The public library

Whitechurch Library, from the Library Council websiteI love libraries – from the wonder that is the New York Public Library through the workaday necessity of my university’s very fine library to the welcome of the local lending library – so the following story in the Irish Times caught my eye:

At the library

Few State services provide greater customer satisfaction than the public library. Some 14 million people visited one last year, a rise of one-sixth in five years, according to a national survey of users [Report | Summary | Press Release (all pdfs)] commissioned by the Library Council. …

Ireland has a long tradition of support for public libraries. Legislative backing began with the Public Libraries Act in 1855. In the early 20th century, American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie provided finance for local authorities to build 80 libraries. In 1947, the government adopted the principle of state aid for public libraries [in the Public Libraries Act, 1947]. In the past decade government and local authorities have made a substantial financial investment to improve facilities. …

According to the press release (pdf):

Introducing the survey results, Norma McDermott, Director of the Library Council, paid tribute to library staff whose helpfulness scored a remarkable 97% satisfaction rate among library users. ‘Library managers and staff should be very proud of the service they provide’, remarked Mrs McDermott: ‘library staff are committed to giving excellent service to the public and their work is clearly appreciated by library users who have given them a huge vote of confidence’.

Well, this is certainly one library user who is happy to endorse that vote of confidence.