NLS learning resource – Struggles for Liberty

A new online learning resource from the National Library of Scotland:

We’ve launched a new online learning resource – Struggles for Liberty: African American Revolutionaries in the Atlantic World. This resource explores the lifelong fight for social justice of African American activists, some of whom campaigned in Scotland in the 19th century.

Struggles for Liberty features writings authored by prominent African American reformers, freedom fighters and campaigners including Frederick Douglass, Maria W. Stewart, Nathaniel Turner, Sojourner Truth, David Walker and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Their histories are told through autobiographies, letters, photographs and other original documents held at the National Library, in the Walter O. Evans Collection (now at Yale) and in other US library and archive collections.

The resource is arranged by theme including the Story of the Slave, the History of Black Abolition, and African American activists in Scotland. It also includes interactive maps and downloadable learning activities for teachers, including activities mapped to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Struggles for Liberty was created in collaboration with collector Dr Walter O. Evans and partners in the US and th­e UK.

Temporary closure of Libraries – Update

Tales of One City

We want you to know that we are keen to reopen libraries in line with the Scottish Government route map which allows for this from 26th April 2021, where safe to do so.
However, as you know this is in a context of challenges – including the Scottish Government guidance /roadmap and the continuing pressure on resources to keep our school population safe.

The health and safety of citizens and staff is our main priority. We work closely with our colleagues in Facilities Management, Health and Safety, Environmental Health and Estates to ensure this.

We intend to reopen library buildings on a similar model to pre-Christmas 2020. However, it is a complex process to identify and allocate resources when there are many competing priorities in the City.

For this reason, it is not yet possible to be specific on exact locations or dates for reopening. Please be assured that much…

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The ReDrawing Edinburgh project needs your help!

Send your submission to redrawingedinburgh@gmail.com by Friday 23 April 2021

Tales of One City

ReDrawing Edinburgh project logo

Do you live in Cramond, Corstorphine, Colinton, Liberton or Leith? Or, have you lived there in the past?

We’d love to hear from you!

We are looking for pieces about what this area means to you. Is there a word that captures this place to you? Do you have any particular fond memories from growing up or living there?

Your piece can be a poem, a short essay, spoken word, or a song.

The ReDrawing Edinburgh project, in collaboration with Cinescapes, are working on a multimedia installation to mark the centennial commemoration of the 1920 Edinburgh Boundaries Extension and Tramways Act.

This multimedia installation will showcase an anthology of images, words and music that celebrate the identitiesof these areas over the past 100 years since their amalgamation into Edinburgh.

If you’d like to be part of the soundscape for this exhibition, send us your piece:

  • you can send a…

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Patrick Geddes and Edinburgh

Tales of One City

In another addition to Our Town Stories we feature a noted biologist and botanist who went on to be a pioneer in the field of town planning – Patrick Geddes.

Geddes’ work in Edinburgh brought about the redevelopment of a number of parts of the Old Town which were abandoned as slums in the late 1700s when the New Town was developed. Geddes believed that in order to understand and improve conditions it was necessary to share a community’s experience. With his wife, he chose to live in James Court in the Lawnmarket which at the time was considered housing for the poor.

They started cleaning and painting their new home, encouraging their neighbours to do the same. Working with the residents he transformed spaces he had cleared into community gardens.

Geddes worked with Edinburgh University to produce a series of halls of residence, the most striking of these…

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Lost instruments

Tales of One City

Most musical instruments today have predecessors, few come ready formed remaining unchanged by the centuries.

Few instruments have disappeared completely, some have disappeared and been rediscovered to live again. There is one instrument which hasn’t disappeared but deserves to be rediscovered. The Glass (H)armonica, refined by Benjamin Franklin became a fairly popular instrument in the late 1700s and early 1800s then fell out offavour. Written for by Mozart, Beethoven and Hummell with works much later by Donizetti and Strauss.

Glass harmonica
Photo: Ji-Elle, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

TheCarnyxwas an Iron Age Celt war trumpet. A long upright length of beaten brass with a mouthpiece at one end and the animal head at the other. Fragments ofCarnyceshave been found in various locations and many images exist in places throughout Britain and the continent. A reconstructed Carnyxis held at the National Museum of Scotland.

Carnyx war-horn at…

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Autism Awareness Week – 29 March – 4 April 2021

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Author event with Jane Evans and children’s colouring competition
On Monday 29 March, Newington Library welcomed Edinburgh author, Jane Evans reading an extract from her fantastic children’s book, ‘Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club’.

Jane Evans lives in Edinburgh with her family, their cat called Pie and new puppy Bonnie. Jane discussed her book Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club featuring an autistic character and illustrated by the very talented autistic artist, Ruth Mutch. In this recording, we’ll find about the characters and what makes them that bit different, as well as reading one of her favourite chapters.
Watch Jane reading from Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club on Facebook.

Children’s colouring competition – three lucky winners will receive a signed copy of Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club, with our first prize winner also getting a book token. To enter, colour in one of our cute penguin pictures. Or…

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One year on

Tales of One City

A year ago, our Libraries closed their doors, joining the effort to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. None of us expected the ‘stay at home’ message to last so long or that libraries would be closed again one year later.

We did realise we were living through a momentous and strange time. We wanted to record the effects of the pandemic and Edinburgh Collected gave us the means to gather images from across the city. With your help, we recorded the changes to normal life and the visual signs of the pandemic – rainbows, chalk drawings, supermarket queues, facemasks – the sights now commonplace, that last Spring and early Summer were new and alien.

Dinny visit yer Granny! shared by Carol

We’re tremendously grateful to all those who helped us record this past strange and difficult year on Edinburgh Collected, our online community archive.

Cleaning Mania, shared by reignlea…

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What libraries mean to me with Heidi James

Tales of One City

In our latest library Q & A session, we ask writer Heidi James, what libraries mean to her.

Heidi James is the author of novels, Wounding, So the Doves and The Sound Mirror and the novella, The Mesmerist’s Daughter. She has had poetry published in many journals and has a PHD in English Literature.

Portrait of Heidi James
Heidi James

What do libraries (including Edinburgh City Libraries) mean to you as a reader and as an author? Are the meanings different?
The library was, and I mean this without exaggeration, a life saver for me. My teenage single mum was skint, I was book-mad from an early age (I was reading from age 3) and our weekly visit to the library after we’d done the shop was magic for us. The luxury of lingering in the warm safe quiet, savouring the sweet dusty scent while choosing books couldn’t be beat. It’s staggering that…

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

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Ahead of International Women’s Day 2021 staff from Central Library highlight inspiring women who have touched their lives.

Did you know? International Women’s Day is in its 44th year since being recognised by the United Nations in 1977, but it had its infancy in New York as far back as 1909.

Although International Women’s Day is now a globally recognised event, countries across the world vary in their approach to it. Some nations mark it as an opportunity to celebrate traditional femininity and womanhood, while others use it as a focal day of political protest against issues ranging from reproductive rights, femicide and domestic violence. This year’s campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge, which highlights the brave and often fatal struggle for equality across the developing world. But it’s also a call to action, aimed at people living in more peaceful countries such as Scotland, to take a stand against discrimination in…

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Choose to challenge – Panel discussion event for International Women’s Day

#ChooseToChallenge

Tales of One City

“A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.
So let’s all choose to challenge.”

Stockbridge Library will host a Panel Discussion for International Women’s Day on 8 March at 6pm on their Facebook page.

Local author and poet Claire Askew will be in discussion with writers Stella Hervey Birrell, Helen Sedgwick and Theresa Muñoz. They will talking about this year’s International Women’s Day theme ‘Choose to Challenge’.

Portrait of Claire Askew
Claire Askew

Claire Askew’s books include the poetry collection This changes things(Bloodaxe, 2016), the multi-award-winning novel All The Hidden Truths(Hodder, 2018), and the creative writing guide Novelista(John Murray, 2020), among others. She is a former Jessie Kesson Fellow and was Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh from 2017 to 2019. Her next book is the novelA Matter of Time, forthcoming from Hodder in September 2021.

Portrait of Stella Hervey Birrell

Stella Hervey Birrell is an award-winning…

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