This week sees the inauguration of a new festival running from the 20th to the 30th of March. Rare Books Edinburgh is dedicated to rare, collectable, and important books and the history of the book and is promoting a series of events and talks across the city. The National Library of Scotland is one of many institutions taking part including Edinburgh Central Library, Edinburgh University Library, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Bibliographical Society. The full programme is available on the festival website http://rarebooksedinburgh.com/programme
The festival is centred on the Edinburgh Book Fair, Scotland’s largest and most prestigious antiquarian book fair. It will take place in the Dunedin and Canongate Suites at the Radisson Blu hotel on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on the 24th and 25th and will be opened by Ian Rankin OBE, creator of Inspector Rebus.
The National Library is hosting 3 events which were all quickly booked up but for which there may still be places available via a waiting list. http://www.nls.uk/events
• Tuesday 21st – A selection from the Library’s incunabula : a rare chance to turn the pages of some of the National Library’s oldest printed books from the 15th century.
• Wednesday 29th – Conservation of rare books : library conservators give a seminar featuring items from the Library’s Rare Book collections, which include historic original bindings, pamphlets, photograph albums and artists’ books. The workshop explores the conservation challenges posed by this range of formats. Using items which have been treated in the past and items earmarked for future conservation, conservators explain how conservation approaches have developed and changed over time.
• Thursday 30th – The Reformation in 10 books : Martin Luther’s ‘The 95 theses’ started a revolution that shook Europe 500 years ago. Helen Vincent, the Library’s Rare Books Collections Manager, selects 10 rare books that bring the Reformation to life. Find out how the printed word became the weapon of choice for reformers, counter-reformers, intellectuals, politicians, poets and pamphleteers.