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Lego Day

Celebrating Lego Day

It’s world Lego day today. Lego is one of those toys that is ubiquitous with childhood. Anyone growing up in the West will know immediately what you mean when you mention it. It is the joy of Children everywhere, and the thing that drives most parents mad. Is there anything more painful to stand on!?!

In fact, people who have regularly experienced walking on hot coals and broken glass say Lego is by far the worst thing to walk on (source). Feeling brave? You always have a go at the Lego Firewalk. Personally, I’d rather walk on glass or coals!

History

It was in Denmark, at Ole Kirk Christiansen’s workshop where Lego was firstborn. In 1934 it became called Lego after the Danish phrase leg godt.  They were originally called Automatic Binding Bricks, but less originally they were based on the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, already patented in the UK.

Over time Lego has grown to become the biggest toy company in the world and is not only used as toys but as movies, artworks and they even made an amusement park you can visit.

Mindfulness

Lego is no longer just for children; in fact, they have many Lego sets dedicated to adults. There is some fascinating research connected to mindfulness about how doing Lego can help our mental health. We actually keep a Lego set behind each Library Help Desk you can borrow for free. Why not check one out next time you visit…if the library staff aren’t already playing with them that is!

Learn More

We have a fascinating and diverse range of materials for you to read on Lego, from issues with Dentistry (teeth and Lego are a bad mix it seems!) to build your own Lego Robots. Check out Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk.. Just type in the word “Lego” and start reading!

By Juliet Kinsey

Sources: Wikipedia

Scottish Traditions: Burn’s Night

Scottish Traditions: Burn’s Night

Burns Night is a traditional celebration of Scotland’s national bard, or poet, Robert Burns. It is held on 25th January, Burns’s birthday, when Burns suppers are held. They consist of a meal, poetry recitals and songs. The first supper was held at Burns Cottage by his friends on 21st July 1801, the fifth anniversary of his death.

If you think that you don’t know any of Burns’s work, ask yourself if you have ever sung Auld Lang Syne on Hogmanay/New Year’s Eve or used the lines “My love is like a red, red rose” on a Valentine card. If you have then you are familiar with some of his best-known work. Burns wrote his first poem aged 15 and in his short life wrote a vast number of songs and poems that can be accessed here. He wrote in a light Scots dialect which was easier for those outside Scotland to understand and often wrote about very humble subjects, for example, his poem “To a Mouse” is inspired by the field mice Burns saw while ploughing on his farm.

The Life of Robert Burns

Burns was born on 25th January 1759 in Alloway south of Ayr, the son of poor tenant farmers. He received little regular schooling, but his father taught him to read and write along with arithmetic, history and geography. He was also taught Latin, French and maths by John Murdoch.

For much of his life Burns, like his father, was a tenant farmer, all the while writing poetry and songs. But he struggled to make a living from farming and when he was offered a position on a plantation in Jamaica, he decided to emigrate. He could not afford the passage and a friend suggested he try to publish some of his work to raise the funds. In 1786 Poems in the Scottish Dialect was published and became an immediate success. Later that year Burns left for Edinburgh to publish a second edition which again was successful and earned him a substantial sum of money. He was well received in Edinburgh, often a guest of aristocracy, and made many friends, some becoming sponsors.

In 1787 Burns returned to southwest Scotland taking a lease on a farm in Dumfriesshire, but he also trained as an exciseman in case the farm was unsuccessful. He gave up farming in 1791 and moved to Dumfries where he made contributions to several volumes of songs, sometimes adding his own lyrics to traditional folk melodies and composing his own melodies from fragments of tunes. He continued to write poetry too, some advocating reform such as “The Slaves Lament”.

He continued to work as an exciseman, often making long journeys on horseback in all weathers and this may have contributed to his ill-health at a rather young age for the time. On 21st July 1796 Burns died aged just 37.  His body lies in the Burns Mausoleum is St. Michael’s Kirkyard, Dumfries along with that of his wife at the time, Jean Armour.

Burns is renowned for having had many romantic relationships which resulted in several children being born, although not all survived infancy. Today over 900 people worldwide claim to be descendants of Burns.

Host your own Burns Night

Due to covid-19 restrictions, many Burn’s suppers will be cancelled this year, but you could host your own with your household.

Need some inspiration to host your own Burns Supper? Why not try out some Burns Night recipes here. Penguin books have a guide on how to run your night and for inspiration, you can listen to or read some of Burns’s work through our Library.

By Vivienne Hamilton

Learn about other World traditions on our blog by reading:

New Year Traditions from Around the World

Spanish Christmas Traditions

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 

22nd January 2023, Year of the Rabbit

Happy New Year, 新年快乐, xīn nián kuài lè

January 22nd marks Chinese New Year, a holiday that is celebrated by 20% of the global population. Also known as the Spring Festival, it marks the end of the cooler months, taking place between 21st January and 20th February, lasting for 16 days.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year involves a lot of traditions involving decorations, food, and customs which symbolise blessings and good fortunes. Traditionally, it is a time spent with family (usually visiting elders of the husband’s side first), and large feasts are prepared particularly on New Year’s Eve which is considered a time for family reunion. Feasts are seen as offering to the gods and blessings for the New Year where ingredients’ names and appearances can symbolise good fortune.

Fireworks are set off at night and in the morning. According to the myth, night fireworks scare off monsters and bad luck, particularly the monster Nian (年) who was a monster that lived at the bottom of the sea. Once a year, he would scare people into mountains out of fear of eating them and their livestock. However, people soon realised that loud noises and the colour red scared off the monster and so began to fill their homes with red decorations and set off fireworks. And speaking of red, elders will give children red envelopes that contain money. It can be given to friends as well and now digitally. It is known as New Year money, carrying the hope of good fortune.

Year of the Rabbit

2023 marks the year of the Rabbit and unfortunately, if this is your zodiac, it means a year of bad luck. Rabbits are seen to have pure characteristics and are extremely kind. They are the fourth animal out of the zodiac. The legend is that Jade Emperor told the animals that the order of the zodiacs will be determined by which of the animals would arrive at his party. The Rabbit was confident of his speed so he decided to have a nap. By the time he woke up and went to the party, three other animals had already arrived before him. For any Rabbits out there, there is more information on how your 2023 will be at ChineseNewYear.net 

 

Read more about New Year traditions in our post on Scottish New Year traditions

Find more resources at Library Search 

Image source by Jason Leung 

Jane Austen Day

Jane Austen Day  

Picture, if you will, a walnut tripod table by a window in a country house. It’s tiny, with twelve sides and a moulded edge. Imagine a small figure writing at this table in secret, on small scraps of paper, alive to the sounds of footsteps carrying visitors into the room. Notice as this person swiftly hides those scraps away from prying eyes. The image you now have in your mind is that of Jane Austen, perhaps the best-loved author in the English-speaking world. Imagine a world without those scraps and their transformation into the six sparkling novels that she completed. How impoverished that world would be.

Jane Austen: A life

Jane wrote in secret because she was a young, unmarried woman in the late 18th century, and it was considered unseemly for ladies to indulge in anything as vulgar as writing fiction.

Luckily for us, she privately pursued her literary passions throughout her tragically short life, and the novels she bequeathed us – all published within a six-year time frame – have been in print ever since. The many television and cinematic adaptations of her work attest to the fact that literary audiences today are as hungry for her work as they were 200 years ago.

Jane Austen lived a quiet, unspectacular and financially constrained life in southern England. She rarely travelled and never married, and yet her keen and witty observations of societal norms and her brilliant insights into human relationships sing out from every page of her works. Her novels were instantly popular, but she was only identified as their author a few months after she died.

Today we celebrate Jane’s birthday, and she lives on through her characters who are as fresh and modern today as they were when she wrote them into existence: Elizabeth Bennett, the Dashwoods, Fanny Price, Emma Woodhouse, Catherine Morland, and Anne Elliot.  Oh, and the dashing Mr Darcy (be still, my beating heart!)

Resources for Jane Austen Day

You’ll find all her novels and TV adaptations on LibrarySearch.  Why not binge-read them over the holidays.

Edinburgh Napier University Login Service

In order of publication:

Sense and Sensibility (1811)

Pride and Prejudice (1813)

Mansfield Park (1814)

Emma (1815)

Persuasion (1817)

Northanger Abbey (1817)

For more information:

The Jane Austen Society UK

By Lesley McRobb

A Guide to Beating Exam Stress

A Guide to Beating Exam Stress

It might be hard to believe, but exams are nearly here and 2022 is nearly over. I know, right!?

The exam period can be a highly stressful time, and it’s understandable you may be feeling overwhelmed, stressed or unsure about how to manage yourself and your time. If you’re looking for help, there are a number of places you can go to find it.

Our libraries are open to you for individual and group study. We’ve got a great variety of resources if you’re in need of some study tips, no matter where you are in your academic journey. Pop on over to our exam support reading list for resources on studying smart, mindfulness, taking successful exams, study skills, and beating stress.

Here are our top tips to help get you through.

Top Tips for Beating Exam Stress

1. Timetable and prepare a study plan.

2. Create a study space that is comfortable, quiet, well-lit, organized, and has no distractions nearby.

3. Put your information into a format that allows you to absorb it best.

4. Take regular study breaks. Alternating subjects you’re studying will also help.

5. Remember self-care!

6. Schedule fun activities to reduce your stress.

7. Eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly to keep your brain power and energy up!

8. Make sure you have all the items you need for any exams. Get them ready the day before to avoid rushing on the day.

9. Remove anything distracting to help you focus. Try putting your phone in a different room when revising.

10. Write down revision targets for the day, review your progress, and update your revision timetable and targets appropriately.

Most of all:  Remember to rest – get a good night’s sleep – and also relax! Check out our Virtual Relaxation Space, Or one of our special exam chillout areas in all our Libraries. You can find them next to the relaxation zones.

Keep an eye out on our Digital screens for more exam tips. Here’s a taster:

Further Support

Please do remember that if you’re experiencing difficulties, get in touch with Napier’s Counselling & Mental Wellbeing service. Drop them an email at counselling@napier.ac.uk or call them on 0131 455 2459.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Edinburgh Napier’s Repository – a home for the university’s research

Edinburgh Napier’s repository – a home for the university’s research

A repository is a kind of digital archive for storing all the research outputs created by a university’s academics and researchers. Most importantly, it also makes much of this research publicly available for everyone to read and download. The Edinburgh Napier Research Repository is the home for Edinburgh Napier’s research. We moved to the current repository platform earlier this year, so it might look a little different now if you were familiar with the old one.

Open Access

Making research open access in the repository benefits researchers whose work can be more widely read and cited. It’s also great for students who can access research much more easily. Almost every university has a repository now.  so you can use aggregator services like CORE to find research from around the world. CORE includes the 20,000+ outputs from Napier’s repository and millions more as well. Take a look at our open-access LibGuide with more tips for finding open-access research.

 

 

Screen shot of the University Research Repository

Screenshot of the University Research Repository

 

 

WorkTribe

For Edinburgh Napier academics and researchers who want to curate their own profile or add new research outputs to the repository, just log in to Worktribe using your usual university credentials. If you need any help, check out the support pages on the intranet or feel free to email repository@napier.ac.uk with any questions about open access – including publishing open-access journal articles using one of the library’s publisher deals.

The repository is not just for academic staff though. In fact, Research students can be set up with a profile if they have publications to share. Furthermore, all postgraduate theses awarded by Edinburgh Napier are made available in the repository and then included in the British Library’s national thesis collection for anyone to read.

And that’s what repositories are all about. Making it easier for everyone to find and share the knowledge our universities create.

 

By Stuart Lawson

 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Movember: Supporting Men’s Health

Movember: Supporting Men’s Health

Are you growing a horseshoe, or a handlebar?  A walrus, or a chopper? Or maybe you’ve decided to devise your own style and reconfigure your facial hair to your own specifications?

I’m asking you men, of course – the men of Edinburgh Napier who are doing their bit for men’s mental and physical health services by growing a moustache for the month of November. Whatever style you go for, we’re delighted that you’re supporting the various projects across mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer. By signing up and getting sponsored, you’ll not only fundraise but, perhaps more importantly, you’ll be visible, and your visibility will start a conversation. Sometimes men are reluctant to discuss intimate health concerns, but talking is a vital starting point for both physical and mental well-being.

History

The Movember movement started in Australia, a country with a reputation – warranted or not – for a macho culture that discourages discussions of male health. It’s all the more to their credit that two “Mo Bros” turned that on its head in 2003. In that year they raised no money, but since then the movement has gone worldwide and raised millions for men’s health projects.

Get Involved this Movember in Supporting Men’s Health

If you want to be involved in the movement, or support it quietly in your own way, you can find out how to do that here. https://uk.movember.com

Many UK projects are being supported by Movember this year. Everything from farming and rural community support to digital skills improvement. And there are prizes to be won. To be in with a chance of winning, why not start your own Big Moustache on Campus challenge. To find out what that’s all about, see here:

https://uk.movember.com/mospace/network/moustacheoncampus

And don’t forget to pop into any of our campus libraries to show off your whiskers. We’d love to salute your chevron!

By Lesley McRobb

Image Source: Photo by Alan Hardman on Unsplash

Read more articles on Mental Health such as World Mental Health Day.

Come visit our Library and see…

Come visit the libraries and see…

 

What delights lie behind the cover of an unopened book?

What adventures could you embark upon, and what new things you will learn, by simply turning the pages one by one?

Who’ll be hiding there amongst the pages, friend or foe you’ve never seen or met before, or someone that seems a little familiar to you, someone you know?

What places will your imagination create and visit? what other delights

and challenges will you overcome and experience?

OR will you just delve into something academic?

To learn and expand your understanding & knowledge of your subject area?

But this can be done in so many ways, by firing your imagination and taking the plunge outside of your comfort zone.

Working together in a group study area or having a quiet conversation, exchanging ideas whilst searching the web to cross-reference.

Will you delve into something new, or just dip in your toe?

There’s so much to choose from, drama, thriller, horror, fantasy or an autobiography and maybe even a little poetry, to mention a few.

Then there’s all the academic books and journals, shelf help and DVDs too. The list is pretty much endless I believe.

Will you find an interesting new genre to read, a new favourite writer, who knows?

Will you carry your books in your bag remembering to self-issue them?

Or choose to read them online instead?

Will you use the library catalogue with exact search terms to narrow and focus your search?

Or maybe not to broaden the results to see what else comes up or falls into that category of yours?

Will you ask for help if you’re unsure of what to do, to find what you’re looking for?

We promise we’ll do our best to assist.

Will you chop and change your study environment, find what suits you best, or choose to work from home?

I’ll leave that decision up to you.

But do come to visit the library and see what you could read to broaden your mind and how the environment has changed and is different from a long, long time ago.

Links

https://my.napier.ac.uk/library

Read more on our blog:

Such as how to use LibrarySearch, our online Catalog in our article: A Quick Guide to finding a book with LibrarySearch or how to find a book on the shelf in our article: The Dewey Decimal Classification System

Places to Visit in Lesser Known Edinburgh

Places to Visit in Lesser Known Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyrood and Greyfriar’s Bobby statue are some of the most popular attractions for visitors to Edinburgh.  However, there are lots of other attractions which are less well-known but just as interesting and pleasant to visit. Here are a few of them:

Museum of Childhood

This can be found on the Royal Mile but is often overlooked by guidebooks. A treasure trove of old children’s toys, games, clothes and playthings.

The People’s Story

Housed in the Canongate Tolbooth at the bottom of the Royal Mile it houses collections which tell the stories of the working-class people of Edinburgh from the late 18th century to the present day using oral history, reminiscence and written sources.

The Pentland Hills Regional Park

Just south of Edinburgh these hills are the highest points around the city and are often covered in snow in the winter. There are many walks over the hills with an abundance of wildlife. There is also a dry ski slope should you want to try out a new pastime. Easily accessible on public transport.

Dean Village

Situated five minutes away from Princes Street, visitors can find the Dean Village, a beautiful oasis right by the Water of Leith. In the past the village housed mills of various kinds, and the remnants of the industry can still be seen today. Look out for mill stones and carved stone plaques with baked bread and pies. Follow the walkway along the Water of Leith and you will come to the impressive Dean Bridge designed by Thomas Telford, and the classical temple of St Bernard’s Well.

Places to visit in Edinburgh Dean Village

Surgeon’s Hall Museums

Just a short walk from the Royal Mile, the Surgeon’s Hall Museums are a unique collection. Full of surgical tools, fascinating paintings and more than a few body parts in jars. Learn about the evolution of surgery throughout the ages and find how great Scottish minds brought us some of the medical breakthroughs we take for granted today. The present Surgeon’s Hall was designed by William Henry Playfair and completed in 1832. It is a category A listed building.

Gardens Dr. Neil’s Garden

This is located beside Duddingston Kirk on the lower slopes of Arthur’s Seat. Created from a wilderness by Drs Nancy and Andrew Neil. Two features of particular interest are the physic garden, which grows medicinal plants, and Thomson’s Tower. It was constructed in 1825 and was originally built for the Duddingston Curling Society. This was back when frozen lochs were the grounds for curling and other winter sports.

Kyoto Friendship Garden

This Japanese garden can be found in the grounds of Lauriston Castle in the Edinburgh suburb of Cramond. With bamboo shelters to picnic in, breath-taking views over Cramond Island to the Firth of Forth, avenues of blossom trees and calming water features. It’s no surprise that it is rated one of the top three Japanese gardens in Britain. The garden was created to celebrate the twinning of the towns of Edinburgh and the prefecture of Kyoto in Japan. It was opened in 2002. Its official name is ‘Castle Garden to Water and Beyond’. Continue reading

Black History Month

Black History Month

October marks Black History Month in the United Kingdom.

Known as the ‘Father of Black History, Carter Godwin Woodson brought forward the celebration of Black History in 1926 in the United States. Initially, it was the second week of February, as Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass celebrated their birthdays. But in February 1969, at Kent State University, it was proposed that it should be a whole month and the first Black History Month was celebrated at Kent State a year later.  President Gerald Ford became the first President to recognise Black History Month in 1976.

Black History Month in the United Kingdom

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in October 1987. That year marked the 150th anniversary of Caribbean emancipation, the centenary birth of Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey and the 25th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity. October also coincides with the start of the Academic year. It was seen as an opportunity to bring in mainstream education. As organiser Akyaaba Abdai-Sebo recalled

I was stirred up in the mid-1980s by the identity crisis that Black children faced. A crisis of identity faced us squarely despite the Race Awareness campaigns of the Greater London Council and the Inner London Education Authority. More had to be done and so I conceived an annual celebration of the contributions of Africa, Africans, and people of African descent to world civilisationSource Link

At first, there was a focus on Black American History, but the emphasis shifted to ‘recognise the contributions and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage in the UK (BBC)

Decolonising our Collections

Here at the Library, all our Librarians are working hard to decolonise and improve the diversity of our Library collections. We realise the importance and significance of the work we need to do here at the Library. Not just when celebrating Black History Month but all year round to make our Library inclusive to all.

You can see some newly added books on our BIPOC virtual bookshelf.

More Information

Remember to check out our library/book displays at each campus site.

You can find out more including details on all the events that are taking place across the country at:

https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/

Also, check out our Library catalogue for more information on Black history and to see new titles we have added.

By Maya Green

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