New fantasy genre display opens at Edinburgh’s Central Library

A new display has opened this month at Edinburgh’s Central Library, exploring the rich diversity of the fantasy genre as part of the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network.

Central Library is one of over 30 libraries across the UK highlighting how local folklore and fairy tales have inspired fantasy writers, and the role of local libraries in introducing readers to the genre. The Living Knowledge Network is a UK-wide partnership of national and public libraries. From Arthurian legends to manga and live action role-playing games there is a wealth of activities on offer across the network.

For centuries readers have escaped their everyday lives and journeyed into new worlds filled with magic and adventure, incredible mythical creatures, and heroes and villains that speak to our greatest dreams and fears. From ancient folk tales and fairy stories, gothic horror, and weird fiction, fantasy is a rich genre filled with magical worlds imagined by writers, artists and creators that has had an enduring, global impact.

Libraries play a special role in the canon of fantasy literature, providing portals to other realms, containing magical texts that help heroes on their quests and of course the librarians that help the characters navigate wondrous lands and the strange creatures they contain. At libraries in the Living Knowledge Network, readers will be able to discover special content that will help bring the iconic characters and worlds of the genre to life as their local library transforms into a fantastical realm of its own.

Community Libraries – Libraries across the city will be hosting various events during the Fantasy – Realms of Imagination exhibition period.

Portal – The Library is your Portal to new experiences. Fantasy based events where the library becomes the Portal to new experiences.

Epic – Creating new worlds. Create your own Fantasy Map, venture into your own new world of characters and set them off on epic journeys.

Fairytales – Embedding a love of Fairytales from a young age. Some Storytime and Bookbug will have add on craft sessions.

Fandom – Enhancing the Realms of Imagination. Participating libraries will have large cut out characters for your young ones to have a photoshoot with Prince and Princesses, Yoda and more.

Exhibition – Community Libraries will host a Unicorn craft activity. Then in February 2024, all of the wonderful unicorn creations will be gathered and featured in “A Blessing of Unicorns” exhibition at Central Library.

Situated in the heart of Scotland’s capital, Central Library is home to many rare books, maps and images which have been acquired since the library opened in 1890. The site is home to six libraries which consists of lending, reference, music, art and design, Edinburgh and Scottish, and the Children’s Library.

Fantasy: Realms of Imagination runs at the British Library from 27 October 2023 – 25 February 2024.

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