Library Loving: A National Libraries Day Field Trip Celebration

SBT staffers with their library books
Category: Reading

Last Saturday was National Libraries Day, a countrywide initiative to promote libraries and all the amazing things they do. Up and down the country, libraries hosted events, took people behind the scenes and encouraged people to get to know their library and take out a book. In Edinburgh, the libraries offered a one day ‘fines amnesty’ – letting anyone who has been avoiding the library because of a hefty overdue books tab to clear their debt and start over! 

To mark the occasion, a crack team of Scottish Book Trust staff decided to give up their lunch hours on Friday to venture to Edinburgh Central Library and rediscover the joy of book borrowing. Our merry band was truly a mixed bunch: some of us were regular borrowers, others were less frequent and one had shamefully never even taken out a book (the horror), but together we made quite the picture.

We decided to document our journey for posterity. Here we all are before taking books out:

Sad SBT Staffers

When we got to the library, everyone quickly set off in search of the perfect book. The very helpful staff sorted me out, as I had signed up in a rush years ago, promptly lost my card and then never even borrowed a book. For the bargainous price of £1.50, I was issued with a replacement card and sent on my book-finding way.

Between seven of us, we came out with twenty books, ranging from crime fiction to graphic novels to a non-fiction sewing book! Here’s what everyone had to say about their haul:


Sasha's picks

What did you take out and why?

I took out The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, At Swim Two Birds by Flann O’ Brien and IQ84 by Haruki Murakami.

I have been a Jeanette Winterson fan for a while now and after reading Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, I realised that she had written quite a few books I had never read! This was one of them. I went through a phase a few years ago where I read a lot of Haruki Murakami but was put off by IQ84 because of its size, however, my work pal Claire was so enthusiastic about it, I decided to give it a go.

Lastly, every self-respecting Irish person has read Flann O’ Brien. Except me.

Danny's Pick



What did you take out and why?

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomme

My 2013 resolution was to read more graphic novels. Edinburgh Libraries have a great selection so I took a book list from our website up with me. Shortcomings wasn’t on there but it really appealed to me.

I use the library a lot but this was the first time I’d gone with friends. It was great fun to walk about with other booklovers sharing tips!



What did you take out and why?

The Complete Stories by Truman Capote, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver, What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe, Killer of Men by Christian Cameron.

Catriona's Picks

I set out for the library looking out for some short stories to read over lunchtimes. While I’ve dabbled in Capote before, I’m pretty new to Raymond Carver. While browsing in the ‘C’ section two colleagues pointed out some other favourites from the surrounding shelves. What a Carve Up! came by recommendation from Sasha while Michael suggested Killer of Men. This is what I love about libraries. My clever computer regularly tells me what I will like to read, which leaves less room for discovering new books. However a shelf organised by author surname is pleasingly random when it comes to genre. I find myself far more adventurous in the library (book choice, not swinging from the shelves) than I am when buying books elsewhere. If all goes well, I might move onto ‘D’ next month.



Claire's Picks


What did you take out and why?

Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates (a recommendation from Catriona), Blandings Castle by P.G. Wodehouse (because apparently he’s super funny), How the Dead Live by Will Self (because it has a skull on the front cover – awesome) and Fireworks by Angela Carter (because I love her!). I wanted to read some authors that I would never normally read. There are LOADS of books and they’re FREE. I’d forgotten how exciting a trip to the library can be! Also, the staff were lovely and very helpful when I couldn’t find what I was looking for.


Paul's Pick



What did you take out and why?

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon. This was recommended by my learned colleague Sasha, as I’m currently reading and loving Vaughan’s Y:The Last Man series. Also, I wanted a book I could keep in work as a lunch-time read, so a graphic novel seemed a good choice. I had actually not expected to be able to borrow anything from the library, since I live in Glasgow and thought you’d need an Edinburgh address to join – I was just going along as I love a good browse. But it turns out anyone from anywhere (in the world!) can join, so, pleasantly surprised, I did.




Michael's Picks


What did you take out and why?

Four graphic novels: three volumes of Red Sonja, one Northlander, and a novel by Christian Cameron, Tyrant. I’m a fan of graphic novels, and I haven’t seen Red Sonja at any libraries before. The library is always a lovely place to visit, and this time was no different.


Celia's Picks



What did you take out and why?

I borrowed Sew – Step by Step by Alison Smith because I am learning to sew my own clothes and this will be an invaluable reference, and Grandville Mon Amour by Bryan Talbot – a graphic novel. I’ve read some of his books before but this looks very different. The library is great for picking up expensive books that you couldn’t normally afford and trying out something different. I love being about to wander around and pick up anything and it’s mine for a whole 3 weeks!


The result: some very happy Scottish Book Trust staff complete with newly borrowed books!

To learn more about National Libraries Day, visit the National Libraries Day website.