A Placements Perspective!

The Central Library sometimes takes work experience placements who are interested in working in libraries or in one of the areas covered by our specialist departments.  We thought it might be interesting for you to hear how one of our placements enjoyed their time in our Art and Design Library. Juliet Pinto is a student at a nearby high school, and came to work with us for a week as one of her many interests is art –

“My program for the week was very diverse – I did shelving, set up Christmas displays, helped with events and shadowed general desk duties. I was initially apprehensive about joining in with the Bookbug and Craft event, but after getting involved it was great fun – the parents were very kind regarding my lacking nursery rhyme repertoire. The Wheels on the Bus was the only one I recognised!


Juliet hard at work in the Art & Design Library

Something that really fascinated me was finding out the amount of resources, opportunities and events available to the public, both online and in branch. On the Edinburgh Libraries online website you can learn languages online, stream top quality classical and jazz music as well as access newspapers past and present from all over the world. eMagazines, audiobooks  and ebooks are also available to help further your knowledge of almost any topic. If you take only one thing away after reading this blog it should be that the Central Library and the online catalogue are so immensely useful!

I’ve really enjoyed my work experience this week and would urge anyone with an interest in art, music, history or rare books to enquire about a placement here as it’s helped me improve my timekeeping, organisational skills and ability to communicate with the public. This has truly been an experience I will never forget thanks to the kind and supportive staff”.

Thanks to Juliet for her hard work when she was with us – why not visit the Art and Music libraries and check out her Christmas displays!



Your services are changing – Play your part

Each year the Council engages citizens on its spending and savings plans for the year ahead.

Why We Are Consulting

We are asking you to think about the services below and put forward ideas and suggestions on how you would like these services to be developed thinking about your family, your community and the city as a whole:

  • Developing future library services and improving access e.g. through combining them with other community facilities, involving individuals and communities to help deliver the service and using technology such as swipe card access for 24 hour access to library buildings.
  • Developing the ways customers do business with the Council through enhanced online access to information about services, paying for services, requesting a service and giving their feedback.
  • Improving access to sport and leisure activities within all Council facilities for the benefit of communities. This will reach different groups and provide opportunities for doing this more effectively by involving individuals and communities



Complete the online survey by Friday 18 November

Summer of crafty fun in Edinburgh Libraries

Here’s a quick picture round-up of just a few of the activities that happened during the fantastic Big Friendly Read summer in Libraries.

Keep an eye on the Libraries’ calendar for other events coming soon or find out about regular activities, including craft events, happening in your local library.



Volunteer with Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries

MacmillanThe Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries service will launch in the autumn of 2016 in selected Edinburgh Libraries. This will be a free service aiming to provide information, support and signposting to people affected by cancer.

We are recruiting volunteers now!

We are looking for people with good listening skills and an interest in helping people. Full training will be given and expenses are payable.

Interested? Then come along to one of our information drop-ins and find out more:
Craigmillar Library
Monday 11th July 11-3pm
Monday 18th July 11-3pm

Central Library
Thursday 14th July 11-3pm
Thursday 21st July 11-3pm


Seven uses for your library card besides borrowing books


Could you be getting more from your library card?

Here are seven things that magic little piece of plastic entitles you to – and they are all wonderfully FREE:

1. Download free emagazines and newspapers with PressReader and Zinio

2. Read scholarly journals with Access to Research

3. Get help setting up a new business using the COBRA database

4. Trace your family tree with Ancestry

5. Get book recommendations from a real life librarian

6. Stream music with Naxos

7. Take a mock driving theory test with Theory Test Pro

How do you use yours?








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.





How I engage with books – and how you could, too

By a dyslexic library member

I’d like to share three things that motivate me, as  a dyslexic adult, to engage with books. Good practice for dyslexic people is of course good practice for everyone else too.

So whether you find books difficult or not, you might find some useful tips below.

reader1)    Self-belief and knowledge based on experience

Two things that encourage me to engage with books are believing that I can do it, and knowing that I know how to.  Crucially, my self-belief and knowledge are based on my own experience.  It’s a bit like learning to swim – you have to make it from one side of the pool to the other before you know you can do it.  I’ve successfully engaged with books before by finding approaches that work for me, and using them.  So I know that all I need to do is repeat this process.

2)    Knowing that books are good for me

Until 4 years ago I blamed myself for my inadequacies.  Then I was identified with dyslexia and I realised that I have a set of difficulties caused by dyslexia.  My experience as an unidentified, unsupported dyslexic has ingrained in me some unhelpful attitudes and behaviours, including a proclivity to work.  Because these attitudes and behaviours are so ingrained and numerous, I need strong conviction or motivation to counteract them.  Otherwise they take precedence over positive behaviours such as self-care.  Knowing that books are good for me motivates me to engage with them.  It also gives me conviction in doing so.

3) Self-motivation

Previously, I didn’t enjoy books because I wasn’t able to successfully engage with them.  But since I’ve worked out how I need to approach books, I have become a book enthusiast.  For the first time in my life I am able to enjoy engaging with books, and feel confident in my ability to do so.  I am self-motivated now that book engagement is rewarding for me – it’s something I want to do.

See also:

Have you got a story about libraries that you’d like to share? Did the library help you learn something, meet new people or make a real difference to your life? What do you like best about your library? What would you like to change?

Whatever your story, we would love to hear from you.

If you’ve got an idea for a guest blog post email informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk