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

Outlander – entertainment, education and Robert Louis Stevenson

I read the first book in the Outlander series at new Year. I read it on the recommendation of several American friends – and because the new tv series is being filmed not far from my home – I was curious. Although I didn’t enjoy the latter part of the book, it did start well.

Season 1 of the tv series is finally available on Amazon Instant. I’ve watched the 1st few episodes and been surprised by how much Gaelic is being spoken. I knew they used Gaelic of course, that’s part of why I wanted to watch it, but I didn’t expect to hear so much. I can understand a surprising amount and I’ve even learned a few new words. It’s always a bonus to get in some language learning whilst watching enjoyable telly.

The theme song has been bothering me a little though. It’s sung to the tune of the Skye Boat Song but with lyrics I’d never heard before. I thought they must have been specially written but they don’t quite fit the story so it seemed strange. By the beginning of episode 4 I was ready to find out more about those words.

Imagine my surprise, as a Robert Louis Stevenson fan, to discover that these lyrics were in fact penned by the man himself! I’m learning so much from this programme   🙂

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 21.16.34

A Very Fine Library vs the Grammar Nazis!

I posted the above pic on Facebook earlier today because I felt a bit disheartened. I’ve spent a chunk of this week posting, editing and generally primping a three-part series of pieces by Edinburgh’s Makar for the ELISA website. I admit I feel pretty proud of those posts. I contacted the current Makar and asked her to write something for ELISA and she obliged, pics and all! It feels like a bit of a coup.

The first part went live on Wednesday but, so far, the only feedback I’ve received was a notification that there’s a “Wee Typing Error in the Post”. I don’t know what or where. I made a joking response but the nitpicking stung me somewhat. It’s a longish post, full of interesting information, images and poetry – but all someone thought to say was “Typo!”


Incidentally, I joke about this sort of thing but I increasingly experience it as a kind of online bullying. Though my grammar is good, I’ve never been a great speller – thank the gods for spellchecker! Even so, I always feel compelled to check and double-check everything I post because I know the tiniest error will be picked up and pointed out by some ‘helpful’ soul. It’s nerve-wracking.

I honestly don’t understand why they do it. As Angry Puffin up there says, as long as your point gets across, what does it matter? People can be as precise (and anal) with their own writing as they wish – but what makes them think they have the right to correct others?

Angry Puffin says “pretentious and idiotic”. I say “bullying and oppressive”.

It’s different if someone asks to be corrected of course. A learner or someone trying to improve their language skills. I have an Italian friend who sometimes seeks advise on english-grammarly things. Also, I’m learning gaelic so welcome input on word order and suchlike in that language.

As far as english goes though, I’m not asking. While I’m writing I relish the flow and play of words. The odd typo, here and there, won’t cause the sky to fall. I endlessly footle with my posts in any case so I’m likely to pick up errors in time. And if not, so what?

Grammar Nazis and Spelling Fascists – D’you think these terms came about by accident? You may actually think you’re being helpful but folk wouldn’t call you nazis if they enjoyed what you’re doing. A lot of folk probably just find you irritating but I’m sure there are others, like me, who find your criticisms upsetting or oppressive.

Please think before you correct. Thank you.

A fresh start for 2015

Happy Hogmanay

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr


A braw New Year


A Very Fine Library!

Seasons greetings!

NLS booktree

NLS booktree

 Merry Christmas

Nollaig Chridheil

and a Guid Yule to all


A Very Fine Library!



Book parties

The courts are on Vacation now so the Library is a lot quieter than usual – our evening shelvers are on vacation too.

This morning we came in to find a veritable pile of books waiting to be re-shelved.  I have no idea where they all came from. There were, like, 6 Members working in the Library yesterday!

I suspect that poltergeist or wicked book-pixies come in at night to fling the books around. Or Members have wild book parties. It’s definitely one of those…

…On an entirely unrelated matter – From lunchtime today I’m on holiday for a fortnight!!! I may love my Very Fine Library but I love holidays just that little bit more.

Tìoraidh an-dràsda!    🙂

Seasons greetings

book tree

book tree

Merry Christmas

Nollaig Chridheil

and a Guid Yule to all


A Very Fine Library!