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Raheny Library
40th Birthday, 2012

Raheny Public Library celebrates its 40th birthday this year. Since its establishment the library has not only faithfully served Raheny and its hinterland, but it has expanded its services enormously beyond the mere lending of books. There are conversation circles in a number of languages, regular exhibitions and talks, wifi and access to some commercial databases/archives, photocopying, reserved student areas and so on. I did a blog post on this library last year.

Well might it celebrate its 40th with a musical and social evening. The Lord Mayor appeared and was lavish in his praise of the service, which is, after all, under Dublin City Council.

I took some photos (below) which I hope convey a bit of the atmosphere. My camera is middle of the road and I opted not to use flash so the resolution is not always the best. But they are shared as part of a record which will have been fleshed out by the myriad of cameras present, including top of the range.

"There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the free Public Library, this republic of letters where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration". Andrew Carnegie.
The above quote was made by Scottish born Industialist, philanthropist and passionate supporter of libraries who once mooted the idea of constructing a great public library in Dublin in 1903. It's an apt quote as this week Raheny Library celebrates its 40th anniversary with a function on Tuesday evening led by Lord Mayor of Dublin, local Councillor, Naoise Ó Muirí.

Raheny Library has been a literary light for locals for four decades with countless residents benefitting from its many services. In the 1960's when housing estates were being built, a site for a library was put aside and ring-fenced to build a library. A cursory glance at the statistic reveals the multititude of reasons why Dublin was bestowed in 2012 with the honour of being an UNESCO City of literature, only the fourth city to receive the prestigeous title.

The City can boast 24 permanent libraries with a further 33 locations at which the mobile library calls. Some 152,859 citizens are active members (visited within last 3 years) with 2.7 million library visits made in 2011. Library members borrowed a total of 2.3 mllion items in 2011 and over 750,000 availed of the network's virtual library services.

The City Council, conscious of the cultural and educational richness which libaries lend to our localities, devoted just under €2.5 million to the City's library and Archival service in 2012 with €16 million to fund the-day-to-day operation of the and a further €9 million on the Archive Service, maintenance of library building, and the purchase of books, CD's and other resources. Despite the budgetary constraints readers will rejoice with the news that the City Council's library budget will increase for 2013.

Cogniscent of the importance of preparing our libraries for the challenges of a more internet driven world the Council developed and passed "What is the Stars?" a development plan for Dublin City Public libraries 2012-2016 during the summer.

The plan, according to then Lord Mayor, Cllr. Andrew Montague, "sets out a strong vision and clear strategic direction for the sustainable development of Dublin City Council's public library and archive service line with the social philosophical bans [basis?] on which the library service was funded [founded?] in 1884 (and) is permeated by a strong equality and social inclusion ethos." The plan further notes the role our libraries can play in the Country's recovery from the current recession by "helping individuals and communities to realise their potential and enhance their skill and capacities." 'The Central library, currently at the ILAC centre will relocate to a new purpose-built landmark building drawing upon four model cities - Lyon, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Oslo.

2012 saw the maintenance of opening hours, the first "Citywide Reading Project, 60 events to celebrate the chosen title for Dublin: One City One Book (James Joyce's The Dubliners), the donation of several archive collections to the City including the archives of Jacob's Biscuit Factory.

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