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Events | exhibitions


National Library joins influential new network

Shelves of books in the National Library

Britain's biggest libraries have formed a network to expand and improve the services they offer to the public.

The National Library of Scotland is one of 24 libraries in the Living Knowledge Network, along with the British Library and the National Library of Wales. The remaining members are all public libraries, representing most of the country's biggest cities.

Their aim is to share ideas, knowledge and expertise to develop the important role of libraries in the 21st century.

See our Living Knowledge Network news release.

27 September 2016


'The sma perfect': Jessie Kesson display opens

Black and white photograph of Jessie Kesson
Jessie Kesson.

'I've never felt I would write the great big novel. I've aye wanted to write the sma' perfect!'

These words were written by Scots author Jessie Kesson (1916-1994), who rose from humble beginnings to make her mark on the literary world.

'The sma perfect' — a new treasures display at the National Library of Scotland — celebrates Kesson's work in the centenary year of her birth.

It is based on material from her archive which has been kindly donated to the Library by the author's family. This is interwoven with quotes from the author herself in her distinctive Scots.

Entitled 'The sma perfect', the display looks at key periods in Kesson's life, from her difficult childhood through to early struggles of her adult years, and on to the honours she received in later life when she became an established writer.

See also our Jessie Kesson media release.

22 September 2016


Project to preserve historical place names

Maps project website page
Detail from the GB1900 project

Volunteers are invited to join an online project to preserve Britain's historical place names.

The GB1900 project aims to create a list of up to three million place names on Ordnance Survey county maps dating from 1888-1913.

These maps show every town, village, farm, hill and wood in Scotland and the rest of Britain, but there are no detailed listings of historical place names.

When completed, the project will provide the world's largest ever historical gazetteer — a valuable free resource for local and family historians in particular.

As well as adding a place name, volunteers can contribute any personal memories they have of the place.

The National Library of Scotland is a partner in the project, along with the National Library of Wales and the University of Portsmouth.

Read more in the GB1900 project media release.

20 September 2016


Kelvin Hall – a new chapter in National Library story

Video wall at Kelvin Hall
The video wall in the
National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall,

The National Library of Scotland opens its doors in the west of Scotland today for the first time.

Housed in a refurbished Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, the new National Library premises extend the Library's reach out of its historic home in Edinburgh.

The development provides interactive opportunities for education, research, entertainment and inspiration.

Visitors will be able to enjoy 100 years of Scottish life on film and video held in the Moving Image Archive, with access to footage that is not available online.

They will also be able to explore the Library's vast digital collections — including e-books, maps, manuscripts, and reference works – from the earliest times to the present day. Much of this material can only be consulted on National Library premises.

'Kelvin Hall has been reborn and we are delighted to be an important part of this new leisure and cultural centre,' said National Librarian Dr John Scally.

Read more in our Kelvin Hall media release.

14 September 2016


New Board member appointed

Photograph of Ruth Crawford
Ruth Crawford.

Leading QC Ruth Crawford has been appointed to the Board of the National Library of Scotland.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop announced the appointment today.

Miss Crawford was nominated by the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, reflecting the long-standing relationship between the Library and the Faculty.

She has a wealth of experience in public, planning and environmental law.

Read more in our Board appointment press release.

1 September 2016


Mary Queen of Scots letter pushes scientific boundaries

Mary Queen of Scots' signature on a letter
The signature of Mary Queen of Scots
on her last letter.

The frontiers of science are being explored with the aid of one of the National Library of Scotland's most treasured collection items.

A team of young scientists from the University of Edinburgh are testing a new way of storing data with DNA. They will use the text of Mary Queen of Scots' last letter — written just hours before she was executed in 1587.

Scientists believe DNA — the basic building block of life — can be the answer to the world's data storage problems. It involves written text being converted into short molecular sequences that, in theory, can be stored safely for centuries at much lower cost than conventional methods.

The Library is supporting the research by supplying the basic text of the letter to see if it can be coded, stored and then retrieved by the scientific team.

DNA as a storage medium has already attracted the interest of the software giant Microsoft. The Edinburgh University team will present their research at an international competition in Boston in October.

See also our DNA storage press release.

10 August 2016

 News archive

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

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