#GLTU4 Cellos and Bellows – review

19 May

Our gracious hosts, Karen McAulay (@KarenMcA) and James Beaton (@jjb362)

#GLTU4 had a music theme and was an event of many parts. People dropped in and out, but there were 15 attendees for at least some part of the afternoon.

1. Lunchtime concert.

5 of us attended the lunchtime concert at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for which Karen had obtained free tickets. We heard a varied programme from two prize winning string quartets, the Csengele and the Cantabile, made up of Royal Conservatoire students. Remember those names, they will go far!

2. Royal Conservatoire Library.

Karen gave us a tour of the Whittaker Library where we were intrigued by the young man in the silent study area listening to music on his headphones and conducting away to himself. Naturally, the library’s collections are heavily concentrated in the areas of music, drama and other performing arts, and Karen described very well the attendant problems of classification. For music, they use Library of Congress. Drama used to have an in-house classification scheme, but a few years ago it was converted to Dewey. Other differences to more general academic libraries include the fact that journals are less likely to be online, because many of them emanate from small societies, and the large number of media items in the library:


We then toured the rest of the building, passing a display case of archive material, including a portrait of Jimmy Logan as Dame Lizzie (1989) and the costume he is wearing in it. You can also see his red book from This is your life:


We walked through the corridors of Practice Rooms, hearing snippets of different music coming from each, before ending up in the newest part of the building, the Alexander Gibson Opera School, which was opened by Dame Janet Baker in 1998. And finally, I added to my collections of bags acquired via GLTU with a fine Wheesht! bag.


3. National Piping Centre

We crossed the road to The National Piping Centre, where coffee and shortbread made a welcome start. The Piping Centre exists for the study of the music and history of the Great Highland Bagpipe and incorporates a school with rehearsal rooms and an auditorium, the Museum of Piping, a reference library, conference facilities, a hotel and restaurant. Quite a place!

After refreshments we moved to the library which smelled beautifully new. James explained that it had previously been housed in cupboards and was now being transferred to new shelving:


The Piping Centre teaches over 10,000 hours of piping per year, including some courses via Skype. It is a charity, but relies on its commercial activities for £1.6m of its £2m income. (We provided some help in this later by copious wine drinking.) They have a joint course in traditional music with the Conservatoire so Karen and James work together quite closely sometimes. James is also Project Manager for Noting the Tradition, an oral history project which will launch a website at Piping Live in August. In the meantime, it has a Facebook page and can be found on Twitter at @NotingTheTradit.

Next stop, the Piping Museum. Although housed in the Piping Centre, this is actually part of the National Museums of Scotland. It was good to have a tour with added expert commentary.


Again, we had a tour of the rest of the building and, again, this included corridors of practice rooms. We were amused by the notices on the doors:


Back in the library, James gave us a tune to complete the visit:


4. The Piper’s Tryst

The Tryst is the restaurant attached to the Piping Centre and after the visit seven of us had dinner there. The food was good, the wine was fine and the company exceptional. In a slightly bizarre twist at the end of the evening, I emerged from Hillhead Subway and phoned my husband who, I was sure, would be in some local hostelry. Indeed, he was in the Chip, and who should I meet just coming out as I went in but James? Much astonishment all round – he had taken a taxi and had already had a quick pint. He didn’t take an awful lot of persuading to turn round and have another one with us!

So that’s my story of #GLTU4. If you have anything to add – photographs or links – please let me know. #GLTU5 will be coming up on June 21st, so watch this space.


Here’s Karen, announcing the disruption of our visit to her students.

Storify of related tweets.

June 17: Better late than never! Here’s Isabel’s blog post about the Royal Conservatoire. Follow up on the Piping Centre promised.

July 05: Piping Centre follow up to the above.


2 Responses to “#GLTU4 Cellos and Bellows – review”


  1. Cellos and Bellows « A new library world? - May 20, 2012

    […] Fellow cpd23 folk might be interested in another library grouping I belong to, GLTU (Glasgow Library Tweetups). I started this at the beginning of the year and we’ve had an event each month so far. The latest, Cellos and Bellows, was on Friday and involved visiting the libraries of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the National Piping Centre before, naturally, indulging in a few drinks and a good meal. You can read more about it on my GLTU blog. […]


  2. CPD 23: Thing 4 – telling and reading stories « The Victorian Librarian - May 29, 2012

    […] it out.  I had initially thought of doing a story on the most recent Glasgow Libraries Tweet-Up, Cellos and Bellows, but Anabel beat me to it here.  I don’t want to be copying somebody else’s homework, […]


Like to reply? Please comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: