Gutenberg Bible on display 22nd November 2018

To mark Book Week Scotland 2018 and the 550th anniversary of the death of Johannes Gutenberg, one of the National Library’s most treasured items, the Gutenberg Bible is being shown publicly, for one day only, on the Thursday 22 November
10.00-18.00 in the National Library of Scotland,  George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.  No need to book. Read more

Mintel Analyst Talk: Brexit and the Economy at National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. November 22, 9:15am


brexitbreakfastToby Clark, Mintel’s Director of Research, will talk about the implications of the EU vote for consumer confidence and household finances, and what this means for a range of consumer-facing markets. He’ll draw on broader economic data, Mintel’s exclusive research on consumer sentiment, and Mintel’s experience of how consumers react to changing economic conditions.

This is a free event.

Reserve your place on eventbrite

Visit to National Library of Scotland’s Map Collections 20th Oct 2.30pm

CILIP’s Government Information Group has organised a visit to the National Library of Scotland  Map Library on the 20th Oct.maps-of-scotland

The National Library of Scotland Map Library is one of the ten largest map collections in the World, holding around 2 million maps, as well as atlases, gazetteers, and a growing collection of digital map datasets. This visit will include a talk describing the main highlights of the map collections, their users, and the growing ways the content is delivered online through, as well as a brief tour to view maps themselves and storage facilities. Chris Fleet is Map Curator at the Library, where he has worked since 1994, with particular responsibilities for digital mapping.

You dont have to be a member of the Government Information Group or CILIP to attend this event.

Reserve your place here

ELISA mini-quiz – Graeme Forbes, National Library of Scotland

nlsexterior2Your name:  Graeme Forbes
Library:  National Library of Scotland
Job Title:  Head of Collections Management

How did you become a librarian/what was your career path?
After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Stirling, I wrote to every University in the UK (there were fewer in 1979) asking for a job. I accepted an offer of a trainee post from Edinburgh and I was on my way.

I subsequently worked for Edinburgh City Libraries, West Surrey College of Art & Design, Leicester Polytechnic, and Napier College, Polytechnic and University before joining the National Library.

Did you need any specialist training for your current role?
I read for a Master’s degree in Librarianship and Information Science at the University of Sheffield, and later, whilst working, I gained an MBA from Edinburgh University.

What makes your library/department unique?
It’s the only National Library in Scotland! And of course, the breadth and depth of our collections, and our Legal Deposit privilege.

What is your favourite aspect of the job?
Working with so many smart and interesting people.

What has been your most complex/funny/unusual enquiry?
I was once asked for my trousers!

[Whilst at Napier I taught on the HNC Librarianship course which involved a trip to Mauritius for a distance-learners in-college week. On one of the days I returned from a lunchtime break, with my linen suit sodden after being caught in a sudden tropical downpour.  The students (all female) were very insistent that they take my suit to dry it.]

Many thanks to Graeme for becoming our first ‘mini-quiz’ respondent. If you’d like to take part, or have anything else you’d like posted on this site, please contact me – The Webmaster!

Are exams getting easier?


The National Library of Scotland collects and preserves all Scottish school exams papers. The collection starts with the Leavers Certificate in 1899 and continues right up to the new qualifications that young people are sitting around the country this month.

Close examination and comparisons of these papers would allow us to determine if in fact exams are getting easier ? Do they equip young people for their lives ahead?

Digitisation of this material would aid research into the untapped resource and perhaps then we would be able to answer

Read the article from Discover NLS, the National Library of Scotland’s free magazine

Something for everyone

My colleague and I had the pleasure of welcoming a group from Stirling to the National Library of Scotland yesterday. The visitors were from a  community group and were interested the history of Stirling and also food related materials published during the world wars.


They enjoyed visiting our exhibition on the history of food and drink in Scotland   and also the tour of the library; seeing behind the scenes. We rounded off their visit by looking at  the material that we had selected  for them from our vast collections. One of the items turned out to be particularly relevant to one lady. From Castle Rock to Torbrex: essays on the High Schools of Stirling by Jessie M Thomson and Charles Strachan. The book is a history of the High School as it moved from the old building in Spittal Street to a new one in Torbrex.  Jessie Thomson had been this lady’s English teacher although apparently she had a passion for Scottish history and needed little encouragement to teach them a great deal about Scottish history as well as English. There is something for everyone at the National Library of Scotland. Visit us on line or in person.

National Libraries Day – NLS Tours


Take this opportunity to learn more about your National Library, the collections, services, exhibitions and events, and see behind the scenes. Booking essential as places are limited. If you have specific access requirements or other additional needs please let our staff know when you book your place.

7 February
10.00, 11.00, 12.00

– Tours are Free.

Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.



Follow in the footsteps of Robert Burns – @natlibscot

mapDetailed maps of the routes taken by the poet Robert Burns on his celebrated journeys around Scotland in 1787 have been produced by the Library.

Burns was at the height of his powers at the time and kept a journal detailing the places he stayed and the people he met along the way, along with reflections on Scottish society, history and culture.

The journal and the accompanying maps have now been published in a joint project between Glasgow University and the Library.

Professor Nigel Leask of Glasgow University said the journal and maps “offer us an insight into the life of a poet who was operating at the peak of his powers and reaping the benefits of his new found fame.”

View maps

Game of Crowns : The 1715 Jacobite rising


Treachery, power struggles, royal in-fighting and religious wrangling are all reflected in ‘Game of Crowns’ — the winter exhibition at the National Library of Scotland.

The exhibition tells the story of the 1715 Jacobite rising as the 300th anniversary approaches. Using contemporary records, books, maps, portraits and songs, it explains this turbulent period of British history.

‘Most people will know bits and pieces of the history of the time but may be less familiar with the full story,’ said Robert Betteridge, the curator who has worked on ‘Game of Crowns’. ‘What we hope to do is paint a picture of what Scotland was like at this time.’

One of the documents on display will be the order for the massacre of Glencoe, when 38 members of the clan MacDonald were slaughtered because of their suspected Jacobite sympathies.

The exhibition looks in detail at the period from 1688 to 1715, showing how the Stuarts were removed from the throne and replaced by the Hanoverians, and the fierce contest for the Crown of Great Britain.

Defeat in the 1715 rising was not the end of the Jacobite story, and the exhibition closes with a look ahead to the attempt of Bonnie Prince Charlie to reclaim the throne for his father.