Dublin City Council/ Kevin Street Library

Repository: Dublin City Archives

Identity Statement

TitleDublin City Council/ Kevin Street Library
Archive ReferenceIE DCLA/C2/Lib/KK
Web Link to this Entryhttps://iar.ie/archive/dublin-city-council-kevin-street-library
Creation Dates1899-1995
Extent Medium16 boxes, 23 out size ledgers c1700pp and 44 ledgers


Creator(s): Dublin City Public Libraries and Archive

  • Administrative History ↴

    Kevin Street Library was opened in 1904 by Dublin Corporation following a recommendation in 1901by the Public Libraries Committee to buy a plot of land near the technical school on Kevin Street. The first chief librarian in the library was John Whelan who was transferred there from Thomas Street Library. The library suffered from many difficulties in its early years including the death of library assistant William Brinkley in 1906 and financial difficulties with staff not being paid and a large debt having been accumulated. During the First World War, the library was used as a way to recruit men for service when pamphlets about recruiting where made available. The library also allowed the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association to meet ever Saturday night throughout the war. From July 1922 with soldiers occupying the Peter Street Dispensary, Kevin Street Library was called upon by the law agents office to act as a distribution centre to hand out aid to those affected by the fighting in Dublin city. John Whelan was central to the foundation of Cumann na Leabarlann, an association that was integral in the foundation of Public Libraries across Ireland. Numerous individuals and groups wrote to the association on their efforts at convincing their local council or district to set up a public library in their area. The association also released a journal that concentrated on Irish library matters and encouraged its members to contribute articles. Victor Kernan, a library assistant in library appears to have been involved in the fighting during the Irish Civil War as a letter he sent to the library in 1923 was sent from Portlaoise prison, in which he asks whether another member of staff has changed his political views while he was away.
  • Archival History ↴

    Transferred from Kevin Street Library in 2012
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Dublin City Public Libraries and Archive ↴

    Material created and received by Kevin Street Library that highlights the foundation and the daily activity in the library. The collection includes letters from publishing companies, bookbinders, lithographers and various types of repair workshops and shows how the library’s relationship with these groups was vital for the library to function. Letters sent in from members of the public highlights the role the library played in public life and the types of issues the public took up with the library. Material relating to the staff of the library highlights the life of the librarian in the early twentieth century, providing us with information on the duties carried out, the hours worked, wages earned and the type of relationship they had with their employers in the corporation. The collection also contains material from Cumann na Leabharlann, which John Whelan the chief librarian of Kevin Street Library played a major role in setting up. This association was important in helping found public libraries across Ireland and various correspondences with individuals and groups shows how they helped put pressure on local councils to set up public libraries.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    Arranged chronologically. Publishers series arranged alphabetically.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by view by public who apply for research card in Dublin City Library and Archive reading room, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Records containing personal information will be closed if less than 100 years old. Staff records relating to individuals born post 1916 are closed to general public access. Access may be given to direct relatives to information on deceased staff on production of death certificate.
Conditions Governing ReproductionSubject to Dublin City Library and Archive reading room terms of membership and in accordance with copyright legislation
Creation Dates1899-1995
Extent Medium16 boxes, 23 out size ledgers c1700pp and 44 ledgers
Material Language ScriptEnglish and Irish.
Characteristics Tech ReqSome of the Town Clerks letter books have damaged covers. Some ledgers have dirt engrained in them.
Finding Aids Item and file level descriptive list. Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialIE DCLA/C2/Lib/RR Rathmines Public Library ; IE/DCLA/C1/L4 Charleville Mall Public Library; Dublin City Council Minutes; Dublin City Council Reports

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteKevin Healion
Rules/ConventionsIGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description. Dublin: Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009. ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottowa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions42370