New College Librarian has moved

Library DoorAfter over 150 posts the New College Librarian blog  has moved to a new home this month. It becomes part of the University of Edinburgh Library & Collections family of blogs at Please follow us there!

What’s New in the Library Week 2013 #whatsnew2013


‘What’s New in the Library 2013 is a brand new event to promote the developing collections in the University of Edinburgh Library, led by the Library Consultants in IS User Services Division.

You can expect a week of events highlighting new additions and new developments in the Library collections, running this week from Monday 21 October to Friday 25 October.

As Open Access Week and the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) Open Day are happening in the same week, staff in Library & University Collections will also be showcasing the wide range of Library collections activity.

The ‘What’s New’ Blog  at  will feature a constantly changing stream of posts about what’s new in different subject areas throughout the three Colleges. You’ll also find the programme of events day by day, and an opportunity for library users to give their feedback and win prizes.

King James Bible on display at New College Library, Edinburgh

The Holy Bible : conteyning the Old Testament ... (London, 1611) New College Library B.r.64

The Holy Bible : conteyning the Old Testament … (London, 1611) New College Library B.r.64

Currently on display in the entrance to New College Library is a first edition (1611) of the the Authorised version or King James’ version of the Bible. In this edition, some copies are identified as “He” Bibles and some as “She” Bibles  because a typographical discrepancy in Ruth 3:15 rendered a pronoun “He” instead of “She” in that verse in some printings.  These huge folio Bibles were designed to be read aloud in the pulpit, and a copy was originally chained to every church pulpit in England.

Fire and Brimstone

The discovery of a most enormous evil

The discovery of a most enormous evil (Edinburgh, 1752) W.c.1/7

Five years in to the Funk Cataloguing Projects here at New College Library, early Pamphlets are continuing to be catalogued. We’re still finding unique items which are being sent for digital photography over at the University of Edinburgh Main Library. Great blog post on these by Susan Petigrew in the Digital Imaging Unit – see

New books at New College Library – October

The Dead Sea scrolls : Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts with English translationsCrown of Aleppo : the mystery of the oldest Hebrew Bible codexNew College Library has a regular display of new books at the far end of the Library Hall, close to the door to the stacks.

New in this month are a number of new volumes in the Princeton Theological Seminary Dead Sea scrolls project : The Dead Sea scrolls : Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts with English translations at  sEY 51 CHA. These volumes were purchased with additional funding from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Also new is Crown of Aleppo : the mystery of the oldest Hebrew Bible codex,  by Hawal Tayim, at BS715.5.A43 Taw..

This title was purchased for Biblical Studies at the School of Divinity, Edinburgh University.

You can see an regularly updated list of new books for New College Library on the Library Catalogue – choose the New Books Search and limit your search to New College Library. Here’s a quick link to new books arriving in the last few weeks. A word of caution – some of the books listed here may still be in transit between the Main Library (where they are catalogued) and New College Library, so not on the shelf just yet.

Looking at the Acta Sanctorum – Life of St Cuthbert

Acta Sanctorum Martii, vol. iii, (Antwerp, 1668), pp. 117

Acta Sanctorum Martii, vol. iii, (Antwerp, 1668), pp. 117

We welcomed University of Edinburgh MSc Medieval History students today for a tour of New College Library and the chance to see one of the texts they were studying, the Life of St Cuthbert, in New College Library’s first edition of the Acta Sanctorum,  which was on display in the Funk Reading Room. Published in the seventeenth century, the Acta Sanctorum, which contains the first printed edition of this work, is a huge Latin work in sixty-eight volumes examines the lives of saints, organised according to each saint’s feast day in the calendar year. This image shows the large folio volume, still in its original leather binding with metal clasps, open at the Life of St Cuthbert. The Acta Sanctorum is also available online to University of Edinburgh users.

New College Library’s Torah Scroll

Torah scroll on display in the Funk Reading Room

Torah scroll on display in the Funk Reading Room

Phylactery, New College Objects Collection

Phylactery, New College Objects Collection

New College Library’s Torah Scroll (Pentateuch) was on display to visitors today in the Funk Reading Room.

Scrolls such as these are an integral part of Jewish communal life, being read in their entirety in a yearly cycle. The portions of the masoretic texts are divided into weekly portions and their reading in communal worship is followed by a set reading from the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible.

This scroll is no longer suitable for ritual use, as it is no longer bound onto its original etzim (rollers) or clothed in its original protective and decorative garments. Some letters are damaged, indicating its non-kosher status. Conservation work was undertaken in 2008 to ensure that the scroll was preserved in an appropriate state for study and teaching, and it received new rollers and new box. The funds for this work were raised by the New College Library Book Sale.

The provenance of the scroll is not known, but it may have come to the Library at the same time as other objects from Jewish religious practice in the New College Library objects collection. These include a phylatctory or tefillin,  a small, black leather cube-shaped case made to contain Torah texts.