Back to List

Central Library

25 September 2021 (Online)

26 September 2021 (Online)


 Edinburgh Central Library is a beautiful Victorian building, designed by the 19th century Scottish architect, George Washington Browne, in French Renaissance style. Endowed by Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1890 it was built on the site of the mansion of Sir Thomas Hope, King's Advocate to Charles I, and incorporates features from the 17th century building.

It's amongst the best late 19th century Carnegie libraries in Scotland. Although changes and additions have been made to the building over the years, it features some of the wonderful Victorian spaces which are still used for their original purpose including a beautiful Reference Library.

As well as the Reference Collection the library has a Lending collection, a Music collection and a local studies and Scottish collection. The library’s Art and Design collection and modern children’s library are sited in a building which was added to the Central Library in the 1930s. Central Library is part of the City of Edinburgh Council’s library service and is a close neighbour to the National Library of Scotland.


Digital Resources

Online Exhibition

Explore our wonderful online photo exhibition on the Capital Collections website. 

Immerse yourself in a virtual exhibition!

Virtual Tour

Join Fiona Myles, Central Library manager for a tour of the Central Library to find out about this iconic Edinburgh building's history and how it continues to meet the needs of users of today.

Go on a virtual guided tour!

Key Information

Architect: George Washington Brown

Building Date: 1890

  • 7-9 George IV Bridge
  • EH1 1EG