125 Festival - highlights from our 125

Hall of Mirrors conference

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

With our varied programme, we sought 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.

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.

Tea and a Treasure

To highlight our treasures project during the summer of 2016 we held four 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.

Butterflies on the Move events

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 was 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 organised the Butterflies on the Move tour across Scotland to ensure as many people as possible could 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 was sponsored by Hi-Fi Corner and The Movie Rooms.

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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