THE Mitchell Library is to get a £2million upgrade to help make it the safest possible home for its vast collection of treasures.

Work will begin within weeks on replacing the 30-year-old fire detection system, improving the lighting and installing new lifts.

Parts of the library will be closed on a phased basis to ensure the majority of the building remains open to the public.

The building recently underwent a major internal refurbishment, resulting in a new cafe bar and a large area offering free internet and wi-fi access.

The latest work will start on the upper floors and will be completed next year.

A spokesman for Glasgow Life, which looks after the city's libraries and museums, said: "The current fire detection system is about 30 years old and needs updating to provide the safest environment for people and the irreplaceable archives kept there."

The building at Charing Cross, which was made possible thanks to a bequest from wealthy tobacco manufacturer Stephen Mitchell, opened in 1911. It is used by an average of more than 600,000 visitors a year.

The Mitchell contains a large public reference library with more than 1.2million volumes, making it one of Europe's largest public libraries.

It has one of the largest collections in the world of works by Robert Burns, with more than 4000 items, including original manuscripts of letters and poems and a hand-written version of Auld Lang Syne.

The Jeffrey Library houses 4000 rare and finely illustrated books, especially on ornithology, antiquities and the fine arts.

The library holds the Glasgow city archives and collections, which are considered to be one of the world's best resources for researching family history.

There is also an extensive collection of 19th and 20th century Parliamentary papers, online access to all the latest Government information, and a growing collection of Scots law material.