One of the true civic-minded delights in the city in recent times has been the development of our libraries. As someone who occasionally nips into Kevin Street to pick up copies for a book club (recent read and highly recommended is Kazou Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun), I am always heart-warmed to see its multi-purpose use and wonderful refurbishment. Elsewhere, it seems we are getting our act together in terms of a value being placed on one of the few public spaces which can be enjoyed by all at no cost throughout the year.
Of course, as a UNESCO city of literature we have reason to be embarrassed by not having a city centre public library fit for 21st century purpose. A few figures to consider in this regard: Bank of Ireland is set to spend €36m revamping their College Green location. The government exited its stake in the bank this September. Surely, a massive missed opportunity from a €4.7 billion bail-out was not to negotiate the return of the first purpose built Parliament House in the world?
What we have now is the start of Phase One of the Parnell Square project which promises to deliver a new City Library at Parnell Square North by 2027. White water rafting fiasco distractions aside, this is most welcome but also long overdue. In the meantime, local libraries as documented in our lead feature by Michael Lanigan and Ste Murray will continue to play a pivotal role in fostering social exchange and providing a democratic third space for people.
– Michael McDermott
Also in the new issue…
Happy Out on the merits of Cork
Where the Leaves Fall explores humankind’s connection with nature
A man and a bike and a dog on Aungier Street