National Library announces new Chief Executive
Amina Shah has been appointed as the National Library of Scotland's new Chief Executive and National Librarian.
Shah, who joins the Library from the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, has more than 25 years' experience in the sector, including public and academic libraries. In addition to her wealth of leadership experience, she was recently a member of the Library's Board.
As former Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Library and Information Council, she led on the development of Scotland's first National Strategy for Public Libraries. She has a strong interest in diversity and inclusion and the role libraries, literature and culture play in empowering individuals and communities. In her previous role of Director of Programme at the Scottish Book Trust, Shah worked to promote literacy and a diverse reading and writing community in Scotland.
Following the current National Librarian John Scally's retirement on 1 October, Shah will take up her new post on 4 October.
Read more in the Chief Executive news release.
16 July 2021
2021 Scots Scriever appointed
Writer Alison Miller has been appointed as the 2021 Scots Scriever.
Based at the National Library of Scotland and Orkney Library & Archive, the one-year Scriever residency was created to celebrate the Orcadian dialect. It is supported by funding from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
As Orkney Scriever, Miller will work to raise the profile, understanding and appreciation of Orcadian and Scots by producing original work, as well as working alongside local communities in Orkney.
Miller brings a wealth of experience to the role. A writer in both Orcadian and English, she is a published author and creative writing workshop facilitator. She has also written short stories, essays and poetry reflecting on life in Orkney, island life, language and literature.
The residency also provides the opportunity to research collections at both the National Library of Scotland and Orkney Library & Archive.
Read more in the Orcadian Scriever news release.
12 July 2021
Library publishes commissions by fresh literary talent
Original works by 10 emerging writers have been added to the National Library's collections.
Fresh Ink, a Library initiative seeking new literary talent and diverse, contemporary voices in Scotland, launched in December. As part of its commitment to capturing the nation's memory, the Library asked applicants to pitch a literary response to the theme 'my experience of 2020' in their chosen genre or form.
From the 250 writers that submitted a pitch, a panel selected 10 to receive a bursary of £1000 in exchange for their work.
The selected commissions have been described as a 'series of brilliant evocations of living through a time of unique change' that 'illuminate, challenge, comfort, and intrigue'. They include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a play and a comic.
Writer Nadine Aisha Jassat, who led the initiative, will be in conversation with the writers in an online event on Thursday 15 July.
All 10 Fresh Ink commissions are available online.
12 July 2021
Adventurous women showcased in Library's exhibitions
Two new free exhibitions mark the reopening of more of the National Library of Scotland's George IV Bridge building to the public.
Opening on 10 July, the exhibitions will focus on ground-breaking, adventurous and unconventional women of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Library's major exhibition, 'Petticoats and Pinnacles: Scotland's pioneering mountain women', showcases the stories of women mountaineers with a connection to Scotland from the 18th century through to the modern day. Many of them were also writers, artists, botanists and photographers. The exhibition explores their relationship with the mountains and their achievements, including the first all-female expedition to the Himalayas in 1955. Items such as journals, photographs, letters, and climbing equipment will be on display.
Collections in Focus display, 'The Eye of a Stranger: Henrietta Liston's travels', features the 200-year-old travel journals and letters of Glasgow woman, Henrietta Liston. Following her Scottish diplomat husband's appointment as British Ambassador to the Sublime Porte, the Listons travelled to Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1812. A botanist and travel writer, Henrietta spent years observing and documenting international relations and local customs.
Anyone planning to visit the exhibitions must book their free tickets in advance.
These are the first public activities to be held at the Library since the exhibitions space closed 15 months ago due to Covid-19.
Read more in the exhibitions news release.
5 July 2021
16th-century Perthshire manuscript secured for the nation
A highly significant manuscript compiled in Scotland during the Middle Ages now has its home in the national collections.
The National Library of Scotland secured the Chronicle of Fortingall at auction in May.
Regarded as being of linguistic importance, the manuscript contains annals, poetry and other short texts in Latin, Scots and Gaelic. It is also considered an important source for the history of the Scottish Highlands.
Scribes belonging to the MacGregor family at Fortingall in Perthshire compiled the manuscript between 1554 and 1579.
Evidence shows the same family compiled the Book of the Dean of Lismore, which was already in the National Library's manuscript collections.
Read more in the Fortingall manuscript news release.
3 June 2021
Recruiting for National Library Board Chair
The Scottish Government has opened the application process for a new Chair for the National Library of Scotland Board.
Leading the Board into the Library's centenary anniversary in 2025, the Chair will inspire the organisation and represent the Library in the public arena. They will guide strategic decision-making and champion delivery of the strategy, 'Reaching People', launched last year.
Applications are invited from people with a public profile in Scotland who have have experience of serving on a Board in a context of organisational change.
1 June 2021
'Scotland's Stories' theme for bookbinding competition
The 2022 Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition is now open for entries.
Working to the theme 'Scotland's Stories', entrants are invited to take inspiration from classic or contemporary Scottish authors, or stories and legends about Scotland.
Winners will receive a cash prize and have their work become part of the Library's collection of fine bindings.
The prize winners of the 2020 competition, which focused on the 1980s decade as the theme, were:
- Best Craft Binding: Daniel Wray (UK)
- Best Craft Binding (student): Matt Stockl (UK)
- Best Creative Binding: Andreas Maroulis (UK)
- Best Creative Binding (student): Gillian Stewart (UK)
A submission by Chris Hicks (UK) was also highly commended.
The closing date for entries is Thursday 24 February 2022.
Full details and the entry form are on the bookbinding competition page.
6 May 2021