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Shetland Library News and Events

Most Borrowed Books of 2017
Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves

In 2017, Ann Cleeves regained her crown, beating Lee Child into second place with her seventh Jimmy Perez novel, ‘Cold Earth’. Shetlander Malachy Tallack was top in non-fiction with ‘The Un-discovered Islands’ and the Shetland chart was topped by ‘Bobby the Birdman’, an anthology for Bobby Tulloch. Wimpy Kid still reigned supreme in junior fiction and Harry Potter ruled the audiobook list. There are a lot of other great authors in there so you can check the full list here.

Shetland's most borrowed books of 2017 (PDF).

Press release

Up Helly Aa Bookbug
Up Helly Aa Bookbug

Join us for our annual Up Helly Aa Bookbug at the Shetland Museum & Archives on Friday 26 January at 10.30am.

Bring your peerie Vikings along for a special themed session to get you in the mood for the big day.

All under-5s (plus Mams, Dads, Grannies, Grandads, Aunts, Uncles & their next-door-neighbours) welcome!
Harry Potter Book Night Celebrations
Harry Potter Book Night celebrations

For the fourth consecutive year, the Library will be celebrating JK Rowling’s Wizarding World with Harry Potter Book Night on Thursday 1 February.

We will be testing participants’ knowledge of all things Hogwarts, with an additional focus on Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.

If you are potty about Potter, you won’t want to miss this event!

Broomsticks are to be parked at 6pm, with the evening drawing to a close at 8pm.

Build your own Galley Kit
Build your own galley kit

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

Book Groups
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The next Lerwick Book Group meeting is on Tuesday 16 January, discussing Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Upcoming reads: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet and Beside the Ocean of time by George Mackay Brown. 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.

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.

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.

Saturday Storytime

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

Da Fisherman's Wife Book Launch
Da Fisherman's Wife by Ann Marie Anderson

It's brilliant to once again be hosting Shetland author Ann Marie Anderson, launching her third Shetland dialect book for bairns- ‘Da Fisherman’s Wife’. The event will perfectly conclude this year’s Book Week Scotland, celebrating local culture with Shetland dialect, local musicians & a demonstration from the Shetland Peerie Makkers. We hope to see you there on Saturday 2nd December at 4pm!

Everest and Beyond: with author and filmmaker Matt Dickinson
Matt Dickinson in Yell libary

Author and filmmaker Matt Dickinson did a whistle-stop tour of Lerwick, Unst and Yell during Book Week Scotland (28 and 29 November 2017). He introduced us to his life as an award winning Director/Cameraman for National Geographic TV, Discovery Channel and the BBC. He has filmed on Everest’s summit (the first British film maker to do so and get back alive), in Antarctica, Greenland, Alaska and on top of the highest live volcano in the world. He had a little trouble getting here due to delayed flights, his progress followed avidly on the Radio 2 Simon Mayo show!

Author Ruth Eastham visit
Ruth Eastham in Shetland


Children's author Ruth Eastham visited Shetland on 29 November 2017 for Book Week Scotland, and captivated audiences in both Whalsay & Lerwick with the real-life mysteries and inspiration behind her books.


Book Launch
Across the Sound

On Saturday 25 November 2017 the Library welcomed the Unst Writers Group, who launched Across the Sound, an Unst Anthology. It is a lovely collection for writings from Unst and beyond, lavishly illustrated with lovely photos. Many of the book's contributors were in attendance to read extracts and spoke with keen folk wishing to buy the publication.

Book Sale
Book Sale

Book-lovers and bargain hunters were treated to a BIG sale of Shetland books and magazines, old literary classics and more on Saturday 25 November 2017.

Death in Shetland Waters
Marsali Taylor book launch


The Library were delighted to host author Marsali Taylor once again, launching the much-anticipated 6th Cass Lynch novel on Wednesday 22 November. A lightsome afternoon was had by all, with tea and homebakes, and the opportunity to buy the book and have it signed by the author.


Intergenerational Bookbug Session
Intergenerational Bookbug Session


There was an intergenerational Bookbug Session at Wastview Care Home in Walls on the 21st of November. The story for the session was Nick Sharratt’s Shark in the Park, and staff created a lovely fruit shark for the bairns to have as a snack.


Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear
Online privacy workshop

Nik Williams from Scottish PEN delivered a fascinating & informative workshop about online privacy at the Old Library Centre on 20 November 2017. Attendees were introduced to alternative tools and software to ensure increased privacy when using the internet. He also did a longer training event for staff next day, which was most interesting. Find out more about Scottish PEN here:

Our War in Words
Our War in Words

A trio of special WWI events was launched in the Library on Saturday 11 November 2017 with a poignant evening of readings, dramatic performances, poetry and letters from Shetland's war. Contributors included Shetland Youth Theatre, Erin Keenan, Laureen Johnson, Christian Tait, Ian Tait, Angus Johnson, Mark Sandison and Marsali Taylor. The event was part of our Shetland's War project, supported by the Scottish Government's Public Library Improvement Fund.

The Darkest Day
The Darkest Day

Shetland Museum and Archives hosted our Shetland's War event on 13 November 2017. We marked the 101st anniversary of the day in the Battle of Ancre when Shetland lost 20 men in one day. We screened a short film by J. J. Jamieson 'Private Andrew Williamson' (click link to view on YouTube). Also we heard 'Shetlanders and the Battle of the Ancre' - an illustrated lecture by Jon Sandison.

Women at the Front
Women at the Front

Author Marsali Taylor presented an illustrated lecture and book launch for the third of three November 'Shetland's War' events on 15 November 2017. Two fascinating subjects:

  • Dr Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women's Hospital
  • The diaries of Ysabel Birkbeck, ambulance driver (Marsali's book 'Forgotten Heroines features the diaries).
Afternoon Tea with Millie Vigor
Millie Vigor

On 7 November 2017, Millie Vigor visited us to talk about and read from her new book Sweet Sorrow. Over a cuppa and a slice of cake Millie spoke about her new book, a romance with young lovers separated by World War II. Millie published her first fiction book in 2012 at the age of 85, and this one is her fifth - with one more at the publisher and another being drafted!

Ross Collins visits the library
Ross Collins

One of our favourite books to read to bairns is ‘There’s a Bear on my Chair’ by Ross Collins so it was a real delight to meet him in person. He was in Shetland for Wordplay in November 2017, and took the trouble not only to watch our Big Bookbug session, but visited the Library and drew us a very special picture. What a lovely author!

Big Bookbug goes down a bomb at Wordplay
Wordplay Bookbug

Five library staff put on a fantastic Bookbug at Wordplay on 3 November 2017, and an enthusiastic audience of 118 was very good at singing along! We were joined by author Mairi Hedderwick for the story – here she is with two of our Bookbug champs Morag Nicolson and Karen Malone.

Library features big in Shetland Life
Shetland Life

Shetland Life magazine did a lovely feature on us in their November 2017 edition, which focussed on literature. A three page spread highlighted a lot of the folk who use the library – from two-week old Lewis Gilfillan just joining up, to 83-year old Charles Abernethy sharing his father’s wartime diary with us.

Build your own Galley Kit
Galley kits

For Up Helly Aa 2017 our customers could again pick up one of our popular 'Build your own galley kits' (free but donations welcome) at the Library or download and print from the links below.

Galley kit (best printed on card)

Galley kit instructions

A brief history of Up Helly Aa

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 18 January 2018

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