Events and meetings in 2017/18:

Please note that members may bring a friend to the Annual General Meeting talk, but for other events any accompanying friend(s) will be invited to make a donation of £5 to the Friends.


14 February 2018

The Origins of the University Main Library building – a talk by Grant Buttars, Archivist

Time: 15:00-16:15

Venue: 6th floor seminar room, Main Library, George Square

The University’s Main Library building is 50 years old. Designed by Sir Basil Spence’s practice, with Andrew Merrylees as lead architect, it is now a category A listed building. For a while it was the largest academic library in the country, and it remains a signature academic library building. Archivist Grant Buttars will contextualise the Main Library, looking at both the longer history of the Library and the specifics that gave rise to the current building. Drawing on archival and printed sources within Special Collections this will combine stories of continuity and change, of challenges and opportunities, of the institution and the people involved.

Grant Buttars is Archivist (University Archives and Technical Systems) within the Centre for Research Collections and has worked within the CRC/Special Collections since 2001. With specific responsibility for the University’s own archives, and thereby its corporate memory, he also has an active interest in the built environment and how archives inform our understanding of it.

Please sign up for the event by contacting Alason Roberts at, or c/o Main Library, George Square, EH8 9LJ.


New Exhibition: 

Shored Against Ruin: Fragments from the University of Edinburgh Collections


8 December 2017 – 24 February 2018

Exhibition Gallery, Main Library

Free Entry

Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm

What is a fragment? Why care for it? What can we learn from it?

Inspired by the recent gift of fragments from Eduardo Paolozzi’s mosaic archways at Tottenham Court Road, Shored Against Ruin showcases fragments from across the University collections. Featuring artworks, 2nd century manuscripts, film, Victorian photographs, fossils and anatomical specimens, this exhibition questions the nature of a fragment and examines why we care for them, whilst also considering the hidden histories they can tell us.


Details of  further events during the 2017-2018 season will be posted shortly.


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  • Except where indicated, all images were created by the Digital Imaging Unit, Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library and are © The University of Edinburgh.