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A.K. Bell Library

Located on York Place in W Central Perth, the A.K. Bell Library is the headquarters and principal lending and reference library of Perth and Kinross library service. Built as the Perth City and County Infirmary in 1836-38 by Perth City Architect, William Mackenzie, the building has a fine Classical facade in polished ashlar, extending over two storeys and eleven bays. Behind this is a modern core and extensions in a postmodern interpretation of Classicism dating from 1992-94, the work of the local authority architectural services department. The shallow-domed entrance-hall is original.

In addition to books for lending and reference material, the library holds a selection of newspapers, magazines, official publications, multimedia, music and films, together with local and family history resources and the John McEwen Archive of Land Reform in Scotland.

The library gets its name from Arthur Kinmond Bell (1868 - 1942), of the whisky dynasty, who founded the Gannochy Trust which supported the reconstruction of the building. The William Soutar lecture theatre in the W extension is named after the Perth poet and offers a programme of performances and talks for up to 120 people. The Sandeman Room provides space for meetings and exhibitions, with a capacity of 50. There is also a cafe.

The modest lodge-house to the northeast, part of the original construction, was converted to form offices for Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust in 2000.


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