See also: What's on
Saving vulnerable photographs — our Annual Appeal
cleaned by a conservator.
This year's Annual Appeal aims to raise the funds to conserve some of the National Library's most at-risk photography collections.
There are almost 400,000 photographs across all parts of the National Library of Scotland's collections, many of which are fragile and at risk. Photographs in formats such as calotypes, salt prints and newspaper are in particular need of immediate attention.
The appeal aims to raise the funds needed to keep these collections safe for the longer term. Support for the appeal will enable the Library's expert conservators to treat and safeguard irreplaceable photographs for years to come.
Last year's appeal successfully raised £30,000, which the Library used to create a digital version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, opening it up to all in its 250th year.
To support the appeal and to find out more, visit the photography conservation appeal page, or pick up a leaflet in the Library.
MacKinnon Collection photographs to go on display
from the MacKinnon Collection.
Photographs from the MacKinnon Collection are going on show at the National Library and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
The MacKinnon Collection comprises more than 14,000 photographs of Scotland spanning the 1840s to the mid-20th century. It was jointly acquired by the Library and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in May 2018 with help from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Scottish Government and Art Fund.
Inspired by VisitScotland's Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, the Library's display is called 'At the Water's Edge'. It features photographs of striking Scottish landscapes, pictures of coastal communities, and scenes from industries such as shipbuilding.
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery's exhibition, 'Scotland's Photograph Album' offers a broader look back at varied aspects of Scottish life over a century. It showcases a range of images from the pioneering days of photography.
Both exhibitions are free, and open on Saturday 16 November. The Library's display runs until Saturday 15 February 2020 and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery exhibition runs until Sunday 16 February 2020.
Read more in the MacKinnon photographs displayed media release.
Record collector donates thousands of discs to the Library
with Mr Dean-Myatt and discs
from his collection.
A music enthusiast has donated more than 10,000 sound recordings to the National Library of Scotland.
7,500 shellac discs represents the final part of a collection of sound items donated by William Dean-Myatt.
Mr Dean-Myatt amassed the collection over a 70 year period and has already given 3000 recordings to the Library. Most of the 78s in the Library's collections formerly belonged to Mr Dean-Myatt.
As well as shellac discs, the collection includes vinyl records, cassettes and a small number of wax cylinders. Many rare and unique items are also included.
A lifetime compiling a rich collection
Mr Dean Myatt's interest in 78s of Scottish music stemmed from the music played by his relatives in Scotland. From his music research, he compiled 'The Scottish Vernacular Discography'.
Genres featured in the collection include Gaelic songs, Scottish music hall recordings and fiddle and bagpipe music.
Jimmy Shand, Harry Lauder and Heloise Russell-Ferguson are some of the artists represented.
Many of the collection items have already been catalogued and details can be accessed via Library Search. Digitisation of the recordings has also begun, with a view to making them available online.
Read more in the Shellac discs donation media release.
30 September 2019
Data Foundry launched
As part of its Digital Scholarship service, the National Library of Scotland has launched a website for its data collections.
The new Data Foundry site presents Library collections as data in a machine-readable format, widening the scope for digital research and analysis.
Techniques like content mining and image analysis can now be carried out using the Library's collections.
It features more than 70GB of data, including digitised text and images, metadata collections, map data and organisational data.
Digitised Library collections available as data through the site include:
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- A Medical History of British India
- Scottish school exam papers
- The Spiritualist
- Gazetteers of Scotland
Datasets from more Library material like British military lists, audiovisual collections and web archives are also planned to be published as the site is regularly updated.
2 September 2019
A display showcasing the Library's extensive collections on the 1980s is now open.
AIDS, the miners' strike, the Berlin Wall and self-improvement are just some of the themes illustrated with diverse texts and ephemera.
The 'Back to the future: 1979-1989' display is the latest in the Library's 1980s-themed programme of events. It is complemented by a video installation being screened as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Back to the future: 1979-1989', the Library's retrospective website of essays and videos has also been updated with fresh content.
An assortment of 24 new reads join the list of themed essays, including works by Ian Rankin and Dame Evelyn Glennie.
The display runs from Thursday 1 August until Saturday 9 November.
1 August 2019
Archive Service Accreditation for the National Library
Photo © Torquil Cramer.
Today (18 July) the National Archives announced that it has awarded Archive Service Accreditation to the National Library of Scotland.
The award follows a rigorous inspection of the Library's processes, digital provision and public access to archival material.
A panel of assessors congratulated the National Library on its clear strategic approach and for focusing on building audiences for the 'exceptionally significant archive collections'. They also commended the Library for its open, outward looking public engagement, especially at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.
Archive Service Accreditation is the UK standard for archive services, defining good practice and supporting and encouraging development. The National Archives' list of newly accredited organisations is available on its website.
Read more in the accreditation award media release.
18 July 2019
Revisiting the 1980s
A summer of 1980s nostalgia is about to begin at the National Library of Scotland in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
From 23 July, an '80s takeover' week at the National Library at Kelvin Hall will offer visitors the chance to:
- Wonder at analogue technology
- Play arcade games, including Ms Pac Man and Space Invaders
- Take part in family-friendly activities
- Attend a computer games seminar and screenings of some the decade's much-loved Scottish films.
On Thursday 1 August, an '80s display opens in the Library's George IV Bridge building in Edinburgh. Among the texts and ephemera on show will be items relating to:
- The Miners' Strike
- The Cold War
- Digital technology
- Princess Diana
- Boy George.
During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (1-24 August), there will be an '80s video installation in George IV Bridge.
All events are free. Booking for the computer games seminar and film screenings is open now.
These activities support the Library's 'Back to the future: 1979-1989' website, featuring essays and videos on topics that dominated or emerged in the 1980s.
Read more in the '80s retrospective media release.
17 July 2019
Maps touring display opens at Stirling
A maps display from the National Library of Scotland has opened at Stirling Central Library.
Based on a past exhibition of the same name, the 'You are here' touring display features images of some of the millions of maps held at the National Library.
The display invites visitors to ponder the wonder and brilliance of maps. A series of panels explores questions about maps and mapping, such as:
- How is the spherical world made flat?
- Why is north at the top?
- Why do maps have a scale?
Visitors can also handle map-related objects in an interactive box.
This is the third of the National Library's touring displays, giving people across Scotland a chance to connect with its collections.
3 July 2019
Major exhibition on Scottish Enlightenment
The Scottish Enlightenment, one of the most important intellectual eras in history, is explored in a new major Library exhibition.
'Northern Lights: The Scottish Enlightenment' promises to take visitors back to a time when received wisdom was questioned, and new ideas, discussions and debates were encouraged.
Treasured Library items are being shown, including a first edition of Adam Smith's 'The Wealth of Nations', a copy of David Hume's 'A Treatise of Human Nature', and a rare first edition of 'Encyclopaedia Britannica'.
Also going on display are letters and documents written by the Enlightenment 'literati', which reveal some of the original thinking, arguments and reasoning of the period and give a sense of its significant impact on the world.
Visitors are invited to the famous 18th-century epoch through seven themes: pre-Enlightenment Scotland, moral philosophy and religion, social science and academic innovation, language and literature, art and architecture, science and medicine and society and sociability.
The exhibition opens on Friday 21 June and runs until Saturday 18 April 2020.
Read more in the Enlightenment exhibition media release.
14 June 2019
Ian Rankin donates archive to Library
Celebrated crime novelist Ian Rankin has donated his literary archive to the National Library of Scotland.
With material dating from 1972-2018, the archive is described by Ian Rankin himself as 'a pretty complete author's life, late 20th-century-style'.
The Rankin archive comprises approximately 50 boxes of material, including typescripts with the author's handwritten notes and annotations.
Correspondence with literary figures such as J K Rowling, Iain Banks, Val McDermid, Jilly Cooper and Ruth Rendell also forms part of the collection.
Ian Rankin used the Library for his own research and credits parts of the George IV Bridge building as providing inspiration for scenes in an early Inspector Rebus novel.
The Library also announced that it will recruit a curator for the archive, to catalogue and promote it and help ensure it is made widely accessible.
This newly created curator post has been made possible through a substantial donation from Ian Rankin, as well as generous donations from the W M Mann Foundation and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
Read more in the Rankin archive media release.
1980s retrospective website goes live
'Back to the future: 1979-1989', a website about the 1980s, has been launched by the National Library.
The site includes essays written about key events of the decade, some inspired by the extensive Library's collections of the period. Essayists include Kate Adie and many members of Library staff.
As well as the long reads, there is a 'Watch and Listen' section where visitors to the site can enjoy vintage 1980s videos selected from the Moving Image Archive.
Themes running through the website range from international relations, to popular culture and society. Further content will be added in each of the themes throughout the year.
'Back to the future: 1979-1989' forms part of the Library's digital collections and is launched 40 years after the historic 1979 UK election and 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Accompanying the site is a newly digitised series of 12 volumes about Britain in the 1980s, Britain: an official handbook.
2 May 2019
Library is partner in new Glasgow business centre
Glasgow Life Chief Executive,
Dr Bridget McConnell CBE and
British Library Chief Executive,
Roly Keating launch the new centre.
Scotland's first Business and Intellectual Property Centre has opened in Glasgow with the National Library as one of its partners.
Based at the Mitchell Library, the new Business & IP Centre will support entrepreneurs and help small companies start, protect and grow their business.
Free access to a wealth of business and intellectual property resources including information on patents, trademarks, design and copyright will be provided by the service.
Working with organisations including Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway, and the Chamber of Commerce, the centre will offer free and low-cost workshops and events to support people in business.
The partnership behind the service includes the British Library and Glasgow Life, with Santander as founding partner. The centre is the 12th National Network Centre, modelled on the British Library's Business & IP Centre.
Find out more about the services on offer at the Business & IP Centre Glasgow website.
30 April 2019
Byron's 'Don Juan' display
Lord Byron's 'Don Juan' one of the greatest poems of the 19th century is explored in a new Library display.
Byron began the work in Italy where he had fled to avoid scandal around his private life. It told the story of hero Don Juan's adventures and romances in exotic lands, yet it was provocative because it also mocked religion and society's values, and made fun of public figures.
Because of the controversy surrounding the poem, parts — cantos — I and II were published anonymously in July 1819 by John Murray II.
John Murray anticipated a reaction from readers, and compared publication to 'having fired a bomb' when he wrote to Byron the day after it was published.
Visitors can see letters written and received by Byron, as well as the manuscript of cantos I, II and V with his annotations and additions.
The display opens on Thursday 18 April and runs until Saturday 27 July.
Read more in the 'Don Juan' display media release.
12 April 2019
New and reappointed Board members
left: Elizabeth Carmichael, Alan Horn,
Lesley McPherson and Robert Wallen.
Four new members of the National Library of Scotland Board have been appointed, and three members have been reappointed.
Fiona Hyslop — the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs — announced the new appointments of Elizabeth Carmichael, Alan Horn, Lesley McPherson, and Robert Wallen.
Reappointed to the Board are:
The appointments and reappointments will be for four years, running from 1 March 2019 to 28 February 2023.
1 March 2019