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Exploring Scotland – The Libraries of Scotland and Jisc Library Hub Discover

This month our blog post takes us to Scotland and focuses on just some of the amazing contributing libraries we have. We highlight a small selection of the incredible libraries of Scotland from the National Library, University libraries, NHS and special libraries and the incredible National Museum of Scotland.

Did you know that you can also search Library Hub Discover directly for records held in libraries in particular places? To search for Scotland, just choose an ‘Advanced search’ and select ‘Scotland’ from the ‘Region’ section at the bottom of the page.

To find out more about searching Library Hub Discover, check out our Basic and Advanced search guides for more information on getting started.

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National Library of Scotland  

With world-class collections, The National Library of Scotland is the largest reference library in Scotland and one of the major research libraries in Europe. Collections range from rare historical documents to online journals which cover every subject, with particular focus on Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture. With an amazing range of materials including manuscripts, sheet music and recordings, pamphlets, rare books and so much more, the library holds an exceptional wealth of knowledge. The library also has a digital gallery and you can find out more about the library collections on their blog or find out more about their online events .

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Scottish Poetry Library
Scottish Poetry Library : Image Copyright Scottish Poetry Library

The Scottish Poetry Library 

The world’s leading resource for Scottish Poetry, the library is a unique, national resource and advocate for poetry. Publicly accessible and providing a free lending service, the collections include poetry magazines and journals, audio-visual material and special collections. Focusing primarily on contemporary poetry from 1950 onwards, the library is passionately committed to bringing the benefits of poetry to as wide an audience as possible. It also holds representative works from earlier periods, European poetry and poetry in translation as well as a children’s collection. The Edwin Morgan Archive also contains the most significant and accessible collection of his work in print and other media.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

National Museums Scotland Library

Founded over 230 years ago with its roots in the Collections of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the National Museums Scotland library is now a modern research library and the largest museum library collection in Scotland. Open to the public for reference, there are two sites with access – The Research Library and the National War Museum Library. Subjects covered in the collection include archaeology, Scottish history and culture, world-wide decorative and applied arts, natural sciences, Scottish military history and the history of science and technology. The library also houses over 2,000 rare books, with 1,300 titles published before 1800.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Image of The University of Glasgow Library
The University of Glasgow Library : Image Copyright – The University of Glasgow Library

The University of Glasgow Library

In existence since the foundation of the University of Glasgow in 1451, the University Library is one of the oldest academic libraries in Europe. It holds more than 2 million print books and journals, in excess of 925,000 e-books, and over 58,000 e-journals covering most branches of the arts, sciences, social sciences and medicine. Archives & Special Collections hold rare and unique books, manuscripts and early photographs and official records documenting the history of the University since 1451, as well as history of Scottish businesses since the late 1700s. You can also browse virtual exhibitions and online collections. The Maps, Official Publications & Statistics Unit holds Scotland’s largest European Documentation Centre, government documents, and a fabulous collection of maps focusing on Scotland and the British Isles.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Image of the Leadhill Miner's Library
The Leadhill Miner’s Library : Image copyright – The Leadhill Miner’s Library

The Leadhill Miner’s Library

Founded in 1741 as Leadhills Reading Society, the library is both the first and earliest subscription library to be founded in Britain and is also the world’s first library for working people. In the early 20th c the library’s stock peaked at around 4000 volumes and today its 2500 surviving volumes represent a history of working class reading from the early 18th century until the 1930s. The library’s collections also include the earliest library banner in Britain (c 1820) and the largest collection of Bargain Books in Scotland which recorded the short term contracts made between the mine managers and teams of miners. The library functioned as a lending library until the 1960s and is now a closed reference and research collection.

Find out more about the library on our dedicated blog post and explore on Discover.

SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture)

The library at SASA focuses on agricultural science and includes historical material. SASA’s primary role is to provide scientific services and advice in support of Scotland’s agriculture and wider environment. It was formerly the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency and is currently a division of the Scottish Government’s Agriculture & Rural Delivery Directorate.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover

Image of the University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews Library : Image Copyright – The University of St Andrews

University of St Andrews Library 

The Library at the University of St Andrews dates back to the early 17th Century but has been collecting books for around 600 years. The General Collections hold more than one million volumes, a large e-book collection, thousands of print and electronic journals, academic databases and an extensive DVD collection which includes rare films and documentaries. The Special Collections house approximately 210,000 rare printed books, particularly strong in theology, classics, history, and English and Scottish literature. It also includes the University’s extensive manuscript and photographic collections and the University archives, which date from the early fifteenth century.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Scottish Blood Transfusion Service Library  

Scotland’s specialist library for transfusion medicine, protein fractionation, pharmaceutical manufacture and engineering. The Transfusion Medicine database contains around 1000 records and consists of archive books, pamphlets and some theses. Library Hub Discover contains the journal records of this service.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

The Scottish Ornithologists Club : Image Copyright – Scottish Ornithologists Club

The George Waterston Library, Scottish Ornithologists’ Club

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club’s library, known as the George Waterston Library, is located in Waterston House overlooking Aberlady Bay in East Lothian. It contains around 5000 books and 130 journals making it the largest ornithological collection in Scotland. This up-to-date working collection has a particular emphasis on Scottish material and meets the needs of beginner bird watchers, researchers and professional ornithologists. In addition, the archive contains a unique collection of ornithological ephemera and artefacts including notebooks, correspondence and photographs belonging to amateur enthusiasts and eminent Scottish ornithologists.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Robert Gordon University Library : Image Copyright – Robert Gordon University Library

Robert Gordon University Library

The library provides a exceptional service to its users located at the heart of the University campus. Offering over four floors of books and journals as well as online resources, study spaces, subject resources and workshops to support the studies of students and staff alike.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover. 

Royal Observatory of Edinburgh 

The Royal Observatory of Edinburgh is an astronomical institution, unique among UK scientific establishments in that it houses on a single site a university astronomy research group, an establishment of a UK Research Council and a Visitor Centre. The library possesses one of the most comprehensive collections of astronomical literature in existence and includes rich comprehensive material on astronomy and physics, including works on mathematics and optical engineering. The library comprises the Main Library which holds twentieth and twenty-first century material covering all fields of astronomy, the Crawford Collection and the ROE Archives.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Glasgow School of Art Library - Image Copyright Glasgow School of Art Library
Glasgow School of Art Library : Image Copyright  – Glasgow School of Art Library

Glasgow School of Art 

Glasgow School of Art Library has one of the finest art, design and architecture collections in the UK and is one of Europe’s leading University-level institutions for the visual creative disciplines. Founded in 1845, it is a small specialist institution offering undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes across art, design, architecture, and digital design. Its lending library has been collecting material since its foundation, and today holds a collection of around 80,000 volumes, principally focusing on contemporary creative practice.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover. 

Edinburgh Napier University Library : Image Copyright – Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University library has three campuses in various locations around the city: Craiglockhart, Merchiston and Sighthill which each support different subject areas taught at the University. The library also has a variety of study spaces and learning environments available to library users. The library is also home to the Edward Clark Collection which consists of around 5,000 items illustrating the development of the book from the 15th century and concentrates on the development of typography, the techniques of printing illustrations, and fine bindings. The library also holds the War Poets Collection which was established in 1988 as a tribute and commemoration to Owen, Sassoon and other poets of the First World War.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

These are just a small selection of the amazing Scottish libraries we have on Discover. Why not search Library Hub Discover and see how many other libraries you can find!

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