A few years ago I purchased a miniature book from the Lilliput Press, entitled The Silver Penny ABC.

silver-penny-2-copyI started to look in the Library catalogue and discovered we held even smaller copies than the one I had. The publisher of these midget books (so called as they are under 6cm and are placed in Syn.10) is Gleniffer Press. The publisher was founded in 1967, by Helen and Ian Macdonald and was originally based in Paisley, Scotland (where I was born) then moved to Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway. The smallest letterpress book they printed was a 1978 edition of ‘Three blind mice’. The press produced 57 different titles before it closed in 2007.


Sir Roger De Coverley – Syn.10.99.5


Most of the books are issued on a card held in place by a slot cut into the card, the idea is to remove this and use it as a bookmark.




Flat hand Sierra Bears


You can hold them in the palm of your hand. We even manage to write the classmark and record number on.

Hand Sierra Bears1





Selected items from the collection include:



The snow queen / Hans Christian Andersen.


Robert Burns (Syn.10.200.14); Paisley American folk (Syn.10.200.9); Scottish Highland Postal Service (Syn.10.98.2)




Stickeen; a short memoir by American naturalist John Muir. It is about a trip he took in Alaska with a dog named Stickeen and their outing together on a glacier.







Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toon,
Up stairs an’ doon stairs in his nicht-gown,
Tirlin’ at the window, crying at the lock,
“Are the weans in their bed, for it’s now ten o’clock?”

William Miller (1810–1872)








Greyfriars Bobby











Snow-Drop & the seven dwarfs / by Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm.









Thumbykin / by Hans Christian Andersen









Delia Smith chose her favourite chocolate cake recipe for a raffle in aid of the Sick Children’s Trust in association with the International Dolls’ House News. This is no. 7 of a limited edition of 25



I thought I had found the smallest books in the Library and then I discovered this box. It contains two perspex boxes, one containing a copy of Old King Cole, the other an uncut page, a certificate of authenticity, and a photocopied letter. The book measures 1mm x 1mm and held the title of being the smallest lithographic book in the world for 20 years verified  by the Guinness Book of Records.


Old King Cole – Syn.7.98.2


Uncut sheet


Old King Cole









Books produced by the Gleniffer Press featured in an  exhibition at the National Library of Scotland the from 18 September to 17 November 2013.