Three people looking at a large book, the woman in the centre pointing at a detail.

Our Story

How it all began …

The site of Innerpeffray is steeped in history. There were human settlements nearby dating back nearly 4000 years, but the oldest confirmed settlement at the site was the Roman fort at Strageath, just across the River Earn. A strategic Roman road passes through the site and its path is still visible today.

In the early sixteenth century St Mary’s chapel was re-built by Lord John Drummond for the family’s personal use. In the seventeenth century the Drummond family was active in the Civil War on the Royalist side. Surviving despite his Royalist sympathies, towards the end of his years David Drummond, third Lord Madertie made his substantial collection of books available to be used by local people free of any cost and charged the family with keeping the library for the future. This action was unprecedented and created the first public lending library in Scotland.

His descendant, Robert Hay Drummond, commissioned the construction of the present library building and it opened in 1762. The Victorian schoolroom was added in 1846 to replace the first ‘little house’. You can visit the Chapel, Schoolroom and Library today.

Portrait of Robert Hay Drummond
Portrait of Robert Hay Drummond

The Living Library tells the story of Innerpeffray Library in animated form. Click on the image to view it.

The First Light is a more substantial history of the Library. This leather-bound book specially commissioned by the Library is available to purchase at the Library and in our on-line shop.

The Borrowers’ Register is a unique record of all people who borrowed a book from the Library between 1747 and 1968. This shines a light on the demand for knowledge and education across all sections of society over more than two centuries. For more information about the Register click here. We are also involved in the Books and Borrowing Project, investigating libraries throughout Scotland.


The Innerpeffray Mortification was set up in 1696 to look after the affairs of the Library and School and we are still governed by a board of Governors who are Trustees of this special place, a Scottish Charity SC013843.

The Library of Innerpeffray is a Scottish Charity SC013843

Our latest Annual Report and Accounts can be downloaded here.

More about being a Trustee of the Library or a Volunteer can be downloaded below.

Meet our Governors – read about the trustees of the Library.