Manchester Library App


It’s been a while since I’ve posted as I’ve been settling into my new role as Director of Digital Library experiences at SOLUS.

I have joined a great team, buzzing with energy and enthusiasm and I am seeing the cutting edge of innovation in library technology and me or call me on 01355 813 600

If you’d like to meet or talk to me about the exciting things we can do

Librarian google Image

moving on

I am moving on from Edinburgh and  I’ve been so busy recently I haven’t made time to keep up my blog!

I have had a fabulous 5 years here and I’m proud to say we have become the UK’s Best Library and Information service

We have  recognised how effectively pushing the boundaries of public service delivery can create a more cost-effective estate, build stronger communities and promote economic vitality through our network of 28 libraries.  WE have done much of this by driving a new vision as hybrid libraries-  a combination of a conventional library and our innovative electronic library. To do all of this Edinburgh library and information service needed to consolidate the building blocks for change and scalability through the use of practical toolkits to support new ways of working and embed performance improvement.

I look forward to taking these skills and passion to a new role.


Banner on Future of America's libraries

State of America’s Libraries 2013

Maybe these libraries are on another continent but we all still share the same problems and values.

This report The State of America’s Libraries 2013 confirms that libraries continue to play a transformative role in their communities  even after an economic recession that has left about 12 million Americans unemployed and millions more underemployed.

Over 16,000 public libraries nationwide “offer a lifeline to people trying to adapt to challenging economic circumstances by providing technology training and online resources for employment, access to government resources, continuing education, retooling for new careers, and starting a small business,” Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association, said in an open letter published July 10, 2012.

“More than ever, libraries are community hubs, and it is the librarian who works to maintain a safe harbor for teens, a point of contact for the elderly, and a place to nurture lifelong learning for all.”

Edinburgh's women of Achievement

Edinburgh’s Women of Achievement

This story on Edinburgh Libraries’  OurTownStories  is a short survey of some outstanding Victorian women from Edinburgh.  It celebrates some of the important female figures from Edinburgh’s past and tells how they made their mark on history. Many of these women were lucky enough to come from wealthy families and had the financial means to push at the imposed boundaries of their lives.
Most of these women of achievement strove to obtain roles in society where they could better the position of other females, by the provision of education, healthcare or the right to vote.Read a fascinating  snapshot of each woman’s life and find out how their campaigning and dedication changed the lives of other women. Read this story  Edinburgh’s Women of Achievement


Independent Sieghart review of e-lending in public libraries published

Alyson's Welsh libraries blog

Last autumn the DCMS commissioned an independent review of e-lending in public libraries in England. The panel took evidence from selected individuals and organisations representing a range of views, from publishers, librarians, booksellers, authors and so on, as well as an open call for evidence.

The review has just been published (press release and actual review) and makes for interesting reading. (NB, although it says England in the title, as the ‘big six’ publishers are national or international companies, and because it covers PLR, its findings will probably end up applying to Wales as well.) It sets out that it “attempts to establish some ground rules on which publishers and libraries can agree to move forward in expanding digital lending offers.”

It’s a pretty easy report to read, and on my very initial quick reading of it, I would say that the findings are generally quite positive…

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Just one of the books on WBN list

World Book Night in Edinburgh – Bond is back!

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift specially chosen and printed WBN books in their communities to share their love of reading.

Things are moving fast as we finalise all our events for World Book Night on 23rd April 2013, the biggest literary event of the year.

There will be lots of events to celebrate right across the city and for those of you who fancy a ‘black tie’ event why not come to Edinburgh’s beautiful Central Library which will be transformed to host our World Book Nght flagship event for our flagship event, ‘World Book Night – Bond is back!’.

Go to or phone 0131 242 8100

Each year WBN recruit 20,000 volunteers to hand out 20 copies of their favourite book from the WBN list to members of their community who don’t regularly read.  By enlisting thousands of passionate book lovers around the country World Book Night reaches out to the millions of people in the UK who have yet to fall in love with reading in the hope that we can start them on their reading journey. In addition World Book Night distributes half a million books directly to the hardest to reach potential readers in prisons, care homes, hospitals, sheltered, supported and social housing, the homeless and through partner charities working throughout the UK. World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so.  But it is also about more than that: it’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways, through the sharing of stories.

A red carpet event for guests and givers to hear a star studded line up of authors…join us!

Edinburgh PhySoc Dig Aside

I am really chuffed to be speaking at International Federation of Library Associations  World Library and Information Congress in Singapore in August 2013.

IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.

IFLA was in fact Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 30 September 1927 at an international conference.

For 2010-2015, the IFLA Governing Board has set out four Strategic Directions:

  • Empowering libraries to enable their user communities to have equitable access to information;
  • Building the strategic capacity of IFLA and that of its members;
  • Transforming the profile and standing of the profession;
  • Representing the interests of IFLA’s members and their users throughout the world.

1927 was a long time ago and libraries here have changed hugely I hope we can host a congress again at some point over the next few years

World Library and Information Congress – Singapore

Greyfriars  bobby 1 Aside

Several people have written about Greyfriars Bobby and various details and embellishments have been added. Many from imagination and speculation, however it is important to remember that records show that the Skye Terrier, Greyfriars Bobby was a real dog who became a companion to his master John Gray (Auld Jock), in the 1800’s.

The legend of Greyfriars Bobby is known the world over, and we’re celebrating the life one of our city’s favourite characters with some very special events. Look out for more details over the coming days

This annual event which takes place in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

The Rt Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of Edinburgh will open the
Commemoration Ceremony for Greyfriars Bobby at 12.45pm in the Greyfriars Kirkyard on 14th January 2013 and afterwards at Central Library, George IV Bridge.  

Greyfriars Bobby


Driving change

I was recently asked to sum up our success and significant upturn in performance in an email and found it almost impossible. However In 2012 Edinburgh won the Bookseller Library Service of the Year Award and I think this sums up our success pretty well. The award was launched to recognise library services which are thriving and innovating in a difficult climate and increasing access and performance.

Edinburgh was considered against a range of libraries across the UK. Judges identified our key strengths as:
* Range of services for hard to reach readers
* A cutting edge website and Library App
* Engaging social media activity
* Committed support from the local authority.

Also referenced in our success was our online library portal ‘Your Library‘, 2 brand new library facilities within the city including Drumbrae Library Hub and Craigmillar Library Hub, refurbished facilities in Morningside and several others, the Prison Library Service, the range of special reading projects including those for dyslexic children and services for older readers.

Judges concluded that Edinburgh Libraries & Information Services are “innovative on so many fronts, full of energy, bang up to date and unafraid of the future”. Providing “a template for libraries everywhere to be inspired by.”

This is the third national libraries award won by the city’s library service in two years. In July 2010, the service was successful in winning the Libraries Change Lives Award from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals for HMP Edinburgh Library Partnership (Saughton Prison).
This was followed in 2011 with the ‘Whose Town’ Project achieving the Scottish Design Awards Chairman’s Award.

Key to any success is the fantastic teamwork and innovative thinking in our staff. It is the power to drive and embrace change

If you would like to know more we are hosting  our annual EDGE 2013 conference 28th February – 1st March and we would be delighted to put some flesh on the bones of this short summary

Call to arms small

We can do it !

Let’s show the world how great we can be!

Elected member free offer ! What a line up at EDGE 2013 this year ! Mike Nielson – Director of Scottish Government Digital, Natasha Innocent – Demand Stimulation Lead, Broadband Delivery UK. , Marshall Breeding- creator of the Library Technology Guides, Brian Gambles  and so many more leading lights!

Time for you to submit that award entry!