There was wonderful surprise in store for people using Cabra Library earlier today. President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina visited the library to personally gift approximately 700 books from the President’s personal collection for the use of library patrons nationwide.
Speaking at the event, Dublin City Librarian, Mairead Owens said: “We’re delighted President Michael D. Higgins has chosen to donate his personal collection to our libraries. President Higgins has made education and the promotion of independent critical thought a cornerstone of his Presidency, and he has spoken on a number of occasions of the importance of public libraries, and of public spaces.
“He chose to make this donation to Irish libraries because he views libraries as places that help people to nurture their inquisitive natures, and books as windows onto a wide variety of worlds, both real and imagined.
“The collection reflects the President’s status and interests as a linguist, poet, sociologist and former politician. A beautifully worded bilingual label has been provided for insertion in each book.”
The collection is comprised of a portion of the President’s own personal library, accumulated over his term of office, and the initial donation of approximately 700 items will be added to on an annual basis.
Whilst a selection of these books will be available to borrow via the national public libraries network, Libraries Ireland, many of the titles are personally inscribed copies and will be held in perpetuity. As such, they will be available for reference only in the Reading Room at Pearse Street Library and Archive, Dublin 2 and in various Local Studies Collections nationwide.
The collection is derived from two sources – titles acquired by the President for his own personal research, and those presented to him from a wide range of sources on his local, national and international itineraries. Many of the volumes are personally inscribed by the author or donor, with some of them marking historic events attended by the President.
The collection is diverse and multilingual and consists of a highly eclectic mix of subject areas, spanning children’s and adults’ material, including fiction and non-fiction, print and audio.
Approximately 250 items from the President’s collection for reference and for loan can now be viewed in the library catalogue at librariesireland.ie with the search term ‘The President Michael D. Higgins Collection’.