Gallus Glasgow M: The Mitchell

Mitchell Library. Image credit: Andeggs, via Wikimedia. Public domain.
Mitchell Library. Image credit: Andeggs, via Wikimedia. Public domain.

The magnificent dome of the Mitchell Library is one of Glasgow’s most distinctive landmarks. The building opened in 1911, but the library itself dates from the 1870s (based on a bequest by wealthy tobacco merchant Stephen Mitchell).

I can tell you exactly when I first set foot in the Mitchell – long before I lived in Glasgow. It was Easter 1980, and my library school class (from Sheffield, England) was on a field trip visiting Scottish libraries. An extension (opened 1981) was in its final stages and we were taken through it – no shelves or books, but the carpets were already laid. Oh those carpets! They were very proud of them and told us how much they had cost – I can’t remember, but I know it was a lot. They were VERY colourful – and what’s more, they are still there. Bring your shades! (Those of you who were paying attention yesterday – sit up at the back there! – should recognise the symbols in the carpet at the top right.)

Whether you like the carpets or not (and they have many fans and their own Facebook gallery) it’s undeniable that the Mitchell is a huge asset to the city. It’s one of Europe’s largest public libraries with over one million items of stock and the hub of a city-wide information service. It also includes a theatre, a conference space and the Herald Café Bar. I’m a frequent visitor.

N tomorrow – it involves bagpipes!


42 thoughts on “Gallus Glasgow M: The Mitchell

  1. helenmackinven April 15, 2015 / 11:39

    A fantastic building and resource for the city. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘behind the scenes’ tour we both were lucky to experience. I’ll be back there on Friday for Aye Write.


    • Anabel Marsh April 15, 2015 / 11:41

      I’ll be there on Monday for Aye Write and possibly some other times. Most of the pictures are from that tour – I agree, it was great!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. VioletSky April 15, 2015 / 11:53

    Those carpets are wonderful! I’ve never been to the Mitchell, so had no idea.


    • Anabel Marsh April 15, 2015 / 12:00

      Obviously top quality to have taken the pounding of Glaswegian feet over 35 years!


  3. Alex Hurst April 15, 2015 / 13:25

    AHHHH!!! THAT is your LIBRARY?! I am super jelly! :O When can I book a ticket already?! I need this library in my life!


  4. Nadine April 15, 2015 / 15:00

    What a glorious building! Libraries should all be such magnificent places.


    • Anabel Marsh April 15, 2015 / 15:31

      It’s wonderful! One place they haven’t managed to mess up – apart from building a massive motorway in front of it. I suppose you can’t have everything.


  5. Eli April 15, 2015 / 15:02

    That is an amazing building Anabel. Would love to hang out there for hoooours…. Gorgeous. Looking forward to the bagpipes:-)


    • Anabel Marsh April 15, 2015 / 15:32

      It is gorgeous! Yes, bagpipes tomorrow (pictures only…,)


  6. Christy@SweetandSavoring April 15, 2015 / 15:19

    How gorgeous! I’m such an architecture geek when I’m traveling and I’m sure I’d have been in he library for hours photographing every detail. Thanks for sharing such a striking building!


  7. Jessica April 15, 2015 / 16:16

    What a beautiful library! I’m jealous. My local library is tiny (albeit housed in a handsome red brick Victorian building), and they don’t carry most of the books I want to read!


    • Anabel Marsh April 15, 2015 / 16:20

      My local library is nothing like as glamorous, but it’s not far to travel to this one.


  8. Chrys Fey April 15, 2015 / 18:28

    That’s a library? Oh my goodness that is stunning! If I went there, I wouldn’t get any reading done because I’d be too busy taking pictures and exploring.

    -Chrys Fey
    Tremp’s Troops – A to Z Co-co-host
    Write with Fey


    • Anabel Marsh April 15, 2015 / 18:36

      Truly stunning – and its annual book festival is about to take place.


  9. cleemckenzie April 15, 2015 / 18:31

    Such an imposing building–inside and out! I think I have to make a plan to visit as many libraries in this world as I can. This will be one.


  10. clicksclan April 15, 2015 / 18:58

    I’ve never been there, though I’ve admired the outside plenty of times.

    Perhaps next time I’m up for a hospital appointment I’ll have to make a bit of detour. 😉


    • Anabel Marsh April 15, 2015 / 19:10

      Can’t believe you studied in Glasgow and never went to the Mitchell! Definitely an oversight to put right.


  11. johnmarkmiller April 15, 2015 / 22:20

    I’m sure they loved those carpets, but I wouldn’t want those designs anywhere near my house – ha!


  12. KaTy Did April 15, 2015 / 23:05

    All that beautiful old oak. So beautiful.


  13. njmagas April 16, 2015 / 00:56

    Please, oh please tell me this one isn’t slated for demolition! ;__; That is one of the most beautiful public libraries Ive ever seen!


    • Anabel Marsh April 16, 2015 / 07:45

      No, absolutely not! There’d be a revolution. The annual book festival, Aye Write, starts tomorrow which I’m really looking forward to – I’ll be on the door for a few sessions which is great because I then get to listen in. Aye Write is a pun on the Glasgow double positive = negative, Aye right! Which means definitely not.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Birgit April 16, 2015 / 02:53

    Oh now this is a library. The carpets look interesting and I should place the carpet from your post yesterday but I am having a brain fart plus I am tired:) I love that front façade with the men(Gods??) holding up the front-I see that in other buildings around Europe


    • Anabel Marsh April 16, 2015 / 07:50

      The carpet has the symbols from the coat of arms on it. It’s in the Glasgow Room (local history). That’s actually the back entrance, believe it or not!


  15. vannillarock April 18, 2015 / 00:26

    Fabulous building and library. Glad I predicted M correctly. 😜


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