Burns, not Burns

Tales of One City

Display in Music Library, Central Library

Not Mr Burns the Scrooge-like boss from The Simpsons, not Pete Burns, unique frontman of the band Dead or Alive, not Frank Burns character in the hit TV show M.A.S.H. and the butt of many a joke, also not Gordon Burns journalist and broadcaster, host of the Krypton Factor or indeed, not the wonderfully named Otway Burns the American privateer and later State Senator for North Carolina born just a few years after the Burns of today’s blog – Robert Burns, our National Bard.

Life is but a day at most.

Written In Friars Carse Hermitage

Robert Burns, fair fa’ his honest, sonsie face, writer of everything and the voice of Scotland since the beginning of time, even though he was born in 1759, and died in 1796, at the age of only 37.

Now health forsakes that angel face.

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Winter wellbeing

Tales of One City

January is a time of renewal, reflection, and looking forward to brighter days. Winter invites us to slow down and take stock. So, as we head into this new year, Library Resource Management have curated four Health and Wellbeing collections that will be available at Stockbridge, Morningside, Portobello, and Wester Hailes Libraries.

Whether you want to learn practical tips, take a more mindful approach to yourself and your wellbeing, or if you want to keep up with your new year’s resolutions, here is just a glimpse into some of the titles available…

Learn about the workings of the mind
This Too Shall Pass by Julia Samuel – Samuel is a psychotherapist and grief specialist. Her book is comprised of intimate portraits of the people she’s worked with. Charting their progress as each client goes through a hard but transformative period in their lives.

The Orchid and the Dandelionby W…

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Some of our favourite books of 2021

Tales of One City

Edinburgh Libraries staff tell us which books have meant the most to them this past year.

Bageshri from Fountainbridge Library says “the best book I read in 2021 is The happiest man on Earth by Eddie Jaku.
It is an inspirational and heart-breaking story of an Auschwitz survivor. This story teaches us life values and make us appreciate what we have in our lives. Eddie faced so much hardship and horrors in life at Buchenwald, Auschwitz and Nazi death camp. He also lost his family and friends. But he still had so much of positivity and hope in life. Eddie has lived a life that many of us can’t even imagine. Even after all the pain Eddie went through in his life, he considers himself the ‘Happiest man on Earth’ and makes the vow to smile every day!
One of the beautiful quotes from this book is:

“Life can be…

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What have you been reading?!

It makes me proud that Edinburgh readers are favouring Scottish e-titles 🙂 and well done to Doug Johnstone for taking the top spot!

Tales of One City

Our downloadable library has proved a lifeline to many during the pandemic and Edinburgh Libraries has seen usage of its ebook, audiobooks, newspaper and magazine services grow over this period. But, what have you all been reading over the last year and is it any different from anywhere else in the UK?!

You have borrowed over 205,000 ebooks from our Libby by OverDrive service this year! Surprisingly only three* of the titles on our top ten loans match those of the rest of the UK. Many of our top lenders have a decidedly Scottish theme or author –

  1. A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone – 1,050 loans
  2. The Thursday Murder Club* by Richard Osman – 938 loans
  3. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – 689 loans
  4. The Hoarder by Jess Kidd – 652 loans
  5. In Dark Water by Lynne McEwan– 642 loans
  6. What He Knew by Marion Todd–…

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Photographing Edinburgh

Tales of One City

A new story on Our Town Stories tells the history of photography in Edinburgh using images from Central Library’s unique and world-class photographic collection.

Newhaven fishwives, c1845 by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson

Starting with the mesmerizing pictures by the pioneering photographers of the Edinburgh Calotype Club and the remarkable partnership of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, this history takes you through the early days of commercial landscape and studio photography.

Family studio portrait, 1905, from Bill Hall’s Family Album
Reproduced by kind permission of William J. Hall

The story moves from the Box Brownie to the digital age and the camera firmly established as an intrinsic part of everyday life.

New Year’s Day family gathering, 1964
Living Memory Association via Edinburgh Collected (www.edinburghcollected.org)

Read our Photographing Edinburgh story and take a look at Edinburgh through the lens of time!

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The Music Library adds a drum kit to their Music Studio!


Tales of One City

Whether like BBC weatherman, Owain Wyn Evans, you are taking up the challenge to drum for 24 hours non-stop for charity, or if you want to crash your crash cymbal like Cozy Powell, beat your bass drum like Buddy Rich or be a drummer like Ringo Starr, we’ve got the answer!

Buddy Rich during a concert in Cologne (Germany) on 3 March 1977
by Paul Spürk, Paul Spürk, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

If you just want to practise your single strokes, double open stroke rolls or polish your paradiddles or adjust your diddles, we might be able to help you. Beat a path to our door!

If you understand this –

or would like to, don’t sit at your table drumming your fingers, when you could be here drumming on a real drum kit. 

The Music Library has a now got a drum kit which we have placed in…

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The Declaration of Arbroath: HES and NRS education resources — Open Book

The Declaration of Arbroath “As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with […]

The Declaration of Arbroath: HES and NRS education resources — Open Book

Download a walking route and discover literary Edinburgh

Literary walking trails around Edinburgh!

Tales of One City

This Book Week Scotland take a walk with Our Town Stories and discover things you never knew about Edinburgh’s literary connections.

Choose to read either the UNESCO City of Literature famous locations trail or the UNESCO City of Literature hidden gems trail and you’ll be able to set off with your downloadable map and follow the story on foot!

Simply click on the green ‘Download Walk’ button from the story webpage to view, download or print the pdf walking route.

This feature is being rolled out to more of the stories on Our Town Stories so keep posted for more downloadable historical walking routes coming soon!

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Sir Walter Scott – 250th anniversary

Sir Walter Scott display opens tomorrow at NLS

A new display, Sir Walter Scott and the Historical Novel, opens at the National Library of Scotland tomorrow (Friday 12th November). This display celebrates Scott’s literary achievements and development of the historical novel, together with his contribution to Scotland’s national identity. Items on display include correspondence, engravings and original manuscripts, including ‘The Heart of Mid-Lothian’, considered by some to be one of Scott’s finest novels.

Sir Walter Scott is one of Scotland’s most important authors and this year marks the 250th anniversary of his birth. NLS holds significant collections of works relating to Scott, including first editions of his novels and the largest collection of Scott’s correspondence to be found anywhere in the world. NLS hope the Bring the Bards Home appeal will help to further grow their collection of Scott material, to include the manuscript of ‘Rob Roy’.

You can find out about other anniversary celebrations taking place during 2021-22 at: Sir Walter Scott 250

We’ve added Ancestry to our family history eresources

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Ancestry is an invaluable tool for family history researchers and we’re delighted to announce that this resource is now available to all library members from within our libraries!

Ancestry Institutional Access gives you access to over 7000 databases to search millions of genealogical records covering the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Records include censuses, official records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps and more. New content is continually being added too, so you can discover more each time.

U.K. collections include censuses for Scotland, England, Wales, Isle of Man and Channel Islands, Births and Baptisms (1834-1906), Marriage Licenses (1521-1869), Deaths and Burials (1834-1934), and Poor Law Records (1840-1938) in London.

Discover your past with our family and local history resources

Ancestry Institutional Access joins our suite of family and local history resources alongside Findmypast, British Newspaper Archive, Scotsman Digital Archive…

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