During the past two weeks I have been into a few different libraries – each one different to the other. However, what they had in common was the enthusiasm, energy and commitment of the librarians who run them. I was up in Kildare today at two different libraries (Celbridge and Leixlip) and last week I was in Loughboy Library in Kilkenny – I left each place thinking that we are truly privileged in Ireland to have such a network of wondrous places open to the public.
There are 352 branch libraries in the country, as well as the mobile libraries. Public library service are also available to prisons, hospitals, day care centres, parish halls and other community centres. And then there are the school libraries, a number of which are under threat as a consequence of funding cuts.
The libraries I have been into recently are not just rooms filled with books (although that would be a treat in itself) they have Wii training courses, gamer clubs, IT training, multi media courses, rooms where trad. music sessions happen, they also provide spaces for book clubs and writer’s groups to meet, work with teachers on school project resources, invite authors to speak to children, host parents and toddler groups – the list has only just begun.
They are a resource we should treasure – and use – may they be around forever (and a day).