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.”

Our Groups

Open Book’s current groups:

Public Groups/ Libraries

National Library of Scotland
Glasgow Women’s Library
Scottish Poetry Library
Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
The Stove (including Multicultural Organisation)(Dumfries and Galloway)
National Galleries of Scotland
Fruitmarket Gallery
Craigmillar Library
McDonald Road Library

Community Groups

Grassmarket Community Project
Perth Readers/Perth Parent and Child Readers
WHALE Arts, Wester Hails
Bethany Christian Trust
Open Door Cafe
Lothlorien Community
Rowan Alba
Social Bite Edinburgh [December 2018]

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 [November 2018]


HMP Barlinnie
HMP Low Moss
HMP Dumfries

Associated Groups

Deaf Action Scotland


Get Involved

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

Tuesdays 10:30-11:30am in the cafe of the National Library Scotland

Wednesdays 1-2pm in ‘The Space’ at the Scottish Poetry Library

Thursdays 10:30-11:30 at the Botanic Cottage, Royal Botanic Gardens

The third Wednesday of the month 10.30 – 12.00 in the National Galleries (beginning 18th April 2018)

Feel free to join us!

Open Book also regularly runs 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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11-27 August – Open Book will have several days out at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and will deliver several shared reading sessions as a part of the public programme.

21-30 September – Open Book will have another day out at the Wigtown Book Festival for our readers in Dumfries and Galloway

4 December (Tuesday) – A public session celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass Strike for Freedom: Slavery, Civil War and Emancipation, including input from Professor Celeste-Marie Bernier.



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