LBH001 Capel Street
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LBH001 Capel Street Public Library
Although provision had been made for the establishment of free public libraries in Ireland since 1855 it was not until 1883 that Dublin Corporation formed a Public Libraries Committee. Two Georgian tenement houses were secured at No 106 Capel Street and No 22 Thomas Street and both libraries opened to the public on 1 October 1884.
The public library at Capel Street was opened by Lord Mayor William Meagher a few hours before its sister institution on Thomas Street. The library was designed to serve the north side of the city. To mark the occasion, the Library Association of the United Kingdom held its Annual Conference in Dublin for the first and only time. Conference delegates attended the opening ceremony. Patrick Grogan, formerly a librarian at Maynooth College, became the first librarian at Capel Street. The staff was composed of a librarian, three library assistants, and a hall porter. The Capel Street library proved popular with the inhabitants of what was then a heavily industrialised area of the city. A newsroom had to be constructed at the rear of the building to accommodate 400 readers. A Ladies Reading Room was opened on 24 May 1895 and attracted a monthly attendance of 780. The daily average of books issued in 1901 was almost 300 volumes. In 1902 the daily average attendance in the newsroom was 1,200.
This photo is from the Dublin City Council Photographic Collection. This unique collection is an educational resource and provides a basis for original research on the history of Dublin in the second half of the twentieth century.