West Register House – Two centuries in the heart of Edinburgh

Open Book

has returned to Edinburgh and East Lothian and the theme of this year’s festival is “Standing Strong”, highlighting the value of regular building maintenance and community approaches to looking after buildings and places.

As archivists, conservators, and collectors of data, (NRS) we cast our eyes down to consult archives and records. For Doors Open Days 2022 however, we’re asking you to look up – high above the bustling streets, to the skyline of Edinburgh’s New Town.

West Register House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
West Register House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

West Register House in Charlotte Square is a Category A listed building in the heart of the site. Built in the early nineteenth century with an impressive, imposing façade, it was originally St George’s Church, one of the congregations which later broke away from the Church of Scotland during the Disruption of 1843 to form the Free Church of Scotland.

The original, unrealised 1791 design for St George’s…

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Better World Books – virtual tour

A Very Fine Library

Today I was pleased to attend a short virtual tour of Better World Books warehouse in Dunfermline. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any screenshots but as a longtime supporter and customer of theirs, I found the tour extremely interesting.

Better World Books is a for-profit, socially conscious business and a global online bookseller that collects and sells new and used books online, matching each purchase with a book donation. Each sale generates funds for literacy and education initiatives in the U.S., the UK, and around the world. Since its launch in 2003, Better World Books has raised $33 million for libraries and literacy, donated over 32 million books, and reused or recycled more than 397 million books”

source: https://www.betterworldbooks.com/

A few interesting points from the Virtual Tour:

  • Books received at warehouse from libraries or donation drop boxes are processed and either sent to the Internet Archive

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New exhibition at NLS – Pen Names



A major exhibition ‘Pen Names’ – which explores why some authors prefer to use an alias – has opened at NLS.
 
Using material from their extensive literary archives and printed collections, the exhibition covers a range of writers using pseudonyms who were working in the UK from the 1800s to the present day. Writers include George Eliot, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Josephine Tey, Frank Quitely, Dreda Say Mitchell and Ambrose Parry.
 

On show will be rare first editions, pulp fiction titles, popular novels and unique collection items. The exhibition also includes a family-friendly interactive activity as well as reading areas for visitors to sit and relax with a book written by (or about) featured authors.

Pen Names will run at NLS, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh until 29 April 2023. Entry is free.

Celebrating Leith Library’s 90th Birthday

Happy birthday Leith Library!

Tales of One City

From bombs to visiting elephants, Leith Library has seen its fair share of events.

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the library opening and we celebrate the anniversary with a new exhibition on Capital Collections of photographs going back to 1932.

Leith Library, 1932

The exhibition features among many fascinating images, one of the original architect’s plan, dated from 1927. The library was badly damaged in an air raid in April 1941, but was restored and reopened in 1955.

Elephant visit, The Scotsmans Publications Ltd., 1976

Why not have a look at the Leith Library online exhibition and find out exactly why an elephant made a visit!

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Breaking the News at Central Library

Tales of One City

Read all about it! Currently underway at the British Library is the Breaking the News exhibition.

Photo of new exhibition welcome panel in the Mezzanine area of Central Library

Alongside the British Library’s Breaking the News exhibition, pop-up displays are on view at 30 public libraries across the UK including Edinburgh Central Library. The displays draw upon each library’s individual collection and regional connections to celebrate the value of regional news in communities across the UK. 

Photo of glass display case containing newspaper exhibition material

We have delved into Central Library’s newspaper and periodical collections, with the aim to celebrate the value of regional news and champion the personalities, journalism and stories that have made a mark through the years in our local area.  

Our exhibition space will be dedicated to Breaking the News through the following themes:

4 July  – 4 August 2022, Edinburgh: a city of…

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Empathy Day

Aaaw! it’s Empathy Day! 🤗📚😊
https://www.empathylab.uk/empathy-day

Tales of One City

Research shows that only ten percent of empathy is genetic, the rest is learned as we move through the world interacting with others, either in person or through the written word which allows us to literally experience the world as another person. One of the wonders of the library, is all the people you can become. Choose one book and you are an explorer, charting new territories, another and you are a servant in the household of the Bennett sisters. Although you do not feel the peril, the fear, the day-to-day life as if you were living it, researchers at The University of Toronto have discovered that there is some correlation in reading and experience; the parts of your brain related to running wakes up when you read about someone running, just as your grasping reflex turns on when you read of a character reaching for a light.

Empathy Day…

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Treasures of the National Library of Scotland podcast

Our new Treasures podcast is well worth a listen
To mark the opening of Treasures of the National Library of Scotland, we’ve asked some of Scotland’s real-life national treasures to select their favourite items from the exhibition in a new weekly podcast series
 
Hosted by Julia Sutherland, each podcast takes a deeper dive into the objects, collections and artefacts that each guest finds most interesting. Together they explore both the historical and the personal significance of the items.
 
The series features Grant Stott, Liz Lochhead, Sanjeev Kohli, Jo Caulfield, Damian Barr, Len Pennie, Leanne Crichton, Jamie MacDonald and Martel Maxwell.
 
Episode one is out now. Subscribe to the series on AppleSpotify, Google and on other podcast providers by searching for ‘Treasures of the National Library of Scotland’.
 

– National Library newsletter — June 2022

Walking books collection

Tales of One City

Stockbridge Library has anew walking books collection! Whether you’re an avid walker, an armchair walker, or an amateur, here’s a glimpse into what the collection has to offer…

Walking guides

Walking in the Pentland Hills: 30 Walks in Edinburgh’s Local Hillsby Susan Falconer– if you’re looking for easy walks from Edinburgh this book is packed full of options. Including popular Pentland trails around Harlaw reservoir and Scald Law, this book also weaves through historical facts, literary connections, and folktale.

Or try somewhere further afield:

Exploring the Fife Coastal Path by Hamish Brown – this route stretches from Kincardine to Newburgh. The walk can be completed in day trips or in 9 – 10 days. Walkers may wish to spend longer in St Andrews or exploring the beautiful beaches and fishing villages along the way. You can even have a go at the chain walk (at your…

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Women and the environment: 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.

Tales of One City

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…

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Edinburgh Women’s Mural

Tales of One City

During Women’s History Month in March this year, Central Library began work on creating a public mural celebrating Edinburgh’s trailblazing women, past and present. This was inspired by another project entitled ‘Work in Progress’ by the artists Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake which has been running in the USA since 2016.

We had a fantastic response from the local community, and we’d like to say a big thank you to everybody that contributed, whether you provided nominations for our list of unsung heroines, or helped spread the word, or attended one of our stencil workshops. Thanks also go to Creative Scotland, who awarded us funding for the project, and to local artist Madeleine Wood and graphic designer Greg Stedman.

The Edinburgh Women’s Mural is now finished and ready to display, at Central Library! See below for a sneak peek of one of the eight panels. How many people…

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