Friday, 28 January 2011


It is the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend! Take an hour to count all the different birds that are in your garden and record them on the RSPB website. See here for details.

Don't worry about seeming uncool, birdwatching's totally in style right now! Camp out in your garden with a stool, sandwiches, notebook and wine box (what?) and you have the makings of a great afternoon. All the cool kids are doing it and birds are cute. We were terribly excited a couple of winters ago when some waxwings began to visit the back of the library to partake of the berries which grow beside the staff car park.

Yeah, you read right, we were excited by birds. We are librarian/archivists okay, whaddya expect?

Aaaagggh!!! They're so tame and cute!!

Below are some images taken from a book of Orkney postcards, each stamped, clearly dated and filed in a Stanley Gibbons folder. Other images shown include St Magnus Cathedral, The Churchilll Barriers, The Old Man Of Hoy, Dounby. Firth, Skara Brae, Stromness, The Standing Stones of Stenness and various other local scenes. The dates range from 1967 - 1971. Also included at the front of the album are four date stamps on squares of paper dating from 1848 and 1852.

I have also scanned a list of (stuffed?) Orkney birds which were being offered for sale by a Mr James Petrie in the latter years of the 19th century.

References:  Postcards- D1/1028, List - D1/321/9

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Wonder That Is A Library

We are lucky in Orkney that our wonderful, hard-working, nice-smelling, intellectually awe-inspiring, well-dressed, kind, sparkling-witted and drop dead gorgeous council are not threatening to do away with our libraries, but sadly this is not the case in many counties.

This speech by Philip Pullman is all over the internet at the moment and is well worth a read.

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Problem With Topical Comedy...

One of our latest acquisitions is this small bundle of postcards. The drawings are fantastic and we would like to know who the artist is...

The images all refer to the Bay of Firth Oyster Fishery and are obviously meant to be humorous but we don't really understand the joke. Something to do with oysters...

Tee hee...

Very droll, I'm sure...

Stop! My sides!

The Syndicate of work!

Insect powder in some bellows, powering a jumper-sailed boat... hilarious!

Monday, 17 January 2011

How SLIC are we?

All of you old-skool readers may remember this post about a very successful inspection of the Orkney Library and Archive.

Well, the inspection has led to a Scottish Library Excellence award from the Scottish Library Information Council (SLIC). Hoorah!

Our Library and Archive manager is travelling down to the awards ceremony which, inexplicably, shall not be televised, to accept what we hope shall be a solid gold, jewel encrusted trophy. Some manner of crown and sceptre set I should imagine. His speech is prepared, Cheryl Cole-style epaulets have been affixed to a spangly jacket and the dance routine has long been perfected and memorised.

The archive department did particularly well in the assessment, scoring 6 out of 6 for generally being a completely brilliant local studies collection.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Toodle Poo

We are still in the post-festive lazy slump here. It seems terrible enough that we have to arise before 8am, actually go outside and do some work, and almost inconceivable that archives could be selected, scanned and commented upon for the visual pleasure of cyber readers.

Such work when one has been used to spending entire days flicking Quality Street down one's throat whilst watching The Snowman and Enchanted for the hundredth time each simply because the remote control is outwith arm's reach seems both unachievable and wrong.

This lovely Kirkwall Town Borough Testimonial passed through my lazy hands as part of an enquiry, however, and the scanner is only two centimetres away from said hands:

The testimonial is in support of the character and the "natural genius for drawing and painting", of William H F Strange Petrie and dates from 1810. It is inscribed at the top of the page with Deus Nobiscum - 'God is with us' which is the Kirkwall town motto.

Well, that  has been exhausting. Time to lick a finger and chase the last of the Christmas biscuit crumbs from the inside of the tin. But first, here is a picture of Noel Edmonds:

Archive Reference D1/379