“O”, it’s Othello… Black Star Film Season continues

Black Star Film Season is a celebration of the range and versatility of black actors on film taking place at Craigmillar Library.

The season runs until 22 May. These free screenings will encompass different genres, decades and styles for all audiences. Black and white.


On Monday 27th March we are showing O (15) which takes William Shakespeare’s Othello onto the basketball courts of a high school. Film runs from 6 – 7.40 pm. Doors open at 5.15pm.

To book your place just contact Craigmillar Library by email craigmillar.library@edinburgh.gov.uk or phone 0131 529 5597.

Check out the full Black Star Film Season and save the dates!


Crime writing without clichés

Do you write crime fiction, or have you always fancied trying your hand at a crime novel?  If so, we’d like to invite you to our creative writing workshop, designed to help you create brilliant crime plots… while avoiding typical crime clichés.
crime without cliches
The workshop will be run by writer Claire Askew, who’s also the Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion at Craigmillar Library.  Claire is a crime novelist whose debut novel-in-progress, Three Rivers, has been longlisted for the Peggy Chapman Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award, and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.
This workshop will include some hands-on writing exercises to get you started, along with practical advice to take away and apply to new projects or works-in-progress.
The workshop is free, AND because this is a World Book Night event, every attendee will receive a free copy of Sarah Hilary’s dark crime novel “Someone Else’s Skin” to take away with them at the end.


My first fortnight as Edinburgh’s Reading Champion

by Claire Askew

It feels like a long time since Scottish Book Trust‘s four new Reading Champions were announced, as part of Book Week Scotland 2015.  I was thrilled to be selected as the Reading Champion for Craigmillar Library in Edinburgh, and couldn’t wait to get started.

Fast-forward to mid-March 2016, and my first day in post. Walking into Craigmillar’s huge, modern, colourful Library, I couldn’t quite believe I had first-day-of-school butterflies!  I was about to meet most of the Library staff for the first time, and be thrown headlong into the busy schedule of clubs and activities.

It turns out, I needn’t have worried: my first week was full of warm welcomes.  I met the Library Link group, a weekly drop-in group for older people, run on Thursday mornings.  Library Link mornings mean lots of cups of tea, tasty snacks, chatting, and exchanging books.  At my first meeting, some of the Library Link ladies introduced me to the library’s rotating stock of knitting magazines, and we bonded over our shared experiences of knitting disasters and triumphs!

Claire at Kids Knitting Club.jpg

Claire at Kids Knitting Club

That same week, I sat down with some of the library’s biggest fans: the local children who come along after school to spend time here.  For many of them, the library provides a handy space to meet up – they play games on the computers and games consoles, and attend the various kids’ clubs run by library staff.  Craigmillar Library runs a twice-weekly Minecraft Club for over-7s, a drama group, and a variety of crafting activities (you can find out what’s on at Craigmillar by visiting the Library Facebook page).  Naturally, I was keen to attend the Kids’ Knitting Club!  While we learned some new stitches, I asked the kids what they’d put in their dream library.  The answers varied from “books about Viking boats” to “a chocolate funtain” and “a resident library owl”!

A Monster Murder Mystery the crime scene.jpg

A Monster Murder Mystery the crime scene.

I had to get my sleeves rolled up right away: the library staff and I were keen to run some kind of event to launch Scottish Book Trust‘s new public writing campaign – and we had less than two weeks to decide what it would be!  Library advisor and resident games expert Joe suggested a murder mystery style game, as the theme of the writing campaign is “Secrets and Confessions.”  I got to work, figuring out how to incorporate books and reading into a (family-friendly) murder mystery activity.

The resulting activity was A Monster Murder Mystery – a scenario in which Frankenstein’s monster had escaped from his book (we all know fictional characters do this when we’re not looking, right?), and turned up lifeless in the library, with no explanation.  We invited amateur sleuths aged 8+ to come into the library, examine our crime scene, and hunt for clues in order to solve the mystery.

A Monster Murder Mystery the crime scene.jpg

I created the game in order to introduce participants to the variety of titles stocked in the library, and to teach useful library skills, like how to search the online library catalogue, how to find out what activities are offered, and so on.  On the day of the activity, over twenty kids and teens came along to the library to get involved.  They worked in teams (with wonderful, alliterative names: Mystery Marshmallows!  Monsters In Crime!) and worked their way around the library collecting my clues, following their hunches, and using their case files to record the evidence.

In the end, the Master Minds team took first prize, solving the mystery first – though it was a photo finish!  By the end of the day, we could see that several of the kids had benefited from getting involved – within half an hour of the game ending, one young man used the library catalogue to reserve a book for the very first time!

In case you were wondering what adult readers got to do while all this was going on… never fear!  Also to launch “Secrets and Confessions,” I ran a Twitter hashtag for adults to get involved in: #IConfessINeverRead.  I invited adults to let me know what books they thought they probably ought to read, but never had… and the results were very interesting indeed!  Who knew so many people had blagged their way through classes in school, essays at Uni, and even exams on books they’d never actually read?!

It’s been a whirlwind fortnight, but I don’t have time to stop now… my next task is to prepare some exciting activities for World Book Night, coming up on 23rd April.  Craigmillar Library will be giving away three different texts: Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive, Sarah Hilary’s dark crime novel Someone Else’s Skin, and, for the poetry lovers, Carol Ann Duffy’s Love Poems.  If you want to keep an eye on what I’m plotting, you can follow my Reading Champion blog on Tumblr.  Watch this space!


BookCode: Locative Literature at Craigmillar Library

Writer and artist Matt Blackwood tells us about BookCode, a piece of locative literature at Craigmillar Library.

Ok so here’s the deal.
I applied for a grant, partly out of frustration from my longer pieces only getting to second base with publishers, and partly because I needed to pay for a root canal. Who would have guessed that four years later I would be infected with Locative Literature and spruiking City of Literature initiatives in an attempt to make the world a more literary place.

BookCode for Craigmillar Library 05

Although it hasn’t been easy. There’s been plenty of “What’s a QR code?”, and even “Literature only belongs in a book,” and yes, I probably could have penned three more doorstops by now, but I think it’s been worth the pain. I think. My thinking tends to get me into trouble.  A Tuesday thought, some four months ago, said I should take weeks hunting for particular books which could be hand carved, LED’s inserted, an acrylic QR code placed on top, and then link this glowing scannable artwork to a narrated short story set at the place where the piece would be exhibited. Fourteen Tuesday’s and six prototypes later and I had a bespoke functioning BookCode for Craigmillar Library in Edinburgh.

The choice of Craigmillar was partly because they were one of the seven libraries who said the magic phrase “Right here, right now”, and partly because while deep in research of all the potential locations to set the story, I stumbled across a Google Map image that fascinated me. It was taken outside the Craigmillar Library, or what would be the library, as even though the image before and further up the road showed the library in its finished form, there was a single shot of what the site once was; a weedy paddock with dirt mounds for boils, hemmed in by a rusty iron fence. This was the image that conjured the story of two boys playing football; one pretty good, one not so great, one from a cashed up family, while the other could only dream of Luca Rolls Royce ice cream parties.

My hope is to create more bespoke BookCodes in the future and have them presented in places not usually associated with literature; like glass cases at train station platforms, shop fronts on busy streets, or even in illuminated advertising spaces at bus stops. This publishing of literature in public spaces is a powerful way for Cities of Literature to share stories and engage broad audiences. After all, literature is Ventolin for the soul.

Find out more about the project on Matt’s web site or head along to Craigmillar and see it for yourself.

Big changes at Craigmillar Library

 We’re getting ready to open a fantastic new Craigmillar library. We’ll be opening our doors at the end of the year and we’re looking forward to welcoming you into our amazing new premises.

 This means the old library will be closing at 1pm on 29th September 2012. From 1st October we’ll be offering a temporary library service from a mobile library parked at 101 Niddrie Mains Road, EH16 4DS.

 From 1st October our temporary library opening hours will be:

 Monday 1pm-8pm

Tuesday 10am-5pm

Wednesday 1pm-8pm

Thursday 10am-5pm

Friday 10am-5pm

Saturday 10am-1pm