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Shetland Library News Archive 2018

Book Launch
James Sinclair

On Friday 7 December the Library hosted the launch of Yarnin, a book of poetry by James Sinclair. This book has been described by Donald Murray as ‘both forceful and muscular, yet it contains the intimacy of a quiet measured conversation.' Kevin MacNeil writes that ‘a true sense of community pervades his characterful writing and the poems resonate in heart and mind long after the reading.' The evening included readings and music by Donald Murray and Donald Anderson and a great time was had by all.

Book Launch
Donald S. Murray As the Women Lay Dreaming

On Tuesday 4 December the Library was the venue for the Shetland launch of Donald Murray’s latest novel, As the Women Lay Dreaming.

This is the first novel about the little-known Iolaire tragedy of 1 January 1919, when a ship bringing WWI servicemen home to the Hebrides sank in Stornoway harbour. The evening included music from Donald Anderson and slides to illustrate the story.

The book has been praised as a story “told with great charm, and tinged with a spirit of loss and yearning” by Philip Marsden, of the Spectator

Book Launch

Death on a Shetland Island by Marsali Taylor

Marsali Taylor launched her latest mystery, Death on a Shetland Isle with us on 26 November. This seventh investigation for Cass Lynch and Gavin reunites them with Cass’s parents, her friends Inga and Magnie and of course the engaging Peerie Charlie in a summer investigation on Fetlar. The evening included a chance to have a go at playing the Nordic/Celtic strategy game Hnefatafl, which features in the novel.

Peace, Love and Potatoes

John Hegley

On 22 and 23 of November we celebrated Book Week Scotland with a visit from performance poet, comedian, musician John Hegley. His quick and witty use of word play, music and audience participation was enjoyed by all. He visited the P5-6-7 at Aith School and Bells Brae Primary Schools and delighted us at an evening event at Shetland Library in Lerwick entitled Peace, Love and Potatoes. Highlights of his visit included Stanley’s Stick, writing a kenning poem about an elephant and his song Guillemot (complete with hand and arms motion for the audience.) Big smiles all around!

Shetland's War - a double book launch
Library event in Lerwick Town Hall

The culmination of our fascinating and fruitful Shetland's War project was a fantastic sold out event at Lerwick Town Hall, on 21 November 2018 in Lerwick Town Hall. 'That Grim Red Dawn' by Jon Sandison and 'And Darkness Fell' by Christian S.Tait were launched with music and readings. Very special music was provided by Margaret Robertson and Hjaltibonhoga, playing Margaret's specially commissioned tune to remember the Battle of the Ancre. There was also a fantastic a cappella set by the North Ness Boys singing wartime songs. Huge thanks to everyone involved!

Shetland Mariners Book Launch

Shetland Mariners book cover

Another fantastic local history event from our Shetland's War project was held in the Museum on 1 November 2018. Our Shetland Museum and Archive partners hosted a lecture on 'Shetland Mariners in the Great War' by Laughton Johnston. It was also the launch of Laughton's book, published by us as part of our Shetland's War project.As Museum Curator Ian Tait pointed out, this is an invaluable contribution to what is a major part of Shetland's history. The book is available to buy for only £5 (or to borrow from the Library of course!)

Stitches from the Stacks

Stitches from the stacks

Wool Week fans local and visiting came by the Library on 25 September 2018 to browse through our extensive collection of knitting and craft books. They brought works in progress and stayed for an evening of browsing books, chatting and crafting. Tea and home bakes too!.

Shetland Library joins the Big Takeover!

Big Takeover

From 14-16 September 2018, young people took over 7 Lerwick venues in a flagship event to celebrate the Year of Young People.Our favourite author/illustrator Nick Sharratt came, and the Library was open all weekend for open mic poetry, murder mystery, book quiz, workshops and the Young Shetland Writer awards. It was AMAZING! Thank you everyone who came, and who helped make our events and the rest of the festival such a success. Big Takeover website

Farewell to Jimmy Perez – the launch of Wild Fire
Wild Fire

Ann Cleeves was here in September 2018 to launch her final Shetland novel, Wild Fire. She went to Baltasound on 4 September and Whalsay next day for special pre-launch events. The official launch event at Lerwick Town Hall on the evening of Wednesday 5 September was a sell out and a fantastic finale to Ann's Shetland series. She was introduced by SIC Convenor Malcolm Bell, and musician Cathy Geldard composed and played a specially commissioned tune for Jimmy Perez. The audience were enthralled as Ann talked with Mary Blance, and they were also treated to a taste of the special editon Wild Fire gin. A lot has happened since Ann launched Raven Black here in 2006!. Shetland News report

The Abernethy Brothers in World War One - Book Launch
Gas War book cover

On 24 August 2018 we launched the first of four new books about Shetland's First World War, 'The Gas War' by Graham Johnston. The launch was at Shetland Museum and Archives and over 70 people attended. It featured talks by Charles Lindsay Abernethy (the son of the subject of the book), archivist Angus Johnson and curator Ian Tait, as well as music by Mlford Georgeson, a book signing and Q & A session.

More information on our Shetland's War project page

Family Memories: a Shetland's War event
Dr Elsie Inglis

On Saturday, 1 September 2018 we hosted an illustrated talk on Dr Elsie Inglis (1864-1917)

Surgeon, suffragist and founder of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals
By the Rev. Hugh Maddox, with Marsali Taylor

The talk was very well received and was part of our Shetland's War project.

Summer Reading Spree for Teens and Adults
Summer Reading Spree

Our Summer Reading Spree is Shetland’s own summer reading challenge for teens and adults. Come along the library to pick up a collector’s card from Saturday 30 June and start reading towards your chance to win. One book read means one chance to enter the end of summer raffle. If you would rather - print a collector’s card here, fill in the titles you have read and bring it by the library for your chance to win. Books, e-books, audiobooks and e-audiobooks all count!

Why Mummy Swears - author event
Gill Sims

We had great fun hosting an evening with Gill Sims, author of the hilarious bestselling novels 'Why Mummy Drinks' and 'Why Mummy Swears', in the Library on Friday 17th August. It was great to find out a bit more about her and the story behind her successful books and Facebook blog 'Peter and Jane'. Thank you to everyone who came along!

Summer Reading Challenge
Summer Reading Challenge Mischief Makers

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge was Mischief Makers, bringing together Beano characters plus regular favourites for six weeks of reading, competitions and workshops. A large number of 4 -12 year olds joined the Challenge and the workshop places filled up quickly. The Awards Ceremony on the 18 August was well attended by young readers eager to collect their certificates and medals.

Summer Coding Workshop – Scratch Level 1 in a week.
Code Club

Now fully booked - please leave your name for future workshops.

We hope to do beginner and intermediate courses later in 2018/19.

Rebel Writing Workshop
Rebel Writing Workshop

Rebel Rebel, pick up your pen! Scottish Book Trust looked for true stories (poem, comic strip, play, letter or story) to compile on their website. Favourite entries were published in a e-book for Book Week Scotland. To help writers get started Jacqui Clark led a writing workshop at the library on Saturday 14 April. We hope some of our Shetland writers submitted their Rebel stories.

Reading Aloud Project

Researcher Sam Duncan gave a talk at the Old Library on Monday 11 June 2018 at 3.30pm on a project she is doing about reading aloud. While in Shetland, she also interviewed local folk who read aloud. We look forward to finding out the results of her research.

More information on the reading aloud project online.

Elmer Day

Elmer Day on Saturday 26 May in the Library saw a steady flow of children and parents throughout the morning for stories, colouring in sheets, games and stickers featuring everyone’s favourite elephant Elmer.

Martin Stewart
Martin Gray

After a week of highly successful visits to schools throughout Shetland, author Martin Stewart delivered a fascinating session in Shetland Library on the 25 May. As well as speaking about the research he did with the Glasgow Humane Society, which rescues people from the River Clyde, he also spoke about authors who have inspired him, from Terry Pratchett to Stephen King. Martin read from his debut novel Riverkeep and also from the Sacrifice Box, both of which are available to borrow from the library.

National Numeracy Day
National Numeracy Day

On Wednesday 16 May the Library joined with Adult Learning to celebrate the importance of numbers in everyday life. In the library between 11.00am and 2.00pm you could try a Maths quiz and gather some information about what you can do to improve your numeracy skills. We also celebrated numbers at our Bookbug Toddler session on the day!

Author Talk
Doug Johnstone

On 1 May 2018 Scottish crime thriller writer Doug Johnstone visited the library for, as he called it, a “blether” about his writing. He spoke about his novel Crash Land set in Orkney and how, inspired by a visit to Orkney he developed the story. We were also lucky to be the first to hear him speak about his soon to be published novel, Fault Lines, set in reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, in which a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth. Wow! We can’t wait to read it. Doug is multitalented so he rounded out the evening with several of his own songs.

Book Launch
Donald S Murray Book Launch

We celebrated World Book Night 2018 with the launch of Donald Murray’s latest book The Dark Stuff: Stories From The Peatlands. Donald gave us a fascinating a glimpse of the some of the peat lore contained in his book and Donald Anderson sang songs inspired by the “dark stuff”. The evening was rounded out by a reading from the work of Vagaland by local poet, James Sinclair.

Islands of the Imagination
Malachty Tallack at Shetland Library

On 27 March 2018 a large and appreciative audience came to hear critically acclaimed Shetland author Malachy Tallack talk at the Library. He did an illustrated talk on un-discoverd islands, the theme of his last book. He also treated the audience to a sneak preview of his forthcoming novel set in Shetland, The Valley at the Centre of the World, due to be published on 3 May. Find out more about his books, writing, singing and songwriting on Malachy Tallack's website.

Click. Get. Go
R B Digital

On Saturday 24 March we ran a drop-in event for customers wishing to learn more about our new rbdigital all-in-one eBook, eMagazine and eAudio service. The event was well attended and resulted in 17 new users signing up to listen to and read our books and magazines online.

We will be hoping to run a similar event in the autumn, but if you would like to learn more about our free eServices, simply ask any staff member, check the rbdigital page at, or drop in to our free morning ‘Click’ sessions from 10.00am -11.00am, every Tuesday.

The Library Challenge Brownie badge
Brownies doing Library badge in Shetland Library

It was great to have the Whiteness & Weisdale Brownies in the Library for an evening on 19 March 2018. They were working on their Library Challenge Badge. 
They learnt about how we shelve the books at the Library and what goes on behind the scenes! Some excellent questions and we hope to see them all again soon.

World Book Day 2018

World Book Day 2018

Shetland Library celebrated World Book Day 2018 by sharing stories, holding book themed competitions, reading challenges, book fairs and fancy dress, photo competitions and more! Despite the cold and snow, lots of fun was had throughout Shetland with school libraries and the town library joining the nationwide festivities. We love to read!

Murder Mystery for young people
body outline

Our Year of Young People 2018 volunteers are planning a murder mystery performance, organised and performed by young people working with scriptwriter Marsali Taylor. If you are S1 and up and want to be involved just get in touch. The first planning meeting was on Saturday, 10 March.. More info on our YOYP2018 page.

Harry Potter Quiz Night for Adults
Harry Potter Quiz Night for Adults

Our first ever Harry Potter Quiz Night for adults took place on Thursday 1 March and we had five teams competing for the main prize. It was an excellent evening, with 6 rounds of questions plus three bonus rounds. Everyone had a great time and we hope to do another themed quiz night later in the year.

Spring Holiday Bookbug

Our Spring Holiday Bookbug sessions were a big success, with lots of families, regular attendees and new parents coming along. After the sessions, a number of parents visited the library to borrow books and let the bairns take part in our Easter Egg hunt, so all in all, two very busy mornings!

Build your own Galley Kit
Galley kits

For Up Helly Aa 2018 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

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. Check the full list here.

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

Press release link

Bookbug for all, including home educators
Bookbug in Shetland

We work really hard to make sure that no child misses out on Bookbug and contact with the library. Our staff, partners and volunteers pass on Bookbug skills in our schools, nurseries, libraries and community groups and even in folk's homes. Here's an article from January 2017 Scottish Book Trust published on our School Library Assistant Karen Malone's work with the Shetland Home Education Group.

A Shetland Writer in the Trenches
Jack Peterson

On 6 February 2018 we hosted a very well attended afternoon lecture by Dr Mark Smith of Shetland Museum and Archives on the poet, writer and photographer Jack Peterson. The event was part of our 'Shetland's War' project. Jack Peterson wrote two books of poems reflecting on his experiences in the First World War. He also wrote a novel which was never published. Last year his poems were used in Shetland Youth Theatre’s acclaimed production ‘In the Still of the Night have We Wept’.

Scottish Poetry Library article on Jack Peterson

Harry Potter Book Night Celebrations
Harry Potter Book Night celebrations

Thursday 1 February saw 50 children turn up for the library’s fourth Harry Potter Night. Two hours of quizzes and activities came to an end with Ravenclaw being declared the winners in what was a very close run contest..

Bookbug Up-Helly-Aa

Over 90 children and their parents and carers turned out for the Annual Bookbug Up-Helly-Aa at the Shetland Museum on Friday 26th January. After 30 minutes of songs and activities with the library staff, Trevor Jamieson from the museum led the bairns in a torchbearing procession through to Da Gadderie, where a galley awaited them. After a rousing chorus of Up-Helly-Aa songs, the galley was “lit” as the session finale.




News Archive 2017

News Archive 2016

News Archive 2015

News Archive 2014

News Archive 2013

News Archive 2012

News Archive 2011

News Archive 2010

News Archive 2009

News Archive 2008

News Archive 2007

News Archive 2006


Last Updated on 03 January 2019

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