Events at the National Library

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

Book online or phone 0131 623 3734. Places are limited, so we recommend that you book in advance. 

July events  |  August events |  September events

List updated: 7 July.

For more information, or to join the events mailing list, email


July events

See also: Workshops and tours

Otters: Return to the river

'Otters' book cover

Multi-award winning wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell celebrates the return of the otter to our rivers and freshwater wetlands, after a drastic decline in the last century.

For more than two decades, Campbell has documented an intimate portrait of the lives of otters through the changing seasons.

8 July
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.

How to be a cyclist

This event, scheduled for 9 July, was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Family secrets and debut novels

Debut novel covers

Bestselling food writer Sue Lawrence and leading Irish journalist Ann O'Loughlin — in conversation with literary agent Jenny Brown. Both writers explore secrets, betrayal and family sagas, and discuss how they approached writing their first works of fiction.

14 July
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.

Mary Queen of Scots

Man wearing Mary Queen of Scots-era clothes

On this day 450 years ago, Lord Darnley and Mary Queen of Scots were married in the Chapel-Royal of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Come along to this family-friendly afternoon to discover how they danced, what food they ate and what clothes they wore.

Original Mary Queen of Scots documents will be on display.

29 July
Free. Drop-in session.


August events

See also: Workshops and tours

Edinburgh Fringe show: 'A boy and a bear in a boat'

Detail from 'A boy and a bear in a boat' book cover

A boy and a bear go to sea, equipped with a suitcase, a comic book and a ukulele. They are only travelling a short distance and it really shouldn't take long. But then their boat encounters 'unforeseeable anomalies'...

Brilliantly funny and tender, this thrilling play maps the growth of a truly memorable friendship. An innocent and absurd story.

The Spark Arts for Children, in association with Nottinghamshire County Council, presents a play by Stewart Melton from the book by Dave Shelton.

16-22 August (except 18 August)

15-22 August (except 18 August)

Tickets: £8, concessions: £6
Book via Edinburgh Fringe Box Office online, by phone at 0131 226 0000, or in person at Fringe Box Office, 180 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QS.


September events

See also: Workshops and tours

Thomas Robertson's war: From Grangemouth to Gallipoli

Photograph of Thomas Robertson at war

In 1919, Thomas Robertson returned home from the Palestine campaign with the diary he had kept during his service. In 2014 it passed to his grandson, Neil White. Tonight Neil takes us through some of his great-grandfather's experiences, including the aftermath of the Battle of Gallipoli, and the end of the war in the Middle East.

1 September
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734. 


Hugh Buchanan paints the John Murray Archive

Detail from Hugh Buchanan painting showing Sherlock Holmes stories

Artist Hugh Buchanan discusses his recent work with the John Murray Archive: painting the archives, manuscripts and books of some of the iconic names in literature, including Jane Austen, Lord Byron and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Hugh's paintings are displayed at the Library from 25 June until 6 September.

3 September
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


Photo of a microphone

The monthly night showcasing different poetry and spoken word talents. Different voices, different styles, different takes on life.

This month: Colin Will and Katherine McMahon.

7 September
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.

The Hidden Library

View down the stairwell behind the scenes at the Library

This year's Hidden Library event celebrates Scotland's Year of Food and Drink 2015.

At drop-in sessions you can learn about the Library's connection with Sir Alexander Grant and his digestive biscuits, and find out more about rationing and what people cooked during the Second World War. Younger visitors can bring their teddy bears along for an afternoon of story-telling and drawing activities. More information about these drop-in sessions will be available soon.

You can also book a Hidden Library tour of our 'Lifting the lid' exhibition at either 14.00 or 15.15.

12 September
Free. Book an exhibition tour online or phone 0131 623 3734.

Knee deep in claret: A celebration of wine and Scotland

Photo of Billy Kay

Billy Kay relates the fascinating history of the Scots involvement with claret and the great wines of the world: champagne, port, sherry and madeira. Celebrate our imbibing tradition in story and poetry, prose and song.

15 September
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.

The Scottish railway atlas

Photograph of David Spaven

Few appreciate the rich diversity of Scotland's railways more than author David Spaven. He discusses his new book, 'The Scottish Railway Atlas', and examines railway development in Scotland over a period of nearly 200 years.

29 September
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.

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