The City Library: a new beginning
On the 20th May, 1946, Kilkenny Corporation relinquished its powers and duties under the Public Libraries (Ireland) Acts 1855 to 1920 to Kilkenny County Council. This meant that for what had being to all interests and purposes, two services could be amalgamated into one. The change resulted in immediate modifications to the building. The interior was re-decorated and painted. Many internal partitions were removed allowing the public open access to the stock. It was probably from this period that the services of the old Library Indicator was finally dispensed with. The book stock was catalogued and a full-time Library Assistant appointed.
During this period the library interior still had several rooms compared to now. These housed newspapers, magazines, local history and a reference room and also incorporated two lending departments, adult and childrens.
By 1957, the City Library had a membership of 3,521, 2,108 were adults and a bookstock of 14,884. Interestingly the City Library still got loans of 500 books every 14 weeks from the County Service reflecting still the old division of the service. Borrowers were allowed to borrow three books.
In 1959 the staffing of the Library service was as follows:
Library Assistants 4
Library Assistant – City Library 1 , this was Nancy Dalton who was to give many years of loyal service to the City Library.
Further major renovations and refurbishment occurred in 1979. During this period the lending and reference services were moved to rooms over the Village Inn in Patrick Street. The changes resulted in a more open-plan layout, removal of wall presses incorporating a new desk. In the late 1980’s the last remaining partitions and display presses were removed and a much larger desk installed. Since the Library opened in 1910 flooding had always being at threat. While the Library building itself was seldom directly flooded, considerable loss of opening hours did occur. In recent years major engineering works on the adjacent river Nore have finally removed the threat of flooding from the library and its environs.
Throughout the years the Carnegie Library has evolved and reinvented itself and its purpose. Its core purpose is to remain flexible and responsive to the needs of the community.
Traditional services now co-exist with newer services such as public access to technology. The introduction of the public access internet service is now regarded as a mainstream service allowing for the development of a virtual library service.
It is regarded as a community space where communities can engage with knowledge in safe and comfortable environment.
The physical accessibility of the building was addressed in 2009 with the installation of a ramp and there are a range of accessible technologies available to all.It’s key role is as a space where people of all ages receive support with learning, access information in all formats, explore their heritage and culture, access technology, attend reader development events and borrow and read books
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