Mitchell Library

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See Mitchell Library (Australia) for that section of the State Library of New South Wales.
Mitchell Library
Mitchell library.jpg
Country Scotland
Type Public library (Reference and Lending)
Established 1877
Location North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DN
Coordinates 55.8651° N, 4.2720° W
Branch of Glasgow Libraries
Items collected Books, newspapers, journals maps, multimedia, archives, microforms
Size Over 1,213,000 volumes
Access and use
Access requirements Open to the general public, Monday to Saturday. Lending library requires a Glasgow Libraries borrowers' card.
Population served 577,670
Website The Mitchell Library

The Mitchell Library is a large public library and centre of the City Council public library system of Glasgow, Scotland.


The library based in the Charing Cross district was established initially in Ingram Street in 1877 following a bequest from Stephen Mitchell, a wealthy tobacco manufacturer, whose company, Stephen Mitchell & Son, would become one of the constituent members of the Imperial Tobacco Company. Part of the original collection came from a purchase in 1874 by Glasgow Corporation of 1800 early books gifted to Glasgow University from the Glasgow philanthropist William Euing.[1]

The library contains a large public reference library, with 1,213,000 volumes. While composed mainly of reference material it also has a substantial lending facility which began in 2005. The North Street building, with its distinctive copper dome surmounted by Thomas Clapperton's bronze statue entitled Literature (often referred to as Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom) opened in 1911. The architectural competition for the library took place in 1906 and was won by William B. Whitie. The Edwardian Baroque building is protected as a category B listed building.[2]

The vast majority of the library's collection however is housed in the Extension Building, which was built between 1972 and 1980. Located to the west of the original building, it occupies the site of the famed St Andrew's Halls, which were designed by James Sellars and opened in 1877. Acquired by Glasgow Corporation in 1890 it was Scotland`s pre-eminent venue for concerts and meetings.[3] It had a massive and striking classical facade and included a Grand Hall which could hold 4,500 people, two Lesser Halls, further small halls and a large ballroom. The building was gutted by fire in 1962, although the facade survived and was later incorporated into the 1980 extension of the Mitchell Library, with the principal entrance now being in Granville Street.


As part of a major internal refurbishment in 2005, the ground floor of the extension was recreated as an internal street running east to west. A stylish new cafe bar has been incorporated with a large learning centre offering free Internet and Wifi access. A new business lounge and a popular lending library have also been created.

Containing five floors, access is freely open to the public, whether library borrowing members or non-members. Non-members can, upon request, use PCs and the Internet as well as printed reference materials.

The Mitchell Library also holds the Glasgow City Archives and collections which are considered to be one of the world’s best resources for researching family history and are much used in the television series Who Do You Think You Are?.[4]

The Mitchell is also a venue centre offering the hire and use of the Edwardian Hall, linked rooms in the North Street building, Mitchell Theatre and breakout rooms in the Granville Street extension, for conferences, banquets, exhibitions and meetings.[5]

Mitchell Theatre[edit]

The 1980 extension building incorporates the 418-seat Mitchell Theatre.



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Mitchell Library: Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Video Interview at the Mitchell Library with Elizabeth Carmichael, Education Officer at the library (February, 2008)
  5. ^ [2]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°51′54.39″N 4°16′19.23″W / 55.8651083°N 4.2720083°W / 55.8651083; -4.2720083