New Scots Scriever appointed
Dr Michael Dempster will soon begin a two-year residency as Scots Scriever at the National Library of Scotland.
Dr Dempster has made the Scots language a prominent feature of his academic and artistic work.
A prominent linguist, Dempster undertook a Psychology PhD at Glasgow University, researching the processing of rhythmical signals critical to language and music. He has written librettos and graphic novels in Scots, coached film industry professionals in use of the language, produced award-winning podcasts, and delivered the first ever TED talk in Scots.
A joint initiative between the National Library and Creative Scotland, the Scriever role is designed to produce original creative work in Scots and its dialects. A key objective is also to raise awareness, appreciation and use of Scots across the country.
Read more in our Scriever appointment media release.
See also from the news archive: Seeking the next Scots Scriever
27 June 2018
Old exams — a surprising resource for creativity
of Glasgow City Archives.
Old school examinations can be a creative springboard — as a new National Library of Scotland website demonstrates.
Entitled 'Scottish school exams', the site presents the Library's digitised 1888-1963 Scottish exams in a new way. An interactive (IIIF) viewer allows people to move easily through the bound volumes of exams, and to adjust the zoom and page-viewing options as needed.
But it is in the site's 'Re-sits' section where you can see what imagination and talent can do with exam questions.
Dancers, artists, musicians and writers dared to take up the Library's challenge in January to re-interpret historical exam questions creatively.
A punk song and ballet are just two of the remarkable creative responses by eight individuals or groups featured on the website.
They show that school exams can be accessible in a whole new way.
As well as browsing and searching across all the exam papers and in Education Department circulars, site visitors can access exams by subject. A 'historical context' section provides background information on the development of education in Scotland, and resources are available for exploring Scottish education further.
See also from the news archive: Punks, artists and dancers invited to 're-sit' exam
27 June 2018
Wartime women inspire young people's display
A display featuring creative work by young people has been launched at the National Library of Scotland.
'Youngwummin' is inspired by the Scottish women who lived through the First World War. ('Wummin' is a Scots word for 'women'.)
The display, which opened on 21 June, includes sculptures, poems, artwork and a dance sequence created by five groups of young people as part of the Youngwummin project. These modern colourful pieces are on show alongside wartime material from the Library's collections.
Led by YouthLink Scotland and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Youngwummin project commemorated the end of the First World War and marked the Year of Young People 2018.
Youth workers visited the Library to view material from the First World War and learn about heritage research. They went on to lead five groups of youths to find out about the changing role of young Scottish women in this historic period.
Each youth group produced creative items to reflect what they had learned. Working together with Library staff, they helped to design the display to exhibit their creative pieces. At the launch event on 26 June, there was a special performance of the dance sequence for friends and families.
27 June 2018
'Going to the pictures' goes on tour of Scotland
The Library's new touring display: 'Going to the pictures: Scotland's memories of cinema', has opened at the Barrhead Foundry Library, East Renfrewshire.
The Scottish cinema experience, Scotland's scenery as a film location and Scottish documentary-making are all themes running through the new display, which has been adapted from a 2012 Library exhibition.
Visitors will be able to enjoy footage from the Moving Image Archive and handle cinema-related objects in an interactive part of the display, which will remain in East Renfrewshire until August.
'Going to the pictures' is the second of the Library's touring displays, which will travel across Scotland until 2019, introducing Library collections to people around the country.
The Library's first touring display, 'Lifting the lid', about food and drink in Scotland, began touring in 2017 and is also available to see until 2019.
See also: touring display media release
20 June 2018
V&A Dundee is venue for Byrne's 'Cheviot' set
A major long-term loan to Dundee's new museum was announced today by the V&A and the National Library of Scotland.
Artist-dramatist John Byrne's giant pop-up book theatre set will be on display at the V&A Dundee from 15 September.
Part of the National Library's collections since 2009, the book will be on 25-year loan and will be housed in the new museum's Scottish Design Galleries.
The book provided the original 'scenery' for John McGrath 1973 influential play, ' The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black Black Oil', about the history of Scotland's Highlands and Islands.
Pop-up and portable
First performed by 7:84 Scotland, the play toured to halls and community centres around the country. Byrne designed the set to be transported by van and easily set up in small venues.
As the actors turn a page of the book, a different scene pop-ups, with five scenes in all. Made of strengthened cardboard, the book measures three by four metres, and over two metres tall when opened.
Last viewed at the Library during the 'Curtain up' exhibition in 2009-2010, the book has been undergoing careful conservation and restoration work.
National Librarian and Chief Executive John Scally said: 'We can't think of a more fitting place for the stage-set to be on display than V&A Dundee.'
12 June 2018
UNESCO recognition for early Scottish Gaelic manuscripts
a young medical student.
On International Archives Day (9 June) the National Library of Scotland once more has had a collection honoured by UNESCO.
The Library's early Scottish Gaelic manuscripts collection has been inscribed on UNESCO's UK Memory of the World Register.
Written or owned in Scotland in the 14th-17th centuries, these manuscripts offer invaluable insights into learning and culture of traditional Scottish Gaelic society before it ended early in the 18th century.
This collection is unparalleled in its scale and coverage — no other major early collections exist elsewhere with such a significant Scottish Gaelic element.
It is particularly strong in Gaelic traditional medicine, theology, tales and poetry, but also covers linguistics, history and genealogy.
The manuscripts are one of six new entries in the UK Memory of the World Register. UNESCO describes them as 'remarkable' and 'stunning examples' of the UK's documentary heritage.
See also: UNESCO register media release
Read more about Gaelic manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland.
From the news archive:
- Douglas Haig's diary added to UNESCO international register
- Haig's war diary added to UNESCO register
- UK Memory of the World status for Murray Archive
- UNESCO adds NLS items to cultural heritage register
9 June 2018
Opening hours to change at George IV Bridge
Opening hours in the National Library of Scotland's George IV Bridge Building in Edinburgh are changing.
From Monday 2 July, hours for the reading rooms, exhibitions, café and shop will all be the same. The building will close earlier in the evenings and fully close on Sundays, while the reading room opening hours on Saturdays are to be extended.
These revisions reflect the changing needs of the Library's visitors and readers. Reading room users said through a recent visitor survey, for example, that they would use the Library more if Saturday opening hours were longer. One of the changes is in direct response to this need.
The new opening hours will be:
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 09.30-19.00
- Wednesday: 10.00-19.00
- Friday, Saturday: 09.30-17.00
- Sunday: Closed.
31 May 2018
Winners of the final Callum Macdonald competition announced
and Graeme Hawley, the Library's
General Collections Manager.
Borders-based poet and publisher Leonard McDermid has won the 2018 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award for his poetry pamphlet 'Landway'.
In a ceremony at the National Library of Scotland, Leonard received the winner's Quaich (drinking cup) and a cheque for £1,500.
He is also eligible for a two-week residency as the Michael Marks Poet-in-Residence at the Harvard Centre for Hellenic Studies in Greece in July.
Second place in this year's competition, and a cheque for £600, went to Quem Press and Brittone Fletcher for her pamphlet 'Curriculum Vitae'.
This is Leonard's second win in the poetry pamphlet publishing competition held annually at the Library. He took top prize in 2010 with the pamphlet 'And For That Minute' (Stichill Marigold Press).
The Callum Macdonald Memorial Award now draws to a close after 17 years. Set up in 2001 in memory of literary publisher Callum Macdonald MBE, it has been supported by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust and administered by the National Library of Scotland.
Read more about this year's winners in the poetry pamphlet award media release.
16 May 2018
100 years of Scottish life in photographs
A collection of more than 14,000 historic photographs of life in Scotland has been secured for the nation.
The photographs provide a visual record of the daily lives of rich and poor from the 1840s to the 1940s. They also chart developments in Scottish photography from its pioneering days, with examples of some of the finest work of early Scottish photographers.
Established by photography enthusiast Murray MacKinnon, the collection has been in private hands until now.
Support from the Scottish Government, the Art Fund and the National Lottery allowed this exceptional collection to be bought jointly by the National Library of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland.
Over the next three years the entire collection will be digitised and made available online. Next year the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will host a major exhibition, with touring exhibitions in Scotland to follow.
17 May 2018
Call out to young film-makers in Scotland
A competition opens today (10 May) which invites young people to show in film what Scotland means to them.
Anyone under 19 years of age can submit a one-minute film on any theme, in any language and in any genre.
The winners of 'What Scotland Means to Me' will have their film added to the National Library of Scotland's Moving Image Archive — preserving it for future generations.
Films — made by individuals or by families or other groups — must be submitted by 1 October.
10 May 2018