The interior of the general reading room in Dennistoun District Library, Craigpark Street, photographed in 1907. The library had opened in 1905 and provided newspapers as well as books for its readers: newspapers can be seen spread out on the wall at the far end of the room. Reading rooms were sometimes referred to as "newsrooms".
The provision of newspapers in public libraries was somewhat controversial. Supporters of the policy claimed that newspapers played a valuable role in keeping people informed; that once in the library readers would move on to books; employment adverts were useful and that the library could provide an alternative attraction to the public house. Detractors pointed out that newspapers were trivial, ephemeral, took up too much space, and attracted only unsavoury "loafers" whose presence deterred others from using the library.
Dennistoun Library was the venue for the first of a series of lectures, when on 28 February 1908, Professor Denney spoke on "Samuel Johnson in his own works." City Librarian Francis Barrett reported that "there was a very crowded attendance, completely filling the spacious reading room."
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
Dennistoun District Library, lectures, libraries, newspapers, newsrooms, reading rooms