Monday, 3 December 2012

Flat Alison

Flat Alison came to us all the way from Collinsville, Illinois, USA. She was sent to Louise by the librarian Alison Donnelly, the original for Flat Alison.

Here she is in the Orkney Archive, getting cosy with the Hudson Bay Company Bear. We thought we would highlight some of the connections between Orkney and North America. 

Many Orkney men - and a few women - sailed to the North West of Canada to become involved with the fur trade and sign up as employees of the Hudson Bay Company. There is lots of information about the connection in the archives and many artefacts in Stromness Museum. 

Facebook & Twitter

Alison Donnelly learned about Orkney Library and Archive from the Facebook and Twitter pages. Here is Flat Alison with Stewart Bain, who keeps the library in the public eye with his witty use of social media. If you click on Orkney Library and Archive's Facebook page here, you might see some more photos of Flat Alison as she gets around in Orkney. 

And if you follow the library on Twitter, you will keep up to date with what's going on.

You can also follow the Alison Miller, Reader in Residence Facebook Page and see lots more photos from Orkney Library. You can follow her on Twitter too.

Orkney and Shetland American

In previous eras, Orcadians crossed the great wide ocean to reach places on the other side of the world. Here is Flat Alison looking at a newspaper produced in Chicago Illinois in 1887. The paper was started by Magnus Flaws, who was probably a Shetlander. He helped Orcadians and Shetlanders who found themselves in difficulty in the 'New World'. You will find these newspapers in the Orkney Archive. They produce a blog too which gives fascinating information about some of the things we have in the archives. 

Fun and Games in Orkney

Flat Alison has been having a high old time since she got here, trying out some of the things Orkney is famous for. Here she is on board a Viking Longship and swimming with seals!

Here she is inspecting the herring catch! Can you see her?

And she had a great time diving in Scapa Flow!

Famous Orkney Writers

She thought some of our most famous writers in the Orkney Room needed cheering up, so she draped them in tinsel. Do you think it worked?

Edwin Muir is smiling, but George Mackay Brown and Eric Linklater look a bit glum. Maybe when they see their photos it will make them laugh. 

What do you think?

Saint Lucy in Orkney

And she's been getting in the mood for Christmas, dressing up with a crown of light like Saint Lucy who is celebrated in Orkney on December 13 in honour of our Norwegian friends who bring the gift of a Christmas tree to Orkney every year. Lucy is the patron saint of blind people and writers. Her name comes from the Latin word 'lux' which means 'light'. 

At this time of year in Orkney, because we are so far north, the days are very short and the nights long and dark. Although celebrating St Lucy isn't an Orkney tradition, all the Scandinavian countries honour her at 'the year's midnight', in the hope that the light will come back the next year.

Flat Alison and the Children from P1

Here are Louise and Patsy introducing Flat Alison to some P1 children from Papdale Primary School. She stayed with them all through the story. One little girl liked her so much, she took her on the tour of the library. At the end of the tour she was missing for a short time, until Louise found her sticking to the edge of a table.

Time to Go Home

It will soon be time for Flat Alison to go home to Illinois. We hope she'll keep in touch with the children here and tell us where she is going next on her travels. Apart from Orkney, she's already been to Africa and India. She has her own Facebook Page too.

Safe home, Flat Alison! Come and see us again.

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