National Library discovery space at Kelvin Hall
Our discovery space in Kelvin Hall.

At Glasgow's Kelvin Hall you have access to thousands of digital resources in the National Library of Scotland's collections.

If you are not familiar with the National Library, visit the discovery space for an interactive introduction to our collections.


What you can do at Kelvin Hall

Discovering our collections

Wall of video screens at Kelvin Hall
The video wall.

The 12-screen video wall is a visual introduction to the Library — a snapshot of our collections, with a primary focus on moving image.

Interact with some of the thousands of films and videos in the Moving Image Archive on touchscreens around the room. Our themed video packages help you explore subjects of interest, from industry to entertainment. Themes will change during the year.

The discovery space

Detail of wall showing images of manuscripts and printed items
Images of some of our treasures.

The discovery space at Kelvin Hall presents a mirror of Scottish life past and present and covers the whole of the country.

Items are on display here from our collections. Mostly Scottish, some will be familiar, while others may be unexpected.

Reproduced in the space is a selection of treasures from our manuscript and printed collections, ranging ranging from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Scottish history, art, politics and ingenuity are represented, providing a glimpse of the diversity and depth of collections at the Library.

Two large discovery chests illustrate the richness and variety of 20th-century Scottish life. Together they take a number of themes — fun, home, work, place — with printed items, film clips, and objects gathered together to provoke memories or surprise. Open the drawers to discover original items from our collections.

Cabinet with collection items and film clips
A discovery chest.

Along one wall are objects relating to the history of film-making and cinema-going in Scotland. On display are film strips, film reels and cans, posters, etc. — and the Oscar presented for the award-winning film 'Seawards the Great Ships'.

We also have a small display of historic projectors and other film equipment seen elsewhere in the space.


Consulting the digital collections

Booth with computers and lamp
Four research booths each display a
book, a quote and a photo relating
to a significant Scottish writer.

You can access our growing digital collections on computers in our research zone.

Some of this material is only available on Library premises, and there is film and video content that can only be viewed at Kelvin Hall.

You can also plug in your laptop or tablet here and use our free WiFi.


Hundreds of thousands of newspapers, ebooks, ejournals, reference works and databases are available to use at Kelvin Hall, including resources that help with family history research. If you have a residential address in Scotland, you can register online to use some of the eResources outwith the Library.


Along with thousands of maps digitised from our collections in our map images website, researchers can access the legal deposit mapping portal — material that is only made available via legal deposit libraries.

Films and videos

The Moving Image Archive at the National Library is Scotland's national collection of moving images. More than 1,900 digitised films are online in the Moving Image Archive catalogue, and further footage is available at Kelvin Hall that we cannot show online for copyright reasons.

Electronic legal deposit material

When searching our main catalogue, you may come across a message that indicates that the item is legal deposit material. In Kelvin Hall you can consult this material, which is only made available via legal deposit libraries, once you agree to the legal deposit terms and conditions.


Moving Image Archive research

Rolls of cinema tickets showing pre-decimal prices

As well as watching films via the Moving Image Archive catalogue, researchers can book viewing rooms at Kelvin Hall by appointment to watch footage on DVD, video and other formats.

You also need an appointment to consult the Moving Image Archive paper archive — and you must be registered with us to use this part of the collection. If you do not have a Library log in, staff at the information desk will issue you with a paper card for use at Kelvin Hall only.

To make an appointment, email or phone 0845 366 4600 (local rate).


Opening hours

Our opening times at Kelvin Hall are:

  • Monday: Moving Image Archive consultation only, by appointment
  • Tuesday: 10:00-16:30
  • Wednesday: 13:30-20:00 (mornings: Moving Image Archive consultation only, by appointment)
  • Thursday: 10:00-16:30
  • Friday: 10:00-16:30
  • Saturday: 10:00-17:00
  • Sunday: Closed.


Staff are on hand at the information desk to help you get the most out of our collections and services. We can also help you register to consult the Moving Image Archive paper archive or for remote access to our eResources.


Tel: 0845 366 4629

See separate contact details for the Moving Image Archive.


Events at Kelvin Hall

Sign outside Kelvin Hall entrance

Kelvin Hall allows us to deliver events that were previously only available in our George IV Bridge building in Edinburgh.

See Kelvin Hall events for our upcoming talks, film screenings, tours and workshops.


Location map



Kelvin Hall access and facilities for people with disabilities



Using the Library