Our building

Space for Sound

The Scottish Poetry Library turned thirty in 2014, and began 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. Work on the building started in May 2015, and is scheduled for completion in late October. We're hoping to open our doors for Open Doors Day on 25 September.

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, as well as continuing our work in care homes with our Living Voices project, in schools and with a variety of partners.

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!