Past Times: “Shetland Book” to be published

From The Shetland Times, Friday 2nd January, 1959.

At a special meeting last Monday night, the Education Committee decided to go ahead with plans for publishing a “Shetland Book”, on the lines recommended by a special sub-committee formed to discuss the project.

At a recent meeting of the sub-committee there was submitted recommendations made by the teacher members of the sub-committee together with Dr Manson as requested by the sub-committee at its previous meeting. Before the recommendations were discussed Mr Henderson stated that he was now able to give further information about the previous attempt to produce a Shetland Book. The various writings were to be collected by the late W. Ratter and Professor Grierson was to be editor.

The recommendations already referred to were then considered in detail. It was agreed that the proposed book should be published specifically as a school text book to be issued to pupils between twelve and fifteen years of age. The book should include such subjects as human and economic geography, nature study, history, biography and folk lore. It was agreed that approximately seventy pages should be devoted to history, sixty pages to geography, fifty pages to nature study, twenty pages to biography, and twenty pages to folk lore. It was agreed that a separate anthology of Shetland verse should be published, and this, together with notes on literature, should extend to some 100 pages.

The chairman suggested that music and song should not be excluded, and Mr Henderson recommended that music and song be included in the scope of the book. Mr T. A. Robertson reminded the committee that a number of Shetland songs were at present in print and available in sheet form at a small cost while others were printed in Folk Society collections which were still in print. He thought that the Folk Society would be willing to lend blocks if asked to do so.

Mr R. A. Anderson moved that there should be a separate editor for the main text book and for the book of language and literature and recommended that Messrs John Graham and T. A. Robertson be asked to undertake the language and literature section jointly. On a motion by Mr R. Ollason, seconded by Mr. Henderson it was agreed that the director of education should call on Mr A. T. Cluness to ask whether he would be willing to edit the text book and to discuss the task with him. It should be emphasised to Mr Cluness that while he would be given the maximum of freedom in selecting people to write the various parts of the book, the Education Committee would be very willing to do everything possible to ensure that the work would not be a great burden.

It was further agreed that when the book was ready a group of teachers should be appointed to consider it in draft; that it should be illustrated, and that the possibility of a first printing of 5,000 copies should be borne in mind.


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