Wednesday, 25 April 2012

It's a Mystery!

To celebrate World Book Night, which took place on Monday (23rd April), the evil genius behind the Monday Night Murders reading group, put together the Cold Cases Mystery Bags - in association with Highland Park Whisky.  Each bag contains four crime fiction novels which haven't been on loan for ten years or more.

Following the success of Monday night's event we have some of the Mystery Bags for loan in Stromness Library - so come along and solve the mystery!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Reading Group

A peedie reminder that the Stromness Library Reading Group will meet tomorrow evening (Wednesday 25th April) at 7pm to discuss Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Please come along and join us for an informal chat about the book over tea or coffee.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Library of the Year?!

While the Orkney Library Twitterer is off 'doon sooth' to the bright lights of the London Book Fair,  to take part in a seminar on Social Reading , there has been exciting news which may see another Orkney Library and Archive delegation heading to the capital very soon!

For Dear Readers we are on the shortlist for Library of the Year in The Bookseller Industry Awards!

Not just Stromness Library of course, but the whole Orkney Library service, which just to remind you, includes the Orkney Library and Archive in Kirkwall, two mobile library vans which travel to many of the outer isles and rural areas of the Mainland (of Orkney), and for those islands too far away, or with ferry services too small for our vans, we send boxes of books out to readers. We run three Reading Groups (plus another three online); Bookbug sessions, story times and a writing group for children; as well as readings and events by local and visiting authors.

As you already know, we have embraced the opportunities offered by modern technology, and, through the wonders of the Internet, this blog, the Orkney Archive blog,  our Facebook page and (in)famous Twitter feed, allow us to reach  folk from all over the globe - without fear of sea sickness, flight delays or carbon emissions!

Gosh we're in danger of coming over all "bigsy" * so will stop now and just keep our fingers crossed as we wait for the result.  But of course we won't let this potential fame go to our heads because our greatest reward comes from happy readers, and we know how lucky we are at a time when many other libraries are under threat and their users facing the loss of a valued service. 

All libraries are important and special to their users, so please Speak Up for Libraries everywhere and make sure books are freely available to all.

* bigsy = conceited

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

George Mackay Brown - Memorial Lecture

For those of you who would like to know more about George Mackay Brown and his work there is an opportunity to learn more from Dr Linden Bicket, who will give the GMB Memorial Lecture on Friday 13th April at 7.30pm in the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness.

Linden, a postgraduate research student from the University of Glasgow (who wrote her PhD on GMB) recently spent six weeks in Orkney catalogueing a collection of GMB's papers, which have been placed on permanent loan with the Orkney Library and Archive by Archie and Elizabeth Bevan. Funding for the ‘George Mackay Brown: A Literary Executor’s Archive’ project came from the award of a  British Academy Small Grant.

The GMB Memorial Lecture is organised by the GMB Fellowship, and admission is £5 (£3 concessions) at the door.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter in Stromness

The library will be closed on Monday (9th April) for the Easter Monday public holiday - so pop along today for your holiday-weekend reading.

With a glut of chocolate eggs filling the shops straight after the New Year, and hot-cross buns seemingly available all year round, it seems traditional festive celebrations around Easter have become just another opportunity for consumption rather than a focus for communal  participation.

Looking for evidence of local Easter traditions we turn to George Mackay Brown, who writes in Letters from Hamnavoe of the practice of his childhood, when on 'the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday' the children of Stromness 'with baskets and tin cans, used to range about the countryside after "pace eggs"'. GMB tells us:

        'It was impossible to cover the whole parish of Stromness - Innertoon, Ootertoon, Quholm, Cairston, Kirbister, the Loons. You had to keep to one district; and then only visit farms where there were knidly women and tame dogs. You might come home with anything from six to a dozen eggs in your an, and all unbroken, if there was no fighting or bullying or horseplay on the road'

The children took their treasures home where 'the eggs were boiled, and coloured in various hues; and on the Saturday or Sunday there was a feast of "pace eggs" and spicy hot cross buns'.

GMB goes on to highlight the symbolism of the Easter 'pace eggs' as part of:
' a very ancient ceremony of gifts, with traditions going back further that Christianity, and seemingly universal in the ancient world. The egg is never so plentiful as at this time of year; and to the first tribes of the world it symbolised the life of springtime when the apparently inert egg brike open to reveal a new bird.'
This symbolism is for GMB alive and well in the traditions of his Stromness childhood where the universal becomes local and personal:

' So when the peedie boys and lasses of Stromness ranged through the parish for "pace eggs", what the kindly farm wives gave them was an Easter gift; a pledge that winter was at last over, and that soon the earth would be full of the plentitude of summer - young beasts, and birds, and growing oats - and the tide of ripeness would not stop till harvest. And after that there would be food enough in barn and cupboard to last through the darkness of another winter. Life was an endless celebration of death-and-renewal, darkness-and-light, barrenness-and-fruition...'

We wish you all a weekend of celebration, whether your eggs are hard boiled and decorated or made of yummy chocolate, may you enjoy their symbolic promise of new life and renewal.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Back again!

Did you miss us?

Apologies for the unintentional, extended silence, there's been a nasty bug going round and between that and annual leave we've been away for longer than expected. But we're all better now and ready to resume normal service, whatever that may be!