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125 Festival - Highlights from our 125



Tea and a Treasure

To highlight our treasures project during the summer of 2016 we heldfour Tea and Treasure sessions with staff sharing their favourite treasure and demonstrating the interactive display. Participants joined in and shared memories relating to some of the treasures.

Learn more about our 125 Treasures by visiting the Treasures from our Collections webpage.


125_TeaBeachBallroom In July 2017, Library staff hosted Tea and Treasure reminiscence sessions at the Beach Ballroom for our Home Service customers including many from residential homes along with groups such as North East Sensory Services and Alzheimer Scotland. The treasures team talked about their favourite treasure from the 1950s/1960s. These included items featuring the library, trams, shopping, cinemas, postcards, typhoid outbreak and what's on guides. The Beach Ballroom served afternoon tea with cupcakes decorated with the 125 logo. A great time was had by all!



125 Anniversary Fair

A successful anniversary fair was held in the Central Library on 8 July 2017 with visitors enjoying musical performances (from the Silver City Singers and guitarist Stephen Fiddes) and a range of refreshments and cakes made by the Library staff. In the Children's Library a balloon artist created some interesting shapes and face painting was very popular, as was 3D design and printing and craft activities.



Arts Across Learning Festival - Libraries as Learning Spaces

Cornhill School was invited to take part in this project as part of the Arts Across Learning Festival organised by Creative Learning in partnership with Aberdeen City Libraries. Two classes, P2/3 and P7, each spent a day at Aberdeen Central Library at the end of March 2017.

Ahead of the class visits, a CPD session was held in the library for teachers, artists and volunteers to trial the workshops and ensure that the activities and zone areas were suitable. 125 Arts Across Learning 2017

The library was divided into 'zones' i.e. Children's Library, Adult Learning, Information Centre. The classes were divided into 3 groups on the day with each group visiting the zones in turn. Each zone had an artist who took the groups through a set of tasks. The tasks had been created round one of the treasures celebrating Aberdeen Central Library's 125 anniversary. The tasks also reflected the topics each class was working on during the term.

Each class produced a 'big book' of the work they produced on the day and these can be viewed in the Information Centre, Central Library, with some of the children's comments.

Hall of Mirrors Conference

Hall of Mirrors artwork

Aberdeen City Libraries organised a local history conference, held at the Beach Ballroom on Saturday 4 March 2017.

With our varied programme, wesought to inform and entertain, but also recognised that our understanding of the past is an ever-changing concept. While philosophers debate and search for the concept called 'Truth', in the Hall of Mirrors we submit that history is an art form – often crafted with passion and skill, but also subject to inherent bias and interpretations to be overlooked at our peril.

In addition to the programme of speakers, the conference also included a busy local heritage fair. A list of the organisations that exhibited on the day can be found here.

Reflections - creative art project

As part of the build-up to the conference, Aberdeen City Libraries have launched a creative arts project titled "Reflections". The project encourages people to express what history means to themin a creative way.

To find out more about the project, please visit the main Reflections page.


Valentine the cat 

During the summer of 2016 Aberdeen held a CatParade, inspired by previous successful civic art projects such as the 2005 Catwalk and the 2014 Wild in Art Dolphin Sculpture projects.

The Library service participated in this project and Library staff (Meghan Donaldson, Rhys Irvine, and Sarah Allan) decorated one of the Kelly’s Cats reproductions. The design was inspired by the ever-changing face of the Central Library from its opening on 5 July 1892 until the present. Our Cat celebrates 125 years of the Central Library in 2017.

The cat was named “Valentine” as a tribute to a member of staff, Miss Emma Valentine who was Assistant Librarian in the Reference Department of the Central Library from 1892-1915 and was remembered for her helpfulness and knowledge of the local collections.

Valentine appeared on the front cover of the CatParade calender.

Learn more on The Silver City Vault.



Celebrating Dickens

In July 2016, the annual international conference of the Dickens Fellowship was held in Aberdeen. Aberdeen City Libraries worked with the Aberdeen branch of the Dickens Fellowship and organised a programme of free talks and readings held in the Central Library, a series of creative workshops for young people and displayed models of Dickens characters designed by local schoolchildren.


"Butterflies on the Move" events


The Butterflies Book Sculpture

Throughout July 2015, Aberdeen Central Library displayed a sculpture made from books in a unique exhibition.

The Butterflies' book sculpture was created by an anonymous artist and is currently touring Scotland as part of the 'Butterflies on the Move' exhibition. The sculpture depicts butterflies flying from an open book and was donated by an anonymous artist to a charity auction in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support in 2014.  It was bought by Dr Colin Mackenzie who has organised the Butterflies on the Move tour across Scotland to ensure as many people as possible can view the unique and inspirational piece of art..

Although anonymous, the female artist who created The Butterflies is known for gifting a series of book sculptures to various cultural institutions in Edinburgh between 2011 and 2013. The Butterflies on the Move tour is sponsored by Hi-Fi Corner and The Movie Rooms.

Image of altered books


Aberdeen City Libraries held fun, free butterfly-themed events for all ages in July 2015. These events included a really difficult butterfly quiz, some family fun workshops where people learnt how to make their own paper butterfly and the big butterfly count.

Edinburgh-based paper artist Isabell Buenz also led two free workshops celebrating the creativity of The Butterflies book sculpture.

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