The exams may be over, but our campus libraries are still open and offering a full range of services. That means that you still have access to laptop loans, printing, study space, and group study rooms. Also, Click and Collect and Inter Library Loans services are still operational. During staffed hours you can still contact us or come to the helpdesk for assistance.
Although you have finished your studies for the summer the library may still have something to offer:
Merchiston library has a wide selection of novels, poetry and photography books.
Craiglockhart Library has French, German and Spanish textbooks if you are interested in learning another language.
Sighthill library has books about birds, animals and plants for nature lovers.
The start of June is upon us which means the start of Pride month. After all, June is the month of pride. Why June you may ask? Well…
The History of Pride 🏳🌈🌈🏳🌈
Celebrating Pride month in June is to commemorate the Stonewall riots that happened on the 28th of June 1969. New York Police raided the Stonewall inn which was a prominent gay club in Greenwich Village in the early hours of the morning. As police turned violent, and a build up of social discrimination and continuous police harassment grew, the raid became a riot and a protest. Led by Marsha P. Johnson, it lasted for 6 days. It saw large media coverage and spilt out to the streets of Greenwich. This was the ‘catalyst for gay rights and activism in the United States and the world’ (Source)
Known as ‘Mother of Pride’, it was Brenda Howard who organised the first pride march to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This became America’s first ever Pride parade. It was not until the 1990s however that Pride Month became more popular (Source). Bill Clinton became the first President to acknowledge June as Pride Month.
Pride Month is not necessarily recognised internationally. However, it is increasingly becoming more recognised outside the United States.
Here at the Library, we love to celebrate Pride month, but we acknowledge that working towards equality is something that needs to happen all year round. We are working hard to promote and diversify our collections to be inclusive of all people, and to redress the imbalances we find in our collections to become more representative of everyone.
The Library has a wealth of books and articles on the subject. From the history of LGBTQ+ 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:
The Edward Clark Collection, housed in the library at the Merchiston campus, is not as well-known as it should be. It is one of the only two surviving examples of what was once a widespread phenomenon in Britain: printers’ libraries. The other survivor is St Brides Library in London.
The Edward Clark Collection consists of around 5,000 items illustrating the development of the book from the 15th century. More specifically, it concentrates on the development of typography, the techniques of printing illustrations, and fine bindings. The collection is located within the Campus Library at the University’s Merchiston Campus.
The first Edinburgh printers’ library was established in 1858. The technical and reference collections continued to be used up until the end of the 19th century, afterwich it is not clear what happened to them. Formal educational requirements for printing apprentices were established after World War I. The Clark Collection was put together as a teaching resource, mainly in the 1930s, to illustrate printing technologies, type design and book production from the 15th century to the present day. As well as the treasures highlighted on the Collection website it is a treasure trove for the historian of print.
Over the last 2 years, whenever access was possible, I have consulted type specimens, trade journals, company histories, technical manuals and books about print production and the design and making of books. These included James Watson’s History of Printing in Scotland (1713), Caleb Stower’s Printer’s Grammar (1808) and T.C. Hansard’s Typographia (1825), and looked again at a long-standing favourite of mine – John McCreery’s poem The Press, printed in Liverpool as a type specimen in 1802.
It is a privilege to work with this collection, and I am very grateful to all the library staff who have made this possible.
Photo of Rob O’Brien and Tess Dalton (the woof), Rob’s fellow monster movie fan at home.
Meet your Subject Librarian Rob O’Brien
Rob is the subject Librarian supporting the School of Applied Sciences and the Department for Learning and Teaching Enhancement.
“I joined the Library at Edinburgh Napier in March, having worked in a similar role at Leeds Beckett University for the last few years, and I’m enjoying settling into my new team and life in Scotland.
The best part of working in a university library for me is getting to meet such a diversity of students and staff and learning about their learning and research interests. Not many jobs give you an opportunity to learn and have new thoughts every day. Also, I still can’t believe my luck in having constant access to a university library with all its space and collections. When I was boy, growing up in a seaside town in Ireland, my local library was about the size of a corner shop and I wasn’t allowed to borrow from the “grown-ups collection” (no matter how many varieties of fake moustache/beard combinations I wore to the service desk).
When not working, I like to read (forgive the librarian cliché), play guitar (terribly), cycle (well, pretend cycling on an e-bike), play badminton (if anyone can recommend a club in Edinburgh who might have room for a surprisingly bad player that would be most appreciated), and hang out with my four-legged friend, Tess (the most fun by far).
I’m looking forward to meeting all my new colleagues outside a computer screen very soon and introducing myself to the confectionery counter at Sighthill Café (which I have heard good things about).”
Is there anything that gladdens the heart of the city-dweller more than the glorious pink of cherry- and the wondrous white of apple blossom lining the grimy streets? Personally, I feel my spirits soar every time I wander along an avenue of blossom and turn up my face to the delicate petals raining down like confetti. Laburnum, too, delights with its brief but brilliant burst of yellow. (Okay, so it’s poisonous, but nobody was planning to eat it!) May really must be the most beautiful and optimistic month, as the light stretches and the air starts to warm up after those nippy April mornings.
The History of May Day
Maybe it’s this abundance of light, colour and new growth that inspired our pagan ancestors to celebrate the beginning of the month. They’d elect a May Queen and a Jack-in-the-Green to lead the festivities which included dancing around the maypole (every village had one), painting faces green and dressing up a local person in a caricature of a horse. The fun continued after the Christian church was established until those killjoy C16th Puritans banned maypole dancing as a heathen activity of drunken wickedness (which to be fair, it probably was).
In recent times, May 1st has become synonymous with something much less frivolous and decidedly more serious: work. Labour movements across the world have inspired action since the earliest days of industrialisation, but official commemoration of May 1st as International Workers’ Day began in Chicago when, in 1886, the American Federation of Labor implemented an 8-hour working day as a new standard of fair practice. In 1904 it was adopted around the world, and now May 1st is recognised by many as a workers’ holiday.
Closer to home, Beltane is a Gaelic festival of fire that is traditionally celebrated on May 1st to mark the beginning of, um, summer. In Edinburgh, revellers usually make their way up Calton Hill before celebrating en masse. If you want to take part in the organised event, you’ll have to set off the night before. See https://beltane.org/
You may be familiar with the old proverb “ne’er cast a cloot til the May be oot.” You’d be forgiven for believing that the May in this case refers to the month, but in fact, it specifically refers to the May tree, an old name for hawthorn, that beloved staple of hedgerows across the land that produces a gorgeous white blossom in May. Hawthorn is the only plant in UK vernacular to be named after the month in which it blooms.
We hope you enjoy this Mayday, whether you’re working, strolling through a garden of cherry blossom, dancing around a maypole or warming yourself against a roaring communal fire. Bring on the summer!
By Lesley McRobb
Read more articles on celebrations here on our blog:
Are deadlines coming up? Assignments due? And Google just won’t do. Our quick guide to finding a book with LibrarySearch that will save the day!
There are books, journals, peer-reviewed articles and much more. We have over 225 databases, 33 000 journals, 100 000 books and well over 300 000 e-books all available at your fingertips at LibrarySearch. We can’t sing the praises of LibrarySearch enough!!
That’s all great and everything but the question now is how does it work?
Simply go to librarysearch.napier.ac.uk, access it through our web pages or click the shortcut here.
Don’t forget to sign in the right-hand corner to give you full access.
In the search bar, type the book title. If you don’t have any books in mind, you can type the keywords for your subject area and let LibrarySearch do its magic. There are filters on the side to narrow down your search for example if you only want books and books for a certain decade and books from a certain campus.
Once you’ve spotted a book that looks useful click on the link. You will be able to see if it’s available online or in one of our Campus Libraries. If it’s available online just click on the links to take you right on through to your book. If the book is on one of our shelves note down the Dewey Decimal number. It will tell you where your book is positioned. Afterwards, If you get stuck check out our guide or ask one of our lovely Librarians who will be happy to help!
All there to make life easier. Like we said LibrarySearch is there to save the day
What the librarians are reading: Books we recommend! Part 1
Stumped for your next read? Curious what the book professionals are reading? Look no further! Here’s a peek into what the staff here at Edinburgh Napier University Library (ENULibrary) have been reading over the last year.
Check out recommended books from all genres and Interests (we are a diverse lot!) Some are available right here at the Library, but for the books we don’t have, why not try your local library? Edinburgh City Libraries have a huge selection of books and we love supporting them.
The Book Reviews
“Tiny Habits” by B.J. Fogg.
“Recommended at a financial health webinar, and I read it over Xmas. A great way to self-change behaviour is by breaking down desired changes in multiple areas into very tiny habits, which are much more easily achieved than big changes. Prompt such habits by linking them to existing parts of your life, and celebrate when you successfully do them…it all helps to rewire them effectively into your brain. Easy to read and to get started with. Recommended!”
“The Story of Tea: a cultural history and drinking guide” by M.L. Heiss and R.J. Heiss.
“All you need to know about teas of the world…production, history, and how to brew them. Lots of pictures. Say goodbye to teabags. Perfect for the Tea-head in your life!”
“Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy” by Serhii Plokhy
“A very interesting and detailed insight about the 1986 disaster and its aftermath. The events are recreated by Ukrainian Professor Serhii Plokhy with detail and accuracy. At the same time, it’s quite interesting to read because the author tells the stories of the firefighters, scientists, engineers, workers, soldiers, politicians, and policemen who found themselves caught there and shows a lot about the nature of the Soviet political system and the flaws of its nuclear industry. As some reviews say, you can read it ” like a good thriller” and I found its less upsetting and disturbing than the recent TV show.”
“Pandora’sJar: WomenintheGreekMyths“ by Natalie Haynes.
“It’s a must for those who, like me, love Greek myths. An enlightening essay about how women have been hidden, belittled or directly condemned in those myths retold many times. The women’s narrative and its complexity have been misinterpreted through History and also Art, so I
enjoyed a lot reading about characters like Pandora, Medusa, and Medea and how they were not as virtuous or monstrous as they have been pictured (normally by men!).”
“Study with me: effective bullet journaling techniques, habits, and hacks to be successful, productive, and organized” Shao, Jasmin andJagan, Alyssa
“I enjoyed it because I have only recently started bullet journaling and this book gives a good overview of the practical/organisational aspects of how to do it, and also guidance on how to make your journal more creative and interesting.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of bullet journaling before it is a customisable diary/planner that be as simple or complex as you choose to make it!”
University libraries tend to be large spaces with shelves with thousands of books, computers and study spaces. Students are used to and expect to have these facilities. You may also use public libraries which may not be as big, but still house a huge variety of books and other resources, but not all libraries are the same……
When war broke out in 1939 Bethnal Green Underground station was partly completed, and work was halted. In late 1940 it was decided that as the works were far enough ahead it could be used as a safe shelter for the public during air raids. Over a period of months, the station was transformed to house enough bunks to sleep up to 5000 people, a café, theatre and a nursery. This community 78 feet underground also gained a library in 1941-Britain’s only tube station library.
In September 1940 a bomb had fallen on the roof of Bethnal Green Public Library causing vast destruction to the adult learning library. Librarian George F. Vale and his deputy Stanley Snaith pulled a tarpaulin over the shattered glass dome roof and vowed to bring a library to the underground community. The council approved a grant of £50 and a library was created over the boarded-up tracks of the westbound tunnel. Stanley Snaith wrote “All last summer the caverns echoed to the din of hammers and saws. The result was a triumph.” Later in the Library Review 1942, he wrote “Libraries in converted shops, in village halls, in mobile vans are common enough. But libraries in tube shelters are something new under the sun.”
The tiny library measured 15 feet square and opened from 5.30-8pm every evening. It housed 4000 titles that had survived the bombing of the main library. Romances, classics, poetry and children’s books could be borrowed and help the residents to escape from the horrors happening above ground. Snaith wrote of his patrons, “Each dusk sees the first contingent making its way down to the bowels of the earth. The well and the ill, the old and the young, they come trooping down… In the library the youngsters are vocally busy with their book selection, but why should they not chatter to their heart’s content.” Now the “youngsters” are in their 90’s, but they still have fond memories of the tube station library. Pat Spicer, now 92 said, “You can’t imagine what that library represented to me as a place of safety. It sparked a lifelong love of reading.”
As the war dragged on many would have been anxious about what the future held, but in October Bethnal Green Library celebrates its centenary and tube trains still come and go from Bethnal Green station.
Across the UK many redundant old red phone boxes have found a new use as micro libraries. This is often in rural areas which have been affected by cuts to spending on public libraries due to cuts in local council funding. The idea is simple-anyone can take a book home, but they are expected to bring it back or bring a replacement.
The first phone box library was set up in 2009 in Westbury-Sub-Mendip following cuts to the mobile library funding. The parish council purchased the box for £1 and locals put up wooden shelves and donated books.
These micro libraries operate on a system of trust and house a large range of titles from cookery books to classics and children’s books. In villages where everyone knows everyone, the system works well, but in some cities, micro libraries have been vandalised and the local community has had to fund and carry out repairs.
These are just 2 examples of libraries in unusual places. If you would like to find out about some other unusual libraries click on the links below:
It’s Valentine’s Day ❤ Hearts rejoice ❤ To celebrate the library wants to hear from you. Starting today till next Friday, it is all about your feedback. Tell us what you love about the library, tell us what we can do better, we want to know. There will be a display all pretty in pink at each library campus where you can tell us. Tell us what’s working, tell us what isn’t, we want to hear from you.
You can leave us feedback below too! Just click on the rating you feel represents how you feel about the Library.
Please leave us feedback about the Library
Could use some improvement
You can leave us a comment once you have selected your rating.
Need to see some reasons to love us? Check out our Love Your Library Posts from last year.
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: