The last instalment of Loose Ends took me to Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s house in the Borders countryside. The library was the connection that led me back to Glasgow and the Glasgow Women’s Library. I’ve been there a couple of times before, I’ve even written about it before and the GWL has been on my radar over the last few weeks owing to their technically unsuccessful campaign to be anointed Art Fund Museum of the Year. Their ‘It’s For Me’ flag flew outside the door and I was pleased to see a display of Muriel Spark’s books produced by students from Glasgow School of Art. This was right up my alley – see here for a post from last year about Muriel Spark – and ironic since I was donating one of Spark’s books to the library. I particularly liked the Public Image cover which was reflective but not totally, probably appropriate for how the public image can wildly differ from the reality. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie one was also good, quite 1930s Bauhaus. The prints were great, including the wonderful ‘PISSEUR!’ taken from A Far Cry From Kensington, printed in block capitals.
I had a good browse around the library, severely tempted by several titles on the shelves. I almost had a few poetry volumes until I remembered how big my to-read pile is, eventually settling for a book by Dervla Murphy inspired by a recommendation from a friend a few weeks ago.
Libraries are incredibly good places to find connections, even better than the Internet for lateral thinking. The GWL on this particular day could lead me back to Edinburgh since that’s where Muriel Spark was born and where The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was set. The capital could also take me to the Scottish Parliament, a link because of the Nicola Sturgeon block in the politics section. The Jean Armour block in the poetry section could take me to any of the myriad places linked to Robert Burns, Armour’s husband, perhaps to Ayrshire or to the Burns Room at the Mitchell Library.
I never met a library I didn’t like. The GWL I love. It is a place of light in a world of darkness, particularly as I visited on the day Donald Trump came to Scotland. We need the GWL and I am proud that it’s here in Glasgow, doing good work in its community or communities to be precise. The GWL is a microcosm of what Glasgow means to me, not just new knowledge but containing vast reaches of life and experience, venturing forth to share it now and then for the benefit of all.
Thanks for reading. The next instalment of Loose Ends follows next week.
In the lead up to the 500th post, which will be in a few weeks, I’m opening this up to suggestions. If anyone has any ideas for a future post or even a Streets of Glasgow walk, please do share them. Incidentally, I already have an idea for the five hundredth post. It’s not five hundred miles.