The Scottish Poetry Library: New Publications

The Scottish Poetry Library is a unique resource and advocate for the enriching art of poetry, in particular Scottish poetry [see a list of our new publications].

The SPL aims:

  • to bring the pleasures of poetry to as wide an audience as possible
  • to nurture creative language skills in the context of life-long learning
  • to promote knowledge of Scottish poetry and poets nationally and internationally
  • to support the work of contemporary Scottish poets

Our Collections

Scottish Poetry Library interiorThe core of the SPL’s work is its unique collection. All of the poetry published in Scotland finds its way onto the shelves, but you’ll also find poetry from all over the world; though a national library, the SPL is international in scope and sensibility. The online catalogue gives an idea of the tremendous depth and range of this remarkable collection.

As well as the core collection housed in its Edinburgh building, the SPL maintains 13 outreach collections all over Scotland, from Shetland to Dumfries & Galloway. These outreach collections are located in libraries and arts centres and, like the core collection, are freely available to browse and borrow. And for those who aren’t able to visit any of the collections, many of the treasures on the SPL shelves available to borrow by post.

Engaging Readers

The SPL is committed to developing new audiences for poetry. A lively programme of events features established names and new talents, with recent visitors including John Hegley, Michael Longley, Ruth Padel and Don Paterson. The library also hosts a number of poetry reading groups whose members meet regularly to discuss single poems, new collections and whatever else captures their imagination.

Online, the recently-launched Reading Room website is developing an online community of poetry readers, where visitors can search the library’s catalogue, discover new poets, review poetry books and events and join an online reading group.

Beyond the library a wide range of SPL projects are concerned with presenting poems in everyday environments: as posters on Glasgow Undergound platforms and local buses, or postcard sets in shops, stations and airports, on poetry bookshelves in cafes and as Valentine’s day text messages, poems are slipped into unexpected formats and locations.

Supporting Poets

The SPL education programme aims to inspire young people of all ages and encourage them to see poetry and creative writing as a source of personal pleasure. A year-round workshop programme and a growing archive of online teaching resources supports schools to include poetry in their curriculum: as an art in itself, as a field of study, and as a medium for exploring and expressing a range of subjects within the National Curriculum.

The Edwin Morgan Archive

In 2007, the SPL secured a Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards the acquisition and development of a unique archive of material relating to Scotland’s national poet, Edwin Morgan.

The Edwin Morgan Archive has been amassed over 30 years, and represents the most significant gathering of his work in print and other media. It gives an incomparable sense of the breadth of his work, its variety and especially its context.

Scottish Poetry Library exteriorAcquiring the archive means an expansion in SPL activities and services, particularly in terms of education and online resources. Work is currently underway to convert an area of the Library into a dedicated archive space. The Scottish Poetry Library vision for the Edwin Morgan Archive is that it should be accessible to everyone who wants to view it; the archive is due to open to the public in April 2009.

“The Scottish Poetry Library is heaven on earth! I found treasures on every shelf during each visit”

As so many people have already discovered, there’s a poem for everyone, for every occasion; and there are poems that reach and move you in ways you didn’t know were possible. The Scottish Poetry Library is where poetry comes to life. Whether you’re a regular reader, a serious student or a curious browser, it may have just the words you’ve been looking for.



References & Further Information

Be sure to see the Scottish Poetry Library’s New Publications page.

The Scottish Poetry Library
Crichton’s Close, Canongate
Edinburgh EH8 8DT
Scotland, UK

Tel: +44 (0)131 557 2876
Fax: +44 (0)131 557 8393
Email: reception @

The Scottish Poetry Library is open:
Monday to Friday 11.00am-6.00pm &
Saturday 1.00pm-5.00pm

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