THE judges for one of the UK's biggest cultural prizes have praised Glasgow Women's Library on their official fact-finding visit.

The adjudicators for the Museum of the Year award, led by Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, visited the library and archive in Bridgeton, in the city's east end, and said they were "inspired" by what they saw.

The library (GWL) is short listed with four other museums for the £100,000 award, with the winner being announced on July 5.

Mr Deuchar said: "I have to say, it's a really inspiring place.

"One of the criteria that we apply to Museum of the Year overall is that it has to be about innovation in some way.

"And I have to say there is no institution, anywhere that I can think of, that is a natural reference point for this place: it is ground breaking, it is path-setting, in so many respects, and I just feel it has an atmosphere of mission and exhilaration and determination which is very inspiring."

Mr Deuchar added: "It is very interesting to see an institution that has come a long way in 26 years and has an infinite future ahead of it, actually - if all the great qualities that are powering the place now are there in the future it is going to be a national force to be reckoned with."

Glasgow Women’s Library is the UK's only accredited museum dedicated to women’s history, and was the first to be visited by the award judges.

It was established 26 years ago in a small shopfront, recently completing a £1.8m refurbishment of its Grade B listed building.

Its 25th-anniversary programme, last year, raised the museum’s profile to the extent that visitor numbers doubled.

Adele Patrick, manager at the GWL, said she thought the judges asked "kind" and probing questions.

She added: "It's amazing to be short listed.

"I don't think we are sand in the oyster, but I feel like our time has come, to a degree, I feel there has never been a more acutely relevant time to do this work

"We started off as a grass roots, raw organisation that has gradually professionalised but we are still really focussed on our values, but I see the national museums and others, looking at this widening access issue - and recognising that its not good enough anymore just to be preserving objects beautifully, it is everything to do with people: they are completely redundant unless people feel passionate about them."