Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to view the answer, or alternatively you can always contact us.

Is the SPL a lending library?

Yes. We have a large lending collection.

Is it free to use the library and become a borrower?

Yes, it’s free

Do I need to make an appointment to come to the library?

No – you can just drop in anytime during opening hours. If you have a specialist research enquiry, or would like to consult our special collection it’s best to contact us in advance so that we can have things ready for you and make sure the appropriate member of staff is available to help.

How do I become a borrower?

All you need to do is complete a borrowers form and show us proof of address. Find out more on our borrowing page.

Can I borrow books by post?

Yes, anyone in the UK can borrow by post. There’s a small charge, and it’s free to Friends of the library. See more about this on our borrowing page.

Where can I find the online library catalogue?

You’ll find it at There’s some guidance on our Online catalogue page. You can access it from anywhere, and you don’t have to be signed up as a borrower to do so.

Do you have Wi-Fi or public internet access?

We have free public Wi-Fi, but we have no computers available for internet use.

Is there a café?

No, but there are several nearby.

Do you give tours?

Yes, we’d be very happy to provide a tour. See Our building page for more details.

Do you only have Scottish poetry books?

No – we have poetry from all over the world, although the Scottish collection is our core focus.

Do you accept donations of books for the collection?

The library was built on generous donations. We do still accept donations, although we now have an extensive collection and may not always need what you are offering. If we can’t use your donations we will send them on to Better World Books.

Can I give you my poems for the collection?

We cannot accept your poems unless they are in book or pamphlet format. We also focus on Scottish poets, so if you are not Scottish we may not be able to find space. The Poetry Library in London collects all books and pamphlets published in England – we can only collect some of these.

Do you collect manuscripts?

No. We only collect published works. However, we can offer advice on this subject.

Do you index poetry periodicals?

Yes we do – we have indexed many Scottish literary periodicals, so we can save you time if you need to search a particular magazine. See Our services for more details.

Can I bring my children in?

Children are very welcome in the library, but must be accompanied by an adult. We have a children’s area, some toys, and book collection.

Do you have an education programme?

Yes we do – visit our For teachers pages to find out more.

Will you stock my book in your shop?

We mostly sell our own publications, unique or special editions, anthologies and single author collections. Our anthologies tend to be connected to Scotland, Edinburgh or specific issues concerning the work of the SPL. Single author collections are often Scottish, newly-published, part of our event Programme or connected with poetry at festivals and other work we do. We also sell cards, postcards, gift items and bespoke merchandise. The online shop does not reflect our full stock range. The range sold in the shop is at the discretion of the Library Services Development & Retail Manager. Get in touch to ask if you are unsure.

Can I buy books from you online?

Yes – in our online shop. All profits made support our work.

Is the SPL a publisher?

We do occasionally publish books relating to our projects, our education programme, or anthologies on themes relating to our enquiries.

Can you give feedback on my manuscript?

No, sorry. But you’ll find some useful resources on our For poets page.

Can you publish my poems?

No, we can’t. But you’ll find some useful resources on our For poets page.

I’m looking for a copy of a postcard or poster you used to have?

Email and we’ll try to help – we may still have stocks in the building.

Do you have any vacancies?

These will be posted on our Jobs & opportunities page.

Do you take on volunteers?

We always welcome offers of volunteer help – find out more about how to apply on our Jobs & opportunities page.

Can you find a poem for me?

Yes – we love to look for poems for people, whether it’s one you have ‘lost’ and can’t remember and need the text for, or whether you need a poem for a special occasion. Visit our How can we help? page to send us your request.

Can you help me with my research?

Yes, we have extensive research resources and experienced librarians who will be very happy to assist you.

Can you help me with a copyright enquiry?

Yes, we are happy to give advice about copyright and to let you know how to get permission to use poems. Visit our How can we help? page to send us your request.

Can you recommend a poet for my project or event?

Yes, use the How can we help? page to send us your requirements, or call us.

Can you help with our poetry competition?

Yes, we have considerable experience with poetry competitions, particularly schools competitions. Visit our How can we help? page or contact our Communications Manager, Rose Harrison at

How do I get the National Poetry Day postcards?

Find out on our National Poetry Day page.

Can I hire the building?

Yes – you can hire it for all sorts of events. See Our building page for more details.

Will you consider me for inclusion in your events programme?

Our events programme is carefully curated, but you are welcome to hire the building.

Can you publicise my event on your website? How does that work?

Yes, you can post up your poetry events in Scotland by filling out our Events registration form.

Where is the library? How do I get there?

The Library is in Edinburgh’s Old Town, down off the Canongate near the Scottish Parliament. There is a map on our Find us page.

Where can I park?

There are double yellow lines outside the library – although you can quickly unload items. Nearby parking is listed on the Find us page.