Special Collections

We are lucky to hold a number of important special collections in GSA Library. These include rare and valuable titles, titles relating to the history of the School, and examples of contemporary creative practice.

Request a Viewing

All our Special Collections items are listed in Discover and you may come across them whilst searching our catalogue. Items are available to view by anyone with an identified research need, although viewing is by advance request only. If you have identified an item you wish to consult, please complete our viewing request form.

Collections A-Z

As well as these named collection, we also hold a number of rare books across a variety of subjects: from anatomy and medicine, to geometry and perspective. These books have been collected since the foundation of the School in 1845, and were often donated to us from notable individuals.


Digital Volumes

We have digitised a number of volumes from our special collections, across the subject areas of fine art, architecture, costume, anatomy, and design. These can be freely viewed on the Internet Archive and downloaded in a number of formats. They have been made available for private research and study under a Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence.

You can browse all our digital volumes at the Internet Archive.

Feature Articles

You can read feature articles on our Special Collections to get a better sense of their breadth and depth.

The Hatchery

Discover how artists, writers and creatives have used our collections to inspire, challenge or expand their practice. From interventions into our spaces, to installations among our shelves, our collections can be used to explore and challenge artistic, cultural and philosophical themes and preoccupations.

Our Foundation Collections

Learn about the very first volumes to enter our collection, soon after Glasgow School of Art was founded in 1845.

Help Rebuild Our Collections

On the 23rd of May 2014, a fire in the Mackintosh Building of the Glasgow School of Art caused us to lose our much loved Mackintosh Library. Learn how you can help us rebuild our lost collections.