Stirling Central Library celebrates 120 years as Off the Page festival returns

Celebrations to mark Stirling Central Library’s 120th birthday will feature as part of the return of the much-loved Off the Page book and culture festival.

Cllr Gerry McGarvey and staff from Stirling Council's Library Service promoting Off the Page
Stirling Central Library's 120th anniversary event will be part of the 2024 Off the Page festival programme.

A special exhibition that charts the history of the library from its opening in 1904 up until the present day will open this year’s festival on Thursday 23 May.

Best-selling author and Bridge of Allan native, James Robertson, will appear as a keynote speaker, taking a trip down memory lane and sharing his own experiences of visiting Central Library in his childhood.

Stirling Central Library was among a number of libraries created in the early 20th century through funding from the Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

'Well-loved and popular fixture'

Designed by Edinburgh architect, Harry Ramsey Taylor, Central Library opened its doors to the Stirling public in 1904.

Community Wellbeing and Housing Convener, Cllr Gerry McGarvey said: “While the world has changed immeasurably in the last 120 years, Stirling Central Library has remained a well-loved and popular community fixture throughout this time.

“Off the Page is a hugely popular mainstay of Stirling’s cultural offering thanks to the immense work of our libraries staff who are delivering another exciting programme of events.

“It feels incredibly fitting that we’re celebrating this milestone for Central Library with this fantastic event in the same year that Stirling marks its 900th anniversary.”

Exterior of Stirling Central Library
Stirling Central Library first opened in 1904.

The 17th edition of the Off the Page Festival will run until Friday 31 May and explores some of the dark past of Stirling’s rich history. The packed programme of events is geared towards people of all ages and includes:

  • Local author Suzy Aspley talking about her chilling gothic thriller debut ‘Crow Moon’ set amid the mountains and ominous dark forests of the Trossachs
  • A meet the author session with Vicki Clifford, creator of the Viv Fraser mystery series
  • Tales from the archives of Stirling featuring the real life stories of people accused of witchcraft and investigated by their local parish in 16th and 17th century Stirling.
  • Spellbound; a poetry workshop led by Stirling Makar, Laura Fyfe where writers are invited to bring a poem with them or let their imagination run riot.

Cllr McGarvey added: “As we reflect on Stirling’s past and its ambitions for the future on the city’s 900th birthday, Off the Page will provide a fascinating insight into some of Stirling’s darker secrets and stories.

“We’ll also be showcasing some favourite Scottish books and authors, as well as upcoming local writers, as part of a diverse and exciting events programme. Thanks to all our staff our partners and supporters for supporting the festival and we look forward to welcoming everyone along to our venues.” 

Places at all events must be booked in advance, the full programme and details on how to reserve a place are available on the Stirling Council website.