- Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Library buildings are closed to the public until at least 2 February. Update on Library services
Doors open on Ian Rankin archive
From Friday 18 December, the archive of award-winning Scottish author Ian Rankin will be available for consultation.
Donated to the National Library of Scotland in 2019, the archive contains almost 390 files and manuscripts. It presents what UK's biggest-selling crime author describes as 'a pretty complete author’s life, late-20th century-style'.
Items include correspondence with literary figures, and, not surprisingly, police officers.
As well as donating the material, Rankin made a substantial contribution to the creation of a post to catalogue the collection. He and Curator Rosemary Hall will discuss the archive in an exclusive online Library event on Thursday 17 December.
Library members can consult the archive by booking a place in the Special Collections Reading Room.
Read more in the Rankin archive news release.
15 December 2020
Opportunity for emerging writers
initiative for emerging writers.
Photo © Scottish Book Trust
'Fresh Ink' is a new National Library of Scotland initiative to support and develop emerging literary talent.
Led by poet, writer and creative practitioner Nadine Aisha Jassat, the initiative is calling on applicants to pitch their proposed response to the theme 'my experience of 2020'.
A panel will award up to 10 emerging writers a bursary of £1000 in exchange for their work. Commissioned pieces will be added to the national collections.
The Library is particularly keen to hear from LGBTQ+ and BAME writers, women, writers from all socio-economic backgrounds and writers with disabilities. Applicants must be aged 18 and over and resident in Scotland. Applications close on 4 January 2021.
See the Fresh Ink initiative page for further important dates and information on how to apply.
Read more in the Fresh Ink news release
1 December 2020
Digitised reels revive oldest surviving moving images of Wick
The National Library of Scotland has restored and digitised the oldest surviving moving images of Wick.
Donated by the Wick Society, the footage reached the Library in the form of five Kinora reels. The Kinora is a moving image device developed around 1895. It allows people to view reels composed of small cards printed with individual frames of film.
Clips from the 'Wick Kinora Reels' are available to view online in the Library's Moving Image Archive catalogue. The footage reveals scenes from Wick at the turn of the 20th century, including fishermen at work, Wick Bay, ships and tugboats at Wick Harbour, and a church parade.
The Library will store and preserve the original reels within the Moving Image Archive at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.
Read more in the 'Wick Kinora Reels' news release
27 November 2020
Liston Turkish journals published for the first time
The early 19th century Turkish journals of Scottish diarist and traveller Henrietta Liston are now available to read online.
Liston lived in Constantinople with her husband Robert, British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, from 1812-1820. During this time, she kept journals recording of her experiences in the Ottoman Empire.
The National Library of Scotland's website 'The travels of Henrietta Liston', which already features Liston's North American travel journals, has been expanded to include her Turkish writings.
Among the supplementary material on the website are long reads, such as essays and a short story, written by contributors in response to the journals. An interactive map offers a visual representation of some of Liston's journeys, with links to journal entries relating to specific places she visited.
The Turkish journals will be published in print for the first time in the book 'Henrietta Liston's Travels: The Turkish Journals 1812-1820'. Published by Edinburgh University Press, it is co-edited by the Library's Curator of US and Commonwealth Collections, Dora Petherbridge.
Read more in the Henrietta Liston news release
2 November 2020
Reaching people through the new library strategy
The National Library of Scotland launched its new strategy today (29 September).
'Reaching People: Library Strategy 2020-2025', identifies five key priorities for the next five years, with a strong focus on outstanding digital engagement with existing library users and new audiences. The priorities are:
- Safeguarding collections
- Improving access
- Engaging audiences
- Supporting learning, research and discovery
- Developing the organisation.
Among its new objectives, the Library aims to offer greater personalisation of online services for Scottish residents by its centenary in 2025.
Publication of the strategy follows a record-breaking increase in the number of visits to the Library's websites and digital collections over the past six months.
Read more in the strategy news release.
29 September 2020
Edinburgh reading rooms open after COVID-19 lockdown
The National Library of Scotland reopened its Edinburgh reading rooms to existing library card holders today (11 August).
Following Scottish Government guidelines, the Library has implemented health and safety measures to protect visitors and staff. Among them is the now-mandatory wearing of a face covering when inside the Library.
To allow for social distancing, the number of people using the reading rooms is restricted, and places must be booked in advance. Registered readers must also preorder items they wish to consult during their visit.
Other public areas of the Library's buildings remain closed in the meantime, including the National Library at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.
17 July 2020
Online premiere for 'Her Century' film programme
A programme of archive film focusing on women in 20th-century Scotland has its online premiere on Monday 20 July.
'Her Century' is a curated collection that shows the variation in ordinary women's roles over the past 100 years. It uses material from the National Library of Scotland's Moving Image Archive, including amateur footage, educational and promotional films, and propaganda.
Women represented in the programme include factory workers, pilots, mothers and crofters, seen in films from a century marked by rapid social change.
A partnership with Film Hub Scotland, 'Her Century' toured cinemas throughout the country in the lead-up to lockdown. During the summer it was to have been the main attraction at the Library's George IV Bridge building.
Now it will be available to view online for the next two months. Monday's live screening on YouTube (at 17.00) will include a chance to chat with the programme's curator, Dr Emily Munro.
Read more in the 'Her Century' news release.
17 July 2020
Change of Chair for National Library Board
Sir Kenneth Calman has stepped down as Chair of the National Library of Scotland Board.
Appointed by the Scottish Government in 2016, Sir Kenneth has has seen the Library through an intense growth period. National Librarian Dr John Scally described Sir Kenneth's experience and expertise as 'invaluable' to the Library.
'Importantly for us, he has been an active advocate for the culture and heritage sector.' Dr Scally said.
A public appointments process is scheduled to take place next year for a replacement Chair. In the meantime, Simon Learoyd, who has been a member of the Board since 2014, will be the Board's Interim Chair.
Read more in the Board Chair media release.
26 June 2020
Students' art exhibition goes online
Artwork by students studying in Edinburgh has gone on show in an online exhibition.
'Sea and light' is a presentation of original works by 20 Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) students, with a focus on lighthouses, coasts and the sea.
Available on the National Library of Scotland's website, the exhibition marks the Year of Scotland's Coasts and Waters.
It results from a visit to the Library, where the students were inspired by material relating to the Stevenson engineering family — the builders of most of Scotland's lighthouses. Their imaginations were further fired after hearing true stories and legends of the sea.
This exhibition is the latest in a series of annual collaborative projects between the Library and ECA. The artwork is usually displayed in the Library's George IV Bridge building, but has moved online this year due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
26 June 2020
'Home' theme for young film-makers competition
Young people aged under 19 and living in Scotland are invited to create films documenting their experiences of 'home'.
A competition launched today [27 April] gives young film-makers a chance to capture their voices and perspectives during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Entrants can use a camera, phone or tablet to produce a film that's no more than five minutes long, and their work can be in any language or genre. As long as they broadly fit with the 'home' theme, the film can be about anything.
As well as earning its creator a prize, the winning film will be added to the National Library's moving image collection.
Read more in the film competition media release.
27 April 2020
Scotland 1908-1918 OS maps go online
Ordnance Survey maps covering Scotland from 1908 to 1918 are now available on the National Library of Scotland's maps website.
Initially devised for military reasons, these half-inch to the mile maps became increasingly popular with the public, especially cyclists and motorists.
The series was produced in two forms — one showing the relief by layer colours and the other by hill shading (hachures). For some maps there were later revisions of roads and railways, which resulted in updated versions being created.
All of the sheets in the OS half-inch 1908-1918 series held by the Library have been digitised.
- OS half-inch 1908-1918 hill-shaded maps
- OS half-inch 1908-1918 layer-coloured maps
- View the maps with a graphic index of Scotland.
27 March 2020