The City of Glasgow has been particularly fortunate to have a number of citizens who used their wealth to set up public libraries. Such individuals include: Walter Stirling, Stephen Mitchell and the founder of the Public Library of Baillie's Institution, George Baillie.
George Baillie (1784-1873) was born in Paisley and moved to Glasgow when he was a few months old. He studied law and was admitted to the Faculty of Procurators in 1811 at the age of 27. In 1863 he arranged for a capital sum, from his own savings, to be invested for 21 years and then the accrued amount of money used to set up an educational establishment (Baillie's Institution) with its own free public library. However, the final amount could only support a library, which opened to the public in 1887.
During the 20th century, Baillie's Library built up an impressive collection of material, mostly of Scottish interest. It attracted a number of bequests and collections belonging to local societies. However, by 1981, the Library was struggling with financial pressures 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 and today enjoys the continuing generous support of the Trustees and Governors of Baillie's Institution.