Bequest will support and promote college studies

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Eating up a roomful of space at Lews Castle College are around 2,000 history-centred books waiting to be incorporated into the learning resources available.

This cache of historical information was gathered together by Dr Rob Macpherson, whose doctorate was in Scottish History, he actually worked in golf management at the North Highland College, but maintained his interest in the subject and when he sadly passed away last year it was discovered that he had bequeathed his enormous collection to the University of the Highlands and Islands.

These books are now being distributed to library holdings in partner colleges across the UHI network, including that of Lews Castle College.

Now the massive task of sorting through the titles - assessing whether they are suitable for the college’s purposes - and finding them a new home falls to Dr Elizabeth Ritchie of UHI’s Centre for History, and as part of the distribution of the bequest, she contacted Lews Castle College librarian Caroline Brick, to find out if the books would be of benefit locally.

Caroline explained that until now there hasn’t been a lot of students studying history locally, but that this new resource would help to promote and support those areas of study and would be of great benefit to students on programmes such as History, Scottish History, Archaeology, Scottish Cultural Studies and Viking Studies.

She added: “We have good local history books, but we are very pleased to have more generalist history resources, and there is a rich choice for students to pick from.”

But the task of going through and assessing all the titles is going to be a lengthy process. Caroline paid tribute to colleague Esme Mustian who has been completing the basic steps in the cataloguing procedure.

Meanwhile Dr Ritchie estimates that in all the task is likely to take around a year to finish, however she added: “We should have a fair chunk of it ready by the time students start the next academic year.”

Scottish history, archaeology and culture studies can be studied part time or full time throughout the Outer Hebrides via Lews Castle College and its learning centres.

Further information about courses can be found at:

Pictured are Lews Castle College Librarian Caroline Brick and Dr Elizabeth Ritchie with just some of the titles donated in the bequest.