NLS/Glasgow Science Festival event – Trailblazing Women of Science


Dame Maria Gordon, geologist

As part of the Glasgow Science Festival programme, the National Library’s science curator, Catherine Booth, will be talking at the Glasgow Women’s Library on 17 June at 2 pm about Scottish female scientists who made outstanding achievements against all odds.

This event is free or with a suggested £2 donation, and booking is essential.

The pictured scientist, Dame Maria Gordon (1864-1939), was born in Aberdeenshire and became a prominent field geologist.

The Glasgow Science Festival runs from 9 – 19 June. View the programme and booking details

National Library of Scotland at the Royal National Mòd!

These sound like great events. If you’re attending the Royal National Mòd this year, why not pay the NLS lot a visit?

modThe Royal National Mod  

The National Library will be at the Royal National Mod in Oban, which runs from 9 – 17 October. We will have a stand in the Corran Halls Marquee from 12 – 16 October.  Come along to meet staff and hear about our collections.

On Tuesday 13 October we will give a presentation about our Gaelic collections, launch the Library’s new online Gaelic rare books resource, and explain how we build modern Gaelic and local collections.   This is a free drop-in event and will take place from 6:00 -7:00 pm at the Great Western Hotel, Oban.

On Wednesday 14 October, we will be running a Gaelic creative writing workshop, in partnership with Moniack Mhor, from 2:00 – 3.30 pm at The Library, Oban High School.   This workshop is a free event but spaces are limited so booking is essential: Book online or call: 0131 623 3734

Van Gogh – art and angst

Vincent Van Gogh, that glorious nutter, was born today in 1853. He died at the age of 37 after a short life filled with genius and despair.

Some years ago I read Martin Gayford’s book The Yellow HouseVan Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence. This excellent work uses old letters to reconstruct the few months Van Gogh spent living and working with Paul Gauguin in a house in Arles. I was left with the overriding feeling that Van Gogh wanted nothing more in life than to be loved and understood (I can so relate to that).

101407Vincent invited Gauguin to stay because he deeply admired his work and imagined he could learn much from the older man. In preparation for Gaugin’s arrival at the Yellow House, Vincent painted his iconic Sunflowers series just to decorate the walls of Gauguin’s room! But Van Gogh’s mental illness made him erratic and volatile and his dreams of founding a collaborative artistic commune with Gauguin rapidly fell apart.

The wonderful painting above was made during Van Gogh’s time at Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. I’ve visited this beautiful town a few times. It really is surrounded by those distinctive hills that Van Gogh reproduced so perfectly in his work.

I love these places – Arles and Saint-Rémy – but their beauty is tinged for me by thoughts of poor Vincent and his sufferings. I feel the same way about his wonderful, vibrant, disturbed and magnificent paintings.

ELISA’s Winter Warmer social – an illustrated report

My report (with photos) of ELISA’s winter social last month. It’s taken me four weeks to get round to writing it, and some hours to fit all the photos in, but it was a lovely event and a fantastic exhibition. It’s on for another few months still. You should go!

Edinburgh Library and Information Services Agency

Fiona scrutinising a display Fiona scrutinising a particularly interesting display of Jacobite documents

Apologies for the delay in posting this report – I did mean to do it far sooner. Better late than never though, eh?

Group 1 enjoying after tour refreshments Group 1 enjoy after tour refreshments

ELISA’s Winter Warmer social 2015 took place on the evening of Monday the 9th of February.

Around fifteen ELISA members turned up to the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge for a special tour of the Game of Crowns: the 1715 Jacobite rising exhibition, led by Rare Books Curator Robert Betteridge.


I arrived at NLS a little after 5pm to find the first group had already set off on their tour round the exhibit.

I chatted with those left behind and enjoyed the very tasty snacks that were on offer – many thanks to Fiona for organising those…

Once Group 1 returned, me and the rest of Group 2 had our chance to view the exhibition.


Robert kindly gave…

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RLS music recital – a final mention

The RLS recital got a mention in the Faculty News this month (with a picture!). I’m the wee nervous looking one in the middle…

Faculty News - February 2015

Faculty News – February 2015

Storifying #elisaForum 2014

I wanted to try Storify for a while but never had the opportunity. – it seems odd (in a bad way) to just Storify your own life.

ELISA’s Open Forum 2014 offered the perfect opportunity to give it a go, especially since we were encouraging folk to live tweet the event. Twitter is such a transitory medium, tweets are so quickly washed away by the twitter-tide. Storify helps solidify and store this digital ephemera.

I posted my first draft on #elisaForum day itself but I’ve just done a bit of editing and re-ordering and I’ve added some newer content to beef it up a little.

I’m not totally blown away by the Storify concept (or the site’s functionality) but for the purposes of documenting events like this one, it does the job:

elisa-open-forum-2014 – Storify

Christmas Capercaillies at Leith Library – events this weekend!

Fun events with @auntyemily in Leith Library this weekend!

Edinburgh Library and Information Services Agency

Leith Library’s former Reader in Residence Emily Dodd is back for a week of Christmas capercaillie fun. Events include local primary school and nursery workshops, capercaillie crafts and a Can’t-Dance-Cameron public event.


Emily worked at Leith library 2.5 days a week between September 2012 to 2013 as the Scottish Book Trust Reader in Residence. She shared stories from the library on the Leith Library blog and using the Leith Library twitter account. The residency included 9 months in the library followed by 3 months funded to do her own thing. This funding enabled Emily to write her first picture book ‘Can’t-Dance-Cameron: A Scottish Capercaillie Story’.

Emily said:

“I loved working with Leith Library. They were doing so many brilliant things, it was a pleasure and privilege to share their work with a wider audience using social media. At the end of my residency I had funding to…

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