World's largest published book goes on display
Next week National Library of Scotland visitors can see the world's largest published book.
To mark World Book Day, we are putting on display Bhutan: a visual odyssey across the last Himalayan kingdom. The book measures 5x7 feet when open and weighs 133 lbs (around nine and a half stone or 60 kilos). Each copy is printed only on demand, and uses a roll of paper longer than a football field, more than a gallon of ink and 24 hours' printing time.
It contains full-colour photographs of Bhutan, also known as 'Shangri-La'. They were taken by students and staff at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the University of Washington, and by Bhutanese photographers.
The book will be on show from Tuesday 4 to Tuesday 11 March during exhibition opening hours. We hope to display it for longer periods in the future.
Exhibition opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 10.00-20.00
29 February 2008
Community event specially for mothers
View larger image
Women of all ages are invited to a community event at the National Library of Scotland specially for mothers.
'Can any mother help me?' is an informal morning session on Friday 7 March with free crèche and refreshments. It offers a chance for women to discuss their experiences and compare them with those of women in previous generations.
The event's title is taken from a book revealing the extraordinary story of a group of women who formed a private correspondence magazine in the 1930s. It ran for around 50 years, providing support, encouragement and humour to women all over Britain.
Films and presentation
During the morning, the book's author Jenna Bailey will give a presentation on the magazine's story. There will also be screenings of rarely seen films from the Scottish Screen Archive: Bathing Baby (1938), Housewives of Tomorrow (1951) and A Day in the Home (1951).
The event celebrates International Women's Day on 8 March. It is the first activity we have specifically organised for mothers. See our events page for times and other details.
29 February 2008
New resource for studying 19th-century Britain
A National Library reader's ticket now gives access to the first part of a new digital archive.
The resource contains nearly 100 periodicals from the 19th century, providing valuable information about British life at that time. It also charts the rise of popular magazine culture and marks the start of 'lifestyle publishing'.
'New Readerships: Women's, Children's, Humour and Leisure/Sport' has 1.2 million pages, covering a varied range of subjects such as:
- women's writing
- children's entertainment
It is the start of a five-part series of 19th-Century UK Periodicals published by Gale Cengage Learning. All titles are fully text searchable and all the colour work has been specially captured. Most of these periodicals have not been reissued in any format since their original publication. About 40% of the content has been taken from titles held in our collections.
NLS readers can use the archive in our General Reading Room and from any computer with internet access.
29 February 2008
Playwright to focus on Darwin's 'dangerous book'
Playwright Peter Arnott has been appointed John Murray Archive writer in residence.
Glasgow-born Arnott has written over 25 plays, including the award-winning The Breathing House. In 2007 he received a Creative Scotland Award from the Scottish Arts Council.
During his residency at the National Library of Scotland he will lead workshops and create and produce dramatic works relating to Charles Darwin correspondence in the archive. His focus will be on letters about the publication of On the Origin of Species, published by John Murray in 1859.
Arnott describes Darwin's best-known work as 'the single most dangerous book ever written'. It caused considerable concern even before it was published, as the archive reveals. One of Murray's literary advisers, the Rev Whitwell Elvin, urged that the scientist's manuscript be rejected. He suggested that Darwin should write instead about pigeons.
Read more in our writer in residence media release
13 February 2008
A literary exhibition with a difference
A ruined cottage and a suspended six-foot boat are among highlights in a unique literary exhibition that opened today.
These and other visual installations feature in Words Out of Place at the National Library of Scotland. They are the work of artist Catriona Taylor and were inspired by collections at NLS.
Highlands and Lowlands
For two months in 2007 Catriona was NLS artist in residence. Focusing on 'a response to place', she chose Sir Walter Scott's novel Heart of Midlothian and Sorley Maclean's Raasay poems to guide her work. She used them as 'lenses through which to view both Highland and Lowland history and landscape and language'.
In the exhibition, her visual treatments present these words out of their normal context. Maclean's words, for example, are screen-printed on roof slates. Also presented in a new setting are letters of emigrants to North America - which appear on the boat.
As part of the experience, Edinburgh people are being encouraged to post their memories of the city on four large maps. Catriona hopes to create art works inspired by the memories which could be displayed in the places where the memories were formed.
Words Out of Place is sponsored by Henzteeth, in association with Arts & Business Scotland. It is free and open daily until Sunday 2 March: Monday-Friday 10.00-20.00; Saturday 10.00-17.00; Sunday 14.00-17.00.
1 February 2008
Ayrshire man's second bookbinding win
Tom McEwan from Glengarnock, Ayrshire, is the winner of the 2007 Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding award. He took top prize in the international competition for his craft binding of Goethe's Faust. This follows on from his achievement in the previous competition, when he was the student winner.
Miguel Perez Fernandez of Spain won the 2007 student prize for his binding of Ritos Y Creencias Gallegas. Due to the high standard of entries, the judges highly commended a third entry, by Josefina Majo Diaz, also from Spain.
This is the 15th year of the annual award. It is organised by the National Library of Scotland and sponsored by Mrs Elizabeth Clark (formerly Soutar) of Moray. Both the winning entries and the highly commended one will be added to our collection of modern craft bindings.
1 February 2008