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Shetland Library News and Events

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 will 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.


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 will be published by Harper Collins on 11 July 2019.

Join us at Shetland Library for an evening of nature, history and adventure as we explore, through paddlers’ and poets’ eyes, what these islands look like from the water.

'Shetland Notebooks'

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.” Find out more about her work and the inspiration behind the recently published ‘Shetland Notebooks’.  Books for sale and signing. Free, all welcome.

  • Tuesday 25 June at 2.00pm - 3.00pm, Old Library Centre, Lower Hillhead, Lerwick

Book Groups

Perfume by Patrick Suskind

The next Lerwick Book Group meeting is on Tuesday 25 June, discussing Perfume by Patrick Suskind. Upcoming reads: Where my heart used to beat by Sebastian Faulks and Normal People by Sally Rooney. 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.

Hurricane Book Club

Hurricane Book Club

In February 2019 we kicked off our biggest book club yet! The Hurricane Book Club is run across Scotland and beyond with LIVE events being held at Shetland, Orkney, Glasgow & Falkirk libraries. If you can’t join in person, you can join the conversation online via Twitter, following the #HurricaneBookClub hashtag.  At our first meeting we discussed ‘Burial Rites’ by Hannah Kent. The second book, discussed on Thursday 25th April was ‘The End We Start From’ by Megan Hunter.  We will be concluding this season on Thursday 27th June, where we will be talking about Elizabeth MacNeal’s recently published ‘The Doll Factory’.

For more information about the group, contact

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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Last Updated on 20 June 2019

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