Monthly Archives: April 2016

Frogs and foxes

Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see 

Paul Klee

Our relaxation table in the Main Library Foyer has been helping students relax while they are revising for exams. One of the most popular activities has been origami, which is a great way to take a little break and re-focus your mind. So far, we have been making bookmark hearts, as well as roses and skulls to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th birthday.

However, we have been getting requests for more patterns to try! There are some great websites that provide free origami patterns, such as and You can search there for whatever you want to make!

Otherwise, why not try some of our favourites? You could soon be the proud owner of a frog, fox, or penguin! Pick up some origami paper from our table today, and don’t forget to tweet us your creations (#happylibrary)!


That which we call a rose

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

Juliet, Romeo and Juliet

Today is the first day of the exam period, so it is a stressful time for students. We have been trying to help out with our relaxation table, located in the Main Library Foyer. It has some things to help students de-stress while they are studying, like tea and aromatherapy. However, we also want to encourage students to take regular breaks while studying. As little as six minutes of a quiet activity can help us to relax, so we have provided some activities that students can try, such as puzzles and colouring in.

Today, we have been doing something a little bit different. To celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th birthday, which has just passed on April 23rd, we have been encouraging students to make some Shakespeare-themed origami!

All you need is a square or rectangular piece of paper, so why not try a rose, a heart, or a skull? You could even make a paper model of the Globe!

If you are looking for an even more productive break, you could come up to the Centre for Research Collections on the sixth floor, where all students are welcome to look at our Special Collections material. We have a lot of early English drama, including many editions of Shakespeare plays published before 1660, such as this  lovely 1631 edition of The Taming of the Shrew:

taming of the shrew

William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, 1631. JA3706. © The University of Edinburgh. See it here.

Remember, the library has more to offer than textbooks and study space! 

Time to relax

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it

Sydney J. Harris

Revision week is well underway and the library is getting busier and busier. Libraries are great places to study, offering a quiet, calm space to work. The Main Library is even offering extra study spaces for students during this time.

However, we have more to offer than study spaces! As part of our ongoing campaign to help students, we have been offering free hand massages today!


We hope that everyone who received a massage really benefited from it, but if you missed out, never fear! We have set up a Relaxation Table in the Main Foyer, which will be around for the next few weeks, offering fun activities such as origami, puzzles, and colouring. Remember, it is important to take breaks to stay focussed! There will also be aromatherapy, bubble wrap, and relaxing herbal tea for students to take away, among other things.  Don’t miss out, and make sure to Tweet or Facebook us your thoughts and creations (#happylibrary)!


Also, watch out for us on Friday, when we will be celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th birthday and World Book Night! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more details.

To get you in the party mood, here’s an image of Shakespeare from our collections:


Title page of The Works of Mr William Shakespeare, Vol.1, 1709. S*.30.1. © The University of Edinburgh. See it here.

Remember, we have more than just textbooks and study spaces! Happy studying!

The Adventure Begins…

Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Aviation combined all the elements I loved.

Charles A. Lindbergh, The Spirit of St. Louis


A model, with some wings, in the Playfair Library…. No, it’s not a new version of Cluedo, it’s this year’s University of Edinburgh’s Festival of Museums photoshoot!

With only a month to go until our One Last Adventure Festival of Museums weekend (13th-15th May), the adventurous times have begun with an action-packed aviation-inspired photoshoot with the fantastic Laurence Winram!


Fuelled by tea and coffee and with the model, Graham, dressed as an early aviation pioneer (complete with goggles and a pipe!), Laurence and his team worked tirelessly to get the perfect ‘adventurous’ shot in the wonderful setting of the University’s Playfair Library.

We can’t wait to see the results but in the meantime, if you fancy an adventure of your own, registration for all our events is now open – pirates, treasure, anatomy and bugs (yes really!) await so…

Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Just breathe

As part of our ongoing mission this term to let students know we care, we have been using some essential oils to help students relax today!

Aromatherapy has been around for a long time, for example in China and Egypt, where oil and incense have been used for up to 6000 years. A recent study by Lee Redstone, published by the Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, has shown that essential oils can enhance mindfulness therapy by reducing stress and anxiety levels.

We hope that students felt the effects of our soothing blend of Lavender and Eucalyptus oil today – hopefully they had more luck smelling it than this statue from our collections would!


Gandharan sculpture fragment: Head of Buddha, 1st century, EU1343. See it here.

We will be popping up regularly next week during revision time and in the exam period following that. We have organised some very exciting events to help students relax, and also plan to celebrate a certain someone’s very special 400th birthday, so keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter! Also look out for our table in the Main Library Foyer, which will have aromatherapy as well as mindfulness activities for students to try!

Remember, your library loves you!