The story of the Glasgow library with over 1 million volumes and years of history

·1-min read
The story of the Glasgow library with over 1 million volumes and years of history
The story of the Glasgow library with over 1 million volumes and years of history

Everyone in Glasgow knows this building well, but fewer may know the sheer volume of history contained within its grand ornate walls.

The Mitchell Library has dominated the Charing Cross district of the city since the opening of the North Street building in 1911. It was established by wealthy tobacco producer Stephen Mitchell, and today contains over 1 million volumes.

Iconic features of the library’s exterior include the bronze statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, justice, law, poetry, and the arts, to name a few. She has featured atop the library’s dome for over one hundred years.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Most of the collections are now housed in the library’s extension building, which was built in the 1970s. These include the Scottish Poetry Collection – which contains a rare edition of Burns’ Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect – as well as a catalogue of old newspapers, manuscripts, letters, ephemera, photographs, music, and artwork.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

One ‘small’ highlight is the 4000-strong collection of volumes bequeathed to the library in 1902 by the textile businessman Robert Jeffrey, which resulted in the library having to move out of a more modest home on Miller Street to the grand building we see today. The collection includes first editions, fine bindings and classic Victorian works by Dickens, Scott, Tennyson and Burns.

Today, the Mitchell Library welcomes over half a million visitors per year. One popular visiting point is the Glasgow City Archives, which can be visited by appointment and contains millions of historical records.