Over 1,000 examples of the chapbooks genre may be found in Special Collections, dispersed throughout the collections.

The main recreational reading matter of the poor in the 18th and 19th Centuries, these ephemeral booklets are incredibly diverse in subject matter and contain everything from the popular songs of the day to weird and wonderful accounts of meetings with mermaids. The Wylie Collection, for example, is a rich source for chapbooks of Scottish interest.

There is a dedicated Scottish Chapbooks Search that records details of chapbooks (including different items - such as ballads - within each publication) from the University of Glasgow and other Scottish libraries.

Many of our chapbooks have been digitised and are available via the Ghent University chapbook project (ordered by place of publication and bookseller).


How to find material in the Chapbooks collection


  • Use the Scottish Chapbooks Search: it records chapbooks published in Scotland with full details of their contents and currently lists over 4,500 titles. As well as records from University of Glasgow Library, records from Edinburgh Central Library, the National Library of Scotland and University of Stirling are also included.
  • See the Ghent University chapbook project where many of our chapbooks are available as downloadable PDF files.
  • Browse through a list of chapbook titles found using the rare books search
  • Browse a list of chapbook related subjects (click on a subject for a list of titles)