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Libraries - Ireland's huge educational resource


rockofcashel

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I just decided to start this thread to praise my local library, and wonder how many other posters are members of local authority libraries.

I was inspired to do so after I just came back from dropping off some books my little ones read, and while there, I found that the library are now also offering DVD's of literary classics. I know some might find this to be the anthesis of what a library should be doing i.e. encouraging reading, but in this case I found a special edition copy of Orwells anti-communist classic "Animal Farm" (as opposed to the less celebrated one which shouldn't be discussed here)

I remember seeing this in school about 25 years ago now, and it was only after I began to learn more about the history of Communism did it make sense to me. It was a wonderful story and so easily accesible so I brought it home to show to my kids.

I've also managed to read some absolute beauties over the past 6 months such as Simon Sebag Montefiores seminal work on Stalin, "the Court of the Red Tsar" and an enlightening account of the brutality of the British Government in dealing with the Mau Mau in Kenya in the late 50's and 60's, Caroline Elkins "Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya", and the "Yamoto Dynasty: The Secret History of Japans Imperial Family" (Sterling Seagrave), which threw light on how the Americans manipulated Japan both before and after WW2 as a means of entering the war, and gaining a foothold in South East Asian politics after the war ended.

Also, apart from all these serious tomes, I have read most of the Simon Scarrow series, fictional accounts of the Roman Invasion of Great Britain, Dan Brown's Lost Symbol, and a host of other fictional page turners...

All provided free of charge by the library.. who in the past twelve months introduced my kids of painting exhibitions, how to grow gooseberries and blueberries by showing them how to cut the plants, a reading club, helping them onto the "reading tree" (thus encouraging them to be disciplined in reading, and giving them the confidence to speak in front of others by giving books reviews), and other library related activities

Well done the local library
 

Edo

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Well said

Im a member of two - have a foot in 2 Counties so to speak

they are great resources - and we are getting a new one in our local village too - should open in the summer if there are no more cutbacks.

I pay a tenner a year for membership here - but its well worth it.

Have just finished Jeremy Paxmans excellent "The Political Animal" - well worth reading for anybody considering going into Politics..............and am now nearly 3/4 way thru Simon Carswells "Something Rotten" - Irish Banking scandals..........all written pre NAMA and all the same effing excuses used by the Banks to get themselves off the hook.....do we ever learn.

Local Libararies are great and they are being used by more and more people.

PS - I saw that special edition "Animal Farm" DVD on the shelves a few weeks ago too
 

netwhizkid

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how many millions are they costing the taxpayer?
Too many millions thats what. Last time I was in the library I went looking for a book that they didn't have, literally 3 clicks of a mouse on amazon and a few days and I had it. Todays youth don't use libraries and we have a plethora of educational wealth online. Libraries existed for to look up stuff in a time before the internet and are only frequented by elders nowadays or people too cheap to buy the books they are after! Socialised books..... no thanks!
 
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johnfás

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how many millions are they costing the taxpayer?
Libraries are a worthwhile investment. Like ROC's children I benefited greatly as a child from my local library. This benefit continued throughout my schooling when it was used as a resource, a study space and an exhibition space for projects from various schools in the area. Now as a postgraduate I still come across things in my local public library which are useful to my studies.

One should also remember Andrew Carnegie when we talk about libraries. A filthy rich gentleman but one who funded the establishment of over 3,000 libraries across the English speaking world including many in Ireland which can be seen in the inscription over many of their doors. I was reading one of Carnegie's writings on charity today. Though I would not agree with him on everything his position on the obligation of administration of wealth to which the wealthy should be held applies today. He is a good example of someone who put his wealth to good use, rather than just sticking his name on things. ROC's kids still benefit from his foresight, in addition to continuing State investment, which I support.
 

KingKane

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kingkane
Too many millions thats what. Last time I was in the library I went looking for a boom that they didn't have, literally 3 clicks of a mouse on amazon and a few days and I had it. Todays youth don't use libraries and we have a plethora of educational wealth online. Libraries existed for to look up stuff in a time before the internet and are only frequented by elders nowadays or people too cheap to buy the books they are after! Socialised books..... no thanks!
You went looking for a boom? You should ask Brian and Bertie where it went to.
 

darkhorse

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i would like to see some figures on how many books they lend out and what the total cost of the operation is. my guess is that a far cheaper service could be operated over the internet on a mail order basis.
i would also agree with the earlier poster who pointed out that libraries are not used by the young anymore. the internet is a far more appealing and widely used source of information to young and old these days.
 

Lightning Rod

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Libraries are great, I've learned to speak two languages thanks to libraries here and abroad.

It's a pity though that they don't have a more comprehensive online presence, I would love to be able to borrow books in pdf format.

by the by, you are in error about Animal Farm; his other more celebrated work is far superior, but that's a discussion for another thread.
 
D

Deleted member 17573

I love libraries and they are one of the things I miss living overseas. If I had one criticism it is that many of them carry a very poor stock of books on science. Well produced, amenable science and popular science texts have great potential for attracting young people to careers in this field.
 

Ah Well

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I'm a member of both Cork City Library and Cork County Library - excellent facilities if needed (tho I don't use them too often)

Turns out Annual Membership fee for the City Library is €22 for adults, whereas it's €2.50 for the County Library - few City Cllrs were going on about it apparently
 

johnfás

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I'm a member of both Cork City Library and Cork County Library - excellent facilities if needed (tho I don't use them too often)

Turns out Annual Membership fee for the City Library is €22 for adults, whereas it's €2.50 for the County Library - few City Cllrs were going on about it apparently
Free in Dublin City Council but there are various nominal charges if you reserve a book from another branch - 50 cent I think.
 

rockofcashel

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i would like to see some figures on how many books they lend out and what the total cost of the operation is. my guess is that a far cheaper service could be operated over the internet on a mail order basis.
i would also agree with the earlier poster who pointed out that libraries are not used by the young anymore. the internet is a far more appealing and widely used source of information to young and old these days.
1. How would people who don't have access to the internet avail of a mail order system for library books? It must be borne in mind, that many people who do not have access to the internet actually use their local library to get access.

2. Older people, for whom you believe are the majority of users of the libraries are also the least likely to be computer literate and therefore would lose access to the facilities and resources of a library, if libraries were moved online.

3. From my experience of using the library, I believe it is wrong to say that the majority of users of the library are older people. There is a huge cross section of age groups using the facilities every time I go in, including young people studying, young people using the internet, foreign nationals using the internet, and older people not only using the library as a resource, but also as a social outlet. All of this would be lost if libraries went online.

4. One final factor, is in actually using the library, I have come across books I never knew existed, and this fostered an interest in reading them. If a library was online, I would only look for books I knew of, thereby narrowing my choice through ignorance of the vast bulk of printed material that was out there.
 

johnfás

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4. One final factor, is in actually using the library, I have come across books I never knew existed, and this fostered an interest in reading them. If a library was online, I would only look for books I knew of, thereby narrowing my choice through ignorance of the vast bulk of printed material that was out there.
The nurturing of which being one of the primary motivations for their establishment!

Still fulfils it today.
 

darkhorse

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1. How would people who don't have access to the internet avail of a mail order system for library books? It must be borne in mind, that many people who do not have access to the internet actually use their local library to get access.

2. Older people, for whom you believe are the majority of users of the libraries are also the least likely to be computer literate and therefore would lose access to the facilities and resources of a library, if libraries were moved online.

3. From my experience of using the library, I believe it is wrong to say that the majority of users of the library are older people. There is a huge cross section of age groups using the facilities every time I go in, including young people studying, young people using the internet, foreign nationals using the internet, and older people not only using the library as a resource, but also as a social outlet. All of this would be lost if libraries went online.

4. One final factor, is in actually using the library, I have come across books I never knew existed, and this fostered an interest in reading them. If a library was online, I would only look for books I knew of, thereby narrowing my choice through ignorance of the vast bulk of printed material that was out there.
1. thats why we have internet cafe's
2. i did not say that older people form the majority of library users - it seems unlikely given the problems of mobility and eyesight that can happen in old age. my guess is that the largest grouping of library users are young mothers looking for childrens books. but i am not aware of any hard information on this so who knows.
3. all fine but how much is this actually costing? surely we should see some cost-benefit analysis on this - rather than just hearsay? how many libraries are there? how many staff? what are the costs? how many users? given that we are spending millions on this - dont you think the public are entitled to know?
4. there are lots of ways of searching amazon and other book sites and you will find even more books you never knew existed. you can also buy them second hand at a very low price and even resell them when you are finished. book clubs, swap sites are all there.
 

Edo

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1. thats why we have internet cafe's
2. i did not say that older people form the majority of library users - it seems unlikely given the problems of mobility and eyesight that can happen in old age. my guess is that the largest grouping of library users are young mothers looking for childrens books. but i am not aware of any hard information on this so who knows.
3. all fine but how much is this actually costing? surely we should see some cost-benefit analysis on this - rather than just hearsay? how many libraries are there? how many staff? what are the costs? how many users? given that we are spending millions on this - dont you think the public are entitled to know?
4. there are lots of ways of searching amazon and other book sites and you will find even more books you never knew existed. you can also buy them second hand at a very low price and even resell them when you are finished. book clubs, swap sites are all there.
ah cmon Darkhorse - when is the last time you were actually in a Community Library - if ever?

As regards your points

1) the nearest internet cafe to me is over 25 miles away - the local library provides the same service a lot closer and also has classes on internet applications for those interested - also the role of out of broadband around here is an absolute disgrace and even getting wireless broadband is hard enough - I can get it because Im just high enough up and between the gap in the mountains- for my neighbours down in the valley - forget it - as regards my elderly neighbours I just couldn't see them in nearest internet cafe trying to have a conversation with the sullen teenager/YA who is always on duty there!

2)the 2 libraries I am a member of are fully wheelchair accessible and are beside the health clinics and close to the Village centres - thus meaning that the library is normally fully utilised at nearly all hours of the day - between younger school children in and out on different activities from the school around the corner - those going to the clinic in reading the papers or whatever takes their fancy - the older school kids in later on the internet or studying or researching their homework - there are always exibitions by local artists and photographers and the historical society meets and has presentations on all the time and keep their archives there,likewise the local bookclub- like nearly all the rural libraries - they are vital part of the local community

3) cost cost cost - well I pay 10 euros for membership - and I;d say that the fines bring in a few quid - but this is one of the few tangible benefits I get from my taxes - and seeing as there are no libraries in the neighbouring townlands and villages - yet everybody is a member - I would say it brings quite a bit of business into the town as people do their shopping , have lunch in the local cafe, etc etc

4 For me - there is no comparison to reading a book - the internet is all very well and I have used Amazon quite a lot and find it useful - but as ROC says - you will never actually pickup a book on impulse and take it to read just for the hell of it or because the cover caught your eye - on the internet - you are spending money and immediately you start the search process - you are narrowing your parameters - I go to the Library - its a drive of about 7 miles for me - about once a forthnight - I normally borrow between 4-6 books at a go - 2 I'll borrow because its the subject matter Im into - 2 because I've read others by the same author /or they're part of a series or trilogy type thingy - but I always take 2 on impulse - normally 1 from the New additions and 1 from recommended reading or if they are doing writers from a certain nationality or genre - this way I have picked up books that I would never do in a million years If i was going to buy them - but some of them have been absolute treasures and introduced me to writers and ideas I would never in a million years have got to know - you simply can't do that via the internet - Im no luddite - but there is a social and spiritual dimension to a local Library that an impersonal WWW has get to get to grips with and will probably never match.
 
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rockofcashel

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ah cmon Darkhorse - when is the last time you were actually in a Community Library - if ever?

As regards your points

1) the nearest internet cafe to me is over 25 miles away - the local library provides the same service a lot closer and also has classes on internet applications for those interested - also the role of out of broadband around here is an absolute disgrace and even getting wireless broadband is hard enough - I can get it because Im just high enough up and between the gap in the mountains- for my neighbours down in the valley - forget it - as regards my elderly neighbours I just couldn't see them in nearest internet cafe trying to have a conversation with the sullen teenager/YA who is always on duty there!

2)the 2 libraries I am a member of are fully wheelchair accessible and are beside the health clinics and close to the Village centres - thus meaning that the library is normally fully utilised at nearly all hours of the day - between younger school children in and out on different activities from the school around the corner - those going to the clinic in reading the papers or whatever takes their fancy - the older school kids in later on the internet or studying or researching their homework - there are always exibitions by local artists and photographers and the historical society meets and has presentations on all the time and keep their archives there,likewise the local bookclub- like nearly all the rural libraries - they are vital part of the local community

3) cost cost cost - well I pay 10 euros for membership - and I;d say that the fines bring in a few quid - but this is one of the few tangible benefits I get from my taxes - and seeing as there are no libraries in the neighbouring townlands and villages - yet everybody is a member - I would say it brings quite a bit of business into the town as people do their shopping , have lunch in the local cafe, etc etc

4 For me - there is no comparison to reading a book - the internet is all very well and I have used Amazon quite a lot and find it useful - but as ROC says - you will never actually pickup a book on impulse and take it to read just for the hell of it or because the cover caught your eye - on the internet - you are spending money and immediately you start the search process - you are narrowing your parameters - I go to the Library - its a drive of about 7 miles for me - about once a forthnight - I normally borrow between 4-6 books at a go - 2 I'll borrow because its the subject matter Im into - 2 because I've read others by the same author /or they're part of a series or trilogy type thingy - but I always take 2 on impulse - normally 1 from the New additions and 1 from recommended reading or if they are doing writers from a certain nationality or genre - this way I have picked up books that I would never do in a million years If i was going to buy them - but some of them have been absolute treasures and introduced me to writers and ideas I would never in a million years have got to know - you simply can't do that via the internet - Im no luddite - but there is a social and spiritual dimension to a local Library that an impersonal WWW has get to get to grips with and will probably never match.
bang on, I cant add much more to that by way of response to Dark Horse.

Except to ask.. how in the name of Jesus can you apply such a restricted concept of cost/benefit analysis to reading a book.

Have you ever tried to figure out the value gained by a child who has just read a Roald Dahl book ?
 

charley

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Apr 3, 2009
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our local library got washed away in a flood last june ,council can't afford to replace it
 

The Underdog

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I just decided to start this thread to praise my local library, and wonder how many other posters are members of local authority libraries. . . .Well done the local library
Well done to you Sir, for a nice positive thread for a change. Our libraries are a fantastic resource, and something to be proud of.

Now . . Cue more. . . "the public sector are all inefficient scum (I couldn’t get in) and it should be privatised to a FF company like mine, so that I can make more dodgy money now that the property pyramid scheme has collapsed" agenda posts . . .
 
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