I have to confess that I walked past the National Library pretty much every day for ten years before I went inside – I had no idea what I was missing out on!
It may seem pretty obvious what the building holds but as well as being the largest library in Scotland they also host a range of exhibitions relating to their collections, and all of them are free!
At the moment there’s a great exhibition on the life of Muriel Spark. She’s probably best known for writing ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ one of my favourite books about Edinburgh that was made into an amazing film with Maggie Smith. Muriel Spark was originally from Edinburgh but also lived in London, Rome and New York and the exhibition covers each of these periods of her life.
My favourite bit of the library though is their events. A couple of evenings a week there are free lectures between 18:00 and 19:00. They cover a wide range of topics, some tie into the exhibitions on the go and others to various history months or topical events. I love getting to hear experts discuss their chosen topics and learning a little bit more about history or current affairs.
There is also a great wee café and book shop inside to take a break after exploring the exhibitions.
The Library is just off the Royal Mile, so most visitors, like I used to, wander right past without realising the treats contained inside.