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Shetland Library News and Events

Saturday Storytime

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

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.

Book Groups
All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

The next Lerwick Book Group meeting is on Tuesday 23 October, discussing All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Upcoming reads: Midwinter Break by Bernard Maclaverty and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. 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.

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.

Stitches from the Stacks
Stitches from the stacks

Come by the Library on Tuesday 25 September 6.30pm – 8.30pm to browse through our extensive collection of knitting and craft books. Bring your works in progress and stay for an evening of browsing books, chatting and crafting. Tea and home bakes provided.

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! Do you have a tale to tell on the theme of Rebel? Scottish Book Trust is looking for true stories (poem, comic strip, play, letter or story) to compile on their website. Favourite entries will be 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 will submit 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 will join with Adult Learning to celebrate the importance of numbers in everyday life. Drop by the library between 11.00am and 2.00pm to try a Maths quiz and gather some information about what you can do to improve your numeracy skills. On that day we will also be celebrating numbers at our Bookbug Toddler session from 2.00pm – 2.45pm in the Old Library Centre.

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.

Santa visits as 2017 draws to a close
Shetland Library staff at Christmas

December 2017 was a glorious and hectic time in the Library - two big Bookbug parties and visits from Santa, and seasonal singing from our staff 'choir' for the talking newspaper customers. Staff picked favourite books every day for our online Advent promo and got lovely tweets from their favourite authors. And there were all the usual activities of course. What a busy, busy year 2017 was!

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

It was brilliant to once again host Shetland author Ann Marie Anderson, launching her third Shetland dialect book for bairns- ‘Da Fisherman’s Wife’. The event on 2 December perfectly concluded our Book Week Scotland 2017, celebrating local culture with Shetland dialect, local musicians and a demonstration from the Shetland Peerie Makkers. It was far from a quiet Saturday afternoon in the Library!

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.


Shetland's secret agent infiltrates National Library stacks
#SuperSheltie at @natlibscot

Our Twitter mascot and Library secret agent #SuperSheltie headed for Edinburgh in November. He got an extensive behind the scenes tour of the National Library buildings including strongrooms and multi-storey stacks, all shared on Twitter. Amazing resources and a great service - Check the National Library of Scotland website for free and extensive online resources - maps, film and much more.

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


We were delighted to host author Marsali Taylor once again, launching the much-anticipated 6th Cass Lynch novel on Wednesday 22 November 2017. 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 2017. 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.

A brand new school library
New AHS Library

In October 2017 the big move fnally happened - the Anderson High School, including our wonderful school library, moved to their brand new building at Clickimin. The Library has prime position right in the heart of the school - much admired by all, loved by our staff and more importantly we are seeing a great increase in use by pupils. The customer is always right!

Brownies join the Library Challenge
Brownie Library Challenge badge

Great excitement for us in October 2017 when the 38th Aberdeen Brownies launched the Library Challenge badge. It was developed with advice from a member of our staff, Catherine Jeromson and encourages visiting, using and finding out more about libraries. Available for all girl guiding units – Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and the Senior Section. To find out mroe about the badge email

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]


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 09 October 2018

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