Tag Archives: Koh-I-Noor

#GLTU8: Behind the Scenes at the Mitchell Library

22 Mar

What a fabulous tour Myra Paterson put on for her band of 12 library explorers on Wednesday. We oohed and aahed at old things and new things, we laughed at Myra’s patter and almost cried when looking at the Leningrad Album, a token of friendship between Scottish and Russian women in the Second World War. Myra’s colleague, Susan Taylor, gave us a wonderful introduction to that. For a history of the Mitchell I can do no better than direct you to its own website, and Lynn Corrigan has already written such a good blogpost on the visit that I feel I can’t add to it – thanks for saving me a job, Lynn! However, I’ve created a Storify of #GLTU tweets, many containing pictures, and added a few more photographs below. Thank you so much, Myra and Susan.

Four of us headed off to the Koh-I-Noor for a curry afterwards, then staggered home happy and replete.

PS Update – another great blogpost on the event from Helen MacKinven.

#GLTU8 open for booking: Behind the scenes at the Mitchell 20th March

28 Feb

The next GLTU will take place on Wednesday, 20th March at 4pm. Thanks to Myra Paterson (@MyraCPaterson) and her colleague, Susan Taylor, we will have a tour behind the scenes of the Mitchell. This will take about 1.5 – 2 hours and, as is now traditional, those who wish to stay on can follow up with a curry at the Koh-I-Noor at 6pm. Booking is now open on Evenbrite (you can book for either or both) until Sunday, 17th March. Places are limited to 15, so hurry!

The highlight of the Mitchell visit will undoubtedly be a viewing of the Leningrad Album from World War 2, which is not usually on public view. Here’s a description from Susan, followed by a few sites to check for further information:

The Anglo-Soviet Aid Committee in Airdrie and Coatbridge had an active women’s section and they decided to send messages of support and solidarity to the women of Leningrad during the siege. The ‘Scottish Album’ was taken to London and given to Madame Maisky, the wife of the Soviet ambassador. Given wartime censorship, no further details are available of how the album made its way to Leningrad. It could have been transported on a convoy ship to Murmansk or Archangel, by air or even by overland via the Southern states of Russia. Once it has arrived in Russia, there were only two ways in to the city – either by air on one of the very few flights that made it into Leningrad or (more likely) across Lake Ladoga, the main route in to the city during the siege. The journey could be made by boat in summer or over the ‘ice road’ in winter. The Leningrad Album was sent in return – it was supervised by Anna Petrovna Ostramova-Lebedeva, a well-known graphic artist in the city. It’s boxed in gold brocade and the album cover is decorated with an ancient embroidery from the Russian Museum in Leningrad. There are 3,200 signatures and it also contains messages and photos of housewives and workers and their children in happier times.

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Glasgow Herald

Pat’s Guide




UK in Russia


Notes from #GLTU7

23 Jan

For the first GLTU of 2013, thirteen people came to the Mitchell last Wednesday for a lively discussion about future plans. We talked about the possibility of running a Library Camp in Scotland, for which there was definite enthusiasm, and discussed ideas for more GLTUs. A few suggestions were added to those already put forward in the previous post i.e. Cornton Vale, Scottish Parliament (SPICe) and Glasgow School of Art (Mackintosh Library) and most people said they found the current pattern of a late afternoon meeting followed by a social event easiest to attend. Watch this space for news on both these topics.


As it is coming up on 9th February, and therefore urgent, we spent most of the time on National Libraries Day. Again, some ideas had already been proposed and a library flash mob attracted interest and discussion, with some people enthusiastic and others not! However, it was agreed that there wasn’t time to organise one before NLD anyway, but we might pursue it for a future books / libraries celebration. Ken (@iusedtobealibra) suggested a collection of contemporary stories about Scottish libraries making a difference to people’s lives, both public and other e.g. academic / special. Similar things have been done elsewhere, e.g. Voices for the Library and Let’s Talk Libraries (Newcastle), which could serve as models, and we might also explore other online initiatives such as a week in the life of a library (see face Book for an example) or a Fifty people One Question video (multiple examples if you Google it). Again, it was agreed that we couldn’t do this in time for NLD and if we were to build up an online resource advocating for libraries we would need the support of CILIPS, plus people with relevant skills. (Cathy – @kearneycath – has since confirmed that CILIPS will be supportive, particularly as the President’s theme for 2013 is “Making a difference”.) On NLD itself, we can start by tweeting about the many activities going on in libraries, including photographs where possible, and if we set our own hashtag in addition to #NLD13 these can be preserved, e.g. as a Storify, and used to launch the wider idea. Catriona Stewart has written a supportive article about libraries in the Herald and might be willing give us some publicity. So how does this affect YOU? Well, if this is to succeed, we will need everyone to help, both by tweeting on the day (or the week running up to the 9th) and by spreading the word to colleagues, family and friends who could also tweet about their use of libraries. More information will follow very soon.

After all that talking, some of us had built up an appetite! Eight of us trooped off to the Koh-I-Noor and enjoyed an excellent curry to round off the evening.

#GLTU6 – Edinburgh Book Sculptures: review

13 Oct

After a break over the summer, #GLTU returned with a very successful first outing for 2012/13 on Friday, 12th October.

When she heard that the famous Edinburgh Book Sculptures were on tour and visiting the Mitchell Library, Gillian (@gillianhanlon) was quick to suggest a visit, and we were lucky enough to persuade Abby Cunnane of the Scottish Poetry Library (@byleaveswelive) and Peggy Hughes from the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust (@EdinCityofLit) to come along and give us added insight into the sculptures and how they were found. The evening was well attended:19 for the visit at the Mitchell, of whom 14 moved on to the nearby Koh-I-Noor for a curry afterwards. I took a few pictures, but they turned out a bit rubbish I’m afraid. These two were acceptable, the first showing Abby describing one of the sculptures and the other taken at the restaurant. The food had just been served so we were concentrating – we didn’t look as serious as that all night!



Other people took better photographs, the most prolific being Richard (@Ricaird) who tweeted a full set, one of each sculpture, so I decided the best way to enhance this review was shamelessly to plunder other people’s material and create a Storify which also includes links to background information about the sculptures in case you want to know more. I thought they were wonderful, and loved the mysteries surrounding them. Who created them? I believe they are genuinely anonymous – Abby and Peggy seem to have no more idea than we do, although they know the artist is female. How could she smuggle the sculptures into the ten cultural institutions where they were found without ever being noticed? Why were they all addressed to the recipients’ Twitter-handles? She must therefore be familiar with Twitter – perhaps we follow her unknowingly? What is certain is that the artist has a passion for books and libraries and is tremendously creative – as well as the intricacy of the sculptures themselves, just having the idea in the first place and working in all the literary allusions she makes would be beyond most people. So I think there must be others out there who know someone like that and have very strong suspicions, yet they keep the secret too.

The sculptures are at the Mitchell till the 27th before they go off on the next leg of the tour. If you can, I strongly recommend visiting. If you can’t, console yourself with buying the book Gifted – 50p from each copy sold goes to support the Scottish Poetry Library.

So that’s #GLTU6 over. At the end of the evening, talk turned to #GLTU7. There are two schools of thought – leave it till the New Year, or go for a Christmas bash. If we’re going to do the latter, we need to move quickly so opinions are sought as soon as possible. Also, if anyone else has posted any material about the book sculptures visit, please let me know so that I can link it into the blog or Storify.

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