|Position:||Research Student (part-time)|
|Telephone:||+353 (00 353 from UK) 1 407 0758|
PhD Thesis Title
Societal influences on early ‘public’ libraries in Dublin, c.1650-c.1860
Dublin ‘public’ library history is a relatively unexplored area. It tends to be addressed within other, similar fields of book history and historical bibliography. However, the historical development of ‘public’ libraries in Dublin before the Public Libraries Act (Ireland) of 1855 warrants a detailed study—not only within the field of library history but also within the study of the social history of the second city of the British Empire. This examination will focus on the development of the libraries themselves—from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries—and their place within Irish society during a period heavily influenced by religion and politics. In an age of the Anglican Ascendancy and the penal laws on the one hand, and the rise of an Irish Enlightenment and expanding public sphere on the other, this study will seek to identify the ‘public’ library as an institution that played a part in transcending sectarian differences, in keeping with the public library ethos of universal access to knowledge and information.
This dissertation will be heavily reliant on primary historical research, particularly, in the examination of contemporary newspapers and the study of archives of key individuals and institutions from that period. In addition, what exists in secondary and tertiary sources on Irish history and the history of Dublin libraries will be carefully studied as well as ‘public’ libraries in other parts of Ireland and their counterparts in England and Scotland for contextual purposes.
Principal Supervisor: Professor Peter Reid