

Libby / OverDrive – our essential app and website for adults and kids with thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, comics and coming soon – magazines.

PressReader – thousands of Scottish, UK and worldwide newspapers and magazines. Download your daily newspaper for free.

Borrowbox and uLIBRARY – two more brilliant adult audiobook services.

Help is available too to get you started or answer any questions you may have about these services – just email the Your Library Helpline at with your contact details and what you need help with and we’ll email/phone you back.

Please spread the message to friends and family who may not be members of the library and who could benefit from these services. You can easily join online at and be downloading before you know it!


Edinburgh Libraries phased re-opening

While we all want to see our libraries up and running again, our top priority is the health of residents and colleagues.

How we safely manage the reopening of any of our services is directed by Scottish Government guidance and Safer Workplace Guidance for Public Libraries. The planning also considers that each library building has its own specific considerations.

In planning the re-opening of Edinburgh’s libraries, we have considered different approaches adopted by our colleagues in many services across Scotland and more widely afield in England, Northern Ireland and Europe.

We are confident that opening our buildings in this phased approach follows the Scottish Government guidelines and maintains health, safety and comfort for our staff and customers.

The first phase of opening will see a selection of library buildings across the city reopening on Tuesday 13 October.

We envisage that, initially at least, services will be limited to browsing and borrowing, returning items, free access to computers, internet and WiFi, support with National Entitlement card online applications, Hey Girls free sanitary provision, hearing aid batteries, printing and photocopying.

As you might expect, numbers within buildings will be limited, social distancing measures will be in place and some services will only be available by booking in advance.

The 6 libraries are Central, Kirkliston, McDonald Road, Fountainbridge, Stockbridge and Newington.

Further information will be advertised in the coming weeks.

We will of course continue to closely monitor developments and government guidance as the situation can change rapidly as you’ll have seen from other areas of Scotland and the UK.

Our Home Delivery service continues to deliver library books to our most vulnerable and housebound customers, and our digital and online services have remained active throughout – you can use your card to access resources.

We appreciate your support and look forward to welcoming you back.

Phased re-opening of libraries

We’re really looking forward to welcoming you back to our buildings soon, and are currently working hard on plans for a phased re-opening to keep everyone safe. Soon we’ll be accepting returned books back and re-opening a few of the branch libraries. We’re likely to open initially with reduced opening hours and facilities, and visiting will include a range of new measures to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort. We’ll be releasing more information about when this will be and what this will involve over the next few weeks, and we really appreciate your patience as we take time to plan this carefully.

A Frog he would a-wooing go

Capital Collections ( provides a window into Edinburgh Libraries’ Special Collections and gives the public opportunity to view photographs, illustrations and books in a manner that makes them much more accessible to a wider audience.  The latest Capital Collections exhibition displays a digitised view of one such special book, ‘A Frog he would a-wooing go’ brimming with gorgeous, colourful images by the acclaimed and widely celebrated artist Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886).

‘A Frog he would a-wooing go’, front cover

The book was first published in 1883 as part of a series of highly successful picture books illustrated by Caldecott for children. His success continued throughout the 19th century and by 1884, sales of Caldecott’s Nursery Rhymes, which by this point consisted of twelve books, reached 867,000 copies leading him to international acclaim. Despite his relatively short life time, Caldecott work is considered to have been transformative in the nature of children’s book in the Victorian era. Caldecott is considered a leading figure in children’s literature with his work considered part of the influential ‘nursery triumvirate’, along with Walter Crane and Kate Greenway. Following the popularity of these authors it became the norm for children’s books to consist of more images and less text.

‘”Pray, Mr. Frog, will you give us a song?”
Heigho, says Rowley!
“But let it be something that’s not very long.”
With a rowley-powley, gammon and spinach,
Heigho, says Anthony Rowley!’
from ‘A Frog he would a-wooing go’

This book tells the story of a Frog, with the help of his friend the Rat, as he attempts to gain the affection of a Mouse. His books such as the one presented in this exhibition, are praised for their sense of fluidity and repeated phrases, which creates a sense of movement from one page to the other, a style which appeals to children. Not only do Caldecott’s books have a bright, humorous and inviting nature, their brilliance lies in his ability to express subtle but profound meaning in stories dominated by image and only supplemented with text.

The Capital Collections exhibition attempts to highlight the brilliance and vibrancy of Caldecott’s work. Although originally marketed at children, the images in this book are full of life and can be enjoyed by young and old alike, those with an interest in the history of children’s illustration and those who simply appreciate Caldecott’s artistic style.

Browse all the pages from this delightful Victorian illustrated children’s book on Capital Collections.

Ashlea House in the Borders

We’d like to introduce you to a unique set of images we have in our collection, made available to view on Capital Collections.

The images are taken in the grounds of Ashlea House in Stow, in the Borders. Ashlea House was the summer home of the well-known Edinburgh bookseller, James Thin. Born in Edinburgh in 1824, he served as an apprentice to bookseller James McIntosh who had a shop at 5 North College Street. In 1848 he founded the book shop that bore his name. Situated on South Bridge, opposite the University’s Old College, Thin’s was the main academic bookshop in Edinburgh for 150 years, remaining in the same family until 2002 when it was taken over by Blackwells.

Ashlea House, Stow – c1910

In 1849 he married Catherine Traquair and they had seven sons. Catherine died in 1869 aged 47. In 1870, James Thin purchased a plot of land in Stow in the Scottish Borders, and had a house built, which was completed in 1873 and named Ashlea.
In 1885, at the age of 61 he married a farmer’s daughter Elizabeth Darling who died in 1905. James Thin died on 15th April 1915 at his Edinburgh home in Lauder Road aged 91.

James Thin in the garden of Ashlea House – c1910

The images gathered her are all autochromes, a type of early colour photography which gives the pictures a beautiful painterly quality. Autochrome was patented in 1903 by the Lumiere Brothers in France and first marketed in 1907. Before then colour photography remained in its infancy and the process was clumsy and complicated. Their new technology quickly took the world by storm to become the first viable method of creating images in colour.

Stow Parish Church and Ashlea House – c1910

Stereoscopic Autochromes were especially popular. Usually of a small size, they were most commonly viewed in a small hand-held box type stereoscope. Having made the Autochrome Lumiere technique portable the brothers’ invention meant photographers could travel all over the world capturing images of cultures never seen in colour before.

Garden of Ashlea House – c1910

We hope you enjoy the few images we have featured here, to see the complete set, visit the exhibition on Capital Collections.

Read together online

We are all finding innovative ways to communicate and keep in touch at the moment. Why not consider forming a virtual book group with your friends and family? Edinburgh Libraries provides a range of multi-access ebooks and audiobooks that you can all read or listen to together. Then you can use Facetime, What’s App, Skype or the phone etc to chat to each about the book!

OverDrive – Big Library Read
Running till the 13 April, OverDrive’s latest Big Library Read allows unlimited users to download the ebook or audiobook version of Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary. Like many others on the autism spectrum, stand-up comic Michael McCreary has been told by more than a few well-meaning folks that he doesn’t “look” autistic. But, as he’s quick to point out in this memoir, autism “looks” different for just about everyone.

OverDrive – always available ebook titles
A small, but perfectly formed collection of unlimited access ebooks from Canongate publishers is available on the homepage of OverDrive and Libby, Featuring fiction and non-fiction titles from authors such as Matt Haig, Caro Ramsay, Jess Kidd, Ambrose Parry, Scarlett Thomas and Patricia MacDonald theres something for everyone.

RBdigital – always available audiobook titles
Hundreds of the audiobooks available through our RBdigital service are multi-access – so no queues. Enjoy instant access to authors such as Val McDermid, Santa Montefiore, Tony Parsons, Jeffery Deaver, Marian Keyes, Ian Rankin and Jane Fallon. RBdigital can be played on your  phone, tablet or computer.


uLIBRARY – Talking Books Book Club
Listen to the fantastic Holding by Graham Norton on our uLIBRARY audiobook service from 1 April. Norton’s masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss set in an idyllic Irish village, where a bumbling investigator has to sort through decades of gossip and secrets to solve a mysterious crime.


BorrowBox – Campaign titles
A new feature to BorrowBox audiobooks is the addition of campaign titles – so a cracking audiobook that everyone wants to read, available to everyone to download. We’ve got two brilliant campaign titles starting on the 1 April – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo (the perfect book to listen to when we are stuck indoors – you will transform your house!) and from Alexander McCall Smith, The Quiet Side of Passion (one of the immensely popular Isabel Dalhousie series).

Information about using our fantastic suite of Library2go downloadable services can be found on our Your Library website.