Edinburgh Napier University

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You read that correctly. That’s our title. Craiglockhart Campus Library is growing tomatoes again, a bumper crop this summer.

Tomatoes at Craiglockhart:

The Info & Ops team have been growing tomatoes at Craiglockhart library workroom for a few years now and this year, we believe, we’re going to have a bumper crop.  When I say bumper crop, I mean more than 3 which is our usual level of harvest to be shared across a team of 7!

We’re currently growing 3 plants of the Tiny Tim variety, small tomato plants which can easily be grown in a pot on a window sill.  Although this is a compact variety, here at Craiglockhart the plants grow a bit long due to the lack of light, hence the canes you see in the pictures.

Tomatoes growing at Craiglockhart

Growing Tomatoes

The seeds for these particular plants were sown in February this year. They were then kept warm in a conservatory until about the end of March. And then moved to a greenhouse when it got warmer.  When I say warmer it got warm and then cold again so initially they had to be covered with fleece to keep them warm!  They’ve been in the window for about 2 months now and have really come on, albeit in a long way!

When the flowers came out we helped with the pollination by brushing the flowers with a paintbrush.  The plants must be kept well (and consistently) watered to prevent the skins from splitting and blossom end rot. This is where the bottom of the tomato (where you can see the remains of the flower) turns black.  They’re also now being fed once per week with Tomorite (other brands of tomato feed are available!).

We’re all very much looking forward to the tomatoes growing and ripening over the next few weeks.  Looks like we’re going to get more than half (or less than) a tomato each this year!

Salad anyone?

by Cathryn Buckham


Things to do in Edinburgh over the Summer Period

Things to do in Edinburgh over the Summer Period

Stumped for what to do over the summer? Looking for inspiration? Look no further – here, you can find a list of venues and activities located within the city of Edinburgh. As well as a range of events taking place here over the summer. Whether you are seeking out live entertainment, cultural experiences, or simply to wind down in nature following a long exam season, Edinburgh has a range of exciting events on during the summer period. There are also many breathtaking attractions and outdoor hill walks if you wish to immerse yourself in the natural wonders that the city has to offer.


Festivals and Entertainment over the Summer…

Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2nd of August – 26th of August 2024)

The iconic three-week Edinburgh Fringe Festival started shortly after the Second World War when eight theatre groups were uninvited to perform live at the Edinburgh International Festival. Many performers were influenced by this movement and started to follow in their footsteps until the Festival Fringe Society eventually emerged in 1958.

The Fringe Festival now occurs every August in Edinburgh and welcomes huge numbers of artists and performers worldwide. Venues, along with bars and food stalls, are often scattered around the city centre as well. When it comes to genres of each live performance, we are spoiled for choice – you can see many live acts playing out through the city streets including circus performers, physical and musical theatre, comedy acts, opera, dance acts, children’s shows, and many, many more. Some of them are even free of charge!

You can stay up to date with what acts are on and when they are playing by following the Edinburgh Fringe Festival social media channels, checking out the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website or downloading the Fringe app.

Walks and Nature in Edinburgh …

Arthurs Seat and Calton Hill

Located within Holyrood Park and a short walk from the Royal Mile, Arthur’s Seat is a popular peak.  A hill walk for activities such as hiking and sightseeing. It is the highest point of Holyrood Park and an extinct ancient volcano which sits at 251m above sea level. And provides vast, panoramic, and breathtaking views of the cityscapes of Edinburgh. It is relatively easy to climb for avid hillwalkers and is known to take approximately one to two hours to reach the top.

If you are looking for a gentler hill walk which also has excellent, panoramic views of the city. Calton Hill is also a very short walk from Edinburgh city centre and hosts our National Monument. As well as the Collective Art Gallery which is a contemporary art centre situated on top of Calton Hill.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Don’t fancy hill walking? Located one mile from the city centre is also the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh. It offers 72 acres of magnificent landscape and scenery as well as being home to over 10,000 different plant species. Visitors can immerse themselves in the peace and tranquillity of the park scenery. And being presented with the opportunity to learn more about the fascinating origins and history of the park itself, which was founded by two doctors researching the use of plants for remedial purposes in 1670. Some of the most popular features of the gardens include the Chinese Hillside, the Queen Mother’s memorial garden, the Giant Redwood trees in the Woodland Garden and the globally recognised Rock Garden.

Albeit the glasshouses, you can visit the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh free of charge. Nevertheless, you may still be tempted to spend some money in the Botanics Shop which offers a varied selection of souvenirs, gifts, artwork and plants. You can find more information and check for any upcoming events being held there through the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh webpage.

Edinburgh International Book Festival (10th of August – 25th of August 2024)

As can be expected, our library team were going to find an opportunity to promote a book-related event here! Since 1983, visitors and book lovers have been presented with the chance to meet and engage with some of the greatest and most well-recognised authors, as well as thinkers, performers, and artists at Edinburgh’s International Book Festival. It hosts a variation of innovative and exciting events, some of which include open on-stage discussions and conversations, workshops, think tanks and masterclasses encouraging creativity and skills development. Many authors will sign copies of their books for you after each event as well.

As is the case with many festivals, food and drink is available. As well as relaxation spaces such as the indoor café on Lauriston Place. There is also an on-site bookshop should any of the authors you engage with at the festival gauge your interest! Every year, the festival also seeks out short-term staff over the summer to assist with visitors and the running of the festival. Some of the perks of the job include discounted books and entry to events. A booklover’s dream job!

The Edinburgh International Book Festival will take place at Edinburgh Futures Institute this year. More information can be found on their webpage: Edinburgh International Book Festival (edbookfest.co.uk).


Other cool attractions to check out…


  • Edinburgh Castle
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • St Cecilias Concert Room and Music Museum
  • The Scott Monument
  • Edinburgh Dungeon


By Rachel Downie

We will be updating the blog regularly over the summer with fun and interesting articles, stay tuned!

2024 is Election Year

2024 is Election Year

We’re getting in early as sometime this year a general election will be held to elect a UK government for the next 5 years. All 650 constituencies will see candidates standing to try to win the seat to be  Member of Parliament. MPs are elected using the First Past the Post system. You vote once for a candidate in your constituency and the candidate with the most votes becomes your MP.

In the weeks running up to the election we can look forward to, or dread, countless tv and radio interviews with current and past MPs, political commentators and members of the public. You may find electoral leaflets coming through your letterbox and even candidates knocking on your door to put their case to you.

If you who have turned 18 since the last general election, then this will be your first chance to vote in one. If you wish to do so, you must make sure that you are eligible. You can do this by checking gov.uk website, but the general rules are:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
  • be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen
  • be resident at an address in the UK (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)
  • not be legally excluded from voting

Voting in an election

You can either vote in person or by post. If you are a UK student and you are already registered to vote in your hometown but would prefer to vote locally whilst, at university, you will need to register again for your new resident area. But If you want to vote in your hometown but will be at university when the election takes place, you can apply for a postal vote.

If you are eligible to vote and have registered, you’ll be sent a polling card just before the election telling you when to vote and where. You can only vote at the polling station location on your card. You do not have to take your poll card with you. If you have not received a poll card but think you should, contact your local Electoral Registration Office. You can still vote if you’ve lost your card.

When you arrive at the polling station register at the desk. Then you will be given a slip with all the candidates’ names on it and directed to a polling booth where you can make your choice by marking X against your chosen candidate. Slips are placed in the sealed ballot box which is taken to the counting centre once the polls close. It’s then that the exit polls (taken from voters after they have voted) will be broadcast and give an idea of how the election has gone.

Most constituency results will be declared during the night. A few in remote rural areas such as Shetland not declaring until the next day. Every election there is a race between constituencies to be the first to declare their results. In 2019 that honour went to Newcastle. Some organize human chains to get the ballot boxes into the counting centre as quickly as possible and have an army of staff ready to count the slips. Candidates and members of their teams are allowed to watch the count to make the process as transparent as possible.

Once the final result is known the leader of the party with a majority of seats in the House of Commons will be the Prime Minister. If no party has an absolute majority, the leader of the party with the largest number of seats is given the first opportunity to form a coalition. And then the tricky business of running the country begins.

When you can vote

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on the day of an election.

Key Dates

1832-Electoral register introduced. Only around 14% of adult males eligible to vote, women could not vote at all.

1867-Reform Act increased electorate to 32% of the adult male population.

1872-Secret ballots introduced.

1918-Men over 21 and women over 30 given the vote.

1928-Women over 21 allowed to vote.

1969-Voting age lowered to 18.

1989-British citizens living abroad given the right to vote for up to 20 years after leaving the UK.

Don’t forget that many people, especially women had to fight hard for the vote. So use your vote when the time comes!

By Vivienne Hamiliton

Photo Source Element5 Digital 

Read about King Charles III coronation 

🏳️‍🌈LGBT+ History Month 🏳️‍🌈

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month

February is the month we celebrate LGBT+ History here in the UK. It is a month-long celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements. In the United Kingdom, we celebrate it in February to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28.

What we are doing

Here at the Library, we think it is incredibly important to support and promote equality and diversity. Furthermore, we are working hard to create more inclusive collections and to support our LGBT+ users and staff. For example, we are currently creating a permanent LGBT+ virtual bookshelf here on our blog, and we are training our staff to be inclusive in their actions and the language they use.


If you are an LGBT+ student you can join Edinburgh Napier’s LGBT+ Society.   You can also find out more about the student LGBT+ community on the Queer Napier site. Staff can join the University’s thriving LGBT+ Network or you can visit our web pages to learn more about becoming an ally.

In addition, The Library has a wealth of books and articles on the subject. From the history of LGBT+ rights to current Legal information to keep you informed. Use LibrarySearch to find what you are looking for, or contact us for help with any of your research needs. 

Here are some items available through the Library to get you started: 

Same-sex, different politics: success and failure in the struggles over gay rights

Lgbt Activism and the Making of Europe A Rainbow Europe  

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT) and the criminal justice system


Pride Parades and LGBT Movements: Political Participation in an International Comparative Perspective

Similarly, want to know more about Pride Month?  Check out our article here.

Photo source: Photo by Jas Min on Unsplash

New Year Traditions from Around the World

New Year Traditions from Around the World

A lump of coal just won’t cut it anymore. I need a more carbon-neutral gift to take to my neighbours at New Year, and you don’t get much more carbon-laden than a lump of coal. I started to wonder if there were any tips I could pick up from revellers around the world. My research didn’t offer up any gifts, but I did find some interesting traditions – some quite quirky – that I may adopt.


Let’s start in the land of the rising sun.  Joya-no-kane is the ancient Japanese tradition of ringing temple bells. The bell is typically rung 107 times on 31st December and once more when the clock strikes midnight. According to Buddhist philosophy, 108 is a holy number, representing as it does the 108 material desires that humans experience throughout the course of their lives. When the bell is struck for the 108th time, it is believed it rings away the problems and worries from the previous year. Many temples attract huge crowds of worshippers on these occasions. The Chion-in temple in Kyoto and Nara’s Todaiji temple are famous for their gigantic bells, the ringing of which requires the efforts of more than a dozen monks.


Down in Brazil a rowdier, yet no less spiritual tradition, is unfolding as the goddess Iemanjá, Queen of the Ocean, rises out of the sea in Rio de Janeiro (in the form of a human representative). Revellers flock to the beach as fireworks explode overhead and samba music fills the air. Up to 2 million people, typically wearing white as a sign of peace, place white flowers and floating candles on the shore and send them out as offerings to the goddess, hoping that she’ll grant their wishes in the new year.  But beware – if your offer is washed back to you, Iemanjá is not pleased and may not grant your wish.

Costa Rica

Moving north, and those Costa Ricans really know how to celebrate. You’re welcome to join in as they feast all night and party on the beach. Make sure you dress for the occasion, though – and that means wearing yellow underwear for good luck. Oh, and don’t forget to throw a pan of water – containing all your worries – over your shoulder. The most endearing Costa Rican tradition, in my opinion, is the practice of taking a suitcase for a walk around the neighbourhood to ensure plenty of travel opportunities in the year to come. In these Covid-restricted times, however, it may be best to park the suitcase for the time being. Maybe next year!


Back in Europe, and the Greeks take a belts-and-braces approach to luck – letting out the bad and welcoming in the good. It’s customary for Greeks to hang an onion on their front doors as a sign of prosperity and regrowth. And on the stroke of midnight, Greeks open all their windows to release those pesky evil spirits, the kallikantzaroi. Try doing that during a Scottish Hogmanay hoolie!


Speaking of Scotland. Here we celebrate New Year’s in a big way. The Scots call New Year Hogmanay and it’s used as an excuse for big parties such as Ceilidhs, usually involving large amounts of traditional Scottish food and drink. Once Midnight arrives it is traditional to sing Robert Burns‘ “Auld Lang Syne” whilst holding hands in a circle.

Another Scottish tradition still common is “First footing”. This involves being the first person over the threshold of another’s home bringing a symbolic gift for good luck. If you are being truly traditional it should be a dark-haired male, and he should bring with him symbolic pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and a wee dram of whisky. The dark-haired male bit is believed to be a throwback to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your doorstep with a big axe meant big trouble, and probably not a very happy New Year! (source)


But it’s those northerners, the Danes, who have a really smashing tradition. On New Year’s eve in Denmark, it’s time to gather up all your old broken and chipped crockery and smash it against your friends’ doors. They claim it’s a sign of lifelong friendship, and who am I to argue? After all that exertion, you reward yourself with a slice of kransekage, a huge cake made of layered marzipan. Pity there’s no plate left to serve it on.

However you celebrate, wherever you are, we wish you a very happy New Year, Akemashite Omedetou, Feliz Ano Novo, Feliz Año Nuevo, ευτυχισμένος ο καινούριος χρόνος, Godt Nytår.

By Lesley McRob

Read more about New Year on our blog with our articles on Spanish traditions and New Year’s resolutions

Image SOurce: Pixabay

Spanish Christmas Traditions

A Spanish-style Traditional Christmas 

Christmas in Spain is not so very different from Christmas elsewhere, but there are one or two traditions that may sound slightly exotic to Scottish ears, and I’ll set them out here.

First of all, our festive period is longer, running from the 22nd of December until the 7th of January. We celebrate the end of Christmas with presents brought from faraway lands by the Three Wise Men (traditionally marked by the Epiphany). This, of course, makes the youngest members of the family very merry, but it pleases the grownups too. Traditionally Santa Claus has never been recognised in Spain, but nowadays that is changing, and like the reyes mago” (3 wise men), he now sometimes brings presents too.

The Spanish Lottery

A more recent, and much more secular tradition, is El Gordo, the Spanish Christmas Lottery. This, too, is celebrated on the 22nd of December. It’s the most popular draw of the year in Spain and is considered the biggest worldwide since it was first celebrated in 1812. Winning El Gordo’s jackpot is one of the best Spanish Christmas presents you could hope for.

As in many other parts of the world, Christmas trees, fancy city lights, and splashes of red, green, and white decorations make their appearance during the festive period. However, something quite particular we have is the Portal de Belén: tiny models of Bethlehem representing the Nativity, with many accompanying structures such as the desert, town, angels, shepherds and farm animals.

Continue reading

Daylight Savings: The clocks are going back

Daylight Savings: The clocks are going back

Clocks going back 2023

Don’t forget that here in the UK the clocks go back one hour at 2am on Sunday 29th October. It means it will be darker in the evenings, and of course, winter will soon be upon us. Campus libraries will have normal opening hours until the Festive Break so you can access all our services as usual.

With longer evenings ahead you may want to settle down with some fiction. Did you know that Merchiston Library has a selection of novels which are available for loan? There are also lots of CDs there if you fancy listening to some different types of music from classical to rock. Also, Craiglockhart Library has foreign language textbooks and kits so you could have a go at learning a new language. All can be requested using Library Search.

We also offer Box of Broadcasts which gives access to lots of tv programmes and can be accessed through the database tab on Library Search. You can select programmes before broadcast or use the search bar to look for programmes which are already available. There are all kinds of things to watch from dramas and nature programmes to mental health and self-help programmes. Our autumn-themed recommendations are here:

If you have any questions about opening hours, our services or databases you can contact the library at library@napier.ac.uk or call us on 0131 455 3500 for assistance.

By Vivienne Hamilton

Read more useful information on our blog here.


World Heart Day 2022: Defibrillators

World Heart Day 2022: Defibrillators

Awareness of the importance of defibrillators has become much more prevalent in our society. So much so that they have been placed around the country in useful places. The university has Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) available on all our campuses.

Why have AEDs?

Portable AEDs are lightweight devices that are relatively easy to operate and are intended for use in emergency situations. They can be used when a casualty has a serious cardiac rhythm disturbance causing unconsciousness, such as a heart attack. AEDs are not effective for all cardiac emergencies, but they are of benefit in a small proportion of acute emergencies.

An AED acts to correct abnormal heart rhythms by applying an electric shock to the chest. It detects the electrical activity of the heart and gives automated instructions to the operator on what to do. The automatic diagnostic sequence ensures that they will only operate under appropriate circumstances thus preventing their incorrect use. The quicker lifesaving first aid and a defibrillator are used on a casualty, the better the outlook for survival. The Resuscitation Council (UK) guidelines strongly promote the availability of AEDs and the fact they can be operated by any person is widely publicised.

Is an AED difficult to use?

The type of AED installed by the University has been chosen as a type that is suitable for any person to use. It will not apply an electric shock to a casualty unless it is appropriate. At every stage the equipment talks to the user, instructing them on what to do. Whilst many First Aiders have also received additional training in the use of AEDs, training is not a pre-requisite for use.

Do you know where they are situated?

AEDs are provided by the University at the following points:

  • Merchiston Campus: adjacent to disabled toilets – bottom of stairs
  • Sighthill Campus: left of reception outside lift
  • Craiglockhart Campus: left of the reception desk

In addition to the above locations, AEDs are also located in several other areas throughout the University.

  • [EN]GAGE, Sports Centre, Sighthill Campus – located behind the reception desk
  • School of Applied Sciences, Sighthill Campus – outside room 3.C.13
  • School of Applied Sciences, Sports Centre, Sighthill Campus – 0.F.07
Next steps

Should an emergency occur and you are using the AED, ask someone else to contact (0131) 455 4444 (Security Control available 24/7) giving precise details of the location – building, floor and room number and they will call for an ambulance. If you are alone with the casualty, you will need to do this yourself.

If you wish to familiarize yourself with some common first aid techniques, there are books available in the library for you to read:

First aid manual: the authorised manual of St John Ambulance, St Andrew’s First Aid and the British Red Cross.

Practical First Aid

New First Aid in English

Written By Vivienne Hamilton

Learn more about our Campuses below:




Nexis Database: A quick Introduction to using Nexis

Nexis Logo Image

Welcome to Nexis

We know that Nexis is nobody’s favourite database.  We know it can be tricky to navigate it. Saying that, we still like it because it contains more than 40,000 online news and business sources with access to newspapers, trade journals and company market information from around the world. Many of these publications are normally restricted by paywalls. It is, in fact, an academic treasure trove.

When you search with LibrarySearch, articles available on Nexis will appear and you can follow the links through to the database. Alternatively you can also access it through LibrarySearch using the databases tab and searching for “Nexis”


So far, so good. But maybe you want to do some browsing within Nexis and aren’t sure where to start. You can use the database’s own search form tips, which you can find here – it’s full of advice on setting up folders, search histories and alerts.

In addition to this, we’ve compiled our own set of helpful hints for finding newspaper articles. You can find them here

Happy searching and don’t forget to login into Librarysearch before you start searching!

By Lesley McRobb

Interested in other databases? Try learning more about IBISworld here

Book Week Scotland (15th- 21st November 2021)

book week scotland poster

As the nights draw in and winter approaches you might be thinking about the pleasure of cosying up on the sofa with a good book and, if you’re wondering what to read next, look no further!

Book Week Scotland is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and between 15th and 21st of November, there are events taking place across the country to celebrate books and the joy of reading. This annual celebration is organised by the Scottish Book Trust (SBT) working in partnership with libraries and organisations throughout Scotland. They organise digital or in-person events including workshops, author readings, film showings or the spoken word, to reach a wide range of audiences across all age groups. Check the website for events taking place online or near you.

Every year, the SBT hosts Your Stories, a writing project which aims to encourage members of the public to reflect upon and share aspects of their lives inspired by a theme. The theme this year was Celebration. Anyone can submit a piece of writing and each story submitted is published on the website. A selection of these stories has been published in a book, Celebration, which is freely available in venues up and down the country during Book Week Scotland. The book is also available as a PDF or to download from the SBT website. If you’ve ever considered writing but haven’t known where to begin, the SBT website provides a range of resources to help you get started.

We are pleased to let you know there will be copies of Celebration available (for free!) to collect in all three Edinburgh Napier University Libraries and in the three student residences during Book Week Scotland (while stocks last). Pick up your copy before it’s too late!

Enjoy Book Week Scotland; whether you go to an event, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read for so long, or simply take a moment to reflect on a celebration meaningful to you.

You can join Book Week Scotland on Facebook at facebook.com/BookWeekScotland

You can follow Book Week Scotland’s Twitter updates at twitter.com/BookWeekScot, and using the hashtag #BookWeekScotland



By Sarah Jeffcott

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