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Shetland Library News and Events

Mason Cross Author Talk

The killing season Meet Mason Cross, author of the Carter Blake thriller series, at a free event in the Old Library Centre on Friday 18 October, 6.00 pm - 7.00 pm.


Digital Drop-In

Digital Drop-In

Come along to the Old Library Centre on Saturday 5 October between 11.00am - 3.00pm. Sign up for Free eAudio, eBooks, eComics and eMagazines from Shetland Library. Questions about YouTube? Chat to Adult Learning about it between 11.00am and 1.00pm. From 1.00pm - 3.00pm you can talk to them about the new classes on offer.

Free, all welcome - come and chat to us over tea and cake.

Shetland (Face)Book Group

Death on a Shetland Isle book cover NEW for Book Week Scotland 2019 - a group that meets both online and offline to talk about a Shetland novel. We meet on 21 November 2019 at 6pm in the Library, and on our Facebook page. Find out how to take part on the club page.

Book Groups

The Valley at the Centre of the World by Malachy Tallack

The next Lerwick Book Group meeting is on Tuesday 15 October, discussing The Valley at the Centre of the World by Malachy Tallack. Upcoming reads: East of Croydon by Sue Perkins and Educated by Tara Westover. The group meets at the Old Library Centre in Lerwick at 7.30pm. New members are welcome: just contact Karen or Marghie here at the library if you want to join.

Check the book group page for more information on Book Groups in Shetland.

Basement Browsing

Basement Browsing

The Library basement will be open to the public on the first Saturday of every month from 2.00pm - 4.30pm. The entry door is down the ramp to the Learning Centre, behind the main Library. Come and browse or borrow those extra books you don't normally see.

Please note that children under eight must be accompanied by an adult.

Click Shetland: ICT Drop-in Help @ Shetland Library

Click Shetland Logo

Need some help using computers and the Internet? Every Tuesday between 10am and 11am, Library staff will be available to help answer your computer queries. Drop along to the library for some friendly and informal help. If you can’t drop in at this time, you can phone us on 01595 743868 to arrange an appointment.

Saturday Storytime


Storytime every Saturday 11.30am at the Library for the under-5s. Just come along, or contact staff for more details.

Knit One, Kill Two

Knit one, kill two

On Tuesday 1 October we had a Crime & Craft session at Mid Yell Community Library to coincide with Shetland Wool Week. Readers of all ages were invited to bring their crafts along & discover the services we provide which allow folk to be able to craft AND read at the same time. What a NOVEL idea!

Woolly Tales

Woolly Tales

On Thursday 3 October we celebrated Wool Week with a Q & A session with four local Shetland maakers (Lauretta Robertson, Pearl Johnson, Mary Eunson and Mavis Ross). The evening included lots of interesting stories, good conversation and homebakes. As a bonus, people’s generous donations for homebakes raised £30 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Mak & Yak for Super Sheltie!

Super Sheltie!

We kicked off our Mak & Yak for Super Sheltie competition with a gathering at the Old Library Centre on 29 August. The competition challenged maakers to create a woollen article for Super Sheltie to wear at our Woolly tales event on 3 October 2019. We were intrigued by the projects begun at the gathering. Super Sheltie will be one well dressed pony!

Summer Reading Spree: Summer Reading Challenge for Teens and Adults

Summer Reading Challenge for teens and adults

The Summer Reading Spree 2019 was a great success with both teens and adults reading across various genres and topics. One of reader shared that she had discovered a “new favourite author” and many commented that they were borrowing and reading books they would not normally have picked. Well done everyone. Keep reading!

Inside the Writer's Mind

Jean Fullerton

Unfortunately, author Jean Fullerton had to cancel her visit to Shetland. The cruise liner she was travelling on was diverted because of the very poor weather. She sends her apologies to her readers and hopes she will be able to visit sometime in the future. In the meantime her books are available to read in the library.


Marketing Excellence Award

Shetland eBook promo stall

We ran a great eBook promo over 2018/19 - a mixture of library, school, mobile and community events as well as lots of online info. The results was a big rise in our eBook issues with folk much more confident about using them. So we were delighted to be presnted with a Marketing Excellence Award by the Publicity and Public Relations Group of CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). Well done, Kaye and Louise, who did most of the graft! PPRG web page - read about the award.

Author Event with Ethel Hofman

Mackerel at midnight with Ethel Hofman

Ethel Hofman author of “Mackerel at Midnight: Growing up Jewish on the Shetland Isles" visited us for a convivial evening of shared family stories, reminiscence and kosher treats. We were delighted to have a full house that evening and hope Ethel will return soon. 13 August at 7.00pm - 8.30pm

Author Talk and Discussion

Five Generations of a Scottish Jewish Family

On Monday 12 August 2019, author Fiona Frank discussed some of the stories she was told while researching her book, “Candles, Conversions and Class: Five Generations of a Scottish Jewish Family." Some of the audience were inspired to share their own family stories while we all sampled some lovely kosher strudel and rugelach.

Shortlisted for Library of the Year

Image result for bookseller logo

In 2019 we were excited to be shortlisted for Library of the Year. The top slot went to Harrogate this time, but is was a very strong shortlist - read the full list on the Bookseller site here.And here's a Scottish Library and Information Council article about our nomination.

First World War project blog

Shetand first world war diary

In 2019 we were asked to write a blog about our Shetland's War project for the Scottish Library and Information Council website. The project was supported by SLIC and the Public Library Improvement fund. Read the Shetland's War blog here.

Maloy library book exchange

Norwegian books in Shetland Library

There have always been big connections between Shetland and Norway, and the town of Maloy in particular, so it was lovely to take part in a 'book exchange' with our colleagues in the Vagsoy library in Maloy. They sent us a very generous selecton of books for our collection, and we displayed each others wares during the busy week of the Bergen - Lerwick race.

Hurricane Book Club

Hurricane Book Club

In 2019 we hosted our biggest book club yet! The Hurricane Book Club is run across Scotland and beyond with LIVE events held in Shetland, Orkney, Glasgow & Falkirk libraries. Those who couldn't come in person could join online via Twitter with the #HurricaneBookClub hashtag. At our first meeting we discussed ‘Burial Rites’ by Hannah Kent, second was ‘The End We Start From’ by Megan Hunter and we concluded the season on 27 June with Elizabeth MacNeal’s ‘The Doll Factory’.

For more information about the group, contact


How Publishing Works: from manuscript to bookshop

Kate Macdonald

Kate Macdonald from Aberdeen is the director of Handheld Press, a small independent publishing company based in Bath. She joined us on 24 July 2019 to give a talk about how books are selected, how the production process works, cover design, getting into bookshops and the stories behind some of the books they have published. It was a well attended event with lots of questions from a very engaged audience.

The Frayed Atlantic Edge: Book Launch
The Frayed Atlantic Edge by David Gange

The story of a breath-taking kayak journey, undertaken by historian and nature writer David Gange, The Frayed Atlantic Edge was published by Harper Collins and launched here in the Library on Tuesday 9 July. It was an evening that combined music, poetry and literature - the coast through paddlers’ and poets’ eyes.. Thanks to local authors Jen Hadfield, Sally Huband and Donald Murray, as well as fiddler Emma Leask who helped David launch his book.

Fantastic photos on David's website!

Hear Emma Leask's fiddle tunes [YouTube]

'Shetland Notebooks'

Shetland Notebooks

Artist and author Kate Walters visited Shetland in June and gave a talk at both the Baltasound Community Library and the Lerwick Library about her work and the inspiration behind her book ‘Shetland Notebooks’.

“Walters creates spirit worlds on the page, beings who emerge from liquid and stain; then articulates and accompanies them with dense, heartfelt texts.”

The book is available to borrow from the Library.

Hard Down! Hard Down! Author Talk and Signing

Isbester Family On Friday 14 June, in partnership with the Shetland Family History Society, we hosted an evening with Captain Jack Isbester, who recently published the book ‘Hard Down! Hard Down! The Life and Times of Captain John Isbester from Shetland’. Captain Isbester talked about the sea-faring life of his grandfather, with family members reading extracts from the book. Thank you to the Isbester family for a most enjoyable evening and to the Shetland Family History Society for the delicious spread!

Book Launch - From Myths to Meids

Book Launch - From Myths to Meids

On Monday 10 June we launched the book ‘From Myths to Meids: Maritime Heritage of Fair Isle, Papa Stour & Skerries’. Author Charlotte Slater had a drop-in session for anyone interested in finding out more about the work of the Shetland Rural Island Maritime Heritage Project (SRIMHAA) and copies of the book were on sale.


A tune for the talking newspaper listeners

Shetland Library taliking newspaper volunteers

On June 3, 2019 we kicked off Make a Noise in Libraries Week (#MANIL2019) with a tea for our talking newspaper volunteeers and partners, and the launch of our new talking newspaper intro tune, performed live by fiddler Emma Leask. Have a look and listen and on this 40 sec YouTube film - and find out more about the talking newspaper on our Vision Services web page.

Peerie Mootie and her Muckle Buits - the movie!

peerie mootie filming

On 31 May 2019 we premiered 'Peerie Mootie and her Muckle Buits' - the movie. We hosted Shetland Community Ballet, musicians Emma Leask, Anya Johnston and Peter Wood, and filmmaker Stuart Hannay. They brought Valerie Watt and Mary Fraser's children's book to life in the Library. The creativity of music, dance, literature, dialect and film are all #CraftedByScotland and nurtured in the Library! The movie is being released on our Youtube site and shared by Scottish Ballet as part of their Digital Season. This production is to wish a Happy 50th Birthday to the Ballet:.They invited us to take part in Crafted By Scotland and ths is our submission - other partners include Scottish Opera, National Museums Scotland and National Theatre of Scotland! Special thinks to Matthew Lawrence of Shetland Community School of Ballet who brought it all together.

Movie trailer - Movie - Press release - Scottish Ballet Digital Season 2019 website

Elmer's 30th Birthday


On Saturday 25 May, we celebrated Elmer’s 30th birthday with a special Elmer Storytime and lots of colouring in throughout the day.

There were plenty of Elmer books to borrow, and the Hunt the Elmer Characters competition was a huge success.

Colouring for Everyone - Get Creative Festival

Get Creative

Colouring For All! – Get Creative Festival May 11-18. All through the week Library customers of all ages had a grand time colouring in at the library. We supplied the colouring sheets, pen and pencils – and our customers supplied the creativity!

Celebrate World Book Night

World Book Night

On World Book Night we celebrated our love of reading and words with an open mic evening. It is always a treat to hear the fine variety of talent and voices Shetland has to offer. We had folk sharing poems, monologues and songs.

The Stone Age

Image result for jen hadfield

On Wednesday, 17 April 2019, Shetland poet Jen Hadfield joined us for an accessible and engaging poetry reading and talk. She read some poems from the collection she is currently working on, entitled “The Stone Age”. In these poems of rapture, transparency and humour she explores human relationships and the world of the wild from a neurodiverse perspective. She spoke on the evening about neurodiversity and how Aspie traits may not only be native to poetry but also vital to our culture. Her new poetry collection is not published yet but we are looking forward to its release.

Gruffalo's 20th Birthday

Gruffalo Storytime

On Saturday 23 March we celebrated the Gruffalo’s 20th birthday, with a storytime led by Chloe and Alex, followed by an appearance by none other than the Gruffalo himself. Despite it being a wet and windy morning, almost 90 children with accompanying adults turned up for the event. Before he left, the Gruffalo launched a number of competitions which will run until the end of the month.

eServices Drop-in

eServices Drop in

On 16 March 2019 Shetland Library, along with Adult Learning and Skills Development Scotland, welcomed folk to the Old Library Centre to promote eServices in Shetland.

Around 80 folk attended to find out about free eBooks, get advice about Facebook settings and see demonstrations of Virtual Reality, Lego Mindstorm robots, 3D printing and coding.

Most borrowed lists of 2018

Image result for eleanor oliphant

In 2018, Eleanor Oliphant was completely fine with our readers, even trumping Ann Cleeves in the adult fiction chart. But it was local writer Marsali Taylor who really triumphed, helped by a great performance with eBook readers. As always a great selection of new Shetland books were well borrowed, including the Library's own First World War publications, James and Tom Morton's Shetland cookbook and Douglas Sinclair's 'Old Lerwick'. Read more on our Most Borrowed page.

Harry Potter Events

Harry Potter

The Library held its second annual Harry Potter quiz night on the 7th March 2019. We had a brilliant turnout of 9 Teams bringing a total of 45 People, some of which being a few new faces to the library. The quiz lasted from 6 - 8pm consisting of 4 Normal question Rounds, 4 fun picture and quotes rounds and finishing up with a double points round.  Overall the quiz was a huge success with very positive feed back from everyone.

Build your own Galley Kit
Galley Kit

During fire festival season you can pick up one of our popular 'Build your own galley kits' (free, but donations welcome) at the library or you can download and print from the links below.

Galley kit (best printed on card)

Galley kit instructions

A brief history of Up Helly Aa

Video: making your galley!

Sunshine Reading Group

Sunshine Reading Group

The Sunshine Reading Group met once a month (Oct 2018 – Jan 2019) to share lightsome reads in the glow of a full spectrum (SAD) lamp. There was no assigned reading, instead we chatted about favourite authors, titles and genres and other “bookish” things. The group was a joint effort by the Library and Mind Your Head, who promoted the sessions as one of their wellness activities.

Evening classes and more

Learn button

If you are interested in courses and classes available locally, check the Shetland College programme of part-time and evening courses here - or pick up a brochure in the Library. The Council's Adult Learning department will launch a further programme of community courses soon - check the Adult Learning website here for details.

Help with budgeting

Ways to Save Booklet Front Cover

We all know the Library is a great way to save, by taking advantage of free computer use, books, music, film, newspapers, magazines...well, need we go on? Community Planning and development has published a handy booklet with other handy contacts that might help with budgeting. Download the Ways to Save booklet here [PDF]


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News Archive 2006


Last Updated on 08 October 2019

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