National Library of Scotland events are free and take place in our George IV Bridge Building, unless we state otherwise.

Places are limited, so we recommend that you book in advance.

We use Eventbrite for online event bookings. When you book an event you will be taken to the Eventbrite website. You can also phone 0131 623 3734.

February events | March events

List updated: 16 February.

For more information, or to join the events mailing list, email nlsevents@nls.uk.


February events

See also:
Workshops and tours
Kelvin Hall events

Open Book: A weekly shared reading group

An open book with glasses resting on top

This shared reading group is open to everyone. Drop in to our café to explore fiction and poetry in a relaxed, informal setting. There is no need to read or prepare anything in advance. Each session is facilitated by a volunteer from the Open Book project.

Every Tuesday
10.30-11.30
Free. No need to book, just come along on the day.


Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Awards 2016

Elizabeth Soutar leaflet cover

The Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Award encourages the practice and development of creative and craft binding skills. The competition is open to bookbinders across Europe, and the winning entries will join the Library's collection of fine bindings. On the night there is a special display of all the 2016 entries, as well as the awards ceremony to announce this year's Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding winners.

Thursday 23 February
18.00
Free. This event is fully booked.


'Saturday, 3pm: Fifty eternal delights of modern football'

'Saturday, 3pm' poster

Author and TV presenter Daniel Gray's 'Saturday, 3pm' is a love letter to football. His poetic, sweet essays recount the game's loveable minutiae. Here, he brings to life topics such as floodlights, catering vans, seeing a ground from the train, brackets on vidiprinters and slide tackles in mud. Seasoned performer Gray reads energetically and emotionally from the book, and explains the ideas behind it. Expect evocative words and fond chuckles.

Tuesday 28 February
18.00
Free. Book 'Saturday, 3pm' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.


March events

See also:
Workshops and tours
Kelvin Hall events

Liketh, loveth, getteth and useth maps

A World Book Day event

Map and illustration

John Dee, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexander McCall Smith and countless other authors have commented on maps and map making, sometimes as essential parts of their tales and sometimes as entertaining asides. In this illustrated lecture in celebration of World Book Day, curator Paula Williams explores across the Library's collections to see how maps have been portrayed in literature.

Thursday 2 March
14.00
Free. Book 'Liketh, loveth, getteth and useth maps' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.


Edinburgh Bibliographic Society Annual Lecture with Laurence Worms

Colourful map

The Library's exhibition, 'You are Here', takes us on a journey through maps. This joint event, with the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society, focuses on the people who made them. Antiquarian bookseller Laurence Worms, co-author of 'British map engravers' (2011), takes us through the early history of the Scottish map trade — its personnel, their relationships, and their careers.

Thursday 2 March
18.00
Free. Book the EBS lecture on Eventbrite. EBS members can email Derek Taylor to book a place.


Open Book: A weekly shared reading group

An open book with glasses resting on top

This shared reading group is open to everyone. Drop in to our café to explore fiction and poetry in a relaxed, informal setting. There is no need to read or prepare anything in advance. Each session is facilitated by a volunteer from the Open Book project.

Every Tuesday
10.30-11.30
Free. No need to book, just come along on the day.


When women ran the Scottish Periodical Press, with Juliet Shields

Photograph of a lady

Periodicals dominated the literary marketplace in 19th-century Scotland, from elite journals like Blackwood's 'Edinburgh Magazine' to popular magazines such as 'The People's Friend'. They offered women opportunities to participate, often anonymously, in political and cultural debates that were ordinarily considered the purview of men. But periodicals also enforced traditional ideals of femininity that would confine women to the home. This talk examines how three powerful women writers turned the paradoxes of the periodical press to their own advantage.

Tuesday 7 March
14.00
Free. Book 'When women ran...' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.


Political women in the early United States

International Women's Day lecture

Photograph of Catherine Allgor

Could women be political before they got the vote? 'Yes', says Catherine Allgor, Director of Education at the Huntington Library and noted scholar of women and politics. In the new capital of the United States during the early republic, white ruling class women borrowed heavily from English court culture to further their families' political aims. In doing so, they built the structure that would support the United States' future as a democratic nation-state.

Wednesday 8 March
18.00
Free. Book 'Political women' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.


Britain's forgotten bodysnatchers

'Bodysnatchers' book cover

Between 1742 and 1832, men stole fresh cadavers from houses and graveyards, and squashed them into sacks ready to transport across the country. Anatomy schools paid high prices for corpses, asking no questions about their origins. The famous bodysnatchers Burke and Hare dominate this macabre period in Britain's history, but lesser-known bodysnatchers deserve their story told. Hear stories involving medical students, anatomists, and opportunist bodysnatchers, as we discover the hidden cases from history.

Thursday 9 March
18.00
Free. Book 'Britain's forgotten bodysnatchers' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.


SCO and the Library — Wider connections: Music and religion

Clarinet and sheet music

Lucy Forde discusses the relationship between music and religion, with guests Sir James MacMillan and Dr Noel O'Regan. Over the centuries, many composers have been inspired by the 'Stabat Mater' — the 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary. This event is linked to Sir James MacMillan's 'Stabat Mater', performed on Thursday 23 March 2017 at the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh.

Tuesday 14 March
18.00
Free. Book 'SCO and the Library' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.


Bazaars, benevolence and the built heritage of Scotland, 1830-1930

Bazaar poster

Charity bazaar mania reached its peak in the decades around 1900. Bazaars offered middle and upper class women an opportunity to use their organisational skills outside the home, with extravagant events accompanied by sales of fancy work and other goods. Women could take part in acceptable commerce, approved because it was philanthropic. Many bazaars funded public buildings, and Douglas Lockhart draws on examples throughout Scotland to highlight the variety of projects that were associated with local fund raising.

Thursday 23 March
18.00
Free. Book 'Bazaars, benevolence...' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.


The Reformation in 10 books

Detail from a medieval book

Martin Luther's 'The 95 theses' started a revolution that shook Europe 500 years ago. Helen Vincent, the Library's Rare Books Collections Manager, selects 10 rare books that bring the Reformation to life. Find out how the printed word became the weapon of choice for reformers, counter-reformers, intellectuals, politicians, poets and pamphleteers. This event is part of the Library's programme for Rare Books Edinburgh, a new festival celebrating rare, collectable and important books and book history, with a book fair of some of the UK's top rare books dealers.

Thursday 30 March
14.00
Free. Book 'The Reformation in 10 books' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.