As it celebrates 21 years at its current location in the main square, Dunmanway Library remains at the very heart of the community where it provides a vital service and shared space for people of all ages
IT might seem hard to believe now, but when Dunmanway Library moved to its new location on the town’s main square from Quarry Road back in 1997 there wasn’t even a computer on site and accessing the internet seemed like a far-off dream.
Now some 21 years later and things have certainly changed and both computer access and internet services are part and parcel of a wide variety of services that the library offers.
Reaching this milestone is a very special one for all involved in the library who are marking it with numerous events throughout the year.
The library, which has 1,600 members is one of Cork County Library’s 28 branches and is home to a vibrant collection of books for adults, children and teenagers including audio books on both CD and cassette.
‘When the library opened in 1997, it boasted no computers and books were issued with a ticket system and every book and readers’ ticket was filed by hand. The internet was in its infancy so encyclopedias and phone books were regularly consulted for information rather than Google,’ said a library spokesperson.
‘It had one staff member and only opened to the public in the afternoons. Library membership cost the huge sum of £2. Since then the demand for the service means that it has grown and is open five days a week from 9.30am to 5.30pm and library membership is now free.’
Three full time staff are now employed in the library – Ken McNamara, branch manager; Aine O’Brien and Diane O’Farrell and a wider range of services are on offer to the public including Cork County Council information and publications as well as daily and weekly newspapers and magazines.
‘Dunmanway Library also hosts regular events throughout the year. Most importantly, it is an integral part of the town and community of Dunmanway where young and old are welcome to spend time. It is very much a shared community space where exhibitions and window displays for clubs, schools, and groups are regularly displayed.’
One such local group that meet at the Library every Friday morning is Knit and Natter, a knitting and crochet group who meet there from 10am to noon. The group are well known for their creativeness and to celebrate the library’s 21st birthday, they created a four-tier birthday cake made entirely of wool which has taken up centre stage in the large shop-front style window of the premises.
‘They had been planning to do something to mark the 21st birthday and started coming up with ideas before Christmas and I think they spent about two solid months working on it and have done a fantastic job,’ said staff member Diane O’Farrell.
As part of the 21st birthday celebrations, the library recently played host to well-known authors Hazel Gaynor and Carmel Harrington, who have written for numerous journals and magazines. This double bill was a fantastic opportunity for fans of both authors to meet, greet and chat with such accomplished writers.
‘Recently, a new series of talks under the umbrella of Healthy Ireland have been held in the library on topics such as Mindfulness and Wellbeing, and more are sure to follow throughout the year. These are complemented by a new book collection of the same name which has dozens of new books available to borrow. This in conjunction with the ‘Your Good Self’ series, makes Dunmanway Library a truly health promoting service.’
Other events planned for the library include story telling sessions and craft workshops and many more to celebrate its 21st birthday.
‘Our next event for children will be the Teddy Bear Sleepover where the children bring in their teddy bears on Friday afternoon for a sleepover and they come back the following morning to collect them which will be followed by a teddy themed storytelling event,’ said Diane.
Another upcoming event is Storytelling with Paddy O’Brien on Wednesday May 30th at 7pm which is aimed for children aged eight and over. This event is free of charge and all are welcome.
‘Make sure to make a visit to the library to hear what’s on and share your best memories of a much-loved part of the town,’ Diane added.
• Dunmanway Library is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30am to 5:30pm and closed on Mondays. For more details contact them on 023-8855411 or find them on Facebook or Twitter (#dunmanwaylibrary) under Cork County Library and Arts Service or email [email protected]