The Garrison Library of Gibraltar is no ‘ordinary services' library. Its founding was due to the perceptive Captain (later Colonel) John Drinkwater, author of one of the most famous histories of the Great Siege of Gibraltar, which lasted from 1779–1783: A History of the Late Siege of Gibraltar (Spilsbury London, 1785). Having suffered from a lack of reading material during the siege, Colonel Drinkwater saw the need for a good circulating library and club as a means of saving the officers of the garrison from “having their minds enervated and vitiated by dissipation”. His appeal for books, made shortly after the siege, attracted nearly 500 gifts, which enabled the library to open pending the arrival of the 674 volumes on order from London, there being no bookshop in Gibraltar at that time. The library also served as the headquarters and archive service of the Gibraltar Chronicle, the world's second oldest English language newspaper.
The library now houses in excess of 45,000 books, including many rare volumes. There is an emphasis on the value of culture and travel in the library and it offers an excellent local history collection. It contains as many of the finest books published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many lithographs and art prints are also held here and even the furnishings are said to have interesting historical backgrounds.
Situated as it is just off the main shopping street and opposite one of Gibraltar’s finest hotels, with a large tropical terraced garden and patio, it is the perfect Gibraltar location for hosting social functions and weddings.
There are tours of the library every Friday at 1100 hours. These are free of charge but donations are welcome.
For further details concerning the library contact:
Gibraltar Garrison Library
2 Library Gardens
Tel: +350 20077418