Women and the environment: Activists, pioneers, and gardeners. 

Join us next month for an exciting programme of events celebrating women activists, pioneers and gardeners.

Part of the Harpies, Fechters and Quines 2022 events programme, Women and the Environment: Activists, Pioneers, and Gardeners is a collaboration with the Bonnie Fechters, Glasgow Women’s Library and Edinburgh City Libraries.

The Three I’s: Isobel Gunn, Isabella Bird and Isobel Wylie Hutchison
Tuesday 7 June at 2pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Jane George, a tutor in Scottish women’s history and a member of the Bonnie Fechters, will give a talk on The Three I’s: Isobel Gunn, Isabella Bird and Isobel Wylie Hutchison, three unconventional, intrepid and inspirational women whose lives spanned three centuries and whose enthusiasm for exploring and travelling in relatively unknown environments challenged the social conventions of their time.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

“Scots women who chose to challenge”
Wednesday 8 June at 11am, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Jackie Sangster is a Learning Manager with the Learning & Inclusion team at Historic Environment Scotland – working across Scotland to bring people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to discover, explore, understand, and be inspired by our historic environment. Mostly Jackie works with digital archive material from Scran – that’s ½ million records, not counting all the other HES archives such as Canmore. As a former teacher, she endeavours to make engagement with school and community groups as creative as possible. Allowing people to explore heritage in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

Her talk will explore archive material, meeting Scots women who‘ve made their mark in their respective fields whether in politics, law, medicine, the arts or the world of sport. Introducing some well know faces through archive photography and perhaps a few less familiar, but nonetheless inspiring individuals who chose to challenge their world.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

Sister Earth – Story Café
Wednesday 8 June at 1pm on Zoom, a women only event

In these uncertain times, nature has become more important than ever to us as a source of calm, and healing. In this story cafe, we look to women’s writings and stories of action that celebrate our natural environment, from urban gardeners and wild walkers to women working together on issues of climate change and preserving and protecting our natural environment. We’ll be reading from poetry, prose and fiction about how ordinary and extraordinary women are getting to grips with the present and future of our precious landscapes.  Grab a cup of tea and bit of cake, then sit back and enjoy!
Book through Glasgow Women’s Library

An introduction to climate change and why it’s important that we do something about it.
Thursday 9 June at 2pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Kirsten Leggatt is a Climate Change Consultant for Arup and a tutor on the online Carbon Management Masters at the University of Edinburgh. She is heavily involved as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Ambassador in schools teaching students and young people about the causes and consequences of climate change. In January 2020, she presented evidence to the UK Climate Assembly on the solutions to reaching the UK Government’s net-zero emissions target by 2050 and has since represented young people on the Stewarding Group for the Scottish Climate Assembly.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

The garden Ella grew – a Japanese garden in Scotland 
Monday 13 June at 11am, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

The Japanese Garden, Cowden is a ‘wee’ gem, hidden amongst the hills of Clackmannanshire in Scotland. Created in 1908 by Japanese landscape architect Taki Handa, it was the dream of Ella Christie, independent traveller and explorer, who had journeyed to Japan herself the year before. In 2018 the garden opened to visitors after an extensive restoration project and today it’s unique beauty amongst the Ochil hills is available for everyone to see. 

Join us as we share its history and layout.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

Ground-breaking: Women at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Thursday 16 June at 2pm, George Washington Browne Room, Central Library

Graham Hardy is a member of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Library and Archives team. 

RBGE’s history has always been told from the vantage point of the Regius Keepers and Principal Gardens/Curators, because they leave the biggest historical record.  Tucked away in manuscript accounts and notebooks are the names of the men who were paid to do the work and also as time progressed from the middle of the eighteenth century women’s names start to appear.  

Using original source material from the collections, Graham will give an overview of some of the women who worked or were heavily involved with The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh from 1750 to the present. Their roles range from the anonymous women paid to weed to illustrators, tutors/teachers, gardeners, plant collectors, laboratory and herbarium staff, administrators, scientific researchers and research students. 

Graham’s research, undertaken when not working in his professional capacity, has been much helped by research both national and international on the topic and also by input and enthusiasm from colleagues, volunteers and research associates.  His research is ongoing.  There may be much for Graham and others still to unearth, but we will receive an excellent insight to how much has already been discovered.
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

All events, apart from the online Story Cafe, take place in the George Washington Room at Central Library. The George Washington Browne Room is accessible by stairs or the public lift.

Public mural project to celebrate women of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Libraries are celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month with a public mural project!

You’ll have noticed how few public monuments to women there are in Edinburgh, despite the tireless efforts of local groups such as the Elsie Inglis Campaign. Yet there are literally hundreds of notable women, past and present, whose contributions to our shared history and our city deserve greater recognition. At Central Library, we’ve decided to redress the balance by creating out own public monument to Edinburgh’s female pioneers and trailblazers. We put out a call to local women’s groups, charities, and organisations such as the National Library of Scotland, and asked for nominations for our mural. We asked local academics and campaigners to help us uncover the lives and stories of many of Edinburgh’s unsung heroines, and we did some digging into the Library’s own resources.

Particularly useful was a book by local author and activist Sara Sheridan, ‘Where are the Women? A Guide to an Imagined Scotland’ (2021) which describes an alternative cultural landscape, where streets, buildings, monuments and landmarks are all dedicated to women. Sara’s immense amount of research added many names to our list.

Borrow Where are the Women? via Libby

Sara kindly took the time to speak to us about a few of her favourite figures from Edinburgh’s history. Watch the video (subtitles available) here:

The mural project – what is it?

We have taken inspiration from a wonderful project which has been running in the USA since 2016. “Work in Progress” seeks to shine a spotlight on female pioneers across many fields and was devised by artists Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake. See a detail here, courtesy of Granary Arts, Utah:

Edinburgh Libraries have been granted permission to create our own version, and this is where you can help!

We are aiming to produce stencilled portraits of as many women as possible from our nomination list. Some of these are already being produced by students at participating Edinburgh high schools, and we invite Edinburgh residents to come to the Library and help us create more!

The workshops – what will we do?

Participants will come into Central Library on one of several dates for an afternoon’s guided stencilling session. No artistic experience is necessary, and the process will be fully explained. There will be over 100 head-and-shoulders images of nominated women ready printed, for people to select, cut, and stencil – resulting in beautiful, unique portraits. Library staff will then gather and collate all the portraits, using them to create a ‘crowd-scene’ mural. We aim to have this finished and ready to exhibit at Central Library and online by early May. Some linked activities, such as live talks, will also follow.

Who would you choose….?

If you would like to take part, please book a place at one of our Saturday afternoon workshops.

Please note, due to the use of sharp tools, this event is offered to over-18s only and due to Covid precautions, each event is limited to 15 participants.

Workshops will take place on Saturday 12, 19 and 26 March, with some potential for further sessions to be added.

Book for workshop on Saturday 12 March

Book for workshop on Saturday 19 March

Book for workshop on Saturday 26 March.

LGBT+ History Month 2022 with Edinburgh Libraries

Blurring Borders: A reading and Q&A with Andrés N Ordorica 
On 21 February at 7pm on the Edinburgh Libraries’ Facebook page, poet Andrés N Ordorica will perform work from his debut collection ‘At Least This I Know’. His collection touches on themes of ancestry, racism, nationhood, activism and queerness. This will be followed by a Q & A with the poet. This event is pre-recorded and will be available to watch back on Edinburgh Libraries’ YouTube channel.

Blackhall Library
Blackhall Library have created an LGBTQ+ information pack aimed at young people that will be readily available to anyone who would like it. They have a display in the library and keep an eye out for their activity on social media. From 14 Feb they will also run a themed quiz in the library.

Currie Library events
During February, Currie Library will be celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month. Throughout the month, in partnership with OurStory Scotland the library will display the Love Out of Bounds exhibition and will collect stories from library users about their experiences of love denied by society and prepare these stories for archive.

Currie Library will also be hosting a number of exciting events:
On 11 February 2022 from 7.30 – 9pm, artist Nick Askew will help participants to create a collaborative art piece for display in the library on the theme of ‘Coming back to our Communities’. Library Supervisor Hannah McCooke will discuss with Nick their working relationship as artists and poets within the Queer community, but participants may define their own communities.
Book your free place via Eventbrite

On 18 February 2022 from 7 – 9pm, Sigrid Nielsen and Bob Orr, founders of Scotland’s first LGBT bookshop ‘Lavender Menace’ will lead a presentation and talk on Iona McGregor, Edinburgh Author and Lesbian activist, and schoolteacher under Section 28.
Book your free place via Eventbrite

On 25 February 2022 from 7 – 9pm, Currie Library will host the Edinburgh Zine Library who will lead a hands-on workshop in the art of zine making.
Book your free place via Eventbrite

Portobello Library
Portobello Library will be hosting an OurStoryScotland display to collect ‘episodes’ (stories) from the LGBTQ+ community. We will provide a posting box for stories to be collected in. These will be collected at the end of the month, to be archived by OurStoryScotland and for Libraries’ Edinburgh Collected online community archive.

Stockbridge Library
Film screening of ‘Carol’ on Saturday 26 Feb at 2pm with discussion and refreshments at the end. The film is based on a book by Patricia Highsmith. It stars Cate Blanchett and is a 1950s set tale of forbidden love.
Book your free place via Eventbrite

Wester Hailes Library events
Wester Hailes will host a ‘Love Out of Bounds’ exhibition, partnered with OurStoryScotland, from 7 – 28 February.

This exhibition shows some of the ‘episodes’ (life stories) collected by OurStory Scotland and invites participants to reflect on their experiences of having a love that was not accepted by the people around them.

A story box is provided for visitors to the library to tell their stories and submit them to be archived.  And we’ll have accompanying book displays to browse and borrow from, celebrating LGBT+ authors, history and stories for all ages.

Love Out of Bounds is an innovative project that crosses the boundaries between communities and brings us together to share stories of loves untold. The project was supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, and was developed by OurStory Scotland and Rachel Smillie with the Village Storytelling Centre. Love Out of Bounds brings together a diverse range of participants, including people from minority ethnic groups, irrespective of gender and sexuality. Participants may be LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer), straight, intersex, pansexual, curious, or undefined. Love Out of Bounds encourages people to tell their stories of love ignored or rejected by their family, community or culture. There are so many of us who have experiences of being told that the love we have is somehow wrong or misdirected. We are finding common ground between straight and LGBTQ+ people, and people from majority and minority ethnic communities. 

OurStory Scotland is a registered Scottish charity dedicated to collecting, archiving and presenting the life stories of the LGBTQ+ community in Scotland.

On Monday 21 February, 5.30- 7pm, Wester Hailes Library will also host a zine making workshop with our Youth Group on the theme ‘Love Out of Bounds’.

The Youth Group meets weekly on Mondays (during term time) for young people aged 12- 16.  Come along to chat and make friendships, join in with games, special outings and creative activities.
For more information and to register for the group contact us at Wester Hailes Library: westerhailes.library@edinburgh.gov.uk or 0131 529 5667

Edinburgh Reads
February’s featured “no wait” ebook title is ‘Queer: LGBT Writings from Ancient Times to Yesterday by Frank Wynne. Celebrate LGBT+ History Month with stories and poems from the world over.
Borrow your copy via Libby

Rainbow Collections
Edinburgh Libraries’ Digital Team have collaborated with colleagues from Museums to highlight a selection of items from the collections of Museums & Galleries Edinburgh which chronicle the LGBTQ+ story in Edinburgh. View the Rainbow Collections online exhibition on Capital Collections.

Community Libraries across the city will be hosting book displays highlighting our LGBTQ+ titles, some Bookbug sessions will be LGBTQ+ themed and there will be activities across our school libraries.

Book Week Scotland programme 15 – 21 November 2021

Central Library – Book Café online

Scottish novelist, Jane Alexander reads from her recently published short story collection, The Flicker Against the Light, for our Book Week Scotland BookCafé session.

Ms Alexander is the author of two highly-acclaimed novels; she completed her PhD in 2018 and is currently a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. Her fascination for and study of the uncanny makes her the perfect guest for the current socio-political climate.

Book your ticket via Eventbrite to join the BookCafe on Wednesday 17 November at 1pm.

Westerhailes Library

  • Zine-making session for young people on Wednesday 17 November at 5.30pm
  • Book Cafe on Thursday 18 November, from 10.30am to 12.30pm
    Drop in for a tea or coffee and chat about books with our friendly team!
    Get specially tailored reading recommendations; sign up for our ‘Personal Shopper’ service; get help with accessing online resources, including free access to online ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines.

South Queensferry Library

  • Poetry discussion group, Monday 15 November, at 7pm
    South Queensferry Library’s very first session of their Poetry discussion group will take place, kicking off with a discussion about the attendees’ favourite Scottish poet/poem.
  • Scottish Book Nook, Wednesday 17 November, at 7pm
    They’ve asking library users to come along and tell us about a favourite book they think is a Scottish hidden gem.
  • Storytime, Friday 19 November, 10.30 – 11am
    Children’s storytime featuring some fantastic Scottish stories

Online event

Join Edinburgh Libraries and Lavender Menace for an exceptional hour with inspiring writers, poets and panellists on Thursday 18 November at 6.30pm.

By film, especially for Book Week Scotland, Bob Cant, editor of the first published queer oral history in Scotland (1993 and 2008) talks about his background as a Scottish gay man, his life as a gay writer, trade unionist and activist, and his experience organising his book. He comments on directions queer oral history might take today. His film also includes clips of four interviewees on their views of the book.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by Sigrid and Bob of Lavender Menace with esteemed guests: Ann Marriott – General Manager, LGBT Youth Scotland; Jaime Valentine – oral historian, OurStory Scotland and Rowan Rush-Morgan – archivist, oral historian and PhD student.

Book your free ticket via Eventbrite to join this fantastic online event.

Edinburgh Libraries are marking LGBT History Month

We’re marking LGBT History Month with a series of activities and events.

Wednesday 17 February at 1pm – BookCafe online
Central Library’s women-only reading group is marking LGBT History Month by celebrating some incredible queer writing.
Sign up via Eventbrite and join them for an hour together online, away from Lockdown limitations.

Wednesday 17 February at 2pm – Drag Queen, King and Super Queen Storytime
As part of our celebration of LGBT+ History Month, join with us for a special edition of Drag Queen story hour featuring Drag Queen Ada HD – Super Clare Deloon and Drag King cyro.
The session will last 30 mins and can be found on the day on the Children and Young People’s Facebook page.

Thursday 18 February – Unsung: Queer books that tell our story
Bob Orr and Sigrid Nielsen, the founders of Lavender Menace Book Shop, release a pre-recorded talk about their recently set up Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive. As part of this year’s LGBT History Month, they will highlight some of the titles from the archive by authors who remain ‘Unsung’ to today’s readership.
Watch the short film, Unsung: The queer books that tell our story.

Wednesday 24 February at 6.30pm – Live Q&A with Lavender Menace
The Lavender Menace recording will be perfect and required viewing ahead of a live Q&A session with Bob and Sigrid on 24 February at 6.30pm.
Register online for a free ticket to join the Q&A with Bob and Sigrid.

Bob and Sigrid set up Scotland’s first Queer LGBT Bookshop in Edinburgh. Lavender Menace opened in August 1982 and returned as a pop-up bookshop in 2019 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. They have since built up an exceptional archive of books, magazines and ephemera and Edinburgh Libraries are also working closely with Lavender Menace to see how they can assist in keeping this legacy alive.

Monday 22 February – Unsung Heroes – students takeover the Libraries’ Tales of One City twitter!
Young people from across Edinburgh’s schools will takeover Edinburgh Libraries’ @TalesOfOneCity twitter account for one day to tell us about their Unsung LGBT+ Heroes from fiction.

Look out for more activity across our social media platforms too!
Our Children and Young People’s team have partnered with Escape, Connect, Relate, our Bibliotherapy project that runs in all High Schools to support positive mental health, and will be highlighting a new LGBTQ+ book list throughout the month.

Community libraries will be featuring important LGBTQ+ historical figures on their social media.

And we have a great selection of LGBTQ+ fiction and non-fiction ebooks and audiobooks for you to discover and enjoy on Overdrive/Libby app.

Discovering history online

The Edinburgh and Scottish Team at Central Library share some online resources for discovering history and heritage.

Image: David C. Weinczok @TheCastleHunter/ Twitter

Some residents of Stockbridge have been finding novel ways of keeping themselves busy/entertained in these times of social distancing, see above photo, however if you are stuck inside and looking for ideas here are some suggestions with a history and heritage focus.

Let’s start with anniversaries. April is an important month for two monumental events in the history of Scotland. April 6 marked the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath and there is a fantastic radio programme made by Billy Kay to celebrate the document and assess its impact and importance. ‘The Declaration’ was broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland this week and is available for one month on the BBC Sounds app. For younger people interested in the document, Historic Environment Scotland and National Records of Scotland have collaborated to produce this excellent free printable illustrated activity booklet.

The second anniversary of note this month is the bicentenary of the Scottish Radical Rising of 1820. We were all very sad to have to have to postpone the wonderful Maggie Craig’s talk at Central Library this month, but we encourage you to check out her great blog and new book on the topic. The aptly titled ‘One Week in April’ is newly published by Birlinn.

For the family tree researchers out there – an exciting development from Edinburgh Libraries has arrived. Free access to Find My Past has been extended to home users for the duration of this lockdown period. This was previously only available at a physical library site. For more information on how to access from home please visit our Your Library website.

The National Library of Scotland maps team have been busy producing this very nifty and useful digital map overlay. This allows you to see a comprehensive range of the maps of Edinburgh and its environs, what they cover and within what time period they were produced.

Now for any budding archaeologists out there (young or old…) Dig Ventures have made a fantastic online learning course available for free (usually costs £49.00!) and the next course begins on the 14 April. Archaelogy Scotland have also produced a handy toolkit of resources too.

The always excellent Battle of Bannockburn Experience has created an online classroom, which may be of interest to those currently partaking in home schooling (- we salute you!)

For those of us that perhaps can’t commit or aren’t interested in a formal learning experience but are really missing being able to go out and enjoy visiting a great museum or gallery, please have a look at these virtual options. A very comprehensive list has been produced by the MCN in the US. There are a great many to choose from all over the planet all free to access and enjoy.

Finally bringing things a bit closer to home and in case you missed it – episode 1 from the BBC Scotland series ‘One Night in the Museum’ was recently aired and available for the next month on BBC iPlayer. It follows three groups of primary school aged children on a journey of discovery as they are able to explore the National Museum of Scotland’s collection at night and free from adult involvement. It is adorable and well worth a watch.

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 –        http://www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk

Contact informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk 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 blackhall.library@edinburgh.gov.uk.

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 www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk

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 www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk 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 (informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk  0131 242 8047).

PressReader drop-in sessions at Blackhall Library

We’ll be running a drop-in session on Wednesdays from 2-3.30pm at Blackhall Library starting on the 10th October for 6 weeks. Come along and find out all about using PressReader and get access to over 6000 worldwide daily newspapers and magazines including most of the big UK papers. You can read daily newspapers such as the Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and The Herald for free, delivered directly to your own device or within the library.

Bring along your tablet, phone or laptop and we’ll help you get set up. Or we’ll show you how to use it on library devices. Help will also be available for our other Library2go services too such as ebooks and audiobooks.

We also run regular Library2go drop-in sessions to get help with using downloadable ebook, audiobook, magazine and newspapers. Stop by the Mezzanine, Central Library  every Tuesday from 2-3.30pm or the first Thursday of the month from 10.30am – midday.

Wester Hailes: Films of New Town Utopia

Join WHALE Arts and Tower Block UK at Wester Hailes Library on Tuesday 18th September for an evening filled with film and conversation about high-rise and new town living.

The evening begins with an excerpt from 2017 documentary feature film New Town Utopia, exploring life in the new town of Basildon in Essex as told by local artists and residents. After a short break for tea and coffee there will be screenings of several short films taken from the WHALE Arts VHS archive, representing life in Wester Hailes as told by local residents, actors, and filmmakers.

The event will be chaired by film curator Shona Thomson and after each screening we’ll have an informal discussion about the films, together with an opportunity for sharing memories and stories of living in Wester Hailes.

Throughout the evening, there will also be a chance to explore a new pop-up exhibition by Tower Block UK, complete with a travelling museum box containing maps, photographs, slides, and newspaper articles focusing upon Wester Hailes.

This event will launch the Changing Perspectives: Wester Hailes Film and Moving Image Festival – look out for a full programme of events across 15-21st October.

All are welcome to join us for this event which will run from 6-8pm on the 18th September. Reserve free tickets on EventBrite (though people can also just come along on the day).

Harpies, Fechters and Quines 2018 – Women, War and the Book

Monday’s launch of the Harpies, Fechters and Quines festival saw the annual 2 week programme of events off to a flying start!

Edinburgh Libraries is working in association with the Bonnie Fechters, a local women’s group, and with Scotland’s War, the Glasgow Women’s Library, the Scottish Poetry Library and the Workers’ Educational Association to deliver a range of activities. These include talks, workshops, an exhibition, a film and a concert.  As a result, there are lots of opportunities to come along and join in.

Tapestry kindly loaned for display by the Workers’ Educational Association stitchers (Mezzanine, Central Library)

Whether you want to sing along at the Lena Ashwell concert, produce some creative writing, experience early film or simply look at the commemorative tapestries you are warmly welcome. You’ll find details of all the forthcoming events at www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk.


A Woman’s Place art exhibition

This month’s exhibition in the Art & Design Library is by Julie Galante and is entitled     A Woman’s Place: an exploration of home and belonging.

Julie is a painter and mixed-media artist based in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Her artwork focuses on people and places real and imagined. As someone who has lived in several different countries, she is particularly intrigued by the ways in which one’s location can affect a person’s inner and outer life.

The exhibition works started out as a study of the relationships between people and places: how one’s location and proximity to other people affects one’s mental state and well-being. The themes and subjects have grown and developed with the events of the past year. Julie explained to where the inspiration for her work had come from –

“The power of groups of women became evident to me in the women’s marches taking place all over the world, as well as in the close-knit group of female friends who supported me through my husband’s leukemia diagnosis and treatment. His death in April of this year left me reeling, person-less and place-less. Much of the artwork I have created since then is an exploration of my new role of young widow. And finally, many of the pieces in this exhibition celebrate Edinburgh, the city in which I know I belong. There is very little certainty in my life right now, but one thing I know for sure is that this city is my home”.

A Woman’s Place can be viewed within the Art & Design Library, Central Library from   2 – 30 August.




City Garden event at Central Library

New PictureThe City Garden Project is a proposed urban greenspace project to improve the quality and quantity of ‘little green spaces’ across Edinburgh. So much space in the city is under used, from grass-desert parks to concrete traffic islands, the forgotten shoreline to featureless street
corners; this project is about revealing their potential for creative and green space uses!

City GardenCome along to the Central Lending Library on 30 September any time between 12 noon and 3pm and meet the team from HERE + NOW, the landscape and design studio behind the City Garden project. You’ll be able to see examples of their previous projects and find out more about the City Garden idea. Most of all they’d love you to share your ideas for a City Garden Project and how you’d like to activate unused spaces. You will be able to mark places which could be a potential City Garden you know of on a map. This can be everything from a vacant or abandoned area to a neglected street corner.

Why not drop-in and help make Edinburgh an even greener city!


Happy Read an eBook Day!

Today is the third annual International Read an eBook Day and you’re all invited to take part!  Read an eBook Day is a yearly celebration of modern story telling. It’s a day dedicated to promoting the convenience, capability and excitement that digital reading provides.

RAEBD---Social media image 2_504x504OverDrive, our eBook supplier, are encouraging people to use the hashtag #eBookLove today on social media to be entered into the  chance of winning a free tablet.

Visit the Read an eBook Day website for more information. There you’ll find reading recommendations, links to social media posts, a place to share what you’re reading and even interviews with authors who are participating in Read an eBook Day.

Show your #eBookLove all day long and join us in celebrating the ability to read anytime, anywhere!

Upcoming talks and workshops


Our events calendar has details of what’s happening in libraries over the next couple of months. Here are a few of the highlights:

Alison Demarco: The Signature from Tibet

Wednesday 11th May, 2.30pm. Free – book online

Alison Demarco’s The Signature of Tibet is a breathtaking four-part, epic fictional story inspired by true events and follows the lives of four main, inspirational characters: The Soldier, Pembuti, Anne, and Palden.  Spanning the Highlands of Scotland to the remote and isolated Lowlands of Tibet, the book travels back in time to 1904 when a young Scottish soldier enters Tibet with the British Expedition.  Signature From Tibet is a must-read for anyone seeking spiritual enlightenment—or would just like to share in a fantastic journey the likes of which they’re unlikely to ever encounter again!

Edinburgh Tales: Charles Piazzi Smyth

Wednesday 18th May, 2.30pm. Free – book online

Charles Piazzi Smyth was appointed as Astronomer Royal for Scotland in 1846, where he was based at the Calton Hill Observatory. Bruce Vickery will be talking about the context of Smyth’s arrival in Edinburgh as Scotland’s second Astronomer Royal, and about some of his multi-faceted activities while in this post. Bruce is a retired mathematical physicist with an interest in astronomy and its heritage in Edinburgh.

The Waves Burn Bright by Iain Maloney

Tuesday 24th May, 6.30pm. Free – book online
In 1988 the Piper Alpha oil platform exploded killing 167 men. The Waves Burn Bright is a deeply affecting, sensitive portrait of its devastating aftermath on one family.
Author Iain Maloney talks about his new novel, which is based on this tragic event. His other novels are  First Time Solo and Silma Hill. He was also shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and in 2014 he was shortlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker prize.


Monday 30th May, 6.00pm. Free – book online

Whither ettlin tae write in Scots frae the affset, or whither aready applying yer creative skeels tae the leid, the Scrieve-It workshoap will luik tae weys o explorin an developin new or existin writin in Scots, wi the National Library o Scotland’s resident Scots Scriever, Hamish MacDonald.

Former Robert Burns Writing Fellow for Dumfries and Galloway, Joint Artistic Director of Dogstar Theatre Company and Director of Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, Hamish has written numerous warks in Scots includin plays, fiction and also bairns’ verse, short stories and a teenage novella for Scots imprint Itchy Coo Publishing.

How to promote your book

Thursday 2nd June, 2.30pm. Free – book online

Are you an aspiring, small or self-published writer and want to know how to promote your book?  Come along and learn how to put together a basic campaign that is sure to get you started.

Diane Hinds is an experienced entertainment PR who has taught Campaigning & Persuasive Skills at the University of Westminster, on its BA: Public Relations & Advertising course and is a frequent Guest Visitor at Victoria Zackheim’s Personal Essay Writing course, part of UCLA’s Extension programme.

Magnus Linklater – Little Sparta, a guide to the garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay

Wednesday 15th June at 6.30pm. Free – book online

Chairman of the Little Sparta Trust, Magnus Linklater discusses Jessie Sheeler’s publication ‘Little Sparta – a Guide to the Garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay’. Ian Hamilton Finlay’s garden in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, is widely regarded as one of the most significant gardens in Britain. In addition to being a spectacular example of garden design, it also features almost 300 art works by Finlay and others which form an integral part of the garden scheme.

The guide tells the story of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s extraordinary creation, exploring the underlying themes, and introducing and explaining the significance of the main elements and art works in each part of the garden. The publication also features new photographs by photographer Robin Gillanders as well as archival material.