The library is one of the most valuable resources at Waterston House. Its shelves are filled with almost 5000 books from all over the world and with 50-100 new titles being added yearly, it remains an up to date working collection.
The breadth of ornithological information provides a wonderful resource for many different types of reader. This is a collection not only for the professional ornithologist, but also for those new to birdwatching, students, artists, ornithological historians and writers, or those working in the areas of conservation and the environment.
The library shelves’ are brimming with all of the best current academic books, reports and journals, to beautiful antiquarian books with hand coloured images. Alongside there is a treasure trove of historically important archive materials, including notebooks, photographs, films, sound recordings, and letters.
A closer look…
Books include virtually all the major British and International handbooks and country avifaunas, field identification guides, site guides, species monographs and a good selection of works on biology, conservation and bibliography. There is also a collection of books from classic and contemporary bird artists’, including titles from several artists who have previously exhibited in the Donald Watson Gallery.
Search our library’s book catalogue:
The breadth of the periodical (i.e. titles that are produced regularly i.e. journals, bird reports, magazines etc., as opposed to one-off publications) holding is exceptionally wide; the library exchanges with, or subscribes, to virtually all of the major international journals, including long runs of mainly English-language titles and numerous foreign-language (especially European) titles, many of which have English summaries.
There is a complete set of Scottish local, and observatory bird reports, as well as many similar reports from the around the rest of Britain and Ireland. For you own convenience you may be able to access the periodical you’re looking for electronically, over the web
Search our library’s periodicals catalogue:
Within the George Waterston Library we also have a substantial archive of historically important items; notebooks, photographs, films, sound recordings and letters relating to the Club. This comprises many fascinating materials, including birdwatching diaries from eminent Scottish ornithologists (together with George Waterston’s wartime birdwatching notes from his time in a German prisoner of war camp!), Club memorabilia and literature.
Search our library’s archives catalogue:
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Additional shelf material
When the Club re-located to Waterston House, there were numerous boxes of material that was unsuitable for storage on the bookshelves, including offprints of papers, reports, letters, booklets, leaflets and press cuttings. These have now been ordered into boxes, labelled, numbered and shelved on a library stack. Three broad sections are covered – biology and other ornithological topics, species and geographical areas. The catalogue comprises a high-level index of the boxes, followed by a list of contents for each box.
Search our library’s additional shelf material catalogue:
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SOC members can borrow up to 2 books at a time for a maximum of two months. If you plan to access the library regularly and would like to find out more about joining the SOC (alongside the other benefits membership entitles you to), please click here.
Bird Reports, Journals, Ringing Reports and Bird Observatory Reports are not lent out, but individual papers may be copied for personal use (see below).
An idyllic setting…
Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve provides a scenic backdrop and peaceful environment for absorbing what this excellent ornithological collection has to offer. A small children’s corner, well-stocked with books, colouring in sheets and pencils, is designed to occupy our younger visitors. Tea and coffee making facilities are available in the foyer for a break away from the books.
Visit the library
This wonderful library is open to all for reference (members of the SOC may borrow items), seven days a week (except over the festive period), during normal opening hours . For access to rarer titles, please contact us in advance so we can ensure someone is available to assist you.
Can’t get to the library in person?
Tell us what you’re looking for over email or phone and we’ll try and post it to you via Royal Mail standard parcel/packet services (p&p charges apply).
Or we can scan and email, or photocopy and post pages to you (postage charges apply). We can copy up to one chapter, or 5% of the publication, whichever is greater.
For black and white photocopies we charge 5p per sheet for the first 20 pages, and 10p per sheet thereafter. For colour photocopies, we charge 15p per page. Payment can be made via credit/debit card or by cheque, payable to ‘The SOC’.
Photocopies and scans will be supplied with a Copyright Declaration Form to be completed and returned to us at Waterston House. It is important to declare that copies will be used non-commercially (copying for commercial use will need prior permission from the copyright holder).
The Club is extremely fortunate and grateful to receive donations of high quality natural history books from members past and present, and the general public.
Any duplicates to library holdings are sold in our second-hand book shop at Waterston House, or at the Scottish Birdfair to raise funds for the SOC. At the 2015 Scottish Birdfair we raised nearly £300 for the Club, thanks to donations and legacies of some very good natural history books we were exceptionally fortunate to receive.
Having a clear out?
If you find yourself with more bird books than you know what to do with and you’re looking to downsize your collection- then please get in touch with us! We’d be delighted to take good quality bird and natural history books off your hands at any time of the year!
Looking for something in particular?
If you’re looking for a particular title then please get in touch with us using the form on the Contact us page. We’ll let you know if and when we find what you’re after.
Donations of books
Donations of ornithological books, reports or journals from members or others, are always very gratefully received. Titles which duplicate what we have in the library already are offered for sale in our second-hand book shop (at Waterston House and online) or at the Annual Book Fair to raise money for the Club, and allow us continue our work advancing ornithology in Scotland. It is also possible to leave a bequest of books to the SOC in your Will, click here to find out more.
Equally if you are looking for a particular second hand book title, please contact us and we’ll let you know if, and when we come across it.