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Dundonians Set To Catch Glimpse National Library Scotland Collections

Monday, 23 November 2009

People living in Dundee can take up a special opportunity to explore some of the National Library of Scotland's collections when it arrives in the city for a three day event this week.

Taking place at Dundee Central Library from Wednesday 25th - Friday 27th November, the public are invited to attend a series of talks covering topics as diverse as tracing family roots, discovering Old Dundee through historical maps and photographs as well as a chance to view the 'Wish You Were Here' exhibition showcasing interesting travellers' tales.

The event will offer a snap shot of the immense resource material available through the National Library of Scotland, Scotland's largest library, and provide information on how to access its extraordinary collection which includes millions of items from books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines as well as film footage in the Scottish Screen Archive.

Chris Fleet, map collections manager at the National Library of Scotland, who will be delivering one of the talks, said: "We are looking forward to visiting Dundee and sharing some of the fantastic materials we hold. Our extraordinary resources which can really bring the past to life and increase understanding on what shaped who we are and where we live today.

"Using maps, I'll be able to provide a detailed story on Dundee over the last four hundred years, what they say about the period and the people, the reasons why they were made and by whom and for what purposes.

"The history of the docks will feature as a key highlight of my talk, illustrating the growth of the area which was once a booming industry as well as its sad decline. I am sure the public will be surprised at just what revelations can be gleaned from Dundee maps."

Programmes such as 'Who Do You Think You Are' have helped increase the public's appetite for rediscovering their past and in particular, family history. Janice McFarlane, head of partnerships at the National Library of Scotland will be hosting a talk on how the Library's resources can provide a broad picture of family lineage and history.

She said: "We have definitely seen a steady increase in interest in this area and the amount of information that can be tapped literally at your fingertips is vast.

"We have everything from a genealogical index, old Church of Scotland parochial records, monumental inscriptions records dating back before 1855 and street directories to name but a few. The major benefits of visiting the Library both personally and remotely is that our collections are easily accessible and particularly valuable for those whose families came from across Scotland and further afield. I have to say we have the perfect tool-kit to provide you with a more detailed picture of how your ancestors lived.

"I hope people will take up this rare opportunity to find out more about the National Library of Scotland's collections, which will hopefully inspire them to find out even more about their past. Our staff will also be on hand to answer any questions to get you on the right path of research."

Other significant historical material relating to Dundee will also be on show. For example images taken before and after the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster of 1879, the title page from an account of the trial of the pirate, Captain William Kidd as well as information about the early printing industry in Dundee.

National Library of Scotland merchandise available to purchase at the event, includes copies of Mary Queen of Scots' last letter and the signed order for the Massacre of Glencoe, as well as a number of historical maps of the city, Slezer 17th century sketches and the 'Dundee on Film' DVD.

Leisure, arts and communities Convener Bob Duncan adds: "We are delighted to have Scotland's National Library visit Dundee for this one-off event. It has world-class collections and is a superb opportunity for the public to find out just what treasures the Library has to offer."

Businesses can also attend a special lunchtime talk each day of the event, advising on how to use SCOTBIS, Scottish Business Information Service.  

For more information on the National Library of Scotland event visit http://www.nls.uk/ or call the Dundee Central Library on 01382 431501


There are around 10,000 Dundee related items available by visiting the National Library of Scotland website http://www.nls.uk/  with 20,000 maps available to view online.


Discover some Old Dundee maps now by visiting: http://www.nls.uk/maps/towns/index.html#dundee


For information on family research services visit:





Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of the National Library of Scotland



Notes about the event:


The National Library of Scotland will be visiting Dundee Central Library in the Wellgate Centre, from Wed 25 - Friday 27 November.


Doors will be open:

Wed 25 from 10am - 6pm; Thu 26 from 9.30am - 8pm and Friday 27 9.30am-6pm.




  • Mapping Dundee from the earliest times to present day: 11am -12 midday
  • Scotbis - National Business Information Service for Scotland: 1-2pm
  • Family History Resources - 3-4pm