It’s well-known that reading is a favourite pastime of mine, and I fully support any group that encourages readers of all ages.

What we do

We organise and run weekly shared reading sessions for a diverse range of community and public participants across Scotland. Part of a book and a poem are read aloud during these relaxed and informal sessions, with an Open Book Lead Reader on hand to help guide the discussion. We also regularly run creative writing sessions for our readers, using the material the group is reading as inspiration to create new writing.  We also arrange and fund visits by these groups to the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, and the Wigtown Book Festival in September, linking the authors we see on the visit to the reading materials we use in our sessions. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Open Book also presented three shared reading sessions for the public at the Edinburgh International Book Festival as a part of their workshop programme.

In addition to the weekly groups and annual visits to book festivals, Open Book  offers other regular opportunities to our readers. Open Book group members attend additional author visits, plays at the Lyceum Theatre, participate in the Luminate Festival, creative writing workshops during Book Week Scotland and host World Book Night events (often organised and executed entirely by the members of one of our community groups).  As Open Book grows, these additional opportunities form an increasing part of our annual programme.

What you said

Book Festival Visits

“The whole [visit to the Edinburgh Book Festival] day was quite delightful. It was pretty near perfect.”

“Feel privileged to have visited with the Glasgow Women’s Library group and be guided throughout, and looked after by volunteers. Thank you Open Book for a fab times.”

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for having us – truly wonderful day!”

“Very grateful to my companions today and for Open Book for arranging.”

“Just to say thank you for a day to treasure.”

Weekly Groups

“I am increasingly disabled and need to have a purpose to make me get out; the hour I spend with Open Book is rewarding and restorative.”

“Oasis in the day for story and poetry and reflection.”

“I just want more of this.”

“The Open Book reading group is a fantastic way to overcome social isolation and surround yourself with many beautiful words.”

“Now I can’t imagine my life without it.”

“I participate in Open Book as someone with considerable and worsening mobility problems….. I can only attend with substantial support from the charity and its leaders…..It’s good if someone keeps and eye out for me….for an hour or so, I am both soothed and stimulated by reading and good discussion, and the gap between me and others disappears… I believe it is a significant part of my sense of well-being and I am grateful for all it offers.”

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Our Groups

Open Book’s current groups across Scotland:

Public Groups

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
The Stove, Dumfries
National Galleries of Scotland
Fruitmarket Gallery
Stills Gallery
Dower House, Corstorphine
BAME Group (at the National Library of Scotland)

Public Groups (Libraries)

National Library of Scotland
Glasgow Women’s Library
Scottish Poetry Library
Craigmillar Library
McDonald Road Library
Corstorphine Library
Stranraer Library
Aberdeen Central Library
Kirkwall Library
Lochgelly Library
Blackness Community Library, Dundee
Douglas Community Library, Dundee
Ballater Library
Lerwick Library
Paisley Library
Eyemouth Library
Ullapool Library
Dunfermline Library

Community Groups

Grassmarket Community Project
Perth Readers/Perth Parent and Child Readers
WHALE Arts, Wester Hailes
Bethany Christian Trust
Open Door Cafe
Lothlorien Community
Social Bite Edinburgh
Social Bite Glasgow
Brora Learning Zone
Inverness Women’s Aid

Multicultural Groups

The Welcoming
The Welcoming Syrian Women
Maryhill Integration Network
Shakti Women’s Aid

Health Related Groups

Eric Liddell Centre
St Andrew’s Hospice, Airdrie
Astley Ainslie
Leith Community Treatment Centre
Maggie’s Centre, Edinburgh

Sheltered Housing/Care Homes

Catherine Court, Dumfries
Daar Lodge, Kirkcudbright
Dryfemount, Lockerbie
Briery Park, Thornhill
Croft na Rich, Edinburgh


HMP Barlinnie
HMP Low Moss
HMP Dumfries
HMP Addiewell
HMP Kilmarnock
HMP Greenock
HMP Schotts
HMP Glenochil

Associated Groups

Deaf Action Scotland
Rowan Alba


Get Involved

Open Book runs weekly public drop-in sessions in Edinburgh, which are open to everyone:

Tuesdays 10:30-11:30am in the cafe of the National Library Scotland
Tuesdays 11:15-12:15pm at Craigmillar Library
Wednesdays 1-2pm in ‘The Space’ at the Scottish Poetry Library
Thursdays 10:30-11:30am at the Botanic Cottage, Royal Botanic Gardens
Thursdays 2-3pm at McDonald Road Library

Our Shared Reading+Creative Writing sessions in galleries are free, drop in and open to everyone:

The first Wednesday of the month 10:30-12 at Fruitmarket Gallery
The third Wednesday of the month 10.30 – 12.00 in the National Galleries
The last Wednesday of the month 10:30-12:30 at Stills Gallery

Other Shared Reading+Creative Writing groups include:

The first Tuesday of the month 10:30-12:30pm at Glasgow Women’s Library
The first Monday of the month 10-12pm at National Library of Scotland (for BAME participants only)

For meeting dates and times of our monthly groups in Aberdeen, Stranraer, Eyemouth, Brora, Ullapool, Dumfries, Lerwick, Kirkwall, Perth, Paisley, Dunfermline and Dundee, please email

Feel free to join us!

Open Book also regularly runs monthly creative writing workshops with our public/drop in groups and other weekly groups.  Check our Events page for details.

There are lots of different ways of getting involved with Open Book. Please get in touch below and we can send you details.

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Public Groups

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh – every Thursday in the Botanic Cottage, 10:30-12pm
The Stove, Dumfries – first Monday of the month, 5:30-6:30pm
National Galleries of Scotland – third Wednesday of the month, 10:30-12:30pm (shared reading+creative writing)
Fruitmarket Gallery – first Wednesday of the month, 10:30-12:30 (shared reading+creative writing)
Stills Gallery – last Wednesday of the month, 10:30-12:30 (shared reading+creative writing)
Ullapool Community Workshop – every third Tuesday March – June 2019, 2-4pm  (shared reading+creative writing)
Dower House, Corstorphine – Wednesday 10:30-12pm
Open Door Cafe – Mondays 2-3pm

Public Groups (Libraries)

National Library of Scotland – every Tuesday in the cafe, 10:30-11:30am
Glasgow Women’s Library – first Tuesday of the month, 10:30-12:30 (shared reading+creative writing)
Scottish Poetry Library – Wednesdays 1-2pm, and first Saturday of the month, 11-12pm
Craigmillar Library – Tuesdays 11-12pm
McDonald Road Library – Thursdays 2-3pm
Corstorphine Library  –  to be confirmed (shared reading+creative writing)
Stranraer Library – last Friday of the month, 2-4pm
Aberdeen Central Library – to be confirmed (shared reading+creative writing)
Kirkwall Library –  to be confirmed (shared reading+creative writing)
Lochgelly Library –  to be confirmed (shared reading+creative writing)
[Borders Libraries – March 2019] –  to be confirmed (shared reading+creative writing)
Blackness Community Library, Dundee –  to be confirmed (shared reading+creative writing)
Douglas Community Library, Dundee –  to be confirmed (shared reading+creative writing)




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