Baby STEM at Muirhouse Library

Once Upon a Time…
…as all great stories are supposed to start. Not too long before Christmas 2018, a BIG box of resources arrived at Muirhouse Library. At first, we were a bit confused, we stood and looked at the box, we scratched heads and we wondered what to do.

So we rummaged, looking at this and that, until we stumbled upon a box of Lego Duplo. It wasn’t the biggest box of Duplo we had seen – and it didn’t have lots of pieces – but it looked fun. It’s name was Animal Bingo and from this little box, Baby STEM* was born (* in case you don’t know STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math!!).

Our journey begins with Bookbug…
…Bookbug sessions are popular at Muirhouse Library and we all know it has positive effects on early years child development. Parents often would stay after Bookbug for a chat and a cup tea. This gave us a bright idea!

As parents were already in the library, we could use this as a chance to try out our new activity. So when Bookbug finished, we asked the adults (after their cup of tea of course!) if they would like to stay and try out a this new activity called Baby STEM.

All the grownups thought ‘oh what a grand idea!’ In the first session we used the Animal Bingo. Out of the box there are eight animals to build with flash card instructions. Afterwards everyone asked if we could do it again next time and some even asked where they could get their own set of Animal Bingo. We were all so happy that everyone had a good time.

And finishes with a busy morning…
…since that first Baby STEM session, it has become a regular activity. The most popular activity with the babies is playing with the Lego Duplo. It has been fantastic and well received! Not only have we noticed that Baby STEM builds on the skills we encourage in Bookbug, but also it builds on some other skills too such as:

  • Hand eye coordination
  • Shape and Colour recognition
  • Matching and Counting
  • Taking Turns
  • Social development with other children
  • Adult-children interaction

From Baby STEM, we have seen children develop from struggling to find the right part when prompted and having difficulty with the fine motor control needed to put the blocks together. To being able to follow the flash cards and build everything themselves!

A Tuesday or a Friday morning at Muirhouse Library for our youngest customers starts with Bookbug at 10:30am, wrapped up with Goodbye babies and a sticker. Followed by short intermission for juice and a snack at 11:00am and then onto some Baby Stem around 20 to 30 minutes.

Then it is nap time for EVERYONE, and we all lived happily ever after.

Join in with our Digital Fun Day – Saturday 12th October

We are finishing off Libraries Week 2019 in style with a Digital Fun Day! On Saturday 12th October you can come along to Central Library’s mezzanine and get help setting up Library2go services on your device or your children can join in with a fantastic range of fun events –

Kids & Teen Events

  • Introduction to Micro:bits with CodeBase Stirling 10.30-11.30am
    Use pocket-sized computers to create simple games (ages 8-15 yrs)
  • Introduction to Coding with CodeBase Stirling 11.30-12.30pm
    Use codecombat to explore coding basics (ages 8-15 yrs)
  • Bee-Bot Robot Fun 1.30-3.30pm (drop-in, no need to book)*
    Program the bees to guide them along paths and mazes (ages 5-10 yrs)
  • Digital Bracelets Craft Event 2-3pm*
    Learn the basics of coding by making binary bead bracelets (ages 7-12 yrs)

* Children under 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Adult Events

  • Library2go Drop-in 11am-1pm and 1.30-3.30pm (drop-in, no need to book)
    Bring your tablet, smart phone or laptop along for help getting set up with the library’s ebook, audiobook, magazine and newspaper services.

All events are free, book your place on Eventbrite –

Contact or – 0131 242 8047 if you have any questions regarding these events.

Macmillan Coffee Mornings – Friday 27th September

Join in with the world’s biggest coffee morning! Tomorrow people across the UK will be hosting coffee mornings at home, work or in the community, collecting donations for drinks and edible treats which are all given to Macmillan Cancer Support. And Edinburgh Libraries is no exception!

Newington Library will be hosting a coffee morning tomorrow from 11am until 1.30pm. There will be lots of homebaking available as well as some savoury items such as pakora and courgette and cheese muffins. They’ll have items available for vegans, vegetarians and lacto-intolerante as well as those with nut allergies!

Leith Library is joining in the fun too from 11-1pm and will have lots of tasy treats available for you to buy. Please pop in to Newington or Leith tomorrow and help support a good cause.

These along with the four other coffee mornings we’ve held this week also help to highlight the Macmillan Cancer Support services that you can access from many of our libraries. Look out for our forthcoming blogpost about this valuable service!

Upcoming author events at Blackhall Library

This autumn Blackhall Library has a series of free author events for your enjoyment.

There’s two chances to join acclaimed local author Ricky Monahan Brown on Wednesday, October 9th at 2:30pm and again on Tuesday15th at 6.30pm. Ricky’s book “Stroke: a 5% chance of survival” describes his journey when the day after losing his job, Ricky suffered a catastrophic stroke aged just 38. Unconscious, he was wheeled into hospital with his girlfriend Beth by his side. The book details the story of their love, his recovery and their return home. 

On Wednesday November 6th at 2:30pm you can hear local author Jane Tulloch talk about  “A Curious Flowering: the hydropathic movement in Scotland”. More than 20 hydros opened in Scotland in the 19th Century, Jane looks at why there were so many of them, who went to them and why they closed down.
All events are free, to book contact Blackhall Library on 0131 529 5595 or

Make Zines with the Edinburgh Zine Library!

Central Library are running two zine writing workshops with the Edinburgh Zine Library for young people and teenagers this July.

Workshops take place on Thursday 25 July, 2-4pm for 9-12 year olds and Friday 26 July, 2-4pm for 13-18 year olds in the George Washington Browne Room.

What is a zine? Zines are small books that you make yourself. Often, people make them to tell stories from their life, to share things that they love or to teach people about things that they know about. You can draw and write and collage about whatever you want – we’ve got zines in the library about cats, slime, bands, buses, myths and legends, and more. Zines can be about anything!

In these workshops with members of the Edinburgh Zine Library, you’ll learn how to make your own mini-zine that you can photocopy and share with your friends.

Edinburgh Zine Library is an archive and reference library of contemporary zines housed in the Art & Design Library at Edinburgh Central Library.

Reserve a free place: visit

Or phone 0131 242 8040 or just drop in on the day.


Edinburgh Art Festival Explorers at Central Library

Central Library are teaming up with Edinburgh Art Festival this summer to offer a programme of art workshops for 8-13- year olds.

Workshops explore the Edinburgh Art Festival theme: Stories for an Uncertain World, linking to exhibitions around the city and creating small- and large-scale artwork using collage, projection, zine making and animation.

July 15th
Light Fantastic: Making slides and acetates for creative projection, then becoming part of the art. Photographic images can be emailed after the workshop.

July 22nd
Cut & Paste: Telling stories with collage and creating collage artwork on 3D objects.

July 29th
Stop motion Animation: Using collage and projection to create short stop motion sequences which can be emailed to you.

August 5th
Festival Zines: Using a wide range of materials to make booklets or comics with your stories for the future.

All workshops run 2-4pm and are based in the George Washington Browne Room, Central Library. Join us for all sessions or drop in for a one off. Book online or tel 0131 242 8040

Join in with our audiobook group

Love audiobooks? Then come along to our monthly Stockbridge Library audiobook group starting on Friday 16 November, 2.30-3.30pm. You’ll get tea, biscuits and some lovely chat about our chosen audiobook! Our first title is Shaun Bythell’s The Diary of a Bookseller.

Shaun owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. In these wry and hilarious diaries, he provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates, recommends books and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life.

This audiobook is available for you to borrow for free from our RBdigital service. Simply download to your phone, tablet or computer to join in. Full user instructions can be found on our RBdigital help pages or get in touch with the Digital Team if you need any extra help (  0131 242 8047).