The Mitchell Library reading room, 1931.
In 1874 Stephen Mitchell, a tobacco manufacturer, left almost £70,000 to establish a large public library in Glasgow. The library opened in November 1877 on two floors in a building at the corner of Ingram Street and Albion Street. Its stock consisted of 17,000 volumes made up from small donations and the purchase of three large collections.
The stock quadrupled in just seven years and in 1891 the library moved to Miller Street, but soon these premises also proved inadequate. In October 1911, the new purpose-built Mitchell Library opened in North Street. An extension was added in 1953. In 1962 fire destroyed the adjacent St Andrew's Halls, and when it was rebuilt in the 1970s the library was able to expand into a large area behind the new Mitchell Theatre. In 2003 the Mitchell has a stock of almost two million volumes, and is one of Europe's largest public reference libraries.
Reference: Glasgow University Archive Services, PHU64/144
University of Glasgow
Mitchell Library, public libraries, readers, reading rooms, reference libraries