Library in focus: NMS Library

This is the second in a series of guest posts featuring other libraries (external to the University) that ECA students might find useful to visit. Today we are looking at the National Museums Scotland Library.

The NMS Library welcomes researchers, students and visitors to consult the library for reference use, Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am-4pm. Browse our online library catalogue to discover our historic and contemporary collections.

The Library reflects the strengths and variety of the Museum’s object collections and research interests. Anything ‘Available’ at the Research Library can be found at the time of your visit. If an item is at a location other than the Research Library, email ahead so the material can be ready in time for your visit:

The Research Library is accessible on Level 3 from the Technology by Design Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland. There are several thousand decorative and applied art books for visitors to browse, plus a display of 80 of our most regularly used journals, including The Burlington Magazine, Apollo and Arts in Asia, as well as journals of local arts societies. Many journals held in the Library’s stores are unique within Scotland, and can be requested in advance.

The Library has prominent archaeology and Scottish local history collections, and also excels in the natural sciences. World-wide art and design is the other main collecting strength with material covering everything from fashion, to jewellery and silverwork, to Japanese design and printmaking.

The institutional archive tells the story of the Museum and of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland whose historic library and archive are amalgamated with the Museums’. The Archive can be browsed using the Special Collections & Archives finding guides. The stand-out visual material includes the card index of the Scottish Life Archive (a document of Scottish agricultural and social life in the 20th century), the Daniel Wilson scrapbook (comprising sketches and cuttings of early 19th century Edinburgh’s old town), and the archive of textile historian Margaret Swain (records of textiles contained in Scottish private collections). The Library holds the Graham Gadd collection of 19th and early 20th century furniture ephemera and ceramics artist Majel Davidson’s papers, sketches and designs. There is also the advertising archive of Jenners, Scotland’s former, oldest department store.

To view Special Collections and Archives, complete this booking request form in advance.

This post was written by guest editor Jennifer Higgins of NMS Library.

A class of ECA students visiting the NMS Library in 2023

Library in focus: Central Art & Design Library

This is the first in a series of guest posts featuring other libraries (external to the University) that ECA students might find useful to visit. Today we are looking at the Art & Design Library, at Edinburgh Central Library, on George IV Bridge.

At Central Library’s Art & Design Library you can discover a fantastic set of resources relating to art, design and photography, along with wooden 1930s desks, and shelving that has stood the test of time. Enjoy our beautiful space for reading, studying and drawing and browse through our huge collection, covering various disciplines and art movements, from cave to the latest in contemporary art, as well as books on techniques from fashion illustration to lino-cutting.

Looking for exhibition space and events? We have a monthly programme of exhibitions from local artists and groups as well as a free programme of talks and workshops.

We hold a growing collection of artists’ books from artists working in Scotland as well as historic collections of Japanese art, children’s illustrated books and 19th century ornamental design books, and many other historic materials.

With library membership we offer:

  • Free wifi
  • Printing and photocopying facilities
  • Public computers
  • Access to online journals and newspapers
  • Access to e-audio and e-books
  • Borrow 12 books

Join online today and explore the library catalogue

Follow on Facebook and X and Instagram @edcentrallib

For more information and enquiries email the Art & Design Library or telephone 0131 242 8040.

We’re open Monday to Wednesday 10am – 8pm. and Thursday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.

Central Library is located on George IV Bridge – we’re the building that looks like a French chateau! Find a different space to study.

Picture showing the interior of the art and design library
Central Library’s Art and Design Library

Guest post written by Bronwen Brown, Library Development Leader – Music and Art & Design Collections, Edinburgh Central Library.