Monday, 26 July 2010

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland began back in 1689 and was called the Advocates Library. It was a private library, but it became so big that it was too much for the members to handle. So in 1925, the Advocates donated their library to the nation. This than became the National Library of Scotland.

For a collection, it houses more than just books. There are over 14 million books and manuscripts, 2 million maps and atlases, 300,000 music scores, 32,000 films and videos, 25,000 newspapers and magazines, and 6,000 new items are added each week. The National Library is one of six legal deposit libraries in the United Kingdom, so that explains why there is a wide variety of items in the collection. The library is the house of scottish history, but they do collect printed materials from around the world that has to deal with scottish history. The library also has treasures in the library such as a couple of Gutenberg Bibles and the last letter written by Mary, Queen of Scots before her execution.

When we went to the National Library, we were not given a proper tour. They did have a visitor center with two different exhibits. The first exhibit was on the history of golf. I have never played golf, don't have much interest for the game, and I'm not the best putt-putt player, but I thought the golf exhibit was awesome! The entire floor was carpeted with the fake outdoor grass to simulate the green, there was a mocked setup green so anybody could attempt a practice putt, and nine different flags that had varies questions on the history of golf. The answers were found on the practice green. There were nice big banners illustrating golf and several books displayed on the history and rules of golf. Again, I am no fan of golf, but I thought the exhibit was well put together, and I trully enjoyed it.

The second exhibit was much different than the first. The exhibit was on different explorers, but the exhibit looked like a Star Trek movie set. The room was dark, and it had several large glass tubes with different items inside. There was usually a large piece of clothing, books, papers, and several small items. In front of each tube was an electronic mocked book that displayed each article in the tube and when selected, a paragraph about the article was discussed. One tube discussed Lord Byron and his travels while the tube next to him had his ex-girlfriend, who was way too attached to him. I loved the exhibit, because its not a style I would of expected a library to do. It was dark, trippy, sci-fish, and had neon lights. The only negative comment I have to make is that the room was too dark. It was so dark that a person couldn't see their notes they had just wrote. Everything else about the exhibit was amazing.

It would of been nice to of had a guided tour, but the exhibits themselves explained a lot about the National Library of Scotland.

To learn more about the National Library of Scotland, please visit

Photograph provided by the blogger.

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