OAN Setterday we went up tae the Mitchell Library in Glesga tae tak pairt in their event fir the Glesga Doors Open Festival. This festival haes bin rinnin fir 28 years nou an annually gies a heize tae the byordnar architecture o Glesga, an the ceetie’s culture an heritage. Hunners o buildins apened their doors tae the public, wi 50 walks, tours, events an acteevities fir weans. An it’s aa free!

Access an traivel tae veesit the places wis weel thocht oot tae. Glesga hud planned hou best tae mak aathing accessible an affordable tae the fowk; free bicycle hire wis available tae “fit faimilies” gin they buiked it bi phone; an a new Glesgow Days Out Pass is available fir the train, that gies unleemitit aff-peak traivel tae a family o fowr fir twa days – an aff-peak applied fir the hale day oan Setterday an Sundays. £34 wis aa it cost fir this twa day family ticket!

The leet o buildins apen durin the fest is verra extensive, thair widnae be room oan this page tae leet thaim aa! But places lik Glesga Police Museum, Glesga Weemin’s Library, The Tall Ship (SS Glenvee), Lambhill Stables, the Whisky Bond, House fir an Art Lover an the Royal Conservatoire wir some o the delichts oan oaffir. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alexander “Greek” Thomson, John Keppie wir juist the tip o an iceberg o architectural giants wha biggit Glesga an whaes wark ye cuid view fir free.

Meanwhiles, back at the Mitchell Library… Ah hud heftit ma boax o tricks throu the rabbit warren, escalators an stairs o this labyrinthine biggin frae the basement caur park til the main reception. Eftir tellin reception that Elvis wis in the buildin they suin made me richt at hame an taen me throu tae the room whaur ah wis presentin ma talk; Family Fun with Scots Language and Robert Burns. The Mitchell hud organised a braw programme fir aa the faimily as their inpit tae the Open Day ongauns.

Mitchell staffers; Ellen Sykes, Dawn Vallance, Fiona Haddow an Catriona Dickie aa helped wi aspects o the Doors Open day programme. The Mitchell fawmously haes ane o the greatest collections o warks (buiks , autograph manuscripts, ephemera an Burnsiana) relatin tae Robert Burns in the warld. Doors Open wis the perfeck chaunce tae gie a heize tae some o their treasuirs an pit thaim oan public display in the main reception/cafeteria area. This airt o the building wis hoachin wi fowk oan the Setterday mornin. Fowk o aa ethnicity, colour an creed crooded the place. It must be ane o the maist thrang libraries in Scotland! Read mair anent the Mitchell here; http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries/the-mitchell-library/Pages/About-Mitchell-Library.aspx

The Mitchell’s Burns Collection nou extends tae ower 5,000 items relatin tae the Bard. They hae twa Kilmarnock Editions an twa Edinburgh Editions o his warks – ane o the Kilmarnock’s wis oan public display. They hae 15 oreeginal autograph manuscripts bi Burns, amang thaim his fawmous letter tae Willie Nicol, the anely letter he e’er screivit in Scots, an the anely surviving copy o his poem The Ordination – agane baith o these are oot oan display! A raicent acquisition, a braw an verra pristine copy o Ye Banks an an Braes, wis alsae oan public view. Library staff are oanhaund an are keen an knowledgeable tae impairt their expert lear anent the exheebits. The freelance journalist Paul English interviewed me as we stuid contemplatin an discussin these treasuirs o Scottish leeterature. We spake anent the importance o makkin sic byordnar material apen tae tae public view. When ye conseider that the Queen’s “personal” art collection (owned bi us – but she luiks eftir it fir the nation!) haurdly e’er sees the licht o day, it made ye prood that the Mitchell wir sae determined tae mak sic important artefacts available tae the fowk that ackwallie own an finance the acquisition o sic iconic cultural objects; we the people!

The Family Fun event wi the maws, paws an weans wis juist that! Great fun! The weans wir quite young, atween five an 10-year-auld aiblins, sae ah cuidnae deave thaim wi ony lang-winded academic stuff anent Burns. Sae, it wis oot wi the mechanical moose an a readin o the To a Mouse poem an a brief talk anent whit life wid hae bin like oan the fairm fir the young Burns when he wis their age! Nae Setterday lie-ins wi i-pads an the Nintendo Switch! But bein sent oot fir buckets o watter tae mak the breakfast pairritch wi! We then hud a lauch readin verrious poems an warks frae the Itchy-Coo series o weans buiks. The weans kythed a rael interest in Scots wirds an wir able tae tell me a few that they hud cam across. Ane o thaim attendit a Gaelic schuil an it wis obvious that haein access tae twa leids wis giein him a shair-fuitit grasp whan it cam tae his vocabulary an bein able tae express hissel wi confidence!

Aa in aa Glesga Doors Open Day at the Mitchell wis a canty an aefauld success; enlichtenin, entertainin, educational, an maist o aa, fun! An ah’m shair the samen story wid hae bin true fir aa the ither magical buildins an biggins o Glesga ower the hale week o this mairvellous festival. May Glesga flourish!!