Library News and Events

2022 News and Events content

2022 News and Events

2022 News and Events

Authors that visited Perth College UHI in 2021-22

collage of 5 authors

This year, the library team has organised a series of author visits with writers of a variety of different writing styles and interests. During Freshers Week, the author Tracey Emerson run an online creative writing workshop where she shared her talent and ideas in order to spark our creativity.  Tracey has just released her second novel, The Perfect Holiday.  Her writing has been compared to Patricia Highsmith’s.

In November, we took part in the national celebration Book Week Scotland with the event: Celebrating Places in Literature with Tracey Emerson and Tendai Huchu. These two amazing authors explored with their audience the importance of location in literature and discussed what motivates them to write about specific places. Tendai is a Zimbabwean author best known for his novels The Hairdresser of Harare and The Maestro, The Magistrate and The Mathematician.

Alex Nye ran an in-person creative writing workshop for Book Week Scotland, where she asked participants to write about their own story. After the workshop, students and staff were invited to participate in a library writing competition. Alex was made a Fellow of the Royal Literary fun in 2021. She is the author of seven published novels, including two historical novels about Mary Shelley and Mary Queen of Scots. Alex also led a series of inspiring writing workshops for our ESOL students from the Language School.

In March, storyteller, poet and musician Tawona Sitholé made us perform, write our own story, and gave us the chance to share it during a fun and uplifting event. Tawona showed that he is a great storyteller and musician. He is the co-founder of Seeds of Thought, a non-funded arts group. Currently, he is UNESCO artist-in residence at the University of Glasgow.  
For the initiative Keep the Heid and Read, we invited author Tendai Huchu again. The focus of the national campaign was wellbeing as “it has been scientifically proven that reading for just SIX minutes a day boosts your mental health by 68%”. Tendai talked about his own experience with mental health and invited participants to share theirs. It was a great pleasure to spend time talking about books, reading, language and life in general.

The last author event was with author Helen Grant who has a passion for the Gothic and for ghost stories. Helen is a lifelong fan of the ghost story writer M. R. James. On this occasion, Helen visited the college to talk about her crime novels such as Silent Saturday and Too Near the Dead, to students from Return to Learn. She illustrated the importance of character and location in crime writing and shared her ideas about the nature of evil.

All events were organised by Perth College UHI Library and sponsored by SLIC (Scottish Library and Information Council) and The Scottish Book Trust.

The Book that Inspired Me Competition

To celebrate World Book Day, Perth College UHI Library organised The Book that Inspired Me Competition. We asked students to tell us in 100 words which books made a big impression on them and why. Student Sandra Macrae wrote a touching and insightful piece on the effects of reading The Hungry Caterpillar when she was a kid.

‘Since falling in love with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I've continued reading. And I still hang around libraries, exploring and learning, being inspired by books, appreciating them, finding myself engaged by a seemingly limitless variety of contexts and styles.’ Sandra Macrae

Our winners were Gill Geddes, Alison Devine and Nova McPhee. We also had an ESOL winner, Bianka Nagel. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the students that took part in the competition. Their recommendations are now part of the library catalogue. These are some excerpts from the winning pieces:

On Who Move My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, ‘Change isn’t always a bad thing. I have learnt to accept that.’ Gill Geddes
Alison Devine commented: ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz has inspired me to want to dedicate my life to help fight against the awful injustices many people face around the world every day.’

Nova McPhee recommended It’s Not OK to Feel Blue and Others Lies by Scarlett Curtis.  She wrote: ‘It gave me hope and comfort to know that I wasn’t alone in the mental health world, and that people have come out the other side.’
ESOL winner Bianka Nagel shared ‘Since I have read Ishmael, I see myself as part of the world in a different way. We should live together with nature not against it.’

This competition was funded by SLIC (Scottish Library & Information Council).

Our initiative was included at: Celebrating College Libraries on World Book Day (

To read the entries from the winners:


It's a story with holes in it. Lots of holes. And those little holes, the exact size of a small child's finger pad, made a big impression on me when I was four and three-quarters years-old. Why? Because the book that so inspired me (and still does) is a visually captivating and vibrantly colourful story based on nature, illustrating the life cycle of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly and the science behind metamorphosis. It was my first educational book but didn't feel like capital 'E' educational; it was fun, every word appealed to me, every page encouraged me to follow the caterpillar's journey from hatching - “pop!” - out of an egg one Sunday morning, to its week-long eating adventure culminating in a junk-food binge and stomach ache, then withdrawal into a cocoon, before emerging as a beautiful butterfly.

No doubt you've guessed what children's story I'm talking about.  

Arguably, Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a story about life, about the biology of a living organism, about a zoological phenomena. Certainly, the life-cycle of caterpillars teaches us something about the wisdom of constant and incremental evolution, how growth and change are essential in life, that we can be enriched by the experience of facing challenges, and our capacity for self-actualised transformation is innate. But, for me, when I first encountered the book in my local library, it wasn't the miracle of metamorphosis that made a big impression. It was those little finger-sized holes. And, like many of the tens of millions of its young readers, the delightfully interactive die-cut pages of that chunky children's book introduced me to the imaginative power of storytelling; the way the plight of a protagonist is given shape and pace, the creative building-up – in those escalating, exuberant, and exaggerated quantities of brightly coloured foods – to a climax, a turning-point, a moment of suspense based on the strangeness yet wonder of the natural world. The affect is so engaging it's immersive. The butterfly symbolizes freedom. When it finally emerges and spreads its wings, it provides an uplifting, timeless coda to a tale that still makes me smile and to this day gives me hope.

Since falling in love with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I've continued reading. And I still hang around libraries, exploring and learning, being inspired by books, appreciating them, finding myself engaged by a seemingly limitless variety of contexts and styles.   
Sandra Macrae

selfie of gill

I have read many books over the years, but the one that inspires me most is not a novel or biography, it’s a book about accepting change and adapting to it. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. The book tells the story of 2 mice Sniff and Scurry and 2 little people Hem and Haw who live in a maze and follow a corridor every day for a supply of cheese. One day the supply has gone, and it becomes clear that to survive they must find a new supply. The mice accept the need to change their path to find the cheese, whilst Hee and Haw blame each other and fight. The moral of the story is that change isn’t always a bad thing. I have learnt to accept that.
Gill Geddes

The book that inspired me was The Tattooist of Auschwitz. This was a harrowing true story that opened my eyes to just how unbelievably cruel human beings can be to others and how mass genocide still exists in modern times. It has inspired me to want to dedicate my life to help fight against the awful injustices many people face around the world every day. Whether it be through politics, journalism, or activism, I will never stop fighting to make the world a better place.
Alison Devine

It’s not ok to feel blue and other lies
I have struggled with homelessness on and off for 5 years. Whist I was sleeping rough a homeless outreach worker gave me a book called “It’s not ok to feel blue and other lies” It’s about inspirational people opening up about their mental health. I had just been diagnosed with BPD, and mental health was this unspoken about thing surrounded with stigma. Page by page I read about these people’s experiences and how open they were about it; it gave me hope and comfort to know that I wasn’t alone in the mental health world, and that people have come out the other side.
Nova McPhee

bianka on the beach
Daniel Quinn: Ishmael                                                                                                    
This book has made a big impression on me, I couldn’t really put it down as it has given me another point of view about humanity and civilization. The philosophical novel is basically about conversations and sometimes arguments between a human and a gorilla. They are communicating telepathically that is for first seeing was bit strange and surprising but later I have realised that is such nice way to showing the equality between animals and people. Since I have read the book, I see myself as part of the world in a different way, I think the novel would like to show to us how small we are comparing with the god or with the nature. We would like to control everything because we think this the essence of our existence, but the book says that no, we should live together with the nature not against it. The civilisation which we call primitive better as our society nowadays. It was really interesting to see myself and our behaviour as human from a different aspect and this book made me think a lot.
Bianka Nagel

Perth College UHI Library Creative Writing Competition

Congratulations to Sandra Macrae, COSCA Counselling Certificate, for winning the competition with her entry ‘Being Mike’. Her story is about mental health and the uniqueness of our individual humanness, self-narrative, and life journey. Read her composition and the highly commended entries from other students that took part in the competition, below.

Thanks to all the participants for their creativity and effort; to the judges: author Alex Nye, lecturer Colin Sands, and journalist Alison Dewar; and to the Scottish Library and Information Council for their kind donation.

black and white headshot of sandra

Being Mike

How to sum up a life?

Someone said, Artist. Someone said, Bookworm. Someone else used the word, Creative. The wryness of a smile didn't make it to my lips. A, B, and C. Mike would hate the simplicity.

He'd want something about existing beyond alive or dead in a storied world beyond homo or hetero, about trying – not managing – to cope with the tangled taxonomies of humanness.
My brother spent twenty-odd years creating his story; always sketching, scribbling and scribing something or other; getting lost in words and pictures; crafting his own telling of a uniquely non-conformist life-journey.

But he never summed himself up.

Bound tighter and tighter, page upon page, notebook after notebook, his finger-tips permanently ink-stained from the labyrinth of the writings we buried with him; the complicated this-way-and-that-way of an utterly brilliant X, Y and Z broke the heart of its own story.

Goodbye Mike.

Highly commended - Lucy Seddon, Literature BAH

All good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. The good thing about them is that you can always go back to before the bad things start to happen. The bad thing is that you can never change what happens.

Everyone has a fight or flight instinct, mine is flight. I left home as soon as I turned 18 and haven’t looked back since. I lived where I worked, and worked where I could. I allowed myself to take time to discover myself and discovered that I didn’t know who I was. I had anxiety and depression and worked hard to improve my mental health.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I know where I’ve been. I don’t know if I’ll achieve my next goal, but I know what I have already achieved. I don’t know what my story is, but I know that it isn’t over. Not yet.

Highly commended - Gary Groves, Creative Writing BAH

Note to my Unborn Child

I would love to tell you the stories of our home. Of the mountain pastures and the soft scent of the heather in summer. I would love to tell you the story of our people. How we worked the land with blistered hands. I would love to tell you the story of how I met your mother. How we danced late into the night at harvest. All these stories I long to tell you.

No. They have taken our home us. Forced us out.

Instead I will tell you how my prayers are with you on the crossing. How I plead to Old Man Sea to be kind while carrying you on his back. How I pray you find a new country to call home.
The old stories I will carry with me.

But it is your own story, still untold.

This is important now.

Commended - Lucy Couper, SVQ Horticulture


When I was nine, I found a hole in my bedroom floor. It was perfectly round and smooth around the edges, barely two feet in diameter. I was not startled by its appearance, merely curious, and thus did not express caution when I approached and peered down into it.

It was dark. I got the impression it had eaten the afternoon sun, and I knew at that moment that this hole did not lead to the kitchen, but somewhere deep, deep underground.

I stood at the edge, holding my breath for hours, when a hand reached up. It was old and filthy; dirt had filled the lines in the palm and was packed around the nails. It waved to me, a slow languid motion. I couldn’t see a body, but the hand beckoned.

And I felt my body lean.

And then pitch.

And I did not scream as I fell.

Commended - Lynn Campbell, RESEARCH COURSE

When most folk think of Orkney they think about the Neolithic.  Skara Brae, Ness of Brodgar, Maeshowe and all that.  Well, life did continue in Orkney after 3000BC.  I’ve always been interested in the lives of the ‘little people.’  The ‘peasants.’  The ‘poor.’  The ‘beggars.’  The normal population.  Why are all these terms so derogatory?  The rich folks get plenty written about them, and we save their big houses, fancy furniture and expensive artworks for ‘the nation.’  Why do we think they are more important than the less affluent who lived along with them?  Why was the cottar who had to help build the mansion forgotten?   He would have had a family to feed, a croft to run, friends, skills, interests.  It’s these folk that interest me.  I want to research the 17th-19th centuries, Orkney’s history rather skims over these topics.  It’s time to find out what really went on.

Commended - Fiona Morton Cluness, Creative Writing BAH

Ma Shameful Culture


Whin Ah wis nine, Ah goat a tellin' aff fae oor teacher fur no' speakin' right English. When Ah said that ma faimly went tae the shows in Killie et the weekend, she said
     'Tell us again about your visit to the Kilmarnock fair, in proper English, Morag, so we can all understand.'   

Ah wis mortified. An' ragin'.


Jimmy fae London, mah boss in the restaurant, couldny unerstaun' me.

     'Get on wiv the starters prep - I need 'em now!' he shoutit tae me fae the big freezer.  
    'Ah'm are so!',  I replied.   
He glowered et me. 'Wot the 'ell does that mean?'

'Sorry Jimmy. But Ah huv started daein' them - see, Ah've nearly finished!' Ah added,  in the interests o' good workin' relations 'It means 'So Ah am', in English.'


Ah'm free, finally,  o' the shame o' bein' fae Killie.

ESOL Creative Writing Competition

We have a winner!

Congratulations to ESOL student Laura Mico Domenech for winning the library creative writing competition. We asked students to tell us their own story and Laura submitted the piece 'Soulmates'. Oscar Paredes Barcelo and Anita Buglyo's compositions were also commended.

laura standing outside a castle

Thank you to all of the students that took part in the competition and to the judges - author Alex Nye, lecturer Colin Sands, and journalist Alison Munday.

A special thank you to The Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) for kindly supporting the prizes.

Read the entries:

Laura Micó

She never felt this understood and completed like she does now. Until she met him, she always felt like she was invisible. She knows that not everyone believes in a soulmate, maybe it is because they haven’t found their other half yet, but is there always a soulmate for everyone?

A soulmate doesn’t have to be the person who you are in a physical relationship with, but for her it was. They met when they were 13, and he was the love of her life. People often say that you don’t know what is love when you are young, but she was completely sure.

A soulmate is someone who makes you the most ‘you’ you can be, someone who you can share every aspect of your life with, someone who you share an intense connection. And with him, she always felt like she was in the right place at the right time.

Anita Buglyo

Our life is very complicated nowadays. Well, people have to face fateful problems because world has changed. Scientists have warned us of global warming that will change our seasons. The seasons are mixed up now and it looks like spring and autumn are gone.

Firstly, I like spring in bloom, when the first rays of sunshine warm up our heart, when nature wakes up from its winter slumber and birds return back from Mediterranean countries. On the other hand, I like the autumn in full colour, when the yellowish leaves fall, when life slows down and relaxes eventually to blossom again, again and again. The life circle has broken into pieces and will never be the same again.
We used to have four seasons, which were spring, summer, autumn and winter, but we are now adapting to our new seasons are quarantine, summer, quarantine and quarantine until we feel completely isolated from the world.

Oscar Paredes

More than 10 years had passed, he couldn’t remember any longer whether that strange dream was true or not. A close family member just passed away and that was the first time he had encountered death. All of a sudden he was standing right before the entrance of a long and narrow corridor. A shadow was crossing in front of him, hiding in one of the doors, coming out from another, at the very end of the corridor there was a big window, you almost were able to see outside, there was a storm and it was dark. The shadow stopped just in the middle of the corridor and stared at him. He was stunned, he recognized the shadow. It wasn’t a shadow; it was his grandfather.

Theoretically we cannot see ghosts, can we? Then, how would he be able to know if that dream wasn’t a dream?

2021 News and Events content

2021 News and Events

2021 News and Events

Workshop: Get the most out of the online library resources

Along with the Learning Zone Prepare to Study workshops, a member of the library team will be hosting an online workshop.

Date: Monday 1 Nov 21
Time: 11am

The workshop will include:

  • details of what resources are available and how to access them
  • tips on how to find eBooks and online journals. Learn more about searching for articles and collections
  • information about other software that can help you with your studies and research
  • an opportunity to ask any questions

Please note, this workshop is open to Perth College UHI Staff and Students only and when registering for the event, you must use your student or staff email.

Book your place

2020 News and Events content

2020 News and Events

2020 News and Events

Book Week Scotland 2020

Book Week Scotland is an annual celebration of books and reading, supported by Creative Scotland and SLIC. View the full timetable of Book Week Scotland events here. The Library team have organised the following online events. All University of the Highlands and Islands staff and students are welcome to join. Email our Library team to secure your spot: 

  • Wednesday 18 November at 4pm: Inspiring Creative Writing Workshop with Author Tracey Emerson

'Writing now is an act of faith. It is this hope that the practice of writing, and reading, matters that should motivate us.' Jennifer Egan.

In these trying times, a creative writing practice can bring us insight and clarity, as well as providing a pleasurable escape. In this fun and accessible workshop author, Tracey Emerson, will look at how we can use our memories and experiences as a catalyst for fiction and non-fiction. Using safe, enjoyable exercises, Tracey will explore ways of accessing our memories and examine the fictitious nature of memory itself.

By drawing on our past and present, we can build a path to the future, one word at a time.

  • Thursday 19 November at 4pm: Reading The Future with Alex Nye and Tracey Emerson

Join authors Tracey Emerson and Alex Nye as they discuss dystopian and experimental novels that offer us visions of future worlds and of the future of the novel itself. Novels that shape our changing narrative. Learn how such works offer us hope in difficult times, not only by acting as a warning system, but also by showing us how to survive and to thrive.

Pictures of two authors

ESOL Book Club and Creative Writing Group

If you are interested in reading and talking about books - and want to improve your English skills - the library ESOL reading club is back, and is looking for new members. On Wednesday 11 November at 4pm, the author Alex Nye will be talking about her book 'When We Get to the Island' - in a session kindly supported by The Scottish Library and Information Council.
The library is also running a new Creative Writing Group. On Wednesday 18 November, author Tracey Emerson will be running the workshop ‘Writing Your Way to the Future’. In these trying times, a creative writing practice can bring us insight and clarity - as well as providing a pleasurable escape. This fun and accessible workshop will look at how we can use our memories and experiences as a catalyst for fiction and non-fiction. Using safe, enjoyable exercises, we will explore ways of accessing our memories and examine the fictitious nature of memory itself. By drawing on our past and present, we can build a path to the future, one word at a time.
If you would like to take part in any of these sessions, get in touch at

Students from UHI are welcome.

Library Study Space Update

We are opening our doors for study again but, to allow for physical distancing, there will be fewer study spaces - so you will need to book your space (no PC) for 3 hours here.

To book study space with a PC or a Mac (you won’t be able to borrow a laptop) please call 01738 877721 or email:

Check NEW rules on using the library here.

UHI Writing Challenge

All UHI students were challenged to send in 100 words of fiction on the topic of ‘Leaving Home’ either in English or Gaelic. The winners have been announced:

  • Jim Inves - winner of the entries in English. Jim is a mature student studying NC Art and Design based in Shetland.
  • Feòrag - winner of the entries in Gaelic. Feòrag is from the Isle of Skye, studying BA(Hons) Gaelic Language and Culture.

There were two prizes of £100 on offer sponsored by UHI Libraries. We had 3 UHI staff judges as well as published author, Tracey Emerson. Our Library team would like to thank all students who took part in the competition. We have published the anthology with all the compositions here. Well done to all.


students outside

Drop-in Sessions

The Library team are still available to help you get access to resources and give advice. Virtual drop in sessions will be available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Friday-  where a member of the team will be available to help answer any questions.

Simply click the link below to join the session (Google Chrome and Firefox works best).

Outside of these times, you can contact the team via email 

No dates currently available TBC
2019 News and Events content

2019 News and Events

2019 News and Events

Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) announces help during closures due to COVID-19

CLA is temporarily increasing the copying limits in its licence to make it easier for staff and students to access remote learning resources during this difficult period. Full details of the temporary terms are available on the CLA website

Book Clubs

If you want to take part in the online book clubs, get in touch with the or All UHI students are welcome!

The ESOL book club meeting to discuss their next book

Library Makeover

In 2019, the library had a makeover! See it here.

Self-scan Unit

Have you seen the library's new self-scan unit? If the library desk is busy, any library user can use the new service. It’s quick, easy and saves time.

The new library self scan machine

Why not download the UHI MEESCAN App?

Watch a short video on how to use the service.

Book Week Scotland 2019

What an amazing, inspiring week - celebrating the power of books, reading and writing. We had over 100 people getting involved in the events organised by Perth College UHI Library, so thank you to everyone that participated. We organised a themed dinner party together with the hospitality department in the Gallery Restaurant. We had author visits from writers Kerry Hudson and Conner McAleese where they discussed their latest books. And the week finished with a creative writing workshop run by author Tracey Emerson - where we engaged with external organisation, Support in Mind.

We were totally overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback. So, thank you for all of your support!Events that took place at book week scotland

UHI Writing Competition

Thank you to all the students that took part in the UHI Writing Competition, it was great to read so many good entries. The topic was New Beginnings and the winner of the English entry was Liam Tearse, an NQ Personal and Vocational Studies student from Lews Castle College. Roderick Macleod was the winner of the Gaelic entry, he is studying BA (Hons) Gaelic Language and Culture. Congratulations to both of them.

Liam winner of the uhi writing competition

New Beginnings by Liam Tearse

Click. Beep. Strong white light.
Push. Groan. Eyes shut tight.
Exclamation of surprise.
With newborn lungs, powerful cry.
Life has started, a life has changed.
A room, with toys must be arranged.
A chance for learning, a chance for love.
A little life that is beloved.
A chance for changing the course of the earth.
Life made an imprint straight from birth.
Who will this person grow to be?
Glory is in the wait and see.
Excitement in taking you home.
The love that will someday be outgrown.
Baby nestles into mother's skin.
We watch while this new life begins.

Rory winner of the UHI Gaelic writing competition

New Beginnings by Roderick Macleod

Ma bhitheas luach nàdair neach cho cudromach ri sùim nan coileanaidhean, dè an t-àite as fheàrr airson tòiseachadh na leis an liosta ud ann an litir Phòil gu nan Galàtianaich (5mh caibideil, 22-23mh earrainn)?

Athair nèamhaidh,

dùisg sinn le do ghràdh

soillsich ar beatha le d’ aoibhneas

gum bi sinn air ar bàisteadh nad shìth dhomhainn,

mar gun tigeadh sinn beò ann an latha ùr.

Gun ciùinicheadh tu led fhoighidinn sinn.

Cuir do chaomhalachd an àite ar fèineileachd.

Nar n’aingidheachd, tha tart oirnn airson

uisgeachan milis do mhaitheis.

Anns an caoimhneas do làimh

tha ar slàinte air fhoillseachadh.

Agus nach e dìlseachd

toradh an fhèin-smachd?

New Beginnings by Roderick Macleod. Translated by Anne Frater


If a person’s nature is to be measured by the sum of its parts, where better to start than with the list in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, chapter 5 ,verse 22-23?

Heavenly father

wake us with your love

light our life with your joy

so that we may be baptised in your profound peace,

as if we were coming alive in a new day.

That you would quiet us with your patience

put your gentleness in place of our selfishness

in our iniquity we thirst

for the sweet waters of your goodness.

In the gentleness of your hand

our health is revealed.

And is faithfulness not

the fruit of self-control?


Reading Well for Mental Health

A carefully curated collection of books, to support and inform on aspects of Mental Health, is now available at Perth College UHI library. The self help guides, and personal stories, are aimed at students and staff. To see the full list of titles, and where they can be found, go to the Reading Well for Mental Health list.