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Events | exhibitions


Poetry pamphlet competition winner announced

Lady Marks and Jenny Elliott with the award
Lady Marks and Jenny Elliott
at the awards ceremony.

The Shed Press has won the National Library of Scotland 2016 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award

The winning poetry pamphlet was The Shed Press's 'Makkin-wires', written and published by Jenny Elliott.

Second place was awarded to Lancaster's Wayleave Press, for 'Clay' by Elizabeth Burns.

Established in 2001 in memory of Callum Macdonald, the award recognises the publication of poetry pamphlets. It is funded by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, and the 2016 award was presented by Lady Marks.

First prize is £800, and second prize is £400. The author of the winning pamphlet is also eligible for a two-week residency in Greece in July as the Michael Marks Poet in Residence at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies.

Read more in our award press release.

13 May 2016


Historic art book on display at the Library

Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots
A portrait of Mary Queen of
Scots, by Juan de Courbes

On 27 April, visitors to the National Library of Scotland can see the first ever art book to be illustrated with photographs.

Published in 1848, William Stirling's 'Annals of the artists of Spain' contains the first published photographs of Spanish artworks: El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo and Goya. Including images of paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints, the book helped Spanish art become well-known around the world.

Only 50 copies were produced, and the Library's is one of only 25 with extra plates. The additional photographs were taken by an assistant of William Henry Fox Talbot — the founder of modern photography.

Conservation work

Visitors can also see a film of the book being restored:

  • Cleaning the pages
  • Repairing tears
  • Repairing spine damage.

The Library's Conservation team carried out careful restoration work on the volume, before it will be loaned to Madrid's Museo del Prado for an exhibition in May. Watch the conservation video on YouTube

'Annals of the artists of Spain' will be on display in the Library's boardroom from 12.00 until 14.00 on Wednesday 27 April, along with the short film showing the conservation work.

Read more in our 'Annals of the artists of Spain' press release

26 April 2016


Special viewing: Shakespeare's First Folio

A Library curator holding the Library's First Folio
Helen Vincent, Manager of Rare
Books and Music Collections,
holding the First Folio.

William Shakespeare's First Folio will be on public display at the National Library of Scotland on Friday 22 April.

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, the First Folio will be on show in a special two-hour display. Visitors can see the book from 12.00 until 14.00 in the Library's boardroom.

Published in 1623, just seven years after the author's death, the folio contains 36 of Shakespeare's plays. One of the most important books in world literature, there are now only around 230 known copies in existence.

Many of the playwright's most famous plays may owe their existence to the First Folio, as they may have been lost without publication. It is thought that no more than 750 copies were printed.

Read more in our First Folio press release and the Library's blog

20 April 2016


Library becomes founding member of image consortium

John Scally signing the IIIF-C
National Librarian John Scally
signing the IIIF-C papers.

The National Library of Scotland has joined the International Image Interoperability Framework Consortium (IIIF-C) as a founding member.

As part of a select group of world-leading institutions, the Library will influence and develop a suite of services for access to and use of high quality digital images. Other IIIF-C partner institutions include:

  • Stanford University Libraries
  • Bodleian Libraries at University of Oxford
  • The Wellcome Trust
  • The British Library.

The framework puts forward a new set of standards and technologies for accessing and presenting images. Currently in development, this will bring together images from many rich collections, and presents features such as:

  • High quality zoom
  • Annotation
  • Image manipulation tools.

Read more in our IIIF-C press release

13 April 2016


New Chair sought for the Board of the National Library

James Boyle, Chair of the Library's Board
James Boyle, current Chair
of the Library's Board.

The Scottish Government is looking for a new Chair of the Board of the National Library of Scotland.

The individual will chair the Board for a four-year term, and play a leading role in developing one of Scotland's premier cultural organisations.

James Boyle, the Library's current Chair, stands down in October 2016 after completing a full term.

See our Chair of the Board page for more information.


1 April 2016


New posters celebrate 150 years of printing

Posters on display at the Library

A new mini display at the National Library of Scotland commemorates 150 years of Robert Smail's Printing Works.

'Future/Past: Ink differently' showcases a limited edition series of posters by graphic design students from Edinburgh Napier University.

Using the 1886 Wharfedale Reliance printing press, the students applied their modern design skills to the classic methods of letterpress printing.

Robert Smail's Printing Works was in commercial operation until 1986, when it was purchased by the National Trust for Scotland. The machinery is kept in working order, and is still used today.

The posters are on display in the foyer of the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, from 1 April until 2 May 2016.




1 April 2016

 News archive

Past news stories since September 2002 are available in our news archive.

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