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About the Library

Edinburgh Central Library, built with financial assistance from Andrew Carnegie, first opened its doors to the public in 1890. Since then it has built up, through gifts and purchase, collections of importance in many areas. The bulk of pre-1700 material is held in the collections of the Reference and Scottish Libraries and the Edinburgh Room.

Collection Highlights Collection 1: The majority of the Edinburgh Room’s early printed material forms part of a special collection of works published and printed in Edinburgh prior to 1800. This includes a copy of the Bassendyne bible – the first bible printed in Scotland. The holdings of the Reference and Scottish Libraries consist of books on a variety of subjects, but with the main strength of the collections being in religious material, reflecting the intense upheaval of religious movements which had such a powerful effect on society throughout the 17th century.
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