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Marsh’s Library, Ireland’s First Public Library – Pic of the Week

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The following is a guest post by Robert Newlen, Assistant Law Librarian for Collections, Outreach, and Services.

As a librarian, I always seek out interesting or unusual libraries when I travel.  During a recent trip to Dublin, I visited Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Ireland‘s first public library, which was built in 1701.  An indication of the importance of this library is an act passed by the Irish legislature in 1707 – “An Act for Settling and Preserving a Public Library for ever[sic]” – which established the administration of this institution.  Remarkably, the interior of the library remains virtually unchanged.  This includes cages where 18th century patrons were confined when they used books from the collection, lest they abscond with them.  The collection consists of 25,000 books.  The range of subjects is quite varied – bibles, theology, medicine, law, science, travel, navigation, music and mathematics.  If you find yourself in Dublin, check it out, you won’t be disappointed!

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