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Cork City Libraries’ 130 Anniversary Marked in Cork City Hall

The Lord Mayor of Cork held a civic ceremony at the Council Chamber to honour Cork City Libraries’ staff on the occasion of the libraries’ 130 year anniversary. 

Up to 100 staff from across the city’s 10 libraries heard from a former Cork City Libraries colleague, acclaimed Cork poet, Thomas McCarthy who spoke about the legacy of the Burning of Cork and its effects on the library while UCC’s Mairead Mooney spoke about the first City Librarian, James Wilkinson and the important work he did in the libraries’ early years. 

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Deirdre Forde said, “creativity and community are at the heart of our libraries with Cork City Libraries doing phenomenal work to support emerging literary voices in the city through Cork World Book Festival and  partnerships with literary organisations  like the Munster Literature Centre, Cork’s monthly poetry event,  Ó Bheal,  the MA in Creative Writing at UCC and Live at the Library Music Sessions. I know library staff are particularly proud of the inclusion work that they do to ensure out-reach such as Library Link, the service for people who are housebound and in care homes, the Growing Imaginations Service for people with intellectual disabilities and a range of autism friendly services.”

City Librarian, David O’Brien said, “Cork City Library on Grand Parade has been described as the ‘city’s intellectual engine room; by Cork poet, Theo Dorgan but libraries are also spaces where creativity and curiosity – in its many forms – is fired, nourished and expressed. For 130 years, Cork City Libraries has sought to provide safe civic spaces with something for all ages and abilities. Not only do we provide access to books but we offer public talks, meeting spaces, curated exhibitions and digital resources.”       

Speaking at tonight’s event, Cork City Libraries Historian in Residence, Alan Noonan, said the city’s libraries are a “holistic source of public engagement…rather than solely a repository for books and music… forging engagements with the public between writers, historians, and poets and the institutions of local government.”

Cork City’s services include:

  • My Open Library which opened in May at Douglas Library and will be rolled out to three more libraries in the coming months. My Open Library allows self-service access to the library from 8am – 10pm, 7 days a week and continues to prove very popular with patrons of all ages. The service also provides much needed study spaces to both 2nd and 3rd level students.   
  • The seed library at Hollyhill Library – a partnership with Green Spaces for Health –  is another exciting new initiative offering free seeds to the public. At the end of the growing season, saved seeds are returned to the library for others in turn, to grow and enjoy. 
  • Cork City Libraries also provide opportunities for public engagement with literature through programmes such as Poetry in the Park which has seen twelve installations across six parks citywide and the annual city wide bookclub One City One book which supports writers and readers.
  • The Tory Top Library’s sensory garden provides solace to those with dementia and ASD 
  • Tovertafel/Magic Tables, an interactive device for those with dementia and ASD are in libraries across the service. 
  • The award-winning Growing Imaginations workshops create Sensory Books in a Bag which can be borrowed by families, carers or centres who care for adults with an intellectual disability.
  • Supporting Cork as an Age Friendly City, Cork City Libraries have Age Friendly Ambassadors in each location to ensure relevant programmes and services for older people.
  • The digital aspect of the libraries continues to develop with laptops for loan, coding classes, eBooks and eAudio books and access to online training courses.

Source: Cork City Council

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