Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Replacing the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Library

During the disastrous fire at the Bird Observatory in 2019 not only was the building razed to the ground but also the precious and much-loved library including all the books, journals and old written logs including the famous chatty logs were lost.

The birding community responded magnificently and generously with a huge fundraising effort and many offers of books and even complete collections. Consequently, the Trustees asked me, as a volunteer, to organize the replacement of the library. As the rebuilding the Observatory gathers pace, it is timely for the library project to also move forward.

Over a short period in the months immediately after the fire, we were offered many thousands of books, far more than we could cope with, and it was clear that many were either massively duplicated or were not appropriate for what was needed. Consequently, we developed a wish list of about 1,200 books which included handbooks, field and identification guides to birds in relevant areas. In addition, similar guides to the complete range of flora and fauna were included as the Observatory assists with the recording of the full biodiversity of species reaching the island. We also included general bird-related books for leisure reading and a collection of books about Fair Isle, Shetland and Orkney. The number of journals was reduced due to space constraints and their increasing ease of access on the internet. Generally speaking, antiquarian books were not included because of the problems of secure storage and access as some are quite valuable. Many old titles are also now available online.

Thanks to the wonderful response from birders (or often their bereaved spouses) we now have most of the books we want. The remaining ones that we do not have are listed here and it would be wonderful if you were able to help with any of them – either by passing on secondhand copies or generously buying them specifically for the Observatory.

You will note that many of the titles are recently published books and keeping up with them has been a particular challenge.

Please would you contact me at jginnever@outlook.com and I will arrange with you to get them to me. Please do not send books direct to Fair Isle as there is no storage to keep them safe and sound at the moment. Please contact me first and I will advise you.

John Ginnever