Our building

Space for Sound

The Scottish Poetry Library turns thirty in 2014, and begins a new chapter of its life in the Crichton’s Close building. Most people think of a library as a silent space, a place where hush prevails. It is true that the Library provides just such a space, away from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile: a place of retreat, reflection, and academic inquiry. But we also need to allow for sound, so that users can encounter poetry in different ways in the one building, the home of poetry in Scotland. Researchers working, people quietly reading poetry, people listening to poems being read and/or poets reading their own works, people interpreting and discussing poems, classes visiting, staff creating podcasts so that people can listen to them on the website – all these activities need to be catered for simultaneously. They are what people expect of a twenty-first century library.

Our building was designed for what we were doing in the 1990s, and now we need to plan for the 2020s, and even for what we can’t imagine doing yet.

We have appointed Nicoll Russell Studios to develop the building and you can see their proposals as submitted for planning permission in the pdfs on the right, or you can find a full set of drawings on the City of Edinburgh Council website.

So, we will be closed during 2014 for several months and we will let you know the timetable for this as soon as we have the dates. You will return to:

  • more space for books
  • more places to work and read comfortably
  • dedicated large workshop/meeting room
  • a space for recording
  • more light and air!

Meanwhile, the life of the SPL will continue: we’ll have a small programme of events in Edinburgh and will be present at various festivals and venues in Scotland in the first half of the year with our Commonwealth Poets United programme, as well as continuing our work in care homes with our Living Voices project.

Of course we’ll be online as vigorously as ever, and we hope you’ll be following progress on our blog, as well as listening to our podcasts and poems, and exploring the site for information and resources such as our downloadable poem-posters. 

The staff will still be working full-time during the closure and will answer your enquiries by phone and by email.

We look forward to welcoming you back to a rejuvenated building!

NB We are currently closed for a much-needed stocktake and spring clean. We are still here working and can respond to your enquiries by phone on 0131 557 2876 and by email at reception@spl.org.uk. Just get in touch to have a chat about what you need and we'll be very happy to help. Perhaps you are visiting from a long way, or have an urgent enquiry, or need to consult the collection as you can't find the books elsewhere - whatever your situation, we will be happy to assist. Please feel welcome to knock or ring the bell, or better still, contact us first to make an appointment to make sure we can have the right staff to assist you. More details here.

Staff are available Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm, and we are closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Tours

We cannot offer tours of the building at present. When we reopen, we will be happy to give individual or group tours. We can tailor these to your requirements; for example, we can provide tours for architecture students or creative writing groups, librarians and other professionals, teachers and school groups, or tourist groups. 

Hiring the building

Our building is not available for hire at present.