The Scottish Poetry Library was founded in 1984 by the poet Tessa Ransford. It originally had two staff members, including Scottish poet, Tom Hubbard, and 300 books, but has since expanded considerably to containing 30,000 items of Scottish and international poetry. The library contains material in Scotland's three indigenous languages: Scottish Gaelic, Lowland Scots, and English.
The library is involved in Scotland's Virtual reference scheme, Ask Scotland, where users can 'Ask an Expert' online. Reference questions posed via the Ask Scotland website can be referred to a member of staff at the Scottish Poetry Library. This service has been available since 2011.