ELISA visit to St Cecilia’s Hall

Report by Judy Wheeler

On Wednesday 13th June, ELISA hosted a visit to St Cecilia’s Hall, in Edinburgh’s Cowgate. We were lucky enough to be given a guided tour of The Music Museum’s Collections by our very knowledgeable guide Sarah!

Entrance to the museum is from Niddry Street in the Cowgate – since undergoing a £6.5 million renovation, St Cecilia’s Hall and Music Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, and is free to visit: https://www.ed.ac.uk/visit/museums-galleries/st-cecilias

St Cecilia’s Hall itself is Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall, built by the Edinburgh Musical Society in 1762. We heard a little of the hall’s history – it has been put to many different uses over the years, including a church, a Masonic Lodge, and a Dr Bell’s School, as well as a Cobbler’s and swing dance club to name a few. Luckily now it is a concert hall again, hosting a range of concerts and public events – and it is claimed that it is the only place in the world, it is claimed, that you can hear 18th-century music being played on 18th-century instruments in an 18th- century setting!

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The Music Museum houses the university’s collection of musical instruments from all over the world – a huge collection of 6000 instruments, with around 500 on display. We were treated to a tour of the keyboard instruments first of all – 36 in total, including harpsichords, virginals, spinets, clavichords and pianofortes – if you don’t know the difference, I would encourage you to visit the museum 🙂

Most of the early keyboard instruments were designed for domestic settings, to be played in the home – usually by ladies. Due to this, a lot of the time they needed to be on a fairly high stand, to make room for the skirts and corset of the musicians! The materials used also hinted at the social standing of the owner – instruments belonging to the middle classes would be less lavishly decorated, or made of materials that were cheaper at the time. The shape of some of the instruments was even designed so that the lady playing the keys could continue to flirt as she did so.

We also saw a Chamber organ dating from 1775 – the air had to be pumped manually through the instrument, so a ‘Blower’ was required to operate the pump – a tiring job.

We moved on to the rest of the collection – instruments on display included a Hurdy Gurdy  – a kind of mechanical violin where a wheel is turned to make the sound.
Can you spot it in this display case?
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The museum traces the development of the instruments, with early examples through to more modern instruments – below you can see from the recorder, wooden and ivory flutes – and even one made of crystal – through to the modern metal flute.

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I’d happily tell you more, but will let the pictures speak for themselves – I’d definitely recommend a visit and you can have a sneak preview on the website too: http://www.stcecilias.ed.ac.uk/

Report by Judy Wheeler
ELISA Training & Development Group

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ELISA events #Edinburgh

2018 is proving to be a busy and interesting year for ELISA events.

There have been visits to:
The Edinburgh Tool Library
The Library of Mistakes
The Supreme Courts Library
Boroughmuir High School

There was also the exciting Librarian Superhero workshop event

During June there are visits planned to St Cecilia’s Hall and to the Scottish Poetry Library.
There is also a joint ELISA and CILIPS East event which is a newly launched professional reading group ‘Librarians Uncorked’ 

 

Librarians Uncorked – reading group

Librarians Uncorked is a new reading group set up by ELISA and CILIPS EAST.

The first meeting will be Thursday 28th June 5:30pm @ The Wash Bar
Librarians Uncorked

Calling Certification and Chartership candidates in Edinburgh

Are you looking for a short project  to add to your CILIP portfolio for certification or chartership?

If so please contact Fiona from the ELISA Business Committee to obtain further details.

The project would involve a collating and analysing statistics from ELISA events.

It would be a great introduction to the work of ELISA if you haven’t been actively involved with the Group before and would allow you to demonstrate a knowledge of the wider library profession for your portfolio and also make some useful contacts for the future.

 

ELISA visit to St Cecilia’s Hall

The ELISA spring programme of visits is going well and proving very popular.  Most visits have ‘sold out’ although there are a few tickets for the visit to Boroughmuir High School still available.  We now have wait-lists in operation for all events so please sign up to the wait-list and if a place becomes available you will be contacted automatically via Eventbrite.  Also please remember if you do book a place on one of our visits but can’t attend or have a change of plans, it’s easy to cancel your ticket through Eventbrite.

The latest news is that we have a visit to St Cecilia’s Hall planned for Wednesday, 13 June 2018 from 15:00 to 16:30.

Tickets available here on Eventbrite

St Cecilia’s Hall is home to one of the most important historic musical instrument collections anywhere in the world.  It is Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall. Originally built by the Edinburgh Musical Society in 1762, the Georgian venue is a real hidden gem, tucked away in the heart of Edinburgh’s Cowgate.
Having undergone a £6.5 million renovation St Cecilia’s Hall and Music Museum is now the Edinburgh University’s first visitor attraction and a fantastic addition to Edinburgh’s offer of museums and event venues.
St Cecilia’s Hall comprises of a Concert Room, hosting a range of concerts and public events, and a Music Museum, which is open to the public and brings together the University’s historic collection of musical instruments for the first time.
Dr Sarah Deters will give a tour of the museum and collections.

 

 

ELISA visit to Edinburgh Tool Library

Report by Jennifer Higgins

After a long hiatus, what better way to re-launch ELISA’s library visits than with an outing to the warmly welcoming, buzzing Edinburgh Tool Library? This visit saw a group of librarians assemble at the Library’s Custom Lane workshop to haphazardly put up (rather than knock down) Little Free Libraries under the patient and charismatic watch of founder Chris Hellawell. We’d been invited to join the Library’s Tools4Life programme, one of a raft of projects launched by the Library since its inception in 2014 that mentors young people looking for employment in the skilled trades. Trainees learn how to use and maintain tools and demonstrate them to members with guided supervision from retired, skilled tradespeople. Kindly lending their expertise were good-spirited volunteer Dennis and apprentice Lee doing their best to keep a level head as flat-pack library anarchy ensued.

For those who might have been expecting a leisurely afternoon to down tools, this visit pleasantly delivered the opposite as we were put straight to work building the libraries popularised by the US movement. Little Free Libraries, as the Library profession is perhaps all too familiar, are intended for the not-for-profit exchange of reading materials between local communities. With the help of volunteers, Edinburgh Tool Library are building and distributing the wooden boxes across the city with the democratic aim of making reading materials more widely accessible. As we rolled up our sleeves and sported our safety goggles, Chris spoke about ETL’s rapid construction from loaning members tools out of a disused Police Box on Leith Walk (exactly like a lending library but with tools instead of books) to offering all sorts of civic-minded services in co-operation with local charities, community trusts and the council including a satellite service for lending at Edinburgh City Libraries. From skilled apprenticeship programmes for young people to ramp-building for building accessibility to a mobile soup kitchen for people experiencing homelessness, the Library’s projects are numerous and varied. Much of the delivery relies on the willingness of the Library’s ‘Tooligans’; volunteer recruits who lend their skills and time to projects taking place within their communities. It’s a gung-ho, do-it-yourself, build it and they will come (and they will keep building) community culture that puts ownership back in the hands of the people who are quite literally, building the service from the grassroots up. This was reflected in the participatory format of our visit as, in teams, all of us learned the basics of using a power tool to fit a screw. It’s the standard library drill: ETL passes on its knowledge and services to equip its users with the tools needed to create something themselves. This extends to its environmental ethos which has Edinburgh communities donating tools, equipment, materials, pots of paint, anything that can be salvaged or recycled and put to use anew. Timber left in the aftermath of the Edinburgh Festival and from what used to be the organic food shop Earthy, has been reclaimed by the Library and is being used to make new things. Though not driftwood that has been accumulating along Scotland’s East Coast since a cargo vessel was wrecked in last month’s stormy weather – Chris wistfully added!

There’s a swathe of appeal in this buccaneer attitude which is attracting friends and funding. Edinburgh Tool Library runs as a charity yet its financial dexterity has so far been successful in securing employment for a small team of staff which continues to grow with a recent recruitment drive for three new networking posts to help manage the Library’s expansion across Edinburgh. There are the nitty-gritties of a social enterprise at work; charitable grants add to the pot but building commissions for local organisations might also be undertaken following successful pilot projects. The Library’s subscription model too, is largely capable of covering its overheads by charging £20 (or whatever members can afford) for annual membership to loan tools and equipment. Workspace and practical tutorials offering DIY advice are supplementary services which, ELISA can vouch, are welcoming to even the most amateur carpenter!

That said, there was palpable relief among the group as we turned from our work-benches to Chris’ laptop on which the nuts and bolts of ‘the database’ were demonstrated, The library management system and catalogue follows the same premise as any lending library’s where members sign up, search, borrow and return tools. Since being approached by Edinburgh City Libraries, Edinburgh Tool Library operates at certain times out of public library locations at Craigmillar, Portobello and Piershill. There’s been varied success with good uptake at Portobello Library while Craigmillar and Piershill have lagged. The proximity of Piershill to Portobello and the conglomerate nature of social services at Craigmillar could explain the disparity though Chris may have hit the nail on the head later in the conversation when discussing the Library’s diverse user groups. While the Library loans to people who couldn’t afford the tools otherwise, it also loans to people with a low carbon, eco-friendly philosophy who use libraries because they don’t want to own a lot of stuff. If sharing is caring, then a shared set of ethical principles may also be what is binding to the Tool Library’s increasing popularity. Reference to the Library of Things in Hillsboro, Oregon a librarian-run venture (with ukuleles and gold-panning kits for loan!) suggested how public libraries might expand their collections in equally sustainable ways or leave it to social enterprises to get the job done. The community-run Library of Things in London for example, charges access to loan from its collection; a trend also symptomatic of the revival currently being under-gone by the subscription library.

This isn’t necessarily all about Netflix convenience and on-demand service availability. What was most striking about our visit is how Edinburgh Tool Library is successfully trading on its big-heartedness and authenticity: they genuinely seem to care about sustainability and supporting people to become valued members of their communities. To sum up, we were shown a YouTube clip of the Library’s ‘Challenge Anneka’-style makeover at Balgreen Primary School’s playground. Other achievements Chris cites are supporting someone who had been living in refuge to coat the walls of their new home with donated paint and a Men’s Shed for skilled craftspeople of different nationalities who share little language but meet at the workshop to share their skills and to socialise. The parallel between such anecdotes and public library service experiences was an unforeseen outcome of the visit which, while acknowledging the different funding mechanisms and volunteer nature of the Tool Library, concurs on egalitarian, social and educational objectives. It’s up for debate whether the library profession will ever be reconciled with the community ownership ideals behind Little Free Libraries, but ETL’s openness to our visit and the interest this shows in librarians’ input to its projects shows a creative nimbleness and open-mindedness to learn from others. That seems a solid foundation on which to be building a library using very limited resources. A good workman never did blame his tools.

 

Report by Jennifer Higgins (ELISA Training & Development Group)
Acquisitions Librarian, National Library of Scotland.

ELISA Superhero Roadshow at HWU

We are hosting a joint ELISA / Heriot-Watt event on Tuesday April 17th for Librarians and other Information Professionals in Edinburgh.  The event will be held at Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh campus between 12:00 – 5:00pm.

It is a training workshop called the Superhero Roadshow which is aimed at increasing professional pride and getting library staff involved in writing more journal articles, or presenting at conferences etc.
This lively and interactive workshop will cover how to write a conference abstract, how to choose an appropriate journal for publication (peer-reviewed or otherwise) and how to start with small scale in-house research projects. Future superhero librarians will also be encouraged to reflect on the scale of pride they feel in their profession and will be given practical tips on how to engage more fully with the professional opportunities offered by social media. The impact of previous Roadshows has been zero to hero. A growing list of pieces published, blogs uploaded and papers delivered, not to mention new converts to Twitter.

The event will be delivered by
Leo Appleton – Goldsmiths University of London and Wendy Morris – Kingston University
“Whilst we refer to it as the ‘superhero roadshow’ it actually has a serious side. We use superheroes as metaphor to talk about professional engagement for librarians with a particular focus on ‘selling yourself’ and contributing to scholarship through publication and conference presentations. We have found it to be quite a motivational session, and those that want to engage really do take a lot from it”

The event is a free event and is aimed at professional level staff although staff in para-professional roles can also participate and part of the workshop is about instilling professional pride in staff and allowing people to talk about this.
More details can be found in an article at
https://www.sconul.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/77.Superhero%20librarians%20are%20coming.pdf

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite  

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image source: thedaringlibrarian.com