Thursday, 15 September 2016

National Library of Scotland facility opens in Glasgow

The National Library of Scotland ( has opened a new facility at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall. The following is the press release:

Scotland's past comes alive at Kelvin Hall

A 21st century doorway into Scotland's past opens today (14 September) in Glasgow's iconic Kelvin Hall, offering visitors the opportunity to explore countless treasures that cannot be viewed anywhere else.

For the first time, people in the west of Scotland will have easy access to the world class collections held by the National Library of Scotland, whose role is to preserve and protect the memory of the nation.

Visitors to the National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall will be able to explore — for free — 100 years of Scottish life on film and video held in the Moving Image Archive as well as having access to the Library's extensive digital collections including maps, books, manuscripts, reference works and business information. Content can be individually selected and viewed on some 50 screens set throughout the building.

There is material on almost every topic and examples include:
  • One of the earliest films of Glasgow trams from 1902
  • Films of holidays 'doon the watter'
  • The first Scottish film to win an Oscar — the 1960 documentary 'Seawards the Great Ships'.

Visitors will also have access to a vast electronic library of information being made available in Glasgow for the first time for personal research and academic study. This material can only be consulted on National Library premises and includes:

Millions of e-books on every subject imaginable
Millions of journal articles published across the United Kingdom
Millions of historic websites archived as part of the UK Web Archive.

In the Library's digital gallery visitors will be able to view and explore:
  • The last letter of Mary Queen of Scots
  • Manuscripts by Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott
  • The Scottish science hall of fame
  • The history of golf in Scotland.

In addition there will be a discovery area with fixed displays on life in Scotland both past and present looking at Scots at work, at home and how they have had fun down the years. The Library also has access to a 120-seater purpose built cinema at Kelvin Hall which will be used for special film shows and author events for the public.

The move to Kelvin Hall extends the Library's reach out of its historic home in Edinburgh for the first time while providing people in the west of Scotland with an exciting new visitor experience with the capacity to support research and learning as well as being a place of entertainment and inspiration.

It is part of the reinvention of Kelvin Hall as a cultural, academic and sporting complex of international significance. The project is a unique collaboration between Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, the University of Glasgow and the Library and follows a £35 million refurbishment of one of Glasgow's best loved buildings.

'Kelvin Hall has been reborn and we are delighted to be an important part of this new leisure and cultural centre,' said National Librarian Dr John Scally. 'Our collections tell the story of Scotland down the centuries and we want to connect as many people as possible to the riches, knowledge and information held within them. They cover all aspects of human endeavour with unlimited opportunities for education, entertainment and inspiration.'

He added: 'The first thing people will see when they visit us at Kelvin Hall will be a 12-screen video-wall showing films from our Moving Image Archive that records 100 years of life in Scotland. People will also be able to use our digital collections giving them access to many rare and original items covering centuries of Scotland's history and culture. And of particular significance is the fact as Scotland's legal deposit library we are able to offer Glasgow millions of electronic books and journal articles previously only available in our buildings in the capital. We have something for everyone and we look forward to welcoming people to the National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall.'

See the Library's Kelvin Hall page for further information, including details of opening times. (Available at

(With thanks to the NLS at


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy, A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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