THE Scottish Poetry Library, which holds the largest public collection of Scottish poetry in the world, is to reopen next week after undergoing extensive refurbishment.

The Edinburgh library, which has 45,000 books and other artefacts, will be officially opened by Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture, Europe and External Affairs and the National Poet of Scotland, Liz Lochhead, on Wednesday, October 28 after being closed to the public for six months.

Supported by Creative Scotland, major trusts and foundations and a large number of individual donors, the library reopens at a time when Scotland’s spoken word scene is said to be burgeoning.

Hyslop said: “The Scottish Poetry Library on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is truly unique. As the only independently constituted and housed poetry library in Britain, and Europe, it stands for the importance of poetry in Scotland and highlights our exceptional literary talent.

“The extension and refurbishment marks a key milestone.”

The new development, which cost £380k, includes more space for books as well as a soundproofed space to allow teaching and workshops to take place alongside study. The soundproofed room will also be used for recording poetry as part of the podcast series. A sound lab upstairs will allow people to listen to recordings in recognition of the growing popularity of performance poetry. There are also child-friendly areas and outdoor terraces.