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Background to the Library Service

The Library Service of the City and County of Kilkenny was established in 1923. The County Council adopted the Public Libraries Act and assumed responsibility for the Service two years later. By then there were library centres in 60 locations in the County. These were manned by local librarians and volunteers and were established in schools and clubs with book exchanges being conducted approximately three times per year. By 1930 there were 90 such centres around the County although the distribution was far from even. Five of these centres survived into the 1980s at Lawcus (Stoneyford), Ringville, Skeoughvosteen, Urlingford and St. Columba’s.

The School’s Library Service was established in 1970. This service is currently offered to Primary schools from our network of library branches and the Mobile Library vehicle. The Mobile Library Service began operating in 1972 and now makes approximately 60 stops around the County.   On average, each stop is visited once in a three-week period, with larger centres being visited on two occasions during the same timeframe. A visit can last for anything from ten minutes to two hours depending on the number of users at each stop. A new purpose built vehicle was acquired in 2010 and a revised new Mobile schedule was launched at the start of 2011.

The branch network was further strengthened during the 1970s with the opening of two part-time branch libraries at Callan and Thomastown. Loughboy Library opened in 1981 providing a second library for the City. Graiguenamanagh opened its doors in 1988 in the South-east of the County while Urlingford Library in the North of the County was established in 1996. This was a unique, co-operative project between the County Council and the local community, with the initiative being completed without any central Government funding. Urlingford was also notable because it was the Service’s first computerised branch.  A further library branch was opened in 1999 in Castlecomer on the site of the former Presentation Convent School in the town.The commitment of the service to equality of service, regardless of location was enhanced with the opening of Ferrybank Library in the extreme south of the county in 2012.

The service is developing a range of online services available through this web-ste that can be accessed 24/7 outside normal branch opening hours.