Gaelic Collection

Gaelic as the mother tongue in the Western Isles plays a significant role in the literature and religious, cultural, social and educational life of the community.

The Library Service aims to provide access to all aspects of Gaelic in its printed and recorded form through its branches. One copy of each book is kept in a study collection in Stornoway library.


Language, literature, folklore and religion are the traditional subjects of Gaelic books but the range is expanding. The largest growth area is in children’s books and contemporary fiction.


Gairm, TGSI, Scottish Gaelic Studies and Guth are available for consultation, together with a number of older series such as An Gaidheal and Guth na Bliadhna. There is a lot of useful historical material in these magazines.


Alba and Mac-Talla from yesteryear make fascinating reading. Sruth from the late 1960s was billed as Scotland’s bilingual newspaper. Today the Stornoway Gazette and West Highland Free Press regularly carry Gaelic features.


19TH Century Ordnance Survey maps are an invaluable source for Gaelic place-names. A number of useful modern maps are available too.

Children’s Books

New children’s and teenage fiction and factual books are available in all libraries.


Gaelic songs and music on CD may be borrowed from all libraries. A reference collection of older cassettes is available in Stornoway library for study purposes.

Gaelic Resource Database

An Stòr-dàta Stuthan Gàidhlig (GRD) is an expanding database of information on the availability of Gaelic related educational resources.  There are currently over 25,000 searchable records, including details of publications (lending and reference) relating to Gaelic and Gaeldom held in Stornoway library.

A significant section of the database is allocated to Gaelic music. This includes details of all tracks from over 330 music tapes and CDs (songs, music, rhymes, hymns, psalms etc.) held by Stornoway Library.

Language Learning Courses

Language learning courses are available, many with accompanying audio and video cassettes/CDs. These may be borrowed initially for 8 weeks but the loan can be extended depending on demand.

If you are interested in any aspect of Gaelic listed here, Contact Your Nearest Library , or telephone Stornoway library (01851 822744) for further information.