Kevin Street Library officially reopens

Kevin Street Library officially reopens following €3.9 million modernisation and refurbishment.

Kevin Street Library officially reopens today after a closure of almost five years, while it underwent a sensitive restoration and redesign project by Dublin City Council Architects at a cost of €3.9 million. Used by generations of Dubliners, young and old, the newly refurbished library is a vital part of the community in this area of the city and its reopening has been warmly welcomed by local residents. The library was officially reopened by Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring T.D. in the presence of the Lord Mayor, Nial Ring.

Kevin Street Library first opened in 1904 and was the 4th public library in Dublin.  It closed to the public in 2013 for much needed renovation and modernisation.  The new Kevin Street library has been re-imagined for the 21st century, containing a spacious public library and inner reading room.  To the rear of the building is a bright and animated children’s library equipped with a fun slide.  

These exciting changes to the library have already resulted in high engagement with the public, as almost 800 new borrowers and 1,500 renewed library accounts have been logged since reopening to the public in late July.  Almost 10,000 items have been borrowed from Kevin Street Library by the public so far in this time.

A key requirement of the restoration project was to protect and care for many original features of the building.  Dublin City Council Architects co-ordinated the conservation and restoration project, which included the preservation of Victorian roof glazing, window openers, cupola and weather vane, exterior brick work, fireplaces and interior wood panelling.

Commenting on the official reopening, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, said: "It is great to see Kevin Street Library opened again and welcoming so many members, new and old, through its doors. The response from the public since the reopening shows what an important part of the local community this library is. Dubliners have been using this library since it first opened in 1904 and with this beautiful restoration and modernisation we can be sure that future generations will have the benefit of this facility for many years to come.”

Major improvements have been made to ensure the building is welcoming to all members of the public with the introduction of ramps, accessible restrooms and a lift to all levels, including a new floor containing nine PC’s, a study space and a mezzanine with special collections.  It also includes an exhibition space, which currently hosts ‘My Place, a Portrait’, a project created by local secondary students and photographers and coordinated by Dublin Culture Connects.  The library will be open six days a week, with late night opening on Tuesdays and Thursdays.     

Commenting at the launch, by Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring T.D. said; “Kevin Street Library will act as a hub of educational, cultural, information and civic engagement within the south east area of the City and further afield. It is a fine example of what can be achieved by central and local government working together in partnership for the benefit of our communities. €3.9 million was invested in this library renovation, with my Department contributing €1 million towards the project under its Library Capital Investment Programme. It highlights my Government’s continued investment in the public library service, not alone in Dublin City, but throughout the country.”

The launch event of the new library was attended by Lord Mayor, Nial Ring and officiated by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, T.D. The ceremony included performances from St. Patrick’s Boys Choir as well as young performers from Synge Street CBS, St Patrick’s Grammar School and Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount.

Brendan Teeling, Acting Dublin City Librarian, said; “We’re delighted with the refurbished Kevin Street library, which is a credit to City Council architects and libraries staff, and I want to thank the Minister for his support. We’re also delighted that the local community has taken the library back into their hearts, making this a place full of life, learning, and a lot of laughter.”