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Resources and Services Available at Your Local Library

From: Department of Rural and Community Development


More than 17 million library visits are made annually.

As centres of knowledge, information and culture, libraries play an important community role.

The public library is a local service with a nationwide reach.

Members can use all library services at any library in the country.

Public libraries also provide a wide range of resources and activities to support schools in helping children develop literacy, numeracy, creativity and communication skills.

Libraries Ireland

Libraries Ireland is a shared library management system.

Anyone with a public library card is allowed to borrow and reserve items from any public library in the Republic of Ireland. It is free to join and all 30 library authorities are part of the service.

Find My Local Library

At your library you can access:

  • books from any library in the country
  • audio books and DVDs
  • literacy supports
  • online newspapers and magazines
  • 400 eLearning and 80 online language courses
  • support for job seekers
  • facilities for small businesses
  • community meeting facilities
  • health and wellbeing supports from Healthy Ireland programme.

If a resource is unavailable in your local library, and is available in another library, then you can request it through the inter-library loan service.

The full Library Catalogue can be searched online at the Libraries Ireland portal.

My Open Library

My Open Library is an innovative technology and customer service focused initiative. It was introduced on a pilot basis in three libraries in 2016.

The My Open Library service is free. The service is currently available in 15 libraries nationwide.

The My Open Library service provides opening hours that are additional to normal staffed hours. The service provides enhanced access for the community.

My Open Library members can access the library from 8am - 10pm, 365 days a year.

The new public library strategy Our Public Libraries 2022: Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities contains specific actions in relation to providing additional opening hours for the public.

Suitable opening hours, supported by enhanced staffing, is a key measure in the strategy to achieving the target membership of 30% of the population by 2022.

The strategy aims to expand My Open Library service to at least 200 library branches over the next decade.

Children under 16 can use the service if accompanied by a registered My Open Library Adult member.

Young people aged 16-18 can use the service with written consent of a parent or guardian.

My Open Library branches

E-Learning Courses

There are over 400 courses available in public libraries. The courses cover topics such as accounting, history, office skills and more.

You can access the service through your local library website or through the national Libraries Ireland portal.

Ask About Ireland Website

All public libraries collect materials about the history of their county or locality. There is a huge range of material available, e.g.:

  • parish and county histories
  • maps
  • photographs
  • newspapers
  • old records.

The Ask About Ireland website is a substantial online resource for local history. It was Developed by An Chomhairle Leabharlanna ( The Library Council) and is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD).

It is now one of the largest educational websites in Ireland.

The website provides free access to an extensive collection of teaching and learning resources for primary and secondary schools, offering:

  • digitised content from public libraries, including Griffith’s Valuation (historical land values between 1848-1864)
  • unique historical films
  • out of print resources
  • digital books.

Right To Read

Right To Read is a national programme designed to promote literacy and reading development. The programme is open for Irish people of all ages and backgrounds.

It is delivered by the Public Library through a core set of services and resources.

It currently includes four national programmes.

Work Matters

The Public Library delivers a national Work Matters programme of services for business and employment supports. The service is aimed at locally based:

  • entrepreneurs
  • start-ups
  • job seekers .

Healthy Ireland At Your Library

Healthy Ireland At Your Library initiative is delivered through a national framework that is managed by:

  • Libraries Development
  • Local Government Management Agency (LGMA)
  • Local Authorities.

The initiative is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Health.

The framework implements and maintains standardised services and supportive environments to individuals and communities. Its aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of people at all life stages in Ireland .

Online Resources

Lexis Nexis is a provider of news, information and company information from all over the world which also provides access to national and local Irish and international titles, including newspapers, journals and periodicals.

Visit Vision-net.ie for a fully searchable online source of company information and business names for all businesses within Ireland.

All public libraries now have computers which the public can use to access the internet. To book a session contact your local branch library. Many libraries offer introductory sessions for new users.

All public library users are provided with online access through a single platform to a number of online resources, such as:

  • e-books
  • e-audio books
  • e-magazines/journals
  • online languages
  • e-learning courses
  • online newspapers

Online languages can be accessed directly from the website of your library service.

Most Borrowed Books

The library contains a catalogue of 12 million items.

In 2018, all 20 of the most borrowed titles were children’s books.

19 of the 20 most borrowed authors were children’s authors.

This information has been published by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). It compiles the information as part of the Public Lending Remuneration (PLR) Scheme.

Find out which books and authors were the most popular at the library by clicking here Link

List of Top 20 Most Borrowed Books and Authors

Online Library Catalogues

To view a catalogue you must provide:

  • your library membership number
  • your library personal identification number (PIN).

Individual library catalogues can be searched online by author, title or keyword.

It is also possible to:

  • renew loans
  • check borrower information such as loans and reservations online.


It is a statutory responsibility for local authority to provide the proper management, custody, care and conservation of local records and local archives.

The Department of Rural and Community Development assists local authorities to hire a qualified archivist and to rent accommodation for the purpose of processing archives.