National Library of Scotland

National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge



General Enquiries



Rare and Specialist Collections

Public Programme


0131 226 4531


General Enquiries

+44 (0)131-622 4803

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
National Library of Scotland
Food icon Library icon Wheelchair access icon

Scotland's largest library and the world centre for the study of Scotland and the Scots. Thanks to our UK legal deposit status, we are also a vast reference library.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive

Opening hours

General Reading Room:

Monday - 09.30-20.30
Tuesday - 09.30-20.30
Wednesday - 10.00-20.30
Thursday - 09.30-20.30
Friday - 09.30-20.30
Saturday - 09.30-13.00

Closed: Sunday

Admission charges

Free admission to Reading Rooms, exhibitions and workshops. Some events are chargeable.

7 million printed books, 120,000 volumes of manuscripts, 1.6 million maps, and over 20,000 newspaper and magazine titles.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Industry, Law and Order, Literature, Maritime, Medicine, Music, Natural Sciences, Religion, Science and Technology, Social History, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • Robert Burns
  • Mary Queen of Scots
  • Edinburgh Calotype Club
  • Douglas Haig
  • Winston Churchill
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Murthly Hours
  • The Auchinleck Manuscript
  • Modern Scottish Writers
  • Edinburgh’s Theatre Royal
  • Map Library - military and civilian
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

EXHIBITION -Behind the Lines: personal stories of the First World War

  • 27 June — 11 November 2014 *on now

As the centenary of its outbreak is marked across the world, this exhibition examines Scotland's role in the First World War through the personal stories of a number of men and women who lived, and died, during this momentous period in history. Diaries, letters, photographs and sketches of men on active service, nurses at the front, grieving parents and conscientious objectors imprisoned for their beliefs offer a direct link to the diverse experiences of individual Scots during the war. Some of the stories featured will be 18 year old Mairi Chisholm, serving as a nurse very close to the Belgian trenches, 18 year old Bertie Dickson and his younger brother, Archie, both of whom fought at Jutland, and Sir David Henderson, the 'father' of the Royal Air Force.

Suitable for

  • Any age