This study explores the role of the public library in the community from the perspective of Irish
librarians. There is a global conversation taking place on the role of the public library in the
community, and whether the concept of the public library as a community centre has always existed
or is a new phenomenon. While there is a growing body of literature internationally on this topic,
the researcher explored the topic in an Irish context.
The researcher used qualitative methods. She interviewed four experienced librarians working in the
public library system.
The study would seem to suggest that public librarians in Ireland do perceive their libraries as
community centres. It further suggests that the librarians consider that Irish libraries have always
had a community service element to their role and that as the needs of society have changed Irish
libraries have evolved to meet those needs.