Look inside as historic library gifted by one of the 'greatest' Glaswegians reopens

The library has been closed for two years while it was restored

A historic library in Glasgow gifted to the city by one of the “greatest Glaswegians” has reopened after a £4 million refurbishment.

The facility in Govan, now known as the Elder Park Library and Community Hub, has been closed for a two-year restoration.

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It was originally gifted to Govan by philanthropist and champion of women’s education, Isabella Elder, who contributed £10,000 to pay for the building of the facility in the early 1900s.

Ms Elder, who was named one of the “greatest” Glaswegians for her work advocating for the population of Govan, was the wife of industrialist John Elder. Statues of the couple stand near the library, which is located in the grounds of Elder Park.

The A-listed building, opened by Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1903, was designed and built by the renowned architect John James Burnett at a cost of £27,000.

The library has undergone a multi million pound refurbishmentThe library has undergone a multi million pound refurbishment
The library has undergone a multi million pound refurbishment | Glasgow Life

It has been described as a "fantastic example of architecture of this heritage", but was plagued with problems from high levels of asbestos to issues with accessibility, lighting and ventilation. The site is protected by Historic Environment Scotland because of its architectural and historic interest.

The upgrades include a full interior and exterior refurbishment, which provides improved library and community spaces, a new community kitchen and more bookable areas for people to use. These are supported by additional library toilets and improved baby changing facilities for users.

Andrew Olney, director of libraries, sport and communities at Glasgow Life, the charity that leads culture and sport in Scotland’s biggest city, said: “Glasgow’s libraries are highly valued by the people who use them, and this project ensures there is a modern, fit-for-purpose hub at the heart of the Elder Park community.

The library was opened in the early 1900sThe library was opened in the early 1900s
The library was opened in the early 1900s | Glasgow Life

"The new-look facility offers visitors a welcoming space with free access to books, digital resources, information, and support.”

Gary Dalziel, chief executive of Elderpark Housing Association, which worked in partnership on the renovation project with Glasgow Life, said: “Elderpark Housing Association is thrilled to see Elder Park Library and Community Hub opening after its extensive renovations.

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"It will provide a stunning facility located in the heart of the community which, as well as re-invigorating the use of the refurbished library, will also create a first-class new community hub, all located within a historic and much-loved building in the area.”

The library was gifted to the people of GovanThe library was gifted to the people of Govan
The library was gifted to the people of Govan | Glasgow Life

All of the new additions connect to a building management system that monitors temperature and ventilation, as well as new fire safety and security systems. Other new features include more natural ventilation, energy-efficient boilers, new electrical wiring and lighting, which are set to greatly reduce the carbon footprint of the building, as well as a weather station.



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