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Events | exhibitions


Display presents voices from the Commonwealth

All regions of the Commonwealth are represented in a display at the National Library of Scotland.

Sketches, books, photos, manuscripts and maps are among the items brought together to celebrate the Commonwealth's literary, artistic and political life.

The display looks at material produced by the indigenous peoples of the 53 independent sovereign states. It also reflects the colonial past and links with Great Britain.

'Voices from the Commonwealth: Diversity, identity and culture' is open daily until 8 September.

Read more in our Commonwealth display media release.

17 July 2014


Exhibition marks war centenary

Kilted soldier in trench reading a letter
Soldier reading a letter from home.

Individual stories from the 1914-1918 war are at the heart of a major new National Library of Scotland exhibition.

'Behind the lines: Personal stories of the First World War' looks at the war through the eyes of people on active service and those who worked or waited at home. 

Treasured letters, diaries, journals and photographs record what these Scots experienced during a conflict that changed Europe.

Marking the centenary of the start of the war, in August 1914, the exhibition also includes recruitment posters, contemporary films, maps, official reports, and propaganda material.

One of the most important historical documents from this period is the diary of Field Marshal Haig, Commander in Chief of the British Army on the Western Front for most of the war. Excerpts appear through the exhibition, along with other items from the Haig papers in the Library's collections.

Read more in our exhibition press release

27 June 2014


First World War digital resources

Screenshot of war website home page
'Experiences' website.

Ypres trench map detail
Trench map detail.

To coincide with the opening of our exhibition, we have redeveloped our First World War website and have published over 300 digitised trench maps.

Launched today is 'Experiences of the Great War', which relates the experiences of four individuals:

  • General Haig, who kept a daily diary which has become one of the most important documents of the war
  • Mairi Chisholm, a young woman who nursed wounded soldiers on the Belgian front line
  • George Ramage, who endured the horrors of trench warfare in Flanders
  • Thomas Hannan, a Glasgow man jailed as a conscientious objector.

'British First World War Trench Maps, 1915-1918' provides access to maps of great value to anyone studying the conflict's major battlefields.

As well as clickable maps, they are available as georeferenced overlays, making it possible to compare the maps to each other and to modern satellite and map images.

More material relating to the Great War will be added to our digitised resources in the coming months.


See also: Exhibition news story

27 June 2014


New National Librarian appointed

Dr John Scally

Dr John Scally is the new Chief Executive and National Librarian at the National Library of Scotland.

Dr Scally is returning to where he started his library career in 1993, when he was appointed as a curator in the British Antiquarian Division. Ten years later he moved to the University of Edinburgh as Director of University Collections and Deputy Director of Library, Museums and Galleries. In 2012 he became Director of Library and University Collections.

James Boyle, who chairs the NLS Board, said he was delighted that the Library had been able to recruit someone of Dr Scally's calibre and experience to this important role:

'John impressed the interview panel with his understanding of the challenges facing libraries today and his imaginative ideas on how NLS can best respond to these. As one of the leading library professionals in Europe he brings vision, great experience and enthusiasm to this role which will greatly benefit NLS in the months and years to come.'

Dr Scally holds a BA (Hons) in English and Modern History from the University of Strathclyde, a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge and a Diploma in Information and Library Studies from Aberystwyth University. He takes up his new post in September.

Read more in our National Librarian press release.

17 June 2014

 News archive

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

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