The City of Literature Trust is running a library campaign calling library lovers and users all over Edinburgh to get a card, sign up a friend, make the most of what’s on offer, and get vocal about how great libraries are.

On Monday 26 June 2017, the City of Literature Trust’s ‘Make It Count’ Library campaign will be kicked-off – spanning a four week period that will delve deep into the heart of Edinburgh’s libraries by featuring stories, images and conversations between librarians and writers – ending with the Trust’s pledge to take the words and support received to Edinburgh’s Councillors at the City Chambers.

Inspired by the support and enthusiasm generated by the Libraries Matter campaign run by CILIPS, the Trust was keen to carry this sentiment forward; to harness the overwhelming support and passion for Edinburgh’s local libraries and channel this into creating a tangible and noticeable drive in numbers across library services.

Edinburgh based author Ron Butlin told the Trust:

‘I find libraries even more important than ever. Being able to browse real shelves rather than merely relying on Google is a much more fruitful way of doing research, and library staff are just about the most knowledgeable people I have ever met. Libraries are the enlightened custodians of our culture…we are so very lucky to have public libraries to keep us in touch with the closest we can come to reasonable truth. Long live libraries!’

So, what are we asking library lovers to do? Just three simple things:

  • Get a Card – sign-up to their local library and tag #MakeItCount
  • Get a Book – borrow a book, ebook, CD, or DVD and share it
  • Get a Friend – tell friends, family and colleagues about the fantastic offers on in local libraries

As this campaign is all about the collective effort of Edinburgh’s library lovers and users, the Trust is also reaching out to organisations in the city – literary or otherwise – to get them involved by asking them to spread the message around colleagues and friends, share images online featuring library cards and library books using #MakeItCount and #LibrariesMatter, as well as starting conversations in day-to-day life about visiting and using libraries.

The campaign will run over a period of four weeks, from the 26 Jun until the 24 Jul, with the first three weeks being specifically targeted towards generating online engagement and conversation via social media and the campaign page on the Trust’s website:, when it goes live. The Trust will work with librarians, library advisors, and writers to promote the importance of Edinburgh’s libraries as not only reading spaces, but places to work, learn, and socialise.

Ali Bowden, Director of the City of Literature Trust, says: ‘Libraries are the beating heart of our City of Literature. They are a haven for words that inspire and entertain; places of possibility and discovery that foster a love of literature, strengthening the very foundations of our society. We know that in order to keep them open, funded, and operating as the fantastic spaces that they already are, we need to be seen to be using them.’

Make It Count Action Card

#’s to use and remember: #MakeItCount and #LibrariesMatter


Visit to Edinburgh Central Library

A tour of Edinburgh Central Library is taking place on Thursday 19th May 2.30pm – 4.00pm.

This is a chance to see recently refurbished spaces and to discuss some of the challenges facing a Victorian library in 21st Century.

There are only 12 tickets available for this event so please register as soon as possible via Eventbrite

ELISA visits to a wide variety of libraries in Edinburgh continue to prove popular and we have more events planned for  later in 2016


National Theatre’s ‘Everyman’ – discount tickets with Edinburgh library card

ebooks, online loan renewals and now Chiwetel Ejiofor! Is there anything your Edinburgh library card can’t give you?

Discount for library members to see National Theatre’s ‘Everyman’

Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) stars in Carol Ann Duffy’s acclaimed new adaptation of Everyman, streamed live from the National Theatre in London to Scotland’s largest cinema, the Festival Theatre, on Thu 16 July.

Edinburgh library cardholders can get £10 tickets when they quote EVERYMAN on 0131 529 6000 or use code EVERYMAN at

Offer cannot be combined with other discounts and does not apply to previously purchased tickets.  A booking fee of 75p is charged per ticket for online and phone bookings.

Future Libraries – event report

ELISA member Paulette Hill attended the Future Libraries event held at Edinburgh Central Library earlier this month. Here is her report…


Future Libraries – the next 125 years

“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? Edinburgh City Libraries are celebrating their 125th birthday, week beginning 8th June 2015. One of the events which I attended included a panel discussing what is happening and what the future holds for libraries, with speakers from various library and information sectors.

The speakers taking part included John Scally, Chief Executive from the National Library of Scotland, Philippa Cochrane, Reader Development Manager, from the Scottish Book Trust, Hazel Hall, Professor of Social Informatics (Information sharing in online environments), from Napier University, and Duncan Wright, Senior School Librarian at Stewart’s Melville College. The event was chaired by Marion Sinclair, CEO Publishing Scotland and introduced by Martina McChrystal, Acting Library and Information Services Manager, City of Edinburgh Council.

Marion Sinclair welcomed us all and then referred to Ambition and opportunity: the first national strategy for public libraries in Scotland which had recently been published and said it was very positive about the role that libraries play. The panel were then asked what they thought were the key strengths of libraries. They were identified as access to knowledge and content in a democratic way, in a safe and trusted environment, in the community. Technology may change but these fundamental principles should remain.

The importance of making connections as well as looking after collections was also stressed. For school pupils it was important to instil a love of reading and to develop information literacy and research skills. Sharing the enjoyment of reading and imaginative text has a social role and assists in delivering stronger social benefits.

In the past one of the problems was in finding information and libraries assisted with this, whereas today, and in the future, with the explosion of information in both print and digital format, the emphasis is on helping library users find information of value and relevance.

The panel were then asked to consider why there have been negative stories about libraries in the press. The response was that there were reports that in the Google era, and its offshoots such as Google Books there was no need for mediation via libraries and librarians. However, this has been proved to be wrong and statistics prove that libraries in Scotland are very well used. Refurbishment of libraries and provision of relevant work and leisure spaces, provision of workshops, exhibitions etc. have proved to be very popular with the public but this message does not always get out to the media. Although public support is high there is a need to get positive stories out much earlier. The Love Letters to Libraries initiative is a means whereby people can share their experiences with libraries and others to send out positive messages.

It was agreed that there is a need for libraries to market themselves and their services more strongly. Libraries should continue to ensure that both printed books and e-books are relevant and to offer to assist those with visual impairment. Even with the rise of e-books there are still many more people read printed books and many still do not have access to the internet nor information in digital format so their needs must be catered for.

Attendees were then invited to put questions and comments to the panel. The first comment was that self-issue of library items could be problematic and was impersonal and there was a personal preference that library staff should do this. The panel’s response was that automation of routine tasks released library staffs’ time to work in areas such as assisting users in developing information literacy skills, and that some library users preferred self-issue, but that library staff would always be on hand and willing to help users, where required.

The issues of the exponential increase in book publishing, funding, and purchasing were raised; libraries can deal with this based on their knowledge and experience, and regular stock review and disposal policies. There will be a need for closer partnership in the future between libraries from all sectors and in making digital content and catalogues more easily accessible. The National Library of Scotland is establishing such a new presence in the autumn at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow. Legal deposit of e-collections raises new challenges as at present these can only be consulted within a legal deposit library.

Concern was raised about the scarcity of training and fewer professional posts. The response was that there is a need for a core group of professional librarians combined with other staff who can bring skills such as in technology and communications in order to enrich the services that libraries can offer.

It is estimated that over 20 million visits were made to libraries in Scotland in 2014 so the numbers are very healthy. However, it is recognised there are various choices for people these days to find access to information. A great initiative that libraries offer is Bookbug sessions for babies and their families which instil familiarity and usage of libraries from a very early age. Success stories need to be emphasised. It was noted that 4 of the recent Bookseller Industry awards for library of the year are Scottish Public Library services- Edinburgh, Dundee, Midlothian, and Orkney . Edinburgh have opened a brand new Central children’s library and built a new neighbourhood centre and library in Craigmillar. Local needs are important and libraries and their services should be tailored accordingly.

A final question was asked about the priorities to be considered on budget expenditure. The response was that the top priority should be on staffing, at the right level, with appropriate skills, then on content, of value and relevance, and finally on utilities, so this was challenging but fundamental to the key strengths of libraries.

As time was drawing to a close Marion Sinclair said that overall the outlook for the future of libraries is positive so she would finish on this note and encouraged us all to look at Ambition and opportunity: the first national strategy for public libraries in Scotland which emphasises this positivity.

Paulette M. Hill (CILIP, MmITS Treasurer)
12th June 2015

Lost in a good book – exhibition

This is such a lovely idea for an exhibition. Well done Central Library – and very well done Mavis! – via Tales of one city

Lost in a good book

by edinburghcitylibraries

exhibitionWhen Mavis started work as a library assistant in central library a few years back one of the tasks she was given was to check returned books for pencil marks and other damage.

While doing this though she came across all sorts of items readers had used as bookmarks and forgot to remove: photographs, business cards, flyers, children’s drawings, train timetables, postcards, wedding invitations….

Mavis asked what to do with these objects. She was told they should be binned. Which she did. For about a week.

“As the rule made no sense to me I ignored it and started to collect them”, Mavis says .

“I didn’t have any sort of plan but something told me that maybe one day even one person could be reunited with a treasured photograph or perhaps a keepsake they thought was lost forever”.

exhibition 2Today is that day.

Many of the items Mavis held onto are the focal point of an exhibition ‘Lost in a good book’, currently on display in Central Library, until 11th June.

Will you see something that looks familiar?

Edinburgh Libraries helping children with dyslexia discover the joy of reading

via: Tales of One City


How we help children with dyslexia discover the joy of reading

“R had a ball and was buzzing all the way home. It was lovely to see her so excited about books again. School has been hard this year and she had lost her confidence in reading.”

“Thanks for letting B join the group, for the few months we have been in Edinburgh. It is the first time we have seen him interact with others and be enthusiastic about coming to a social activity.”

Our Chatterbooks group for children with dyslexia offer a friendly, supportive and caring environment for children to meet and discover the fun of words.

And as the parents’ comments above show, it works.

Dyslexia Chatterbooks Group at the Central Children's Library

We spend some time ‘paired reading’ in small groups, use music, drama, poetry, oral storytelling, games and other activities that engage children with reading. The staff team consists of two experienced library folk and four very committed volunteers.

If you think your child (primary 4 – primary 7) would benefit, email

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Chinese New Year at Edinburgh South West Neighbourhood libraries

Tales of One City

February 22nd brings the beginning of the New Chinese Year of the Goat!

Get lucky this year by wearing Red, Brown and Purple; making sure the numbers 2 and 7 are on your lottery tickets and by filling your house with Carnations.

If you want to find out your real fortune for the next 12 months than head to one of the  South West Neighbourhood libraries (Balerno, Balgreen, Colinton, Currie, Fountainbridge, Oxgangs, Ratho, Sighthill or Wester Hailes) and pick up your fortune cookie and February book recommendation.

Fortunes will be baked and ready for Friday 20th February but these good fortunes are limited so be quick!

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Borrow a human! – via @TalesOfOneCity

A wonderful and innovative idea at McDonald Road Library – via Tales of one city… 

Borrow a human!

Next Monday from 5.00 – 7.00pm McDonald Road Library hosts a Human Library, in association with LGBT History Month.

Learn about living history through the lives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people contributing to the richness of cultural diversity in Scotland – please come and interview a LGBT ‘human book’.

All welcome!

For more information email or call 0131 555 3940

Your Views on Scottish Public Libraries


The National Strategy for Scottish Public Libraries Working Group from SLIC (Scottish Library and Information Council) are seeking views on public libraries. Here is the link:

The link to the questions is at the very bottom and the deadline is this Tuesday, 2nd of December.

The answers will be used to produce a draft strategy plan for public libraries in Scotland.