See also: What's on
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 twelve volumes about Britain in the 1980s, Britain: an official handbook.
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.
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.
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.
Winners of 25th bookbinding competition announced
National Librarian Dr John Scally
and Theresa Wedemeyer. Eduardo
Giménez did not attend the ceremony.
Bookbinders from Germany and Spain won prizes in the 25th Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition.
The winners in the different categories were:
- Best Craft Binding: Eduardo Giménez, Spain
- Best Creative Binding: Theresa Wedemeyer, Germany
- Best Craft and Creative Binding, student award: Maria Ruiz de Pascual, Spain
Entrants to the 2018 competition could choose an optional theme of Muriel Spark, tying in with the Library's centenary Spark exhibition. The 'Best Craft Binding' prize was awarded for a bound volume of Spark's 'Not to Disturb'.
The winning entries were announced at a ceremony at the Library on 21 February, coinciding with the opening of a new display about the competition.
Entitled '25 years of the Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition', the display celebrates excellence in bookbinding. As well as the 2018 entries, 25 winning bindings are being shown, one for each year of the competition's history.
Mary Queen of Scots two-day display
in a German broadside from 1587
Rare and treasured Library material relating to Mary Queen of Scots is going on public display for two days.
The special viewing marks the anniversary of her death on 8 February 1587 and celebrates the newly released film 'Mary Queen of Scots'.
A broadside produced to commemorate Mary, her royal seal, and letters she wrote and received are just some of the treasures being shown.
As well as precious 16th-century material, the display includes depictions of Mary through the ages.
Prints telling the story of her execution from 1791, engravings from a themed ball in her honour in 19th-century France, and recent film ephemera are also going on show.
Read more in the Mary Queen of Scots display media release.
Have your say on the Map Images website
Views and comments are being sought to help shape the future of our Map Images website. An online survey is currently underway to gather information and opinions on the site, to guide a long-term strategy aimed at enhancing and developing the resource.
The survey consists of 32 questions, on three broad themes:
- Main purposes for visiting the website
- Priorities for improving the website, in terms of functionality, content, search and retrieval and infrastructure
- Opportunities for the website to be involved in partnerships and collaborations
Most questions in the survey require quick multiple-choice answers, and the estimated time to complete it is 10 minutes.
Those interested in contributing their views are encouraged to take part in the Map Images website survey before it closes on 25 February 2019.
Robert Burns's manuscripts being shown in Glasgow
'Holy Willie's Prayer'
Two satirical manuscripts written by Robert Burns are being displayed at the National Library at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, to mark Burns Day on 25 January.
'Holy Willie's Prayer', written in 1785, and 'The Ordination: A Scotch Poem', written in 1786, are examples of Burns's finest satirical verses.
Both were directed at hypocrises in the Church of Scotland in the 18th century and contain some of the provocative and humourous commentary for which Burns is famous.
The two works will be brought together in a one-day joint display by the National Library of Scotland and the Mitchell Library. 'Holy Willie's Prayer' is from the Library's Glenriddell Manuscripts collection, and 'The Ordination' is from the Robert Burns Collection at the Mitchell Library.
Visitors can drop in to the National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall for the special viewing between 11.00 and 15.00.
Read more in the Burns day display media release.
18 January 2019
National Library acquires Sylvia Plath's Edinburgh-printed poem
printed by the Tragara Press.
A copy of the first separate work by Sylvia Plath to be printed is now at the National Library of Scotland.
'A Winter Ship' was produced as a leaflet in Edinburgh in 1960 by Alan Anderson, the founder and sole operator of the Tragara Press.
Anderson came across the poem through correspondence with Ted Hughes, Plath's husband. He printed around 60 copies of the leaflet and sent them to Plath, who enclosed many of them with her Christmas cards that year.
The Tragara Press operated from 1954 to 2012, with Anderson printing almost 300 works on his own printing press. As well as 20th-century poets, his publications included literature by authors from the 1890s.
The Library has added 'A Winter Ship' to its almost-complete Tragara Press collection.
Read more in the related media release.
17 December 2018
First edition of 'Encyclopaedia Britannica' available to all
An online copy of the first edition of 'Encyclopaedia Britannica' is published today (10 December) by the National Library of Scotland.
It was exactly 250 years ago that the first pages of 'Britannica' were published in Edinburgh.
With a distinctly Scottish viewpoint, the first edition emphasised two themes — modern science and Scottish identity.
Explicit engravings relating to midwifery scandalised subscribers, and were torn out of every copy on the orders of the Crown. Fortunately the Library has a complete copy in its collections, which is available free to view online thanks to a fundraising campaign for its digitisation.
'Britannica' was conceived by printer Colin Macfarquhar, engraver Andrew Bell, and William Smellie, who edited the first edition. Originally issued in 100 weekly parts, it took three years to produce and consisted of three volumes when it was completed in 1771.
Subsequent editions expanded during the 19th century, often featuring content written by experts in their field. By the 20th century 'Encyclopaedia Britannica' was a household name throughout the English-speaking world.
The Library's 'Britannica' appeal aims to fund the digitisation and publication of more editions.
10 December 2018
What Scotland means to young film-makers
with the judges.
winners) with the judges.
Young people from Dundee and Glasgow are the winners of a one-minute film competition entitled 'What Scotland means to me'.
As part of the Year of Young People, the competition was organised by the National Library of Scotland in conjunction with the Scottish Youth Film Festival.
The winning films are:
- 'From Dancing Dundee', made by Sen and Lucy ('12 and under' category)
- 'St Thomas Aquinas Acrostic Account' by pupils from a school in the West End of Glasgow ('13 and over' category).
Both films, along with others that were shortlisted, will be added to the National Library's Moving Image Archive, for future generations to enjoy.
Read more in the the related media release.
30 November 2018
Gutenberg Bible on show for one day only
The Gutenberg Bible will be on display at the National Library of Scotland for one day only, on Thursday 22 November.
One of the world's most treasured books, it was produced in Germany in the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg.
This was the first major book to be printed in Europe using moveable type. It caused a sensation when it first appeared at the Franklin Bookfair in 1455, and has gained in significance since then.
A selection of other books printed before 1501 — known as 'incunables' — will also be on show alongside the Library's copy of the Gutenberg Bible.
The free display runs from 10.00-16.00 in the Library's George IV Bridge building.
20 November 2018
Exhibition explores Scotland after the Armistice
a demobilised solidier.
Scottish life after the First World War is the subject of a major exhibition at the National Library of Scotland.
'A Better World?' explores many aspects of what happened in Scotland after the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.
As well as demobilisation and commemoration, the exhibition looks at the struggle for better living and working conditions. It also covers the changing political landscape and the emerging Scottish cultural and political identity during the 1920s.
Exhibits include rare or unique items held in the Library's collections. Among them are letters, photographs and personal mementoes of those directly impacted by four years of conflict in Europe.
Visitors are invited to reflect on on what life would have been like for those who survived the Great War.
16 November 2018
Partnership agreement with Glasgow University
A programme of greater collaboration has been agreed between the National Library of Scotland and the University of Glasgow.
The Library has more research collaborations with the University than with any other Scottish higher education institution.
This new agreement ensures that both organisations continue to deliver innovative partnerships in research, teaching, access to collections, knowledge exchange, public engagement and outreach.
Representatives of both research bodies signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Library's premises at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.
Read more in the Glasgow University partnership media release.
15 November 2018
Library Search — a new way into the collections
From 29 October, an online service is available that provides wider searching across the National Library of Scotland's collections.
'Library Search' presents, for the first time, a single search interface for finding details of printed, manuscript and archival items, and for accessing digitised collections. Included in the search are high-quality electronic resources from a range of publishers.
Registered Library members can also log in to:
- Access some of the Library's eResources
- View details of items they've requested in advance of a visit to the reading rooms
- Receive notifications when requested items are ready for consulting.
'Library Search' replaces the 20-year-old main catalogue. Making this change puts the National Library of Scotland in good company. Thousands of academic and national libraries round the world already use a similar service.
29 October 2018
Frederick Douglass and the fight for freedom
The compelling story of the USA's most famous freedom-fighter is told in the National Library of Scotland's new display.
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was born into chattel slavery in Maryland, USA. When he was aged just 20 he escaped, and began his life-long anti-slavery campaign.
After publishing his first autobiography in 1845, in which he 'named and shamed' his white slave owners, Douglass fled to Britain. He was one of many anti-slavery campaigners to live and work in Scotland.
'Strike for Freedom' displays material from the Library's collections alongside loaned items from the Walter O and Linda Evans Collection. Together they present a picture of Douglass's commitment to social justice. This commitment was shared by his family: two of his sons had distinguished military careers during the American Civil War.
Walter and Linda Evans have collected over 100,000 items relating to African American authors and artists, including letters, books and manuscripts. Many of the exhibits from their collection are on show for the first time.
The display runs until 19 February. Read more in the Frederick Douglass display media release.
28 September 2018