Name Details

Name: Glasgow University Library
Dates:
Notes: Also known, especially before 1870, as the College Library.
Established soon after the foundation of the University of Glasgow in 1451. Earliest recorded donation, 1475.
There appears to be no information about library accommodation in the original medieval College buildings. From sometime in the 1660s the College Library was housed on the attic floor of the High Street frontage of the rebuilt University - above the main entrance and the Faculty (or Fore) Hall - accessed by a turret stair in the north-west corner of the quadrangle. A separate William Adam building, known as the New Library, was completed in 1743. However some volumes appear to have remained in the old building until 1769. The Adam building was enlarged c.1782-84.
In the autumn of 1870 the library stock was moved to the new Gilbert Scott building at Hillhead. It occupied the north side of the Quad, comprising a basement, Lower Hall (ground floor, level with the Quad), Upper Hall (level with the Bute Hall) and Gallery. The ground floor main entrance was at the north-east corner of the Quad.
Preparatory work on the site of a new library in Hillhead Street began in January 1965. The building, designed by William Whitfield, was occupied from summer 1968, opening to readers on Autumn Holiday Monday. The building consisted of a core and six service towers, with further office accommodation in a two-storey annexe projecting to the west and southwest of the core.
A mirror image of the 1968 building should have been constructed on its north side immediately but was delayed by government cutbacks. A feasibility study in 1978 proposed successive extensions for a reduced version of this. The first instalment, designed by Walter Underwood and Partners, was built in 1982/83 and consisted of full-size extensions to the ground floor and floors 1 and 2. A further stage, also by Underwood, completed in 1986, consisted of progressively smaller extensions to Floors 3-8 of the core. Whitfield's original concept of a penthouse was fulfilled in 1996/97 by a completely new floor to house Special Collections on the roof of the original core.
[See: James Coutts, A history of the University of Glasgow from its foundation in 1451 to 1909 (Glasgow, 1909); W.P. Dickson, The Glasgow University Library: notes on its history, arrangements, and aims (Glasgow, 1888); John Durkan, 'The early history of Glasgow University Library', The Bibliotheck, vol. 8, nos 4/6 (1977), pp 102-126; Peter Hoare, 'The librarians of Glasgow University over 350 years, 1641-1991', Library Review, vol. 40 (1991), pp 27-43; David Murray, Memories of the Old College of Glasgow: some chapters in the history of the University (Glasgow, 1927)]
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