I have pleasure in sending you a Reader's Ticket. I apologise for a somewhat makeshift ticket, — our new stationery is not yet complete. You are our first Reader under the new regime.'
So wrote William K Dickson, the first Librarian of the newly established National Library of Scotland, on 30 October 1925. The Library had been set up by an Act of Parliament on 7 August that year. It had formally come into being on 26 October and took over from the Advocates Library as Scotland's premier reference library.
The first reader
The first request to use the National Library's reading room was made by the Rev Donald J Ross, at that time a minister in Stirling.
His 'makeshift' ticket was replaced a short time later (possibly in November) with a properly printed, back-dated, version of reader's ticket number one. This gave him permission to read in the Library for three months.
Mr Dickson's letter and the two copies of the first ticket issued by the Library have been kindly donated to us by Mrs Fiona Stark, Mr Ross's granddaughter.
William K Dickson (1860-1949)
- Born in Edinburgh, son of William Dickson of Mauricewood
- MA from Edinburgh University
- Admitted Advocate, 1887
- Keeper of the Advocates' Library, 1906-1925
- LLD from St Andrews University (1912)
- Librarian of the National Library of Scotland, 1925-1931 (appointed 26 October 1925; resigned October 1931)
Donald James Ross (1884-1956)
- Born in Inverness
- MA in History from Aberdeen University
- Worked as a journalist with the Dundee Courier for several years.
- DD from Aberdeen University
- First charge after ordination: Thurso, 1908-1914
- Chaplain, 1914-1916
- Later charges: Penang (1916-20), Stirling, West Calder, West Linton