Open Book: A weekly shared reading group
This shared reading group is open to everyone. Drop in to our café to explore fiction and poetry in a relaxed, informal setting. There is no need to read or prepare anything in advance. Each session is facilitated by a volunteer from the Open Book project.
Free. No need to book, just come along on the day.
Library Social: A programme of events for people affected by dementia
Visitors with dementia, and their families and supporters, are welcome to attend these regular Friday morning sessions. Refreshments will be provided.
Edinburgh Characters and Caricatures Jan Bee Brown leads a session to discover more about Edinburgh life in the late 18th century, inspired by John Kay's drawings.
Friday 12 April
The songs of Harry Lauder John Ritchie explores Harry Lauder's popularity through rarely seen film footage.
Friday 10 May
The Seven Hills of Edinburgh Storyteller Jane Mather embarks on an imaginative journey exploring Edinburgh's seven hills.
Friday 14 June
Free. Book 'Library Social' on by phoning 0131 623 3745 (no online bookings).
Getting started at the Library
If you don't know where to start and you'd like a tour of the General Reading Room, then come to this workshop. Find out how to search and request material from our collections and use the eResources. If you plan to register for a library card when you visit, please bring evidence of identity and confirmation of your address, e.g. a passport and current driving licence. The workshop lasts approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. If you have specific access or other additional needs, please let us know when you book.
Wednesday 17 April
Thursday 16 May
Thursday 13 June
Free. Book 'Getting started' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
Discover maps workshop
We have more than two million maps in our collection. From early atlases to the latest digital mapping, discover the treasures of our map collections, and explore over 200,000 maps available on our map images website. This talk includes a general introduction to our map collections, and we show you how to use georeferenced overlays, side-by-side views, 3D and spy tools. You will also discover how to print and buy maps.
Friday 26 April
Venue: Maps Reading Room, 33 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SL — see Causewayside location map. Please enter via Salisbury Place entrance.
Free. Book for 'Discover maps workshop' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
Family history workshops
If you have discovered the outline of your family history or are wondering about the roots of your family tree, the Library can help. Come to our workshop to find out how the Library can help you trace your ancestors, using the Library’s huge range of resources. If you plan to register for a library card, please bring evidence of identity with you.
Saturday 27 April
Tuesday 14 May
Thursday 20 June
Writing the Library
with Marjorie Lotfi Gill
In May we are running a series of creative writing workshops in Edinburgh, on the theme of 'Lighthouses'. Each workshop is led by poet Marjorie Lotfi Gill and is open to all aspiring writers.
Free. Please note that these workshops can only be booked online. Read more about the writing workshops.
Getting started in Special Collections
Learn how to access Scotland's most treasured material. The Library holds nearly ten million Special Collections items, including rare books and archives and manuscripts. If you would like to learn how to access them then come along to our Special Collections workshop to find out more. From Botany to Byron, Sonnets to Spark, this session can help you discover an exciting range of material to inspire you, and offers guidance on how to conduct your research.
Wednesday 22 May
Free. Book 'Getting started in Special Collections' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
Maps for family and local history
Discover how maps can help with ancestral or local history research. Learn about the information historical maps of Scotland can provide. Explore 200,000 maps on our map images website, use our geo-referenced viewing tools and find out how to print and buy maps. This introductory talk, and question and answer session, lasts an hour, followed by a 30-minute supported session on the maps website. To participate in this session, you will need to have registered for a library card.
Saturday 25 May
Venue: George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW — see George IV Bridge location map. Please meet at the Information Desk.
Free. Book for 'Maps for family and local history' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
Taking tea with a trailblazer
Storyteller Jan Bee Brown leads a celebration of the 130th anniversary of the birth of Scottish explorer and botanist Isobel Wylie Hutchison (1889-1982). Spending her childhood on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Isobel went on to take on solo travels across Iceland, Greenland, and Alaska. In this session, discover the stories of her adventures and listen to folk tales from the lands that she visited. Tea, coffee, and cake will be provided.
Thursday 30 May
Free. Book 'Taking tea with a trailblazer' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
Guided tour of the Library
Enjoy a guided tour of the building and introduction to the National Library's collections and history. Our Library is the largest in Scotland and a treasure trove just waiting to be discovered. The tour will last approximately 45 minutes. Numbers are limited, so booking is essential. Please let us know if you have special access requirements.
Saturday 23 March
10.00 and 11.30. Both tours are now fully booked.
Free. Book a guided tour on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
City of Edinburgh Walking Tours
Black Freedom Trail
For Black social justice campaigners who had been born into US chattel slavery in the 19th-century, Edinburgh was a city of freedom. Join us on one of these walking tours to see where African American women and men lived and worked as they fought to end slavery, lynch law and segregation. Highlights include places where Frederick Douglass, Jesse Glasgow Jr, Ida B Wells, Josiah Henson, William and Ellen Craft, Amanda Smith and Moses Roper delivered inspirational speeches to thousands. Please note: the tours are not wheelchair accessible.
Wednesday 15 May
Wednesday 5 June
Free. Book for 'City of Edinburgh Walking Tours: Black Freedom Trail' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.