Saturday, 21 November 2009


'' A CEMETERY OF BOOKS! '' Lord Rosebery called
The Mitchell Library when he opened the North Street 
Building in 1911.In fact ,the Library has always been 
alive to the needs of it's readers;it has provided the citizens
of Glasgow with their own open University for over 100
years.It is named after Stephen Mitchell,a tobacco 
manufacturer in Glasgow( '' PRIZE CROP! ''),who left
£67,000 ''for the establishmentof a large public library
in Glasgow,with all the modern accessories connected werewith''.

Since it's opening in Ingram St. in 1877,''The Mitchell ''

has out grown three buildings.Originally it was a
closed-access library,books being issued through a 
central point.This gradually changed to there being a 
specialist subject dept. and a basic stock on the open
shelves.The additional space offered by a new building
on the site of the St. Andrews Halls accelerated this
trend quickly making the Mitchell ,the largest public
reference Library in Britain!,so that there was now
ten departments

When the Mitchell Library opened it's door in North 

street ,it had grown so much in volume not to mention
it's world wide reputation as a major source of
information.By 1920 it had grown to be (and still is)
the largest reference library in Europe!It has at anyone
time only approx 12% of it's entire stock on view.North
street has around 2 million volumes within it's walls.

While the library has often attracted prestigious 

donations(such as the Jeffrey Library with it's 
Audubon's Birds of America)two important collections
were projected from the start:The Glasgow Collection
(''all papers which illustrate the City's growth and life'')
and Scottish Poetry (including the Robert Burns 
Collection,the largest in existence).

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