About Mayo County Library
John Moore Rd.,
Phone +353 (0)94 9047922 Fax: +353 (0)94 9026491
Mayo was one of the earliest counties to exercise the power conferred by the Local Government Act 1925 to adopt a county library scheme. The first County Librarian, Ms Bridget Redmond was appointed in November 1925 on a three year contract to establish the new Mayo County Library. Mayo benefited from funding provided by a trust established by the late Andrew Carnegie to promote the public library cause in both Britain and Ireland. The library was formally established as a permanent agency of Mayo County Council in 1928. The early years of the County Library were grim due to severely limited funds for book purchase. The county had only one dedicated base, in Castlebar and relied on deposit centres, often operated by local primary teachers to bring the library to an overwhelmingly rural county. A purpose built Castlebar Branch and Headquarters were finally provided in 1942 and in 1972 a School Library service commenced. The first purpose built branch libraries in Ballina (1972) and Westport (1976) gave the service a regional presence.
Only in the last two decades has Mayo County Library benefited from the development reached earlier in areas such as Dublin and Clare. New premises have been provided for the public in Castlebar (1990) and Ballina (2006) whilst a nework of branch libraries has been established throughout the County, from Belmullet to Charlestown. Computerisation has now become a routine and in 2007 the Library occupied a new library HQ in Castlebar. Strategic planning and increased focus on customer service are the new challenges for Mayo County Library in the years ahead.
The principal aims of Mayo County Library service include:
- The provision of information from a range of sources including reference books, our general collections of books on all subjects and the Internet. Internet access is available to the public in 14 of our branches.
- The promotion and encouragement of reading, especially among younger people, through our fiction collections, supplemented by various activites and events including book clubs, author visits, book launches and story reading sessions
- The collection and preservation of all available material relevant to County Mayo and making it accessible to local historians, students and researchers.
- Developing our libraries as centres of culture by making our premises available for art exhibitions, historical exhibitions, lectures, musical performances and other activities.
- Making our libraries open to all and enabling people to overcome any barriers such as language or physical disability that might make it difficult to use our services. Collections of material in different languages are being built up in our libraries and assistive technologies for the visually and hearing impaired and for others with physical disabilities are also provided.
These aims have not changed substantially over the years, though with the developments in technology in recent years, we have new means at our disposal to facilitate the fulfilment of these aims. The growth of the Internet and the wide availability of computers mean that our services can be made much more accessible. People can now search our catalogue, check their borrower records and request items from the comfort of their own home 24 hours a day. Local history sources, for instance, Ordnance Survey maps, can be accessed online. Library members can also avail of online databases and other services including the Irish Times, Wilson periodicals database and Encyclopedia Britannica.
We hope, over the coming years, to avail of emerging technologies to make the library even more accessible and to make more resources available online.