10 places for book lovers to visit in Glasgow

AS well as being the birthplace of several famous writers '“ such as Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead, and Edwin Morgan '“ Glasgow is home to a whole host of wonderful bookshops, events and tourist attractions which are sure to delight any book lover.

This is Europes largest lending library, the Mitchell Library. Picture: John Devlin
This is Europes largest lending library, the Mitchell Library. Picture: John Devlin


The Glasgow Women’s Library is the only resource of its kind in Scotland. As well as being a lending library, it holds all sorts of artefacts and archive materials which document the achievements of women.

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The library also organises services and programmes to support women across the country, tackling issues such as domestic violence and poverty.

Authors Christopher Brookmyre and Lucy Ribchester have both appeared at the Aye Write! Festival. Picture: John Devlin.


The Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) is home to the Scottish Writers’ Centre, which supports writers across Scotland and promotes the literary culture of the city.

Writers meet and share ideas here, and learn from experts about their craft.

The Centre organises a continuous stream of talks and masterclasses for those who want to make books their life’s work.

Authors Christopher Brookmyre and Lucy Ribchester have both appeared at the Aye Write! Festival. Picture: John Devlin.


Fans of Alasdair Gray’s novels will know that Glasgow Necropolis makes an appearance in one of his greatest works, Lanark.

There are several interesting memorials to look out for at the Necropolis, including a monument to the reformation preacher, John Knox.

You can also spot tombs designed by the Glasgow architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, and a memorial to Glasgow’s recipients of the Victoria Cross.

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There are regular tours of the Necropolis, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but make sure to book in advance.


This is Europe’s largest lending library, with over a million items of stock. With its distinctive green dome and classical columns, it is a recognisable Glasgow landmark.

The library first opened its doors in 1911, and has since become one of Glasgow’s most important literary hotspots.

You can grab a cup of coffee at the Herald bar, take a look at the current exhibition, and investigate the archive materials on Glasgow’s history.


In the city’s artsy West End, you can find this wonderfully chaotic second hand bookshop.

It has been open for more than 40 years, winning the hearts of countless students and bibliophiles along the way.

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The piles and piles of books on offer range from rare antiquarian tomes and affordable second hand volumes.


The Glasgow School of Art has had many distinguished students who went on to become published writers, including Alasdair Gray, Henry Hellier and Liz Lochhead.

Denise Mina’s gritty crime thriller trilogy, Garnethill, is also set in the area around the art school.

Objects from the school’s archives can be seen at the permanent exhibition in the Window on Mackintosh visitor centre, where you can learn about the school’s most famous student, the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.


In 1943, gallery director Tom Honeyman and dramatists James Bridie and Paul Vincent Carroll founded the Citizens’ Company. Later the company became the Citizens’ Theatre repertory group.

Nowadays, the Citizens Theatre is the west of Scotland’s principal producing theatre, and is housed in the former Royal Princess’s Theatre, built in 1878.

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Whether you want to see an exciting, brand new play, or a tried and tested classic, you can’t go wrong with the Citizens.


Edwin Morgan was Glasgow’s first poet laureate, who wrote in many different styles, from sonnets to concrete poetry.

As well as writing his own poems, Morgan also translated poems from several languages, including Russian, Hungarian, French and Italian.

His poems can be found on the paving stones of Glasgow’s city centre – outside the city hall, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and the Scottish Music Centre.


Housed in Glasgow’s SWG3, the Poetry Club is speakeasy bar designed by Jim Lambie which hosts a range of literary events.

One day it might play host to a spoken word event, another day there might be a small show or a party going on.

Artists such as Patti Smith have appeared here, so be on the lookout for well known faces.


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This Glasgow book festival takes place every year, usually during March and April. Venues across the city play host to fascinating events with well known authors.

Previous festival participants include distinguished writers like Ian Rankin, Liz Lochhead, Val McDermid and Denise Mina.

• This article originally appeared on the i online