Library competition for Rebus30

1987 was a huge year for readers everywhere. It was the year that John Rebus first sprang to life on the page of Ian Rankin’s novel Knots and Crosses. Smoking and drinking too much and firmly his own man, he was already the dedicated, irrepressible, canny detective we all love today.

Photograph of Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin

Thirty years later, John Rebus is one of the best loved detectives out there, still working cases in Edinburgh and still as alive on the page as ever. The new Rebus story Rather be the Devil is out now in paperback.

Rebus Fest is your chance to celebrate Rebus, and enjoy the music, art, writing and yes, booze, that has both inspired, and been inspired by, the iconic detective. Rebus Fest events will be held across Edinburgh from 30 June to 2 July 2017. Find out more and buy tickets here


Tickets are selling fast, with some events already sold out, so we have a library competition for you to win the chance to sample the very essence of Rebus.

Take part to win a pair of tickets to an exclusive Highland Park WhiskyTasting on Saturday 1 July at 1.30  at the Caledonian Hotel, a well-known Edinburgh (and Rebus) landmark). Hosted by Martin Markvardsen, the brand’s Senior Brand Ambassador, he will walk you through why Highland Park stands apart from other single malt Scotch whiskies and why Rebus is a fan. The tasting will include 4 special Highland Park whiskies including Highland Park Rebus30, 10 Year Old.

The winner, along with five lucky runners up will receive a paperback copy of the new Rebus novel Rather be the Devil.

Book cover

To enter the competition simply tell us –  In which Scottish city does John Rebus live and work ?
1. Glasgow
2. Aberdeen
3. Edinburgh

Email you entry to by 12 noon on 23 June.

You can catch up with some of John Rebus’s earlier cases in this library selection of the best of Edinburgh crime fiction


The story of Edinburgh Libraries. Part 3 of 3

From one public library in 1890 there are now 28 branches across the city each providing an important service to the community. As well as providing access to information, libraries soon became places to gather and attend events.

Edinburgh’s newest libraries at Drumbrae and Craigmillar have developed this idea with the library housed in a community hub where members of the community can also access other council services.


Drumbrae Library Hub

Craigmillar Library

East Neighbourhood Centre and Craigmillar Library

There’s always been more to the library than books on shelves. In Edinburgh, libraries have played host to some great events and celebrations over the years.  The recent development of Edinburgh Reads has seen numerous author events take place across the city.

Story hour at McDonald Road Library

Story hour at McDonald Road Library, 1962



Ian Rankin and Jeffery Deaver at an Edinburgh Reads event

On opening the library’s catalogue was listed in books. Technology has come a long way since then.  Computerisation came in 1974 when Central Fiction began lending through an offline system. Public internet access was introduced in 1998 and now all libraries have WiFi. Readers can also access services through a mobile app and a growing collection of electronic resources and e-books are accessible online and through mobile devices.

Public access internet launch in Central Library

Public access internet launch in Central Library

Brodie's Close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh

Brodie’s Close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh. Reproduction of Bruce J. Home pencil drawing from ‘Old Houses in Edinburgh’. One of the many treasures you can find on Capital Collections.

Over the years, a number of donations have helped shape the special collections held by Edinburgh Libraries. Particular highlights of this collection include the Henry Dyer Collection of Japanese woodblock prints, woodblock printed volumes and painted scrolls; the personal items bequeathed by Charles Boog Watson. Robert Butchart and Thomas Ross as well as an extensive collection of early photography documenting Victorian Edinburgh.

Many of these items form the backbone of Capital Collections, our online image database.

Find out how much you know about Edinburgh Libraries with this quick, fun quiz

masthead quiz


Ian Rankin and Jeffery Deaver at Edinburgh Central Library

Our latest Edinburgh Reads event was a real treat for crime fiction fans as the Central Reference Library played host to a discussion between bestselling US crime writer Jeffery Deaver and Edinburgh’s own Ian Rankin.

Ian spoke of a camaraderie among crime authors and this was evident as he and Jeffery shared anecdotes about the part libraries had played in their development as readers and writers.

It was illuminating to hear the authors talk about their inspirations and techniques. We learned that even though these writers had much in common they also differed in many respects, for example in their approach to giving their characters a hinterland beyond the case that is the subject of their book.

DSC_7599 copy

A wide-ranging conversation took in many other topics including music, James Bond, award ceremonies and jury selection techniques for the O.J. Simpson trial.

Deaver also talked about the incident during a Greenwich Village Halloween Parade that was the spark of inspiration for his latest thriller Solitude Creek.

DSC_7586 copy

The hour closed with questions from the audience about whether the authors read other novels while they were writing (Ian Rankin: yes, but not so much crime fiction) and their thoughts on eBooks (Jeffery Deaver: so long as people are reading that’s the main thing, but he does have a personal preference for the physical book).

We’re massively grateful to both authors for making this unique event so informative and enjoyable.

Check our event listings for details of forthcoming author visits.

Photographs: Andrew JL Ansell Photographic

Gourmet Reads with Ian Rankin

Edinburgh City Libraries are delighted to present ‘Gourmet Reads’ – private dining with celebrity authors.

Edinburgh Reads invites you to our first ‘Gourmet Reads’ event, a unique dining experience with Ian Rankin, Scotland’s best loved, best-selling, award-winning crime writer.

Gourmet Reads takes place on Thursday 30th October at 6.00pm for dinner at 6.30pm at the Apex International Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS, in Heights, a private dining area with a unique view of Edinburgh Castle.

Listen to Ian Rankin, mingle with new-found friends, and ask Ian to sign your copies of his books.  Each diner receives an Edinburgh Reads goody bag, including the evening’s menu signed by Ian Rankin.

£70 per person: Book your place now and advise of dietary requirements by contacting Annie Bell on 0131 242 8046 or Grainne Crawford on 0131 529 7791

Keep up to date on our blog for the authors in this programme:-

November 20th 2014 –  Alex Grey

February 28th 2015 – Doug Johnston

March 26th 2015 – Shari Low

Net income from this event will be redirected to Edinburgh City Libraries budget.


Summer reads with Nick Barley, Cathy MacPhail, Don Paterson and Ian Rankin

Book a place to come to the Tesco Bank Summer Reads closing event and enjoy a complementary glass of wine and a riveting evening discussion on summer reading with Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, chairing a panel comprising Cathy MacPhail, Don Paterson and Ian Rankin. A final opportunity to bask in the light of summer!

Thursday 2nd September, 6.30pm. Central Library, George IV Bridge. 

To reserve your place email or call 0131 529 4713.

Edinburgh Reads: Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin in conversation with Jenny Brown at Cetntral Library.  The event was part of Ian’s 50th birthday celebrations.  More video clips from this and other events can be seen at our You Tube Channel.

Frankie Boyle, Pandaemonium and The Complaints…

 … are just three of the twenty books shortlisted for the Tesco Bank Summer Read Initiative. View the shortlist (there’s something for everyone) and vote for your favourite – you could win yourself a state-of-the-art Sony eReader.


Look out for special events taking place in libraries around the city during the summer, and over the next few weeks and months we’ll be featuring reviews of some of the titles on the list. Let us know what you think of the books on the shortlist – who gets your vote?

The shortlist of twenty books are all set in Scotland or written by Scottish authors and were published between March 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010: the winning title will be announced at a special event in Edinburgh in September.