On the Road Again…
It just goes to show that while you can take the System Consultant out
of the System, you can’t easily remove their love of library site
visits. Last September when my husband and I went on a two week
vacation to Ireland, we went directly from the airport in Dublin to
circling Trinity College several times looking for a place to park, we
finally found a parking spot on Merrion Square in front of the
American College Dublin.
We entered the Trinity College campus from a rear entrance, but
everyone seemed to know the directions to the
Old Library. On our way to the
Old Library we passed the Berkeley Lecky Ussher Library, which is
the main Undergraduate Library at Trinity College. In front of the
secondary entrance to the library is a sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro
called “Sphere with Sphere" (1982-1983).
had come to Trinity College’s
Old Library to see the book of Kells. In an age where we lose
thousands of books to the ravages of time and acid paper, it was a
magical moment to stand in the dimly lit treasury room and look at the
colorful portrait of St. John in a book that is over a thousand years
old. While at the Old Library we visited the
Long Room with its barrel vaulted ceilings, gallery bookcases,
fourteen marble busts and its 200,000+ volumes. We visited the
before returning to our car.
days later on Saturday, September 9th, we drove into Kenmare amid a
21K foot race that terminated just beyond the front of the local
library, I told my husband that I wanted to visit the local library
during our tour of the city, but due to the heavy traffic from the
foot race we ended up parking across town and by the time we worked
our way back to the
Kenmare Public Library, which is a Carnegie Library, but the
library had just closed for the noon hour. With so many places to
visit and our time allotted to Kenmare nearly over, I did not get to
go into the library, but the window to the left of the door looked
into a lovely children’s area.
That evening we arrived at our Bed & Breakfast just outside Killarney
to find a guidebook in our room that indicated that the
Killarney Public Library with its free Internet access was open on
Saturdays until 8 p.m. Having whetted my appetite for a library at the
noon hour, we decided to visit the library before going to mass. The
library was conveniently located near a car park. There were six
teenagers, three girls and three boys, hanging around outside the
library. On approaching the door to the library, we discovered why the
teens weren’t inside. A sign on the door indicated that due to a
shortage of funds that the library’s the hours had been shortened.
Having already paid the parking fee, we walked around Killarney. When
we returned to our car an hour later, four of the six teens were still
milling about the car park. The library must have been their preferred
meeting place on Saturday evening. It’s a shame that it wasn’t open.
Wednesday, September 13th while touring Galway, we went to the
Galway Public Library,
Augustine Street Branch. We passed the entrance twice as it looked
like the entrance to a department store. I had hoped that they might
have public access Internet, but they only have six Internet terminals
available to the public, and they are for cardholders only.
My husband, Ed, looked at the newspapers, while I took some pictures
of the library. The book shelves were stuffed, but the books looked older,
and the carpeting and the facilities were well-worn. It appeared that
they could use some additional funding. The online catalog appeared to
be a Dynix
product, but the staffers weren’t sure, they thought that sounded
familiar. (When I returned home, I confirmed via the Internet that it
highlight of the library was the children’s section. One of the
pillars had been turned into a tree. A student was showing his
report card to the librarians when I entered the Children’s section.
When I asked about a leaf display that I reminded me of
some of the Summer Reading displays that I’d seen in our libraries,
one of six young men in school uniforms volunteered that if they read
10 books that they received a McDonald’s voucher. It made me think of
Rachel Miller our Youth Services Consultant at RPLS, and the McDonald
vouchers she procures for our libraries and their Summer Reading
On our way out of the library, we stopped at the
Information/Circulation Desk to get a recommendation on a place nearby
where we could eat lunch. They gave us directions to Busher Brown’s,
just a short distance away. There were lots of performers and
pedestrians, but no vehicles on the streets of downtown Galway.
On Thursday, September 14th we visited two of the
three public libraries of Atrim in Northern Ireland. We had hoped to
also visit the Heritage Center, but were told that it had been closed.
Atrim City Library was formerly a jail. On the walk in front of the
building was a mosaic map of Atrim.
We stopped at the circulation desk to find out if they had
public Internet computers, and they did. The Internet computers were
located on the third floor of the library and cost one pound and fifty
to use. The young man at the far left in the green
shirt was quite helpful in helping me locate some of the keys, which
were in slightly different locations on the keyboard. There were over
twenty computers in the spacious room and most of them were in use,
and I was allowed to use one to checked my AOL email account and
send a few emails. I was
not able to log on to my RPLS email or RPLS CLeO, as there seemed to
be some restrictions on websites that could be accessed. My husband talked to the librarian about the
library's collection and history, and the other libraries available in Atrim.
Ed got directions to the local history library, and we walked to the local
history library to investigate some McKay Family History. The staff
was extremely helpful.
Later that evening we went to dinner in Keady,
and our restaurant, the Cauldonia, was across the street from the
local library, but the library was closed.
Monday, September 18th we went to Trim to do some last minute
shopping, before returning to the United States on Tuesday. It was a
rainy day, but my “I love libraries” umbrella from Illinois Library
Advocacy Day helped to keep the rain
off, while we shopped. I also window shopped at the library, which was very
attractive, but also closed on Mondays. Thanks to the large windows, I
was able to get some very nice interior shots.
All in all, it was interesting to see how similar our libraries are,
with many of the same issues such as aging collections, Internet
Access Policies and funding.
Doris McKay, RPLS Consultant