ELISA Library and archive visits – coming soon!

ELISA have two exciting visits coming up soon and tickets are available now.

On October 8th at 2:00pm there is a visit to Historic Environment Scotland.
This will include an introduction to HES’ work and its Archive and collections with the opportunity to ask questions about the Canmore database, Scran, PastMap and ScotlandsPlaces.
There will also be a tour of the Search Room at HES’ Archives and other points of interest in the building.
Tickets are available via Eventbrite 

On November 8th there is a visit to Lloyds Bank’s archives at Sighthill in Edinburgh.
The Archivist at Lloyds’ will conduct a tour of the Bank’s archive stores.
The visit offers an opportunity to learn more about records management and enquiry handling within a private-sector organisation and compare this with the practice of, say, the National Records of Scotland, recently visited by ELISA.
This visit is open to all and will have a broad appeal to colleagues working in conservation and with local and family history records.
Tickets are available via Eventbrite 



Godfrey Hilton Thomson: The man who tested Scotland’s IQ – exhibition

Ornella Pantani from the Main Library Helpdesk at Edinburgh University has submitted  a wee post about their current exhibition:


Have you been a fan of the latest BBC programme ‘How to Stay Young?’. In this case, like me, you will have quite a surprise if you happen to go to the exhibition currently on display until the 26 November in the Exhibition Gallery, Main Library, University of Edinburgh, George Square. The Exhibition explores the pioneering and ground-breaking work in the field of educational research conducted by Professor Sir Godfrey Hilton Thomson, aimed to test the intelligence of every 11-year-old in Scotland.

In the last episode of the BBC programme, they went to Edinburgh to meet some of the very people that were involved in this original study, which represents in its totality the largest-scale of IQ test in Europe. So I’ve found very fascinating to learn in more details about this project, its creator, the way it was developed and its importance.

The Exhibition covers the professional life as well as the personal life of Professor Sir Godfrey Hilton Thomson, giving a full story of the man, his vision and achievements.

A very enjoyable and informative display for all to see.

The exhibition is free and is open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm.

Thanks Ornella!




National Mining Museum visit, June 2016

On the 23rd June 2016 I took part in a fascinating visit to the National Mining Museum Scotland Library & Archive at Lady Victoria Colliery, Newtongrange.

The Museum has a large and varied archive, which includes from the records of the Lothian Coal Company, minute books and papers of the National Union of Mineworkers, and a collection of over 30000 largely National Coal Board plans and engineering drawings.

We were welcomed by the Keeper, Ellie Swinbank, who gave us into the hands of two friendly and knowledgeable volunteers for a tour.

Although there is no library professional employed there, George and Andrew are both ex employees of the mine with expert knowledge in the field. They generously showed us round their surprisingly varied collection.

Much of their work involves answering queries and helping with research. Any enquiries should be directed to Keeper Ellie Swinbank in the first instance.

After the library tour Ellie invited us to visit the main museum exhibition. This was excellent and I’d like to go back when I can take time to look around more. I’m also keen to take the pithead tour!

Thanks to Julie Arnot for organising this event.

Instructions for library staff – a trip back in time – part 2

"art students"
“art students”

As promised, Tales from one city have posted more crazy instructions for library staff of the past. These posts paint the library staff as a bunch of odd, mistrustful kill-joys… a very far cry from the jolly folk of today! Still – it’s fun to laugh at the quaint ways of yore – so you can view the full post here.

Future Libraries event

Future Libraries – the next 125 years 

logoTuesday 9 June 2015, 7pm
Edinburgh Central Library

“We trust that this Library is to grow in usefulness year after year, and prove one of the most potent agencies for the good of the people for all time to come” – said Andrew Carnegie, our benefactor, in 1890

How do we make sure this holds true for the next 125 years? Come hear our panel discuss what’s happening next for libraries, as Edinburgh City Libraries celebrate their 125th birthday, week beginning 8th June 2015.

Speakers taking part include:

  • John Scally – (National Librarian and Chief Executive)
  • Philippa Cochrane – (Scottish Book Trust, Reader Development)
  • Prof. Hazel Hall- (Napier University- Professor of Social Informatics – information sharing in online environments)
  • Duncan Wright – Senior School Librarian at Stewart’s Melville College.

Chaired by Jeanette Castle, President of CILIPS Scotland (Chartered Intsitute of Library and Information Professionals) and introduced by Martina McChrystal, Acting Library and Information Services Manager, City of Edinburgh Council.

Register via Eventbrite

Instructions for library staff – a trip back in time

Tales of one city have unearthed a crazy old volume of instructions to library staff. This first instalment contains some odd stuff. These are my favourites so far:

They say “Look out for more historic staff instructions soon, including guidance on dealing with young people. And ‘foreigners’.” – I’m looking forward to that!

Information Literacy Part Three: World War One: Projects and Investigations

cilips east branchFeaturing Scotland’s War, the Govan High Memorial and The School That Went to War

Three fantastic presentations from Scottish High Schools on researching and gathering digital resources to commemorate the WWI centenary. Our speakers will share their top research tips, useful organisations and contacts as well as inspiring you with details of their WWI projects.

Thursday 21st May 2015

Queensferry High School, Edinburgh, EH30 9JN

14:00 to 16:00pm

£40 for CILIPS members

£50 for non-members   

Places are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Free 8GB data stick pre-loaded with a new WWI resource pack for every attendee

Registration essential on or before 01.5.15 for catering purposes

Pleasebook directly online via the CILIPS website at https://cilips.formstack.com/forms/east_branch__information_literacy_part_three


  • Naomi Richardson, Librarian, Queensferry High School, Edinburgh.

Scotland’s War Project (Edinburgh University) focusing on an overview of Queensferry High School’s contribution to the Scotland’s War Project in researching local Commonwealth War Graves with special emphasis on those from the Battle of Jutland.http://www.scotlandswar.ed.ac.uk/Scotland/About

  • Ian McCracken,Volunteer Archivist,Govan High School Glasgow

The Govan High Memorial“I will be looking at World War One research processes & outcomes. The presentation will include information on sources that can be used, IL challenges, and how the Govan High Memorial research has benefited the school” http://www.teachingscotland.org.uk/education-in-scotland/secondary-teaching/57-memorial-at-govan-high.aspx

  • Lauren Thow, Librarian, Portobello High School, Edinburgh.

 The School That Went to War(BBC Radio Scotland) researching and uncovering the stories of soldiers from Portobello High School who signed up to fight in WWI. Culminating in a 5-episode BBC Radio drama narrated by Edith Bowman.http://www.allmediascotland.com/broadcasting/72993/made-here-the-school-that-went-to-war-bbc-radio-scotland-2/

Direct any enquiries to East Branch Events Co-ordinator, Alison Leslie

Alison Leslie, National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW.

Tel: 0131 623 3822                   Fax 0131 623 3830

Email   a.leslie@nls.uk

Commemorating the Massacre of Glencoe – NLS event

nls pic

To mark the anniversary of the Massacre of Glencoe NLS will be screening an innovative video celebrating one of Sir Walter Scott’s lesser-known works.

Scott’s poem ‘On the Massacre of Glencoe’ commemorates one of the darkest incidents in Scottish history – the Massacre of Glencoe which saw more than 70 Highlanders killed for alleged treason.

An Edinburgh-based company Double Take Projections has created a video showing the words of Sir Walter Scott’s poem, being beamed, on location onto the Glencoe scenery.

The three-minute video will be screened on Friday 13 February between 2.00 – 5.30 pm in the National Library’s Boardroom, George IV Bridge, EH1 1EW

The current exhibition ‘Game of Crowns: the 1715 Jacobite Rising’ tells the story of this bloody period in Scotland’s history, and the handwritten document ordering this massacre is currently on display.   Come along on Friday 13 February to watch the video and visit the exhibition

The School That Went to War – Portobello High School on the radio

There’s still time to listen to the BBC Radio Scotland programmes about Portobello High School’s Roll of Honour from the First World War! Catch it before it’s too late

Edinburgh Library and Information Services Agency


I’ve been working with the history department helping students to research Portobello High School’s Roll of Honour from the First World War.  Our work has been turned into a BBC Radio Scotland radio show!

You can listen to the series here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04l8p6y

View original post

The School That Went to War – Portobello High School on the radio


I’ve been working with the history department helping students to research Portobello High School’s Roll of Honour from the First World War.  Our work has been turned into a BBC Radio Scotland radio show!

You can listen to the series here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04l8p6y