Leith Library Residency Highlights

29 Jul

I’ve loved working with Leith Library as Reader in Residence. The library part of the residency is finished and I’m taking some time out write a final report for the Scottish Book Trust. I was funded by Creative Scotland to work in the library 2.5 days a week for 9 months, here are the highlights:

Click on the titles to find out more..

1) Mystery Book Sculpture


In my final week we received the most wonderful gift. It even had my name on it! It was a total surprise and huge encouragement to have the work at the library celebrated and recognised with a mystery book sculpture.

2) Teddy Bear Sleepover


We were the first library in the world to live tweet teddies all night long. It was in the Evening News, publishers in London sent a giant Hugless Douglass to join us. My family made sleeping bags and teddy bears took over my life.

The best thing was the children loved it. In fact the parents loved it even more. I had emails from them saying they were late for nursery because children had to look through ALL of the photos from the night before. They said they weren’t sure who enjoyed it most, them or their children.

3) Clothes Swap Party


50 ladies, clothes to swap and afternoon tea. What more could you want?

4) Pirate Treasure Hunt


We borrowed a boat and a parrot. There were digital clues and copies of Treasure Island. That’s me with a giant golden macaw on my back. Arrrr!

5) Memories of Leith


Three brilliant writers came to share their memories of Leith during book week Scotland. I also had the chance to interview each of them before the event to capture them talking about their local memories.

6) Teenage Podcast

I worked with four teenagers as they created a young adult fiction podcast. They interviewed authors Keith Gray and Roy Gill and held a celebration event to premiere the podcast to friends and family, it’s well worth a listen

7) Festive Furballs

Our Christmas pets competition. Who doesn’t love a cat in a jumper? Or a rare amphibian, Christmas pony or decorated but very deceased badger?


8) Book Week Scotland

We visited the pub, the bingo, the gym, the Kirkgate, the church, the cats protection league and many other places to give out books and encourage people to read. We were named as best social media contributor to book week in the whole of Scotland (wow!). We were featured in STV. Here’s my favourite video from the week:

9) The Croods Competition


We held an illustration workshop with local artist Rachel Everitt. We had some wonderful competition entries from the children.

10) Hamda Dancing in the Library

The van man had a hidden talent. And that’s what the residency was all about – sharing the stories from inside the library and celebrating the people who are part of it.

I really enjoyed being invited to speak about the highlights above at the Social Media for Social Good Conference in February and May and at the CILIPS library conference in June.

The People

I should add one last highlight that is part of every point above – the people. The brilliant people I worked with made the residency what it was. You made me feel so welcome and appreciated and I’m going to miss you all!

Thanks to everyone else involved for supporting the library via social media and in person.

What’s Next?

Just now I’m on a month’s writing retreat for the last part of my residency. Read about what I’m working on while on retreat here.


Posted by on July 29, 2013 in Events, Film, storytelling, Writing


Tags: , , , ,

7 responses to “Leith Library Residency Highlights

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