Collage of American publications
Publications from the
United States collections.

You can research internationally significant events, ideas, and knowledge using the foreign collections at the National Library of Scotland.

Both our print and digital collections grow every year and reflect the diversity of world cultures.

Our strongest collections relate to:

  • North America
  • The British Commonwealth
  • Europe.

Consulting the material

You can search for details of items in our collections through the main catalogue and you can consult material in the Library's reading rooms.


Scottish connection

Cover of 'The Call of the Dominions'
Emigrants' guides are
among items relating
to Scots abroad.

We are also interested in print and non-print material with a strong Scottish connection, for instance:


Collecting policy

Material about foreign topics published abroad and in the United Kingdom and Ireland comes to us by legal deposit, purchase, and donation.

The collections are developed in accordance with the Collection Development Policy document and in co-operation with other libraries and institutions.


How the collections developed

Detail from poems of Catallus
Poems of Catallus, an Italian

Our holdings of foreign material have grown considerably since the Library's forerunner — the Advocates Library — obtained its first foreign books in the 1680s. The acquisition of special collections in the 18th and 19th centuries laid the foundation for present-day holdings.

Since the National Library's creation in 1925, we have acquired large quantities of foreign works, resulting in a wide-ranging and varied international collection.


Contact us

For general enquiries, please contact Foreign Collections at


NLS collections overview

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