Reading the Somme

Soldiers at the SommeThe Battle of the Somme was the largest and bloodiest battle fought on the Western Front during World War I. It was fought between 1 July and 18 November 1916 and left more than 1 million men wounded or killed on both sides, including 3,500 Irish men (read some of their stories as recorded in the RDFA Archive). In our minds, the Somme signifies the horror of war especially the inexorable hardship, suffering and futility of trench warfare.

Image: Detail from DCLA/RDFA1.09.047A  "War 1914-15-16... in the Somme French Offensive Relieving the trenches at Dompierre" (see larger image).

If you would like to read about the Battle of the Somme we have compiled this short reading list.

Back of the net: Our top XI football reads

Only a Game by Eamon DunphyDid you hear the English team have a pop-up library in their hotel? It seems the English FA are hoping to foster a winning mentality amongst the team through reading.  Our Irish team assistant manager Roy Keane features in the library. As well as reading Roy's words of wisdom, the team can consult the memoirs of other successful sporting figures such as Alex Ferguson, Swedish Zlatan Ibrahimovic and F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The library also includes books by and about inspirational leaders such as Nelson Mandela,  civil rights champion Malcolm X and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Let's hope the Irish team have studied their copies of Keane and Keane: The Second Half too! What other books do you think the Irish team should read? #COYBIG

Blooming Marvellous Reads

RoseThis June public holiday should be a good one for gardeners. Gardens are verdant, the weather's looking great, and Bloom in the Park is on all weekend. Isn't gardening just fantastic! Many of us spend most of our time indoors, working, looking at screens and gardening can be the perfect antidote to this. It's slowing down in a hectic world, it's creative, it's healthy, it's rewarding, it's stress-relief, it's good for the environment and wildlife.

If you've been bitten by the bug don't forget to pop into our libraries this month and borrow one of our fantastic selection of gardening books. Gardening book displays at Ballyfermot, Charleville Mall, Dolphin's Barn, Drumcondra, Raheny and Central Library (till 7 June) are packed full of inspiration, tips and advice. So this June get out in the garden and if you can, try to get to Bloom in the Park, it's a terrific event!

Biodiversity and the City

BiodiversityWe're wild about May in Dublin! It's the month we celebrate the wealth of biodiversity in the city.  Even in a capital city there are plenty of habitats where nature can flourish: our parks, gardens, graveyards, coastline, rivers and canal banks, trees, even walls and footpaths provide a home for creatures great and small! We are lucky in Dublin, we don't have to go far to enjoy nature and wildlife.  If sea birds and waders are your thing, St Anne's Park, Dollymount and North Bull Island are a must visit. If it's the iridescent blue flash of the Kingfisher you're after, Dodder Valley is the place to visit. Ducks, swans, herons and water hens abound in Herbert Park, Blessington Street Basin, Bushy Park and along our canals and rivers. And anyone who is up early enough (or out late enough) will have spotted one of our urban foxes on the prowl. Get out there and explore! You'll feel better too, getting your dose of green can help reduce stress, aid relaxation and improve your mood.

The Mansion House Dublin, 300 Years of History and Hospitality

The Mansion House, Dublin 300 Years of History and HospitalityA year–long series of events to mark the tercentenary of Dublin’s Mansion House culminated on 14 December 2015 with the launch of a beautiful book The Mansion House, Dublin 300 years of History and Hospitality edited by City archivist Dr Mary Clark.

Professor Christine Casey, guest speaker at the launch, has kindly given permission to reproduce her speech in which she reflects on the historical significance of Dublin's Mansion House and highlights some of the fascinating insights uncovered by the book contributors:-

Jake Gives Advice on Pet Care!

JakeFiona from Dog's Trust brought her friend Jake the dog to Pearse Street Library on Wednesday, 8th July 2015, where she (Fiona that is, not Jake!) showed the children all they needed to know about looking after a pet.

Fiona and Jake are also appearing in Ballymun, Phibsboro', Pembroke, Pearse Street and Raheny during the same week.  Check our Events' Listing for details.

The Most Borrowed Books in 2014

Irish Times Survey photoThe Irish Times today (Mon, 17th Nov) published a story - "Survey reveals the most borrowed library books in Ireland" - listing,as the title states, the most borrowed books in Irish public libraries in the year to date. Dublin City Public Libraries contributed to the survey of course, and for your delectation we reproduce below some of the data we furnished. Topping the fiction list in Dublin City is the winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 'The Sound of Things Falling' by Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez. Interesting to note also that the list is dominated by titles on the Award shortlist. The most popular non-fiction title has been the book selected for last April's Dublin: One City, One Book reading initiative, 'If Ever You Go: a Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song'.

The top children's title, 'The Powers: the Not-So-Super Superheroes' by Kevin Stevens, in fact topped the overall list here in Dublin City, while the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series has proven to be the best read series by some distance. As if to demonstrate the 'power' of library reading initiatives, 'The Powers' was the 2014 Citywide Read for Children choice. 

(titles links below are to the library catalogue)

Contemplating our past

History scrollThe Dublin Festival of History has just come to a close, after a very successful run. It covered a huge variety of topics, ranging from the Battle of Clontarf to the Spanish Civil War, and hopefully the festival will have whetted your appetite for more exploration of our past. Public libraries offer plenty to read on all of the subjects covered in the festival, and plenty of other historical topics besides.

Visit the library and enjoy the experience

Magazines – What are held here?

Irish Garden Magazine cover

The Business Information Centre has in excess of 160 magazine titles in print, including some of the newest and most topical editions – fancy browsing through TIME magazine or Business and Finance to find the latest current affair issues or something more local such as tending and nurturing your garden with The Irish Garden.

This collection includes a wide variety of subjects encompassing both business and general reference material. Are you interested in any of these topics?

accountancy, agriculture, arts, banking, building, business, education, employment, EU, finance, franchising, health, law, marketing, management, tourism, and training and gardening, angling, auto and wildlife many many more besides…

2013 Irish Book Award Winners Announced

John BanvilleThe BORD GÁIS Energy Irish Book Award winners were announced last night.

Authors Roddy Doyle, Darina Allen, Paul Howard and Michael Harding were among the winners in the various categories.

Children’s writers Benji Bennett and Derek Landy, newcomer Niamh Boyce, crime writer Louise Philips, sports writer David Walsh, short story writer Billy O’ Callaghan and Fintan O’Toole were also honoured at the gala ceremony held in Dublin.

Esteemed novelist John Banville (left, image source) was presented with the 'Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award 2013' by actress Sinéad Cusack for his contribution to Irish literature, and a tribute to the late Seamus Heaney was screened during the ceremony which featured accolades from former US President Bill Clinton and Edna O’ Brien.