The new Library building on Hillhead Street was designed by William Whitfield and completed 1968 under the stewardship of University Librarian Robert Ogilvie MacKenna, to replace the outgrown library accommodation in the north west Arts Quadrangle, now the Kelvin Gallery, of the Gilbert Scott Building.

The University Grants Committee was the main funding body of Stage I of the Library. Authorised on 16 October 1964 as part of the Hillhead development, Philip Sayer was appointed supervising architect and Lowe & Rodin structural engineers.

Although the earliest benefaction recorded in the catalogue of the Library, compiled in 1578, consisted of a bible printed in Basel in 1556 from the Rector Andrew Hay, the stock of the Library that was transferred to the new building on 7 July 1968 stood at 640,000 volumes.

Stage I of the Library opened for use on 30 September 1968 at the cost of just over £1m, although building works continued into 1969. Stage II of Whitfield's Library was never carried out and contributed to the large number of subsequent alterations to the original design of the building. In 1983 and 1986 the Library was extended by Walter Underwood & Partners. In 1997 the Library was finally 'completed' with the addition of level 12 to house Special Collections by Homes Partnership and the refurbishment of levels 2 and 3.

In 2012-13 William Nimmo & Partners carried out the re-cladding, re-glazing,re-roofing and insulation of the towers, installing a new aluminum rain screen system.

The Library Redevelopment Project began in mid-July 2015. The project is working on redeveloping level 2, due to reopen during semester 1 of 2015, as a new active learning zone. In addition there will be a flexible service point with improved self-service facilities, a new exhibition area and an upgraded entrance. Level 1, due to open in early 2016, will be transformed into a quiet study study area with over 150 extra study spaces.


80 Hillhead Street
G12 8QE

Record last updated: 5th Aug 2015

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