History of the Library

The National Library of Ireland was established by the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act, 1877, which provided that the bulk of the collections in the possession of the Royal Dublin Society, should be vested in the then Department of Science and Art for the benefit of the public and of the Society, and for the purposes of the Act.

Front hall mosaic (detail).Front hall mosaic (detail).

An Agreement of 1881 provided that the Library should operate under the superintendence of a Council of twelve Trustees, eight of whom were appointed by the Society and four by the Government; this Agreement also conferred on the Trustees the duty of appointing the officers of the Library.

This historic arrangement ended with the establishment of the National Library of Ireland as an autonomous cultural institution on 3rd May 2005 under the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997.

For a more detailed history of the Library this section has been divided chronologically beginning with the Library's origins

NLI Reference: VAL 24281
NLI Reference: VAL 24281
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