Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Folk Festival

Walking along the street to collect the papers today we noticed the bunting is up in Stromness already. Puzzled, we suddenly remembered that the 30th Orkney Folk Festival begins tomorrow, Thursday 31st May, which explains everything, although the fact that the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations take place next week may also have something to do with it!

For those of you wanting to check out some of the acts performing at the Folk Festival we have CDs by many of the local performers, including Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller, The Wrigley Sisters, The Chair, Saltfishforty, Hadhirgaan, Shoramere, Emily Bourn, Jo Philby, and the Orkney Traditional Music Project. CDs are available for a two week loan period at a cost of 90p per CD.

Fingers crossed that the sun continues to shine for the Folk Festival weekend, and a toe tapping time is had by all!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Free Delivery*

How many times have you spotted that fantastic online bargain only to discover that the promised free delivery is for "UK Mainland only"?

Well here for once is an offer of free delivery which does apply to Orkney and literally won't cost you a penny.

If you, or someone you know, has difficulties accessing the library due to mobility problems or health issues then the Home Library Service could be the answer. You can let us know your particular interests or favourite authors, or request specific titles, and we will provide a selection of books to your personal requirements. Books are available in various formats, including large print and audiobooks.

Deliveries are available in and around Stromness and Kirkwall every week, and every four weeks in Mainland parishes and the linked South Isles.

If you are interested in using the service, or would like more information, please call into the library, phone us on 01856 850 907 or drop us an email.

 There you see, for once "Free Delivery" really does mean free delivery!*

Not actual size, contents may vary, etc, etc.

*Free delivery in Orkney only, excludes Mainland UK

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Registration Office Moves In!

We are very pleased to welcome a new service to the library as the Stromness Registration Office has moved from it previous home in the Old Ferry Terminal building into one of our rooms upstairs, before building work begins on the Pier Head Regeneration Project (including the new Stromness Library!).

The Registration Office service is "by appointment only" and appointments can be made by calling Marion Ashburn on 850 854.

A warm welcome to Marion from all at Stromness Library.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Stromness Hometown - the launch!

You may remember a post we wrote last July about a new project to create an audio history tour through Stromness? Well the end result of all that hard work by the volunteers and organisers of the Stromness Hometown project has been launched to the public today at the Stromness Museum.

Material for the audio tour has come from interviews recorded with Stromness folk, as well as archive recordings from our friends at the Orkney Archive, bringing together voices of the past and present. There are eight stops on the tour, which runs from The South Pier to The Cannon, with a ten minute audio file to listen to at each stop - you'll be pleased to know there are benches, or convenient resting places at each of the stops!

As well as interviews with 'weel kent' Stromness folk there is also music from Stromness Academy pupils, the Wrigley Sisters, and from archive recordings.

The audio tour is available on players that can be picked up and dropped back at Stromness Museum and the Pier Arts Centre. You can also download the audio file onto your own device at,  at the museum, the Pier Arts Centre, the visitor centre at the ferry terminal, or even here at the Library!

A leaflet with information about the tour has been designed by Stromness resident Cary Welling, with a new map of the town by Stromness artist Diana Leslie - you can download the leaflet/map as a pdf from

For more information about the Stromness Hometown project see the article on the All About Orkney website, or visit the project's Facebook page.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Author of the Month for May - Fred Vargas

Spring may be here, and today the sun is indeed shining, but our author of the month is guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine.

French historian and archaeologist Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau, writing as Fred Vargas (she has adopted the same nom de plume - the name of the Ava Gardner character in The Barefoot Contessa - as her twin sister Jo Vargas, a successful artist) says she began writing as a way to relax from her day job and chose crime " because crime novels, by resolving the problems they set themselves, seem to resolve life's problems ".  Her work often influences and informs her writing, particularly her research into the  epidemiology of the Black Death and bubonic plague which is evident in the novel Have Mercy on Us All.

Although Vargas is modest about her novels saying "I'm not a writer. I'm telling stories, that's all. I'm unable to feel like a writer, it's too big for me," , and even describing her books as "silly" stories, she also seems to recognise the place of crime writing within the literary tradition, and suggests why such works remain popular and relevant in modern times - "Detective stories are like legends and fairy tales. Big stories, animal stories, not intellectual stories, never. They are about the danger of life."

Three times winner of Crime Writers Association International Dagger award (along with her translator Sîan Reynolds), Vargas has created an intriguing and engaging character in Superintendent Adamsberg, a policeman who works by intuition, not intellect. Adamsberg's contemplative and self-contained style of detection may seem at odds with other rather more  high-octane crime fiction but it clearly strikes a chord with Vargas's readers, and indeed the author herself, who says of her central character, "He's the opposite of me.  Me, I wear myself out trying to get everything done, to resolve everything in my life. Sometimes I try do do things slowly, indifferently, like he does. It infuriates me. Writing Adamsberg calms me down."

What better way to spend an afternoon than sitting in the sun engrossed in an intriguing tale of murder and mystery? Unfortunately we can't guarantee the sun, but whatever the weather we can lend you some gripping crime writing courtesy of Fred Vargas.