A library is like having the internet in a building. If you can imagine it, chances are someone has written about it. And in the same way that clicking a link brings something new, each shelf or room in a library offers more and more new discoveries for the curious mind.
If you think a library is a dusty old building full of old people telling you to shush, where all you can do is get a book…then think again.
We were going to do a flowery, romantic piece about how brilliant libraries are, how they open portals to other worlds found only in books, are a playground for the imagination, and can take you to places you might never visit. But, while all of that might be true, the reality is the Library Service speaks for itself on a much more practical level.
What your library card does
A good library service really is one of the best things our local councils provides for us.
Think about it for a minute.
- It’s free to join.
- You can borrow up to 12 items at any one time, and keep them for 3 weeks…for free
- You can reserve another 12…for free
- If you haven’t finished with the items you have borrowed, you can check, reserve and renew online and keep them for longer…for free
- You can borrow books…for free
- You can borrow or download graphic Novels…for free
- You can borrow DVDs…for free
- You can borrow CDs…for free
- If your local library hasn’t got the book you want, you may be able to request it from another library in a different part of the country. There are plans for a new national system, so you can get books from all over the country….for free
- You can download audio books…for free
- You can get audio books on CD…for free
- You can download E-books…for free
- You can download magazines using the Zinio for libraries app…for free
- You can access online newspapers available to the library…for free
That’s just the stuff you take away from the library!
Stay in the library and –
- You get free wi-fi, and use of computers
- There is study space if you are a student – quiet space for homework
- If you are unemployed, many have services to help put together cvs or apply for jobs
- You can sign up for, and take, e-learning classes (Not available in all libraries)
- You can just sit and read a magazine or newspaper freely available for all
- There are places to find out about your local, and sometimes, family history
- All libraries tend to have story time events for little ones, so a great place for both parents and children to meet with friends
- There are book clubs for adult, teens and junior readers
- There are different holiday activities including arts & crafts or different workshops (check your local library for dates of different events)
- They may have rooms available for local groups to use or hire
- Blessington Library in Co Wicklow, for example, hosts a lego club, autism support and citizens advice among its services.
- It is also a great place to find out about local services on the various posters and flyers on the notice boards
- You get REALLY friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff
Get answer to your questions on the EU through Europe Direct –
Some libraries are lucky enough to have Europe Direct Centres. There are eight at present based in: Blanchardstown, Letterkenny, Clones, Portlaoise, Ballinasloe, Sligo, Limerick and Waterford City libraries. Local Europe Direct can be found here Or network across Europe here.
- Enquiries about how to obtain an EU Passport.
- Information about legal matters relating to EU legislation.
- Requests for information on setting up a business in the EU.
- Information about citizen and consumer rights in the EU.
- Requests for general documentation on the workings of the EU and its institutions
- Events, including talks, exhibitions and competitions.
Europe Direct Citizen’s Helpline: 0080067891011
Where can I join?
There are a lot of Libraries in the Dublin area, and another ten in Co Wicklow and if you can’t get out to a library, or there is none near you, some services, like Co Wicklow have a mobile unit that travels to different locations right around the county. Below are links with locations for the different libraries in each Dublin area.
- Libraries in Dublin City Council area
- Libraries in Dublin South area
- Libraries in Fingal area
- Libraries in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown area
Lexicon image William Murphy, Mobile Library image – Wicklow Co Council
A short flowery bit
If I was king of the world, I’d give everyone a library card. Of course, it would be a little unnecessary because, everyone can already get a library card for free, or at least they can in Dublin and Co Wicklow.
Libraries are for everyone. They don’t discriminate. Whether you are a millionaire who could buy their own library, or a poor family that can’t afford to buy a single book, your library card entitles you to the same service, the same welcome and the same experience.
Books broaden our horizons. They are the gateways to possibility and potential. So libraries are like a great bunch of keys to a humongous number of gateways…yeah, too much!!
Join your local library. You’ll never regret it.
main image by Chris O’Brien