A new book

COLUMBA’S IONA – A new history by Rosalind K Marshall

May 2013 marked the 1450th anniversary of Columba coming to Iona and there were celebrations to mark the occasion.  The trustees commissioned Dr Rosalind Marshall to write a new history of Iona, the publication of which was released by Sandstone Press in time to mark these celebrations.  The book Columba’s Iona: A New History has been well received and has now been published in paperback.

Hardback      ISBN  9781908737144

Paperback    ISBN  9781908737823

Curriculum material project for schools


The trustees commissioned the University of Aberdeen to produce a new curriculum resource for schools, for the 10-14 age group, on the subject of Iona and St Columba.  This is an interactive, digital resource and the resource was launched for the 2015/16 academic year.

Tales of Iona – Pedagogical Design Principles and Approach

  • Thinking Skills: Puzzles are a key feature of the game design.  They seek to challenge learners to think at a higher order level.
  • Instructional Knowledge: Some instructional knowledge is provided through the game narrative.
  • Curiosity: A pedagogy of curiosity / pedagogy of the question is central to the design of Tales of Iona – through the design of the narrative, in which ‘nuggets’ spark interest, and puzzles through to the artwork and centrality of the virtual library in the game.
  • Interdisciplinary Learning: The ‘library’ reflects the interdisciplinary possibilities that have been considered in the creation of the game.
  • Wiki: Tales of Iona seeks to use wiki pedagogy in order to enable learners to be a part of the ‘making’, construction, process through which their learner voice can be expressed. 
  • International Community of Learning: The wikis provide the opportunity for learners to engage in an international community of learning.


In recent years the Trustees have had discussions about the future of Iona Abbey Library and in particular the condition and storage of the library’s collection of books.  The trustees submitted a successful application in 2016 for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to (1) undertake restoration work to the books in the library, (2) provide extra presses for books and (3) provide facilities which will allow access to the books for research and other purposes. 

In the following two years the various elements of the project were undertaken as follows:

  • some 300 volumes have been uplifted and repaired by professional conservators across Scotland;
  • The Library room above the Chapter House  has been completely refurbished with new, lockable book-presses;
  • A humidistat system to provide ambient environmental conditions has been installed;
  • A digital catalogue of the Library’s contents has been created and will be hosted by the University of the Highlands and Islands;
  • Wi-Fi will be available within the Library as part of phase 2 of the Iona Community’s refurbishment of their accommodation;
  • It is the intention of the trustees to appoint a part-time librarian to facilitate and manage access to the collection;
  • In terms of HLF’s focus on community as well as heritage local communities, schools, arts groups and island visitors have been involved in various workshops and activities overseen by the Project Manager and the Project Community Worker.

For further information on the catalogue or visiting the Library, please visit the Library link here or at the top of the page.