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Mitchell Library to host display inspired by the British Library’s new exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic

Glasgow’s Library network launches Harry Potter-inspired displays across UK

From Friday 20 October 2017, visitors will be able to discover fascinating facts about the History of Magic at The Mitchell Library. Displays will launch simultaneously in 20 public libraries across the UK in tandem with the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library in London.

The series of displays across the UK will include specially designed panels which are inspired by Harry Potter: A History of Magic, showing images of rare books, manuscripts and magical objects featured in the British Library’s exhibition, as well as images of material from J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury’s own collections.

The Mitchell Library’s local connections to magic and folklore will also be showcased, and will include a privately bound 1898 copy of History of Black Magic, Gaelic Incantations from 1895, a facsimile of Audubon’s Birds of America - one of the greatest works of ornithology containing life-sized, hand coloured depictions of 1065 North American birds – and a facsimile of the manuscript from the Bargarran Witch Trials (1696 – 97) alongside a number of rare and interesting items from the Mitchell Library’s occult collection.

Library visitors who are keen to delve a little deeper into The Mitchell Library’s magical collections will have the chance to further explore treasures including The Alchemist’s Handbook from 1960 and the Calendar of Cases of Witchcraft in Scotland 1510 – 1727, through a series of Mitchell Curious events to be held on Wednesday lunchtimes throughout the exhibition. Further details of The Mitchell Library’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition and programme of activities can be found at

The displays have been developed by the British Library in collaboration with public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network, an innovative partnership between the British Library and 22 major public libraries across the UK, and the National Library of Scotland and the National Library of Wales.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic celebrates the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, combining centuries-old British Library treasures with original material from Bloomsbury’s and J.K. Rowling’s own archives. Based on the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this exhibition will showcase material from J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury’s own collections, going on display for the very first time.

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, said:

“I’m delighted that, thanks to the Living Knowledge Network and the British Library, we are able to bring this wonderful Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition to the people of Glasgow.

“Within the exhibition itself, and through a series of events and talks, The Mitchell Library’s special collections, occult collections and hidden magical treasures will be unearthed, providing a unique opportunity to see some of the strangest and rarest books in our collections.

“I’m sure both Harry Potter fans and those interested in the history of magic alike will find this a fascinating visit and I’d encourage Glaswegians and visitors to the city to head to the Mitchell Library and experience these Hogwarts-inspired treasures for themselves.”

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library said of the project:

“We are delighted to be working with 20 different public libraries across the UK to share our exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic. The Living Knowledge Network is all about sharing resources, skills and ideas to make our intellectual heritage available to everyone and here we’ve championed what lies at the heart of the Harry Potter stories that resonates deeply with people across the country to achieve this. The roll-out truly encapsulates the convening power of bringing local and national treasures together through the partners.”