SLIS Librarians' Tour to Scotland 2This summer the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) will offer its 14th Librarians’ Tour to Scotland June 27-July 6. SLIS associate director emerita Jane Pearlmutter has led each tour; We recently spoke with her about her involvement and asked her to describe a typical trip. Many thanks to Jane for this lovely write-up about the experience.

I organized the first tour to Scotland in 1989 to offer library personnel and their friends and families an opportunity to travel with a small, compatible group (usually about 15 people); to meet colleagues abroad; and to go behind the scenes at notable libraries. While the itinerary has varied a bit on each tour, the group normally visits the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh; the Mitchell Library in Glasgow; Scotland’s first public library in Innerpeffray, Perthshire; Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s beautiful library in the Glasgow School of Art; and Edinburgh Central Library. The group also visits scenic and historic sites such as Rosslyn Chapel and Melrose Abbey in the Borders region, Holyrood Palace, Glencoe, and a variety of museums. Free time for exploring Edinburgh and Glasgow is also built into the schedule.

SLIS Librarians' Tour to Scotland 4The groups have been comprised of librarians from around the U.S. and Canada. The last few tours have also included SLIS students. Many participants have brought along friends or family members who seem to enjoy the library visits just as much (although there have been a few who slipped away to play golf). For solo travelers, the small group format means there’s always someone ready to go to the pub for a wee dram and lively conversation at the end of a day. UW librarians who have been on the trip in the past include Karen Dunn, Phyllis Holman Weisbard, Judith Louer, and Nancy McClements.

SLIS Librarians' Tour to Scotland 3I knew when I planned the very first tour that librarians like to visit libraries when they travel. At some libraries, however, there isn’t much to see beyond the reading room unless someone arranges for you to speak with staff about their collections and procedures. The libraries have been very welcoming, often bringing rare materials out for our examination, and there have been many fruitful exchanges of ideas.

If you’re interested in attending the Librarians’ Tour of Scotland this year (June 27 – July 6, 2014), there’s still time to sign up! Registration deadline is April 1. Space for the tour is limited. If you’re not quite sure, maybe reading the trip’s itinerary will sway your decision!

Want more information? Email tour guide Jane Pearlmutter (this is 14th Tour!) at or Outreach Coordinator Meredith Lowe.