The City of Glasgow has been particularly rich in citizens who have devoted their wealth to the establishment of public libraries. Such individuals include: Walter Stirling, Stephen Mitchell, Robert Jeffrey and the founder of the Public Library of Baillie's Institution, George Baillie.
George Baillie (1784-1873) was born in Paisley and educated in Glasgow. He trained to be a solicitor and was admitted to the Faculty of Procurators. A few years before his death he left a sum of money to be invested to set up an educational establishment (Baillie's Institution) with its own free public library. However, the final sum could only support the library, which opened in 1887.
Between the end of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th, Baillie's Library built up an impressive collection of material, mostly of Scottish interest. It attracted a number of bequests and often accommodated collections belonging to local societies. However, in 1981, financial pressures meant that Baillie's Library had to look for a new home and an agreement was made to transfer the stock over to The Mitchell Library.
The Mitchell's collections have benefited enormously from the addition of Baillie's Library, especially material relating to Glasgow. The continuing generous support of the Trustees and Governors of Baillie's Institution makes it possible today for the Library to make special purchases of items of Scottish interest.