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International Book Giving Day

11 Feb

International Book Giving DayIf you’re planning to buy chocolates and flowers for Valentine’s Day this Sunday, why not add books to the list? 14th February is also International Book Giving Day when the aim is to get books into the hands of as many children as possible, especially those who wouldn’t normally have them. Most children in developing countries do not own books, nor do one-third of children in the UK, so follow the link to find out how you can help.

Glasgow Women’s Library and the Suffragette Oak

8 Feb
Vote for the Oak!

Vote for the Oak!

One of the earliest GLTUs was to Glasgow Women’s Library. Now we can repay the Library by helping with its campaign to have the Suffragette Oak made European Tree of the Year! The oak, on Glasgow’s Kelvin Way, was planted by suffrage organisations on 20 April 1918 to commemorate the granting of votes to women. Last year it became Scotland’s Tree of the Year, and voting for the European round is open throughout February. Vote for the Oak!

“My Library By Right” – have you signed yet?

13 Jan

mylibrarybyright-webpageIf you haven’t signed CILIP’s petition against library closures, now would be a great time to do so! It currently has almost 8000 signatories but needs many more. More info on the CILIP website.

Thank you.

Library A to Z and Book Week Scotland

13 Oct

Something that might be worth discussing at Library Camp Glasgow? Particularly Library A to Z.

23 Librarians - and counting!

Here are two, important library-related events coming up in November.

LIbrary A to Z Library A to Z  is a campaign, created by Gary Green and Andrew Walsh, that has produced a visual A to Z celebrating the wide-range of services, resources and facilities that make libraries so fantastic. Via Kickstarter funding, Gary and Andrew commissioned full colour images from freelance illustrator Josh Filhol to depict the words that reflect the great work, activities and values of libraries. These illustrations are the basis for a range of promotional and advocacy materials including posters, cards and a full colour book. As well as the illustrated library alphabet, the book also includes quotes from library users and a chapter about the positive impacts of libraries.

Library A to Z launches during the week 17-22 November, when packs, including copies of the books and other material, will be sent to local, national and international politicians. The aim of this action is to highlight the continued…

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Libraries and heritage by the sea: Saltcoats

30 Jun

Some pictures and thoughts from Saturday’s CILIPS West excursion. A grand day out, which might become annual – highly recommend going next year if so.

Adventures of a Retired Librarian

What could be better on a summer Saturday morning than getting a train to the seaside? No buckets and spades required though – this was a CILIPS West outing to Saltcoats to view its library and Heritage Centre. Six visitors had a fine time thanks to the efficient arrangements made by Alison McAllister, Systems and Support Officer at North Ayrshire Libraries.

We began our visit in Saltcoats Library, set in a pretty park, where we were met by Area Librarian, Jim Macaulay. Librarians, as we know, are fuelled by cake, so it was good to start with coffee and strawberry tarts. The serious business over with, Jim told us a bit about the work of the Library before showing us round. It’s open 50 hours per week and serves a population of around 13000, from which result 6-7000 visits per month and 57000 adult and 14000 children’s issues per year. That sounds pretty good to…

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National Public Libraries Festival

26 Jun

A message from Sue Lawson:

We’re pleased to announce that the National Public Libraries Festival – our first celebration of all-things public library – has launched a call for funding over at Crowdfunder.

The first ever national public libraries festival will be a day long celebration of the creativity and innovation happening in public libraries. The one-day public libraries festival, set to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, will bring together an exciting programme of interactive workshops, engaging discussions, fun events, live music and theatre and much more.

We aim to:

  • attract a new audience into the library and inspire them to become library users
  • confound perceptions of libraries as places of limited appeal or outdated institutions with limited lifespans
  • inspire library staff and drive change in the ways libraries are presented to the non-using public
  • focus on exciting future possibilities

If you support public libraries I urge you to donate to the Crowdfunder appeal and support the festival – a brand new event to positively promote the strength and dynamism of public libraries at a time when many are under threat. It also has the potential to widen our audience and convert non users. It will also be a brilliant day out! Now who can argue with that?

If you are interested in becoming a Public Library Festival corporate or institutional sponsor, please contact Sue Lawson or Richard Veevers at

Keep up to date by following the #PubLibFest hashtag on Twitter, bookmarking our blog, or following LibraryCamp on Twitter and Facebook.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions or just want to help!

School Library Camp

24 Jun

In this guest post, Jennifer Horan (@Miss_Horan7) describes Scotland’s first School Library Camp.

School Library Camp Scotland, the first of its kind, took place on Saturday 14 June 2014, in the Andersonian Library at the University of Strathclyde. It coincided with three other regional School Library Camps, in London, Manchester and Leeds, and was open to school librarians, librarians in other sectors, other school staff and anyone else with an interest in school libraries. It followed the usual unconference format of Library Camps, where sessions were user-generated and were pitched on the day.

I got the idea to organise the Camp after attending Library Camp Glasgow in the Mitchell Library last year, and becoming the star attraction as “school librarians never come to these kind of things”. I then became aware that, other than the School Library Association’s annual conference, I rarely see another event advertised which is based solely around school libraries. (Though maybe I’m not looking hard enough.) After finding online a few other like-minded school librarians from south of the border, School Library Camp was born.

Much Twitter-publicity later, we had a potential full house of 50 delegates, a large meeting room at Strathclyde and lovely gift bags, courtesy of CILIPS, SLA and various school library suppliers.

The day itself went well, though we had a disappointingly low turn-out which reduced the number of session pitches. Despite this, seven successful sessions were held during the day: Stock development; E-books in schools; Reader development; Job security; School vs library management; Twitter tips and a brilliant session from Glasgow University PhD students on their study of children’s literature. I decided to make the last session of the day a general discussion about what groups had covered and to allow for any further points to be raised.

We concluded the day in true Library Camp style with a raffle-ticket-under-a-seat prize of gift books (kindly donated by Waterstones) and homemade cake. The day received very positive feedback, with delegates enjoying the informal, user-led style. There were some requests for shorter, more focussed sessions to allow more movement and variety – a style to be considered for a possible School Library Camp 2.


#GLTU12 – Travelling Librarians

17 Mar
Michael Charlton and Kirsten McCormick

Michael Charlton and Kirsten McCormick

22 librarians gathered in the Saltire Centre, Glasgow Caledonian University, last Wednesday for Travelling Librarians, an event hosted jointly by GLTU and the newly reformed CILIPS West Branch. Heather Marshall (@macmarsha), CILIPS West Secretary, organised excellent hospitality and Robert Ruthven (@Bgbop), both CILIPS President and CILIPS West Chair, extended a warm welcome. We had two great speakers in Kirsten McCormick and Michael Charlton, and afterwards 16 of us repaired to Masala Twist on Hope Street for a warming curry and a chat.

Kirsten McCormick – Australia

Kirsten is Librarian, General Services, at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library. As the recipient of the CILIP / ESU Travelling Librarian Award for 2013, she spent a month travelling around Australian libraries researching ways in which they record major sporting events and their legacies for the social record. This experience, which has had an immediate beneficial impact on her professional development and on the work that she does at the Mitchell, particularly with relation to the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, was described in the first part of her talk. In the second part, Kirsten gave tips on applying for this year’s award (closing date 28th April). She’s very happy to help anyone who wants to apply – her contact details are in her slides.

Michael Charlton – Peru

Michael is Head of Research at Mildwaters Consulting LLP. In 2012, he spent 5 months in Zapallal, Peru, where he created a library and learning centre for the 40 children, aged 5-18, who live in the Project Peru children’s refuge. The children at the refuge come from communities of extreme poverty and where there is no culture of reading for pleasure and studying for educational and vocational purposes. Michael told us about his experience working with the children and the community of Zapallal, and showed how the library developed from an idea into a real place of learning and fun. He also made an impassioned plea for help with Project Peru by donating or volunteering – as Michael points out, a room full of books needs a librarian to become a library. Michael’s talk can be viewed on Prezi.

The curry

A curry has become almost obligatory as part of a Glasgow tweetup. This was a good one! Here’s a room full of librarians anticipating their dinner:

And here is some of what we got!

Thanks to everyone who came and made this such an enjoyable event.

Visits: RCPSG Library and Bridgeton Mediatheque

4 Mar

I went on a couple of visits with other organisations recently. SALCTG visited the RCPSG Library (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow) – some beautiful historic books and artefacts (including an amputation set and a 19th century enema kit) in an equally beautiful and historic building. Read more on the SALCTG blog.

With MmITS, I went to Bridgeton Library, specifically to learn about the Mediatheque, but we toured the whole building. In the Mediatheque’s purpose-built booths you can access a digital jukebox of over 2000 items from the BFI Archive, including Scottish material. Read more on my own blog, Adventures of a Retired Librarian.

Do either of these sound good for future tweetups? Ideas always welcome!

#ELTU1: Scottish Poetry Library

14 Jun

GLTU has a wee sister! Lynn Corrigan (@lynncorrigan) organised #ELTU1, the inaugural Edinburgh event, on 13th June and, following time-honoured Glasgow tradition, we visited an interesting library and then went to the bar.

The Scottish Poetry Library is just off Canongate on the Royal Mile. Although it’s in such a historic area, it’s actually an award-winning modern building (1999 – one of the first Heritage Lottery Fund projects.) Julie Johnstone, Librarian, gave us a tour and some background information about the library and Colin Waters, the Library’s Communications Manager, talked about the innovative use of social media by the Library.

Julie explained that the Library’s collections and services attract visitors from around the world and anyone can join for free. (However, despite core-funding by Creative Scotland, staff still need to raise money through sales, events and a Friends scheme.) The collection mainly covers Scottish poets or poetry published in Scotland from the second half of the twentieth century onwards, but is not wholly restricted to that. As well as books (including children’s material) there are journals, pamphlets, cuttings, CDs and archive collections (Edwin Morgan; Ian Hamilton Finlay). A lot of enquiries come from people looking for poems on particular subjects so the collection is extensively subject-indexed. (A good question was asked: Is your metadata poetic? Answer: Some of the thesaurus chains can be!

Colin, an ex-journalist, talked about the library’s social media presence which he sees as an important way of fulfilling their mission to bring people and poetry together. He thinks of SPL as a hub for to promote poetry throughout Scotland, not just as a collection for people to visit, and because poetry is a very mobile form – it fits on postcards, posters etc – it is thus ideally suited to social media. SPL tweets as @byleaveswelive, a phrase from Patrick Geddes which is reflected throughout the library, even on the paving stones outside. As a group of teeters, naturally we were most interested in Twitter which Colin thinks is the best social medium – 140 characters forces creativity. It is used for promotion, but not as mini-press releases, he tries to inject humour and personality to give the feed a specific voice. The feed has 14000 followers – not all going to be passionate poetry lovers, but reading snippets on Twitter is better than nothing!

Other media used are blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, SoundCloud and Podomatic. Poets are usually keen to do podcasts of their own work – each one gets about 300 hits so it is good promotion for them. Colin and Julie were then asked if they had considered a poetry app, which they had – a poemgram where the user could select a poem and send it to someone as a card, either digitally or by mail. This would require specific funding which they haven’t been able to secure – and obviously a lot of hard work!

The mysterious book sculptures were greatly admired – this was my third encounter in as many weeks because I’ve recently visited the Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick and Glasgow School of Art, both of which have a sculpture from the Book Week Scotland series. And as I type this, I am reading on Twitter that a new one has just been delivered to Leith Library! Where will they turn up next?

Finally, we went round the corner to Hemma where food and drink was taken – and Lynn introduced us to the joys of Idun’s Genuine Swedish Elderflower cider. Scrummy!


PS For more accounts of the visit, see Lynn Corrigan’s blog and Claire Donlan’s blog, and for more on the newest sculpture, see Leith Library’s blog.

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