RSS News Feed  RSS
Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Events | exhibitions


Hundreds more Gaelic items available online

Every known out-of-copyright Gaelic item in the National Library of Scotland is now online.

Gaelic items dating back to the 17th century are now free to use on the Library's website. Around 600 items have been newly digitised, making a total of 1,200 items available from the Library's Gaelic collections.

'Rare items in Gaelic' includes:

  • The second Gaelic book printed in Scotland, Calvin's 'Catechism' of 1631. This is the only surviving copy
  • The first non-religious book in Gaelic, Alexander MacDonald's 'Galick and English vocabulary', from 1741
  • The first book of Gaelic poetry, Alexander MacDonald's 'Ais-eiridh na sean chanoin Albannaich' of 1751
  • A unique copy of an emigration poster enticing people to go to Ohio in 1822.

The release of 'Rare items in Gaelic' was announced at the National Mòd in Oban by Dr Alasdair Allan, Scotland's Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages.

Last month, the Library announced its commitment to open up access to its internationally renowned collections, with a third to be available digitally by 2025.

See also:

Read more in our Gaelic items media release

13 October 2015


Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship open for applications

Creative Scotland logoApplications are now open for the 2015/2016 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship, which will be hosted by the National Library of Scotland.

This award was established in 2013 by Creative Scotland in honour of Dr Wallace, who committed his entire professional life to helping writers and literature organisations in Scotland.

The award is intended to provide one writer with time to develop their work over the course of a year. Applicants are invited to explain how they would engage with the theme of 'the recorded memory of Scotland', grounded in the Library's collections.

Established writers living and working in Scotland are invited to apply. A £20,000 stipend will be awarded to the successful candidate.

The deadline for application is 17.00 on 30 October 2015.

For further information about the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship, see Creative Scotland's fellowship advertisement (PDF) (91 KB; 2 pages).

6 October 2015


Library sets out future plans and objectives

2015 National Library strategy cover

The National Library of Scotland has set out a series of plans which aim to make it one of the leading national libraries in Europe.

Its new strategy, 'The way forward 2015-2020', contains six key objectives which aim to increase the number of people who use and benefit from the Library's internationally renowned collections.

There are plans to transform the Library into a national digital library and have a third of the collection in digital format by 2025.

This will mean that people will be able to consult large parts of the collection online, rather than having to physically visit the Library's buildings.


Research and learning

At the same time, in its future plans the Library reaffirms the importance of the physical book and of the Library as a physical destination.

Other priorities include promoting and encouraging research, and using its collections to support learning and education for people of all ages across Scotland and further afield.

National Librarian Dr John Scally said: 'We are the guardian of the published and recorded memory of Scotland for current and future generations and our aim is to make the knowledge held within our collections as widely available as possible.'

Find out more:

21 September 2015


Celebrating the centenary of 'The thirty-nine steps'

Book cover showing man leaping from a train
Pan edition of
'The thirty-nine steps', 1949

John Buchan's classic adventure story 'The thirty-nine steps' is the subject of a treasures display at the National Library of Scotland.

Celebrating the centenary of its publication, the display brings together various editions of the book, with supporting items from the novel's locations and time period.

Although today we would call it a thriller, John Buchan described 'The thirty-nine steps' as a 'shocker'. He started writing it as a diversion while recovering from illness in 1914.

The story was serialised in 'Blackwood's Magazine' from July to September 1915, under a pseudonym. It was then published in book form in Buchan's name in October that year.

Immediately popular, the book has never been out of print.

Hero Richard Hannay's spy chase through Scotland has also inspired several film adaptations, most famously by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935.

Highlights of the display include:

  • The story's first appearance in print
  • Three letters from John Buchan about the writing of the book
  • Original artwork from the first book edition
  • A typed script of the 1935 Hitchcock film adaptation.

'"The thirty-nine steps" – one hundred years on' runs from 10 September to 22 November.

Read more in our 'The thirty-nine steps' media release

10 September 2015


Library selected to host Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship

Creative Scotland logoThe National Library of Scotland has been selected to host the third annual Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship.

Inaugurated by Creative Scotland in 2013, the Fellowship provides writers with time and support to develop their writing, in combination with a host organisation.

The Fellow will be invited to explore and be inspired by the ways in which the Library’s collections reflect Scotland's past and present. This year's theme for the 2015-2016 Fellowship is 'the recorded memory of Scotland'.

As Portfolio Manager for Literature, Publishing and Language at Creative Scotland, Dr Gavin Wallace was a central figure in Scotland's literary world.

The Fellowship news was announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 24 August, at the launch of Kirsty Logan's book 'A portable shelter'. Kirsty was the recipient of the first Fellowship in 2013.

Fellows receive an award of £20,000 and host organisations are granted £5,000. Details about how writers can apply to become the next Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow will be announced in the coming months.

Read the Creative Scotland press release

25 August 2015

 News archive

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

Speak me