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NAAS 1905 - Free Library; 101 Years of Library Service in Naas

Articles taken from the Leinster Leader Newspaper




Page No: 7 Column: a Edition:1 Date: 28/01/1905


Sub-Heading: Monday and Tuesday

Free Library Committee Meetings:

The Clerk read a report of a meeting of the Free Library Committee held on 28th December. At that meeting it was decided to expend £50 on books, the list to be submitted to a Sub-Committee. Rev. W. Elliott and Mr. J. W. Dane were requested to visit public libraries in order to obtain information as to the furniture, etc., required. The public were requested to send books for the use of the library. At a subsequent meeting it was decided to advertise for a librarian or caretaker at a salary of £15 per year. The Committee decided to have the upper room over the library used as a smoke room, arrangements to be made with the Naas Catholic Institute.

A further meeting was held on the 11th Jan. It was ordered that the colouring of the library be proceeded with. A promise of a contribution of books was received from the Department of Technical Instruction. The tender of Mr. J. Eacret for supply and erection of fixtures at £18 10s was accepted.



Page No: 5 Column: a Edition: 2 Date: 24/06/1905

Heading: Books

Good and Bad Literature

We have been favoured with a copy of the "Memorandum" issued by the Irish Rural Libraries Association, aiming at the organisation of rural libraries in Ireland, and we have pleasure in recommending the good work to our readers. The Irish people, even those in the most remote rural districts have always been a reading-loving people, but they have never had any adequate opportunity of getting good and useful literature to read. It is the aim of the Libraries Association, with the assistance of the Rural District Councils and voluntary Library Associations to supply that want. We think this is a good and a patriotic work. It is argued that the establishment of libraries in rural districts tends to brighten and sweeten an otherwise dull life, and that it makes people both happy and content. While the establishment of good libraries admittedly does all this we believe it does a great deal more, and has an even higher and better influence. It strengthens and broadens the minds of the people, opens up to them new interests and outlooks of life, uplifts them, makes them thinking men and women. The class of literature in popular demand among the bulk of the people up to the present is the kind of literature that poisons and warps and lowers the intellect. It has made sensationalism a craze, developed morbid instincts, and created a deadly mind paralysis. Literature is daily becoming one of the most potent forces in the world, and it must never be forgotten that there is good literature as well as bad literature, hurtful literature as well as helpful literature. This country has been flooded with the sensational, mind-paralysing brand of literature, and it is consumed by the people because they are a reading-loving people, and have not the same ready means of getting good literature. It would be just as easy to cultivate a love for good literature as bad literature, if the proper means were taken to do so. It is here that the Libraries Association steps in and asks the District Councils to help them, as they are empowered to do by Act of Parliament, in the establishment of rural libraries, where the people would have access to the best books. The schemes proposed are fully and lucidly detailed in the "Memorandum" issued by the Association, and we bespeak for it favourable consideration. The work is a noble one, and one deserving of the hearty and practical support of all men who would see the trashy, injurious and mind-warping literature that is doing such destruction intellectually throughout the country, substituted by a pure, a healthy, and an educative literature suited to the natural tastes and genius of the people.




Page No.: 5 Column: g Edition: 3 Date: 01/07/1905

Heading: Public Library Committee-Naas

They applied for a much-needed extension of the Library premises. Those who frequent the Reading Room know that the present accommodation is inconveniently restricted, and in order to make the institution more popular and inviting the Library Committee find it absolutely necessary to make provision for a place which may be used as a smoke room, or for the purpose of any innocent games which members and their friends may care to indulge in.

The Council was entirely in sympathy with the views of the deputation and appointed a Committee to inquire into the best means of meeting them.


Page No.: 8 Column: b Edition: 3 Date:) 01/07/1905

Heading: Urban District Council-Naas

The Library-extension of premises

The Venerable Archdeacon Torrens, the Rev. Mr. Elliott, and Mr Denis Donohoe waited as a deputation on the Council, and were introduced by the Clerk. The Venerable Archdeacon said they had been asked to come there as a deputation from a body that the Council was acquainted with-the Library Committee. Their desire was to request the Council to grant them the privilege of using the upper rooms above the Library premises, and they wanted the Council to be good enough to furnish those rooms for them and whoever else might have the privilege of using them. This would give those who attended the Library as well as others the advantage of having a smoking room, or a retiring room, or for playing some games such as draughts or chess, or a quiet game of cards. They thought it was not unreasonable that the Library Committee should make this request, inasmuch as Mr. Carnegie gave £600 for the Library, and there was he thought £150 locally collected which made a total of £750. They on the Library Committee were of opinion that the amount of accommodation at present provided could hardly be regarded as representing that £750 and they hoped that the Council would be good enough to hit upon some plan by which the Committee’s suggestion might be carried out. If there should be any difficulty in it he (the Archdeacon) would be inclined personally to suggest that the Council appoint a small subcommittee to see whether any possible difficulties could not be swooped away. He did not know that there was any such difficulties, and he could not imagine that there should be any that would not be perfectly easy of arrangement. He hoped the Council would be good enough to take the matter into their earnest consideration, and to give a favourable answer to the committee’s request.

The Rev. Mr. Elliott said that they had only one room really for the Library and it was necessary that the room should be as quiet as possible, because it was meant for a Reading Room, and it would not be allowable to have conversation going on there. It was pretty hard for a smoker (so he believed) to remain for three or four hours without a smoke, and they could not smoke in the Reading room because it was open to ladies as well as gentlemen. As the Archdeacon had said, he thought they were reasonably entitled to this extra room, but he did not think, unless the Council were good enough to do it, they would ask them to furnish it for them. To make the Library a success and make the Reading Room more popular it would be necessary to have an extra room to give anyone who so chose an opportunity of retiring to have a quiet smoke, or a game. The Archdeacon said the matter of furnishing the room would not cost a great deal. Mr. Donohoe: All we want is a table and half-a-dozen comfortable chairs. Chairman: This change would not exclude the Catholic Institute members? The Archdeacon: Not at all. Mr Fitzsimons: The committee meetings of the Catholic Institute are held there once a month, and they could not be interfered with. The Archdeacon: That would not be in the way at all. Mr Quinn: there is no doubt but anybody frequenting this Hall who is not a member of the Catholic Institute finds a great want for a room in which a few people could meet and discuss matters from time to time. There is no such place at all for the general public. Mr Fitzsimons: Of course the billiard-room is only for billiards. Mr Quinn: Yes, and an outsider walking in there has no place to spend an hour. Mr Foynes agreed with the Archdeacon’s suggestion to appoint a committee, and on the Chairman’s motion Messrs Fitzsimons, Quinn, and Foynes were delegated to inquire into and report on the matter. Having thanked the Council, the deputation then withdrew.


Page no. : 5 Column: a Edition: 1 Date: 05/08/1905

Heading: Library Services

The Rural Libraries

Some short time ago we referred in our columns to the establishment of rural libraries throughout Ireland. To insist in the intellectual, moral, and indirectly, economic advantages which the establishment of these libraries would be bound to bring about would be like flaying a dead horse. A good deal of times has now passed since the Libraries Association issued its Memorandum outlining schemes for the libraries, but since then we have not heard any of the rural public bodies doing anything anywhere in connection with the matter. Everywhere we read thundering eloquence on the state of the village pump and the pollution of the village well-on which, by the way, a goodly sum of money is spent. The men on the rural public Boards are, of course right in securing a pure supply of water for the people. But they might also turn their attention with advantage to the pollution of their constituents in an intellectual sense by the poisonous literature that is in the present day being consumed in every village in Ireland with disastrous results to the intellectual, moral, and very often the physical well-being of the inhabitants. It would be a progressive and a hopeful sign of the times if some men would stand up in the public boards and move the closing up of these stagnant wells and the establishment of pure ones, where the people could drink of the freshening and bracing waters of a wholesome nature.




Page No. : 5 Column: e Edition : 1 Date : 23/09/1905
Heading: Library-Naas

The reading public of Naas and district will learn with extreme satisfaction that preparations for the opening of the Naas Free Library are fast approaching completion and in a few weeks it is hoped that the splendid institution will be declared formally open.

A comprehensive selection of literary works has been secured, and the rooms have been furnished comfortably and commodiously.

A grant of books of an educational and instructive character has been made by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, and a feature that will be sought by many readers is a complete set of the Kildare Archaeological Journal presented by the Society.

Altogether the Library Committee are indebted to kind benefactors for donations of one hundred and eighteen volumes, and in addition have ordered 322 new volumes, to the value, as stated by Mr. William Staples in his lucid report to the Urban council of about £45. For their untiring and unselfish work in organising the worthy project the committee deserve the gratitude and congratulations of the townspeople.

The opening of the Library will be no longer delayed that is absolutely necessary and we understand Sir Horace Plunkett will be present at the interesting ceremony.






Page No.: 8 Column: b Edition: 1 Date: 23/09/1905

Heading: Urban District Council-Naas

The following was read: "since the appointment of the Committee the necessary furniture, consisting of 12 arm and 18 ordinary chairs and 5 tables have been purchased and paid for by the Council; bookshelves, to hold several thousand volumes have been erected, at a cost of £18 5s.; incandescent burners have been substituted for the old ones, at a cost of £1 11s. 2d. A subsequent alteration of the enclosure for books was found to be necessary, and is now being carried out. A grant has been made of books of an educational and instructive character to the value of £5 by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. The Council of the Kildare Archaeological Society has presented a complete set of the Kildare Archaeological Journal. The Committee have received, in addition, donations of 118 volumes, and have ordered new books, 322 volumes to the value of £45. This will leave in the library upwards of 500 volumes of good literature. Being anxious to open the public library in the beginning of October the Committee would be glad of an answer to the request of the deputation which waited upon them on 28th June last as to the use of the upper room in connection with the library, and wish to know if the Council have made arrangements to get the lantern light in the reading room completed according to Mr. Inglis’s specification. Rain and dust at present blow in, which would practically render the room unusable, and daylight can be seen through the woodwork of the roof. The skirting in reading room is incomplete, and there is also a slight leakage in the valley next the assembly room. The Committee hope that the urban Council will immediately take steps to remedy these defects, and that they will get the plaster work repaired and the rooms properly coloured.

-signed on behalf of the Committee.




Page No. : 6 Column: e Edition: 1 Date:14/10/1905

Heading: Agricultural Committee-Kildare Co.

Books for the Library

The Department wrote stating that a grant of books has been made by the Department to the Naas Library Committee and requesting that the instructors in the county be informed that useful books of reference are available in the library.


Page No.: 8 Column: b Edition: 3 Date: 21/10/1905

Heading: Free Library Committee-Naas

A meeting of the Committee of above was held on Friday, 13th inst. in the library, Town Hall, Naas. Mr. William Staples, chairman, presided, and other members present were:- Rev. Wm. Elliott, M.A., Messrs. S.J. Brown, J.P.; J.Whiteside Dane, D.L., and William. Quinn.

The following were appointed a committee to take charge of the arrangements for opening of the library:- Messrs. S. J. Brown, J. Whiteside Dane, Wm. Quinn, and the Chairman of the Committee, to meet as occasion would require.

The following resolution, proposed by Mr. J. Whiteside Dane, and seconded by Mr. Quinn was unanimously adopted:- "That the best thanks of the Committee of the Naas Free Library are due, and are hereby tendered to the Kildare Archaeological Society for their gift of a complete set of the Kildare Archaeological Journal".

The following resolution, proposed by Mr. J. Whiteside Dane, and seconded by the Rev. Wm. Elliott, was also unanimously passed:- "That as the Naas Free Library is about to be opened, that the Secretary be instructed to write and ask Mr. Carnegie, who so generously subscribed to the Library, to be so good as to present a large photograph with his autograph to be hung in the library.

The question of opening the Library was discussed by the Committee, the following letter addressed to Mr. S. J. Brown having been read:- "Palmerstown, Straffan, 9th October, 1905. Dear Mr. Brown,- I shall be most happy to open the Free Library at Naas, and feel honoured at being asked to do so. Saturday 28th, would suit me best if it would suit you and your Committee. Yours truely, Mayo.

The Committee considered that although the date suggested would suit them, that it would not suit the general public whom the Committee would wish to see in large numbers at the opening, and directed the Secretary to write Lord Mayo pointing out this fact, and asking him to fix another date, say 27th.

The following reply has been received from Lord Mayo:- "Palmerstown, Straffan, October 15th,1905. Sir,-Yours of October 14th received. I am not quite certain of I shall be in Ireland on 27th and therefore of your Committee would allow me to fix Wednesday, November 1st, for opening the Library I would feel very much obliged. Yours truely, Mayo.

The Committee having charge of the opening arrangements have agreed to this date and accordingly the Library will be open to the public on November 1st 1905.

It was also decided that tea and light refreshments be provided at the expense of the Committee on the day of opening.




Page No.: 8 Column: a Edition: 1 Date: 04/11/1905

Heading: Free Library-Naas

Naas Free Library

Opened by the Earl of Mayo

Large and Representative Attendance

Speeches by Mr. Wm Staples, U.D.C., Lord Mayo, Col. de Burgh, Rev. A. Murphy, C.C.; Rev. Mr. Elliott, Mr. S.J. Brown J.P., etc.

Interesting Proceedings

(From our reporter)

The earnest and sustained work of some years culminated in the opening of Naas Free Library or Wednesday afternoon. The interesting and important ceremony was performed by the Earl of Mayo, under the able presidency of Mr. William Staples, U.D.C., and in presence of a large and thoroughly representative assembly. For the past few weeks elaborate preparations for the impressive event have been in progress, and the Library Committee, of which Mr. Staples is Chairman, devoted themselves with a generous unselfishness to the task of making the occasion worthy of itself and of the old town of Naas. The Library has been organised in the most approved and up-to-date style. When the old Town Hall, to whose eventful and romantic history Lord Mayo referred in his address-when it was being re-modelled from the unsightly old pile it was into the beautiful building which it stands, a credit to the town, today, the Library Committee acquired rooms from the Urban Council, and no trouble or expense has since been spared to make them in every way suitable for the purpose. Shelves capable of holding 8000 volumes have been erected, and the different apartments have been elegantly but usefully furnished. As yet, as Mr. Brown briefly pointed out in his remarks, many of the shelves are empty. Of the eight thousand volumes which can be accommodated, only six hundred have found their places on the shelves, but, no doubt in time, when the great advantages of the institution come to be realised the hiatus will disappear, and the shelves will be laden to the utmost of their capacity with the best of good literature. Even now, when the Library is but in the first few days of its infancy it can boast a splendid variety of reading. The books include such a wide range as works on Antiquities, Amusements, Astronomy, Biography, Biology, Education, Essays, Fiction, Fine Arts, Finance and Free Trade, Geography and Travel, History, Logic, Miscellaneous Writings, Oratory, Poetry, Political Economy, Religion, Satire and Humour, Zoology, and a very good collection of books of reference. Among the 137 volumes which were given in donations may be mentioned a complete set of the County Kildare Archaeological Society’s Journal, which are of immediate interest to the majority of those who will frequent the Library, and from the Department of Agriculture 33 volumes of an instructive class and 27 volumes of useful pamphlet reading. Among the other donors were-Lord Walter Fitzgerald, Rev. Wm. Elliott, M.A., Rev. A. Murphy, C.C., Mr. J. Whiteside Dane, D.L., Mr. S.J. Brown, J.P., Mr. George McDonagh, Mr. David A. Quaid, Colonel Claude Cane, Mr. W. Alexander Craig, Mr. F. J. Bigger, Col. F.W. Wilson, Mr. Denis Donohoe, Mr. D.W. Sime, etc. The Committee themselves purchased 403 volumes at a cost of £57, and as soon as they become acquainted more fully with the tastes of the reading public they propose purchasing a considerable number more, as well as taking in several of the monthly magazines. Thus, it will be seen that a splendid start has been made in a noble cause. The establishment of a Free Library in a town of the size and population of Naas was no easy undertaking, and it required a good deal of courage and perseverance to face. But from the inception of the idea, the project was in very capable hands, and when initial difficulties were brushed aside, the work forged ahead. In response to an appeal by the Committee, a sum of £226 was subscribed by the public, but this, of course, generous though it was, could be expected to go but a very little way towards the starting of a Free Library on any sort of safe or firm footing. Mr James Laurence Carew, whose sterling services to Ireland cannot be forgotten, even by ungrateful and ungenerous critics, was then still with us, and he added one more to the many deep debts of gratitude which the town of Naas owes him and his memory, by obtaining from Mr. Carnegie the munificent contribution of £600 towards the establishment of the Library. Two years later it is handed over, a magnificent gift to the public.

Wednesday evening’s ceremony passed off under the happiest auspices. The concert room of the Town Hall was pressed into the service of the occasion and large and roomy though it is, it was packed to over-flowing. As master of ceremonies, Mr. J. Whiteside Dane was untiring in his attention to the comfort of the visitors and guests, and took care to guard against anything like uncomfortable congestion in the front seats, some rows of which were reserved. Punctual to time, Lord Mayo, accompanied by Mr. Wm. Staples, made his appearance on the platform and was greeted with loud applause. Mr. James Hyland, Chairman of the Urban Council, opened the proceedings by proposing that Mr. Staples, as Chairman of the Library Committee, preside, a proposition which was seconded by the Rev. Father Murphy. Mr. Staples, who was loudly cheered, then took the chair. To his immediate right sat Lord Mayo, and to his Lordship’s right sat Mr. Stephen J. Brown, J.P., Chairman of the Kildare County Council. To the Chairman’s left was Mr. James Hyland. The Proceedings, which were very enthusiastic throughout, lasted over an hour-and-half, and immediately they concluded the visitors were entertained to tea by the Library Committee. Mr. Thos. Lacy has been appointed to the important position of librarian.


Amongst those present or who received invitations were-The Countess of Mayo and party, Rev. Canon Adams, A. Aylmer, Earl and Countess of Clonmel; H.H. and Mrs. Aylmer, J. Whiteside Dane, Stephen J. Brown J.P., and Mrs. Brown, General and Mrs. Weldon, Lady A. Bourke and party, Col. and Mrs St. Leger Moore and party, Mrs. Falkiner, Captain and Mrs. Webb, Miss de Roebeck, Miss Culshawe, Mrs. H. de Burgh, Miss C. de Burgh, Dr. J. Smyth, Dr, Morrissey, Dr. Murphy, Rev. A. Murphy, C.C, Rev. A. Delany, C.C., Rev. Thos Morrin P.P., Archdeacon and Mrs. Torrens, Rev. J.W. Crozier, Major and Mrs Wogan Browne, Major and Mrs. Alexander, Lady Carden, John Sheil O’Grady, J.P.; Colonel W.F. Wilson, Lord Walter Fitzgerald and Ladies Fitzgerald, Lord Frederick Fitzgerald, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, Canon and Misses Sherlock, R.W. Manders and Miss Manders, R. Wells, and Miss Wells, Mr. and Mrs. E. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Sir John Kennedy, Rev. Daniel O’Rourke, Kill, Rev. Wm. Byrne C.C.; Rev. Fr. Norris, the Rector of Clongowes, Colonel Cunningham, Mr. and Mrs. T. M. Good, Captain and Mrs Eyre Massey, Colonel and Mrs. Cooper, officers of R.D.F. Depot; Dr. and Mrs. O’ Donal Browne, Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Murphy, Mr. D. J. and Mrs. Purcell, Colonel and Mrs Philpotts, Mr. and Mrs. Gibson, Mr. and Mrs. Favell, Major Mansfield, Rev. Somerville Save, Rev. the Parish Priest, Caragh; H. Doyle, Mr. Eagleton, T. Lacey, W. Lanphier, F. Mc Quaid, Mr. Odlum, George Sargent, A. A. Shortt, Mr. Syme, T. Thompson, Mrs. Rowell, J. Hendy, M. Penrhyn, G. Wolfe, J. Grehan, Rev. Christian Brothers, Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Victory, P. Cunningham, Sallins Road, Naas, Mr. John Eacret, Sallins Road, Naas, Head Constable Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Crane, Mr. A. Gray, Mr. D. A. Quaid, Editors "Leinster Leader", "Carlow Nationalist", and "Kildare Observer", Mr. O’Callaghan, Mr. King, Mr. Dorrian, Mr. W. Rankin, Mr. O’Hagan, Mr. M. Salmon, Mr. John Salmon, Mr. Barton, Rev. L. Fletcher, Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Farrell, Mr. James and Mrs. Farrell, Mr. John F. and Mrs Rattray, Mr. J. Comerford, Miss M’Evoy, Mr. and Mrs L. Hayden, Mr. and Mrs. Mc Cormack, members of Catholic Institute, Naas, the Sergeants Mess R. D. F.; Mr. Ring, Mr. and Mrs. T. O’Neill, Mr. and Mrs. P. Power, Misses Bermingham, Misses Dowling, Mr. and Mrs. Flanagan, Mr. and Mrs T. Wilson, Mrs. Grehan, Mr. J.J. Conway, Mr. M. Fitzsimons, Mr. and Mrs. Langan, Mr. T. Kilmurry, Mrs. Watson, Mr. and Mrs. R. Sargent, Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan, Mr. and Mrs M’Crohan, Mr. and Mrs. Gogarty, Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill, Mr. and Mrs. Foynes, Mrs. Cantrell, Miss Clinch, Mr. and Mrs T. Mc Dermott, Mr. and Mrs. Butterfield, Sergeant Boyle and Mrs. Boyle, Sergeant and Mrs M’Kee, Sergeant Walsh, the men, R. I. C. Naas, Sergeant Major and Mrs. Brumby, Sergeant Major and Mrs French, Captain and Mrs. Matthews, Mr. England, Mr. H. Hyde, Mr. Agnew, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Hanna, Mr. John Shiel, Mr. Wade, Mr. and Mrs. Hall, Mr. J. and Miss Tracy, Mr. and Mrs. Doyle, stationmaster, Mr. and Mrs. O’Connor, Sallins, Mr. and Mrs Plant, Mr. and Mrs D. Patterson, Mr. and Mrs. Young, District Nurse, Major and Mrs Pilson, and Mrs J. Dowling, Mr. Tarles, Mr. and Mrs. T. O’Brien, Mr. and Mrs Mathews, Dublin Road, Mr. and Mrs. Tyndall, Miss Byrne, John Carroll, Rev.E. W. Clover, Mr. Croker, etc.

The Public Proceedings

Mr. James Hyland, C.U.D.C., said I beg to propose that Mr. Wm. Staples, chairman of the Library Committee, take the Chair.

Rev. Fr. Murphy: I have much pleasure in seconding that proposition.

Chairman’s Speech

Mr. Staples then took the chair. He was received with loud and continued applause when he rose to open the proceedings. He said: My Lord and rev. gentlemen, and ladies and gentlemen, my first duty this evening is to thank you for the honour you have been pleased to confer upon me in asking me to take the chair on this important occasion. This is, indeed an occasion to be remembered in the civic history of our town. Such an event does not often occur in provincial circles, and I think it is the first of its kind in Naas. However highly I appreciate the compliment which you have paid me in asking me to preside here this evening, I think I would be badly repaying your great kindness were I to stand for any length of time between you and the speakers who are to follow. Therefore I will not trespass on your time, and my remarks must be as brief as possible in order that you may have, the sooner, an opportunity of hearing the Earl of Mayo, who has so kindly responded to the invitation of the Library Committee to address you this evening, and declare your library formally open (applause). As you are aware, the library will just now be opened by his Lordship is a free library, and as such is open to those of the public who wish avail themselves of reading within its walls, free of charge, while a small charge is made to people who wish to borrow books to read elsewhere than in the building. The charge is the very moderate one of one penny per week, and is made so that the library may be kept stocked with all the latest literature, and for the general purposes of keeping the books in repair. The rules governing the library have been carefully framed by the Committee to safeguard the books and other property in the institution, and I am sure they will be observed by the reading public. It is the earnest desire of the Committee to cater in every possible way for the tastes of the public, and make them as comfortable as lies in their power (applause). The Library is well stocked with books, there being on the shelves within reach of everybody six hundred volumes of good and wholesome literature. The project of a free library for Naas has been thought of for some years. It assumed a tangible form about two years ago, when a Committee was formed to further the project, and a circular was issued to the public asking their co-operation, and soliciting subscriptions. Mainly through the exertions of Mr. Brown, we received a contribution from the rates, but it was necessarily a small allowance, and left us nearly in as bad a position as before. The subscription of £226 from the public was still inadequate to start with, and we appealed to Mr. Carnegie for a grant. Subsequently, through the instrumentality of the late lamented Mr. Carew, we received a gift of £600 from Mr. Carnegie (applause). We then went to work again, and when the old Town Hall was being remodelled we succeeded in acquiring suitable rooms, and stocking them with books, which I am sure you will thoroughly appreciate when you visit the library-a library which I think you will agree is one of the best equipped and most up-to-date in Ireland (loud applause). I will not now detain you further than to introduce to you a nobleman well and favourably known to each and everyone of you –a gentleman who requires no words of introduction to a Naas audience-his Lordship the Earl of Mayo, who will now address you and declare the Naas Free Library open to the public (loud cheers).

The Earl of Mayo

Lord Mayo, who on coming forward was received with loud applause, said: Ladies and gentlemen, and especially those ladies and gentlemen who are citizens of the town of Naas, I beg to say that I am extremely honoured by being invited here today on the occasion of the opening of the free library. It is a delicate compliment that has been paid me, because for many years my family, of which I am the head, has been associated with the town of Naas (applause). They have been associated with it since the year 1770, when one Theobald Burke was the Sovereign of Naas.

I see by the county paper that I am put down to deliver a lecture today. I have no intention of lecturing anyone, much less of lecturing such a distinguished audience as I see before me, although I have no doubt that such a discourse might be made interesting by means of dissolving views from a magic lantern depicting such scenes as the studious corner-boy at the free library at Naas (laughter); or the Urban Council deliberating for the design of the panel fronts which you see as you drive into Naas (laughter); or even Mr. Carnegie in his own library. We have to thank Mr. Carnegie for a gift of £600, which was obtained mainly owing to the instrumentality and help of the late Mr. Carew, who had the best interests of the town at heart (applause). We also have to thank the subscribers who in response to a circular that was sent out sent in a sum which amounted to £226. Our Town Hall has been practically rebuilt, and it sadly wanted re-building, for it was an ancient and musty place (laughter). In the olden times part of it was called the "White Castle", or the "Old Castle," but little is known of it before 1776 to 1792. All we know of it at that time was that it was a jail of some sort, and it was called the "White Castle," and it continued to be a prison until the year 1883, when the present jail, now no longer used was built. We stand where once stood a glum old castle and a jail for unhappy prisoners. But all is now changed, and has been so for a great many years. This Town Hall, once containing dungeons, has been the scene of many merry gatherings-dances, theatricals, and concerts- and several generations of foxhunters here tripped the light fantastic toe at the hunt balls (applause). In fact, this historic old Town Hall has been the scene of a great deal of our county social life (loud applause). Notwithstanding this, the premises were not adequate. The Urban Council took the matter in hand, and you now see the result of their efforts. I think we may be proud of the accommodation of the Town Hall of Naas, and in coming through Naas one is struck with the front-or to be artistically correct-the facade of the new building. I must say that the artist must have had a lively imagination-(laughter)-when he planned that elegant front. But it is unbecoming of me as a country gentleman to criticise what, I am sure, pleases Naas, and if Naas is satisfied that is all that is required. In saying this, I am quite forgetting about the free library, so I must go back to that. Two apartments are set apart for the library-one for the storage of books (the Librarian’s room), and the other for a reading-room. The Committee have asked the Urban Council to provide another room on the second floor, and it is hoped that their request will be granted. Book shelves are provided capable of holding 8,000 volumes and the Committee are spending £14 in furniture, £10 in book shelves, £2 for incandescent light, and changes and fixtures about £5. You will see that matters have gone forward, and that the public comfort is being looked after. There are now in the library 600 volumes of good literature, which include every kind of subject. The Committee have received in donations 137 volumes from the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, and also 27 volumes of a pamphlet class. I consider these most useful additions to the library, as they deal with everything connected with agriculture, cottage industries, and dairy work. The Committee have purchased besides 403 volumes at a cost of £57 odd, and they hope shortly to purchase a great many more, when they know better the taste of the reading public. They also intend in taking several of the monthly magazines. I am sure you will agree with me that the library makes a very good start. I hope I may not be considered pedantic in drawing attention to the fact that public libraries have existed from ancient times. We must not imagine with our boasted civilisation that these institutions are modern luxuries. Thousands of years ago in ancient Babylonia there were public libraries; the books were tablets of sun-baked bricks, and it is from these tablets, which are now in the British Museum, that we learn almost every phase of private, social life of that most ancient Empire. I am speaking of the time fully 2,000 years before Christ. There were libraries in ancient Rome and ancient Egypt before the Christian era dawned upon the world. You will understand the use of public libraries, not only are they the records of our social life, history and country, but they are the means of educating the many who cannot afford to have libraries of their own. I am not one of those who believe in the trite saying that free libraries, workingmen’s clubs, reading rooms etc., prevent people from drink, or prevent people from going to the public house. If a man wants to go to the public house he will do so, and if he wants to get drunk he generally does get drunk. But I say this, that in a free library a man can read that when he is drunk he is a beast, and makes a beast of himself, and that drink ruins his health (applause). Nor do I agree with those who are narrow-minded enough to think that the sporting and betting news should be left out of the daily papers. I have seen such suggestions made in some papers on the other side of the water. I think that it is ridiculous. A man should be allowed in a free library to read his paper in peace and as it is published. Perhaps my ideas on the subject may be rather broad, but I think it is better, in a question of education to take a broad view. Reading in a public library is an education in itself, and even reading a novel is better than loafing about and doing nothing at all. I am one of those who believe that it is in education that we will see the amelioration of that great social evil which is not only common to this country but to England and Scotland-I mean the drink question. I think that when education spreads people will begin to understand that excessive drinking is bad for themselves, is bad for their health, and bad for the race to which they belong (loud applause). I am a great believer in these free libraries where everybody can walk in, read a book comfortably; and there is no doubt that this helps in some way to keep a man away from certain temptations, which you all know exist outside. And now, ladies and gentlemen, let me say a word or two as regards the librarian. The librarian can and ought to be a help to those who come to read at any library. He can suggest books that will assist in the study of any particular subject; he should be able to tell what books to read through, and what only to glance at and he can encourage those who go there to go on with their studies, once begun. It is remarkable, but I have experienced it myself, what reliance is placed by readers on a sympathetic and interesting librarian. He becomes respected and looked up to, and readers feel that he is more than an animated catalogue of his library-that he is a bookman, one whose profession is the study of books. As to the readers, they should take care of the books when they go to the library, and not dirty them, or not turn down the leaves, making "dogs’ ears." The volumes will be wanted again, and there is nothing so disgusting as reading a soiled or dirty book. Books are like old friends, and we should treat them with respect and consideration. We like to sit down and chat with old friends. We should do the same when we read in instructive book. I have not very much more to say to you. I must congratulate the Committee of the Urban Council upon the very smart, clean premises that the citizens of Naas will now enjoy, and I believe that we have now to adjourn to the free library to have it declared open. I have to thank you all for having listened so kindly to what I had to say. I do not think I should keep you any longer as I believe tea is waiting, and I am sure a great many of the ladies would enjoy a dish of tea (applause and laughter).

Colonel de Burgh

Col. De Burgh, who was received with applause, said-Mr. Chairman, my lord, ladies and gentlemen, I have been asked-and I do it with great pleasure-to propose a vote of thanks to Lord Mayo for his very interesting lecture this evening. You have heard the history-the genesis-of this free library, and of the buildings in which it is situate; and I beg to associate myself in praise and in thanks to the Council which has afforded us the pleasure of having such splendid rooms in which to meet for this purpose (hear, hear). It is all very well to have rooms, and to have a place to read in free, but, after all the main object of a public library is to have properly-filled shelves. Without them, it is of very little use as a public library. We have got to ask ourselves what is the main object of a free library? I think it is to try and get people to think, to try and teach young people how work has been done; how others have worked and succeeded-how they can work can succeed themselves (hear, hear); and without waiting for either sympathy or for help to square their shoulders to the work within their reach, and to do the best that is in them at that work, no matter how small. The task of making out a catalogue for a new library is one to be performed by but a few men-as hard a task as can be put a man with his mind trained to a particular subject. Every librarian is a man whose mind is inclined to a particular groove, who has been very highly educated, and it is almost useless for persons quite untrained to aspire to be able to make out a list of books which would really suit different religions and different persons, who make use of the free library-not only a library in the selection of books, but, remember, they are not only to teach people to think, but they must teach them to think broadly-to give a larger scope and a larger range to their thoughts than their immediate surroundings or their immediate wants and wishes. Properly selected books will make a man more usefully independent-make him a more useful citizen of a town or a country-will make him give his whole range of thoughts to others much more than to himself and will induce him to give up the blind fallacy of custom and of people, whose only advantage, perhaps, is that they are the loudest speakers, the most consistent speakers, or the last speakers. You must teach people to think independently, and work for themselves. When all the shelves in a public library devoted to religion and politics have been filled there are many still that have been left unfilled. The most important of those are history and geography. When I say history I mean more or less true history. The history geography teaches-how very small we are-how very useless it is to try to force the world to follow us. It teaches us, at the same time what a power is a small, widely read community over larger communities in this world. It teaches us how within the last ten years our condition has improved –how very much more largely it has improved within the last hundred years; and at the same time it teaches us how very little we would have to teach those who were before us forty or fifty centuries in very ordinary matters which concern our most vital interests (applause). Then there are shelves devoted to arts and science-those innumerable topics without which a man can be successful from a worldly point of view, but without which there would be very little refinement or beauty in our lives. There are, also, shelves dedicated to fiction, and I think there is one thing wanted in Ireland at the present day-that is, some books that will make people laugh, because if there is one thing that strikes one in Ireland today it is the want of amusement, which is apparent to any person who goes through the country (applause). I said to a man one day-an old car-driver-"I have not heard a man laugh and I have not seen a dance at the crossroads those many years," and he said, "Oh, no sir, the people are thinking of their wrongs" (laughter). Surely to goodness wrongs could not be righted by brooding over them. I beg, Mr. Chairman, to wish every success to the Naas Free Library, and to its promoters. We owe a good deal to our local Councils. Within the last few years they have done wonders in this county. They have done what nobody in ’98 expected our Councils would do-more broad-minded than it was ever expected they could possibly be. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude. In this county the local bodies have raised themselves to the very top in Ireland as regards the proper management of their affairs (applause). I beg to propose a vote of thanks to Lord Mayo for his attendance here this evening (cheers).

Father Murphy

The Rev. Father Murphy, C. C., who was also loudly applauded on coming forward said:- As a member of the Library Committee I have been allotted the task of seconding Col. De Burgh’s proposal with reference to Lord Mayo, for the very interesting and very practical lecture he has given at the opening of the public library at Naas. So much has been said by Lord Mayo and Colonel de Burgh on the importance of the free library which has been opened today that there is nothing left for me to remark. I shall only add that the Library Committee have taken great pains to provide interesting books. As yet the library as far as books are concerned is more or less in its infancy, and we earnestly invite the public who have books to spare to send in a list of the books which they can give to library, and submit a list to the Library Committee and we shall be very pleased to make a selection. That is a wise regulation of the Library Committee requiring a submission of the books, in order that we should not allow any book on the library shelves which might in any way offend the susceptibilities of any one coming to use the free library. I earnestly wish success to the free library of Naas, and pray that the people may reap rich advantages from its use.


Colonel de Burgh’s resolution was then put to the meeting and carried unanimously. Lord Mayo, in replying to the vote of thanks said that he was very much obliged indeed for the kind vote of thanks which had been passed to him. Both the proposer and seconder had insisted upon putting him down as having delivered a lecture, so he supposed it should remain a lecture (laughter). He regretted to say that these dissolving views were absent (laughter). He was sure it would be much more interesting to have a magic lantern, with the lecturer a big pole explaining everything with a sort of disquisition on Babylonian tablets, and what the librarian ought to do. He thought they had showed their thanks in a very practical way to the free library, and they should send in a list of books which they could present to the library. He again thanked them very much for the vote of thanks (applause).

Vote of thanks to the Chairman

On the proposition of Mr. J. Whiteside Dane, seconded by Mr. Wm. Quinn, U.D.C. the chair was now vacated by Mr. Staples and taken by Mr. Stephen J. Brown, J. P.

Mr. James Hyland, in proposing a vote of thanks to the Chairman, said a very pleasing duty devolved upon him on that auspicious occasion. It was not for him to reiterate the goodness of their Chairman, but when work and money were wanted Mr. Staples was the mainstay of the Committee in connection with the library up to the present and he hoped that in the future he might be spared many a long day to act as he had done in the past (applause).

Rev. Mr. Elliott

The Rev. Mr. Elliott, M.A., who was well received, said that he had very great pleasure in seconding the vote of thanks, and he did so for many reasons. Mr. Staples had had a very easy task that evening compared with his duties during the past few months. Mr. Staples had presided most regularly at their Committee meetings, and he (the speaker) was there to testify that he was an ideal chairman. When the audience remembered the composition of the Committee, perhaps they would agree with him. They had three methodical and business-like parsons who could do a great deal of talking, but did little work; then they had the patient persistent lawyer who was always keeping them to the point; they had the exceedingly tactful and active-minded member who was always for doing things in the best possible way; and then last but not least they had the guardian of the Urban Council’s purse. Under Mr. Staples’ ideal chairmanship they had done their work and done it well. Mr. Staples, as chairman, had kept them well in order. In seconding the resolution he did so with one regret. He was sure they were very sorry that one gentleman was not with them that afternoon-he referred to the Archdeacon of Kildare (hear, hear and applause). He had attended their various meetings and he had taken the deepest possible interest in the library, and he was sure he regretted not being with them that evening. He had great pleasure in seconding the vote of thanks to the Chairman.

Mr. Brown, in putting the vote of thanks said: My Lord, ladies and gentlemen, the fact that I am in the position in which I stand this evening is merely due to the modesty of the Chairman, who is not supposed to remain in the chair while a vote of thanks is being proposed to him; and my duty this evening will be very short, indeed. I have only to say that I thoroughly agree with everything that has been said with regard to the Chairman and the part which he has taken in the establishment of this library, and in the renovation of this building which so recently was nothing short of a reproach to the town of Naas, and which is now a source of pride and pleasure to everyone of its inhabitants (cheers). It was during the period that Mr. Staples was chairman of the Urban Council that the project of renovating this building was conceived and carried into effect, and, therefore, I think he deserves the best thanks of everyone in this room, and the people of Naas (hear, hear). Before I formally put the resolution, I will just ask you to remember that as yet the library consists of only 620 volumes, and that there are shelves upstairs which are capable of containing just 7,200 more (laughter), and that any assistance which may be given towards a repletion of those shelves will be very gratefully received. I now put the resolution which has been proposed by Mr. Hyland and seconded by Mr. Elliott.

The vote of thanks was carried with acclamation.

Mr. Staples, in reply, said he did not see what thanks were due to anyone for doing what he considered best for the general public, and it was his aim always to assist in the advancement of the public of Naas, where he lived (cheers). He thanked them cordially for the manner in which they received the vote of thanks.

Lord Mayo, at the conclusion of the speeches declared the free library formally open, and from that time forward it would be open to all from 7 to 10 in the evening for general readers and on two days in the week-Wednesdays and Saturdays-in the morning for the loan of books. This concluded the proceedings.







Page no.: 5 Column: c Edition: 1 Date: 25/11/1905

Heading: Free Library-Naas

A meeting of the Committee of the above was held on Friday, 17th inst. Mr. William Staples, chairman, presided, the other members present being; Rev. Wm. Elliott, M.A., Rev. A. Murphy, C.C., Messrs. S.J. Brown, J.P.; and William Quinn.

The Secretary reported that since the opening of the library on the 1st just there had been issued to outside borrowers 111 books, and he had issued 71 reader’s tickets which brought in subscriptions to the amount of £2 12s, 4d.; that there were 71 books out of the library, and that the average number who availed themselves of the library for reading was 20. He also reported that the efforts of the Committee were appreciated by the general public in their choice of the literature which they had procured and selected with such great care, and added that a suggestion book be provided for the library. The Committee approved of the report and ordered that the suggestion book (which had been previously recommended by the Committee) be procured.

A letter dated 1st November was read from the Countess of Mayo enclosing cheque value £5 for purchase of books for library, and on the motion of Rev. Wm. Elliott, seconded by Mr. S. J. Brown the following resolution was unanimously passed: "That the best thanks of the Free Library Committee be given to the Countess of Mayo for her kind donation of £5 towards purchasing books.

A letter dated 7th November was read from the Rev. Canon Sherlock, enclosing list of books for presentation to the library, and on the motion of Mr. S. J. Brown, seconded by Mr. Quinn, the following motion was unanimously passed: "That the best thanks of the Free Library Committee be given to Canon Sherlock for his gift of valuable books to the library."

The following resolution proposed by Rev. A. Murphy, seconded by Mr. S. J. Brown was unanimously passed: " That we gratefully accept the kind offer of Mr. Elliott to repeat in the Town Hall his lecture and notes of a campaign tour through Palestine, the proceeds to be devoted to the upkeep of the free library. It was decided that the meetings of the Committee be held in future on the first Friday of each month, at 2.30 p.m. Other routine business having been transacted, the meeting adjourned to 1st December.



Page No.: 8 Column: f Edition: 1 Date: 16/12/1095

Heading: Elliott M.A., Rev. Wm.

Naas Free Library-Lecture by The Rev. Wm. Elliott

"A camping tour through Palestine"

(From our Reporter)

On Friday evening the Rev. Wm. Elliott M.A., delivered an interesting lecture, on a recent trip to the Holy Land, in the Town Hall, Naas, in aid of the Naas Free Library. The attendance in the high-priced parts of the house was all that could be desired, and the audience seemed to appreciate the treat which the lecturer had prepared for them. The lantern views of the different scenes were most interesting and, coupled with the vividness of the lecture, helped to make up an entirely successful intellectual treat. Mr. William Staples U.D.C. Chairman of the Library Committee was moved to the chair. On rising to introduce the lecturer he said that the Rev. Mr. Elliott had always taken an interest in the Free Library project or any movement having for its object the improvement of the town. It would be well indeed for Naas if there were in it many more gentlemen of the same public spirit as Mr. Elliott (hear. hear ). He (Chairman) was sure that they would all enjoy the lecture which Mr. Elliott was about to deliver (applause).

The Rev. Mr. Elliott, with the assistance of a large map of Palestine showing the routes and principal places visited, proceeded to outline his departure from Dublin to Holyhead and Paris, and from thence to Egypt. He humorously described the incidents of the passage, and the arrival of Cook’s tourist party, to which he was attached, in Cairo, where they visited the many places of note. He commented on the ease with which an English Speaker could find his way about the city and surroundings, due to the almost universal use of the language. The party had the pleasure of a trip to the Pyramids and Sphinx, and also went up the Nile and inspected the battlefield of Tel-el-Kebir, being shown over it by an English Colonel, who was in the party. The voyage through the Mediterranean on the way to Jaffa, the principal port in Palestine was then described. In vivid language he described the perils of the landing, and said the question the party were asking themselves was whether they would be able to land at all. However Cook’s boats came out and brought them ashore. The lecturer then described the journey to Jerusalem, and brought his audience on the route to Damascas, from whence the party made their way to Beyrout and via Constantinople to Athens, Rome, and Paris home. During the interval Miss Matthew’s fine contralto voice was heard to great advantage in "The Star of Bethlehem." Subsequently, at the conclusion of the lantern exhibition she rendered "The Holy City." In both pieces, which were very appropriate, the singer was accompanied by Miss Gray.

The lantern slides, particularly those made from photographs taken by the lecturer were high-class, and the delineation was remarkably clear, having regard to the necessarily hurried manner in which the preparations were made. Almost every place mentioned in connection with the Saviour’s life on earth was portrayed, and many landmarks of the Old Testament were brought vividly before the audience, who listened with attention to the lecturer’s description of each sacred and historic spot as it was illustrated on the screen. The pictures shown of Jerusalem, particularly those of the Via Dolorosa (the sorrowful way), Pilate’s house, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre were very much appreciated. In connection with the last named the lecturer pointed out that the Latins, Armenians, Greeks, etc. worshipped in the building, and there was always a guard of Turkish soldiers mounted there to prevent them from fighting with one another. It would not be fair to the lecturer to go into details because his services are bound to be enlisted again in the cause of philanthropy and charity. He performed his task ably and thoroughly, and one would wish that he made his lecture longer.

A hearty vote of thanks was unanimously passed to the lecturer, on the motion of Mr. S. J. Brown, J.P., after which the proceedings concluded.





Page No.: 8 Column: b Edition: 1 Date: 23/09/1905

Heading: Urban District Council-Naas

The following was read: "since the appointment of the Committee the necessary furniture, consisting of 12 arm and 18 ordinary chairs and 5 tables have been purchased and paid for by the Council; bookshelves, to hold several thousand volumes have been erected, at a cost of £18 5s.; incandescent burners have been substituted for the old ones, at a cost of £1 11s. 2d. A subsequent alteration of the enclosure for books was found to be necessary, and is now being carried out. A grant has been made of books of an educational and instructive character to the value of £5 by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. The Council of the Kildare Archaeological Society has presented a complete set of the Kildare Archaeological Journal. The Committee have received, in addition, donations of 118 volumes, and have ordered new books, 322 volumes to the value of £45. This will leave in the library upwards of 500 volumes of good literature. Being anxious to open the public library in the beginning of October the Committee would be glad of an answer to the request of the deputation which waited upon them on 28th June last as to the use of the upper room in connection with the library, and wish to know if the Council have made arrangements to get the lantern light in the reading room completed according to Mr. Inglis’s specification. Rain and dust at present blow in, which would practically render the room unusable, and daylight can be seen through the woodwork of the roof. The skirting in reading room is incomplete, and there is also a slight leakage in the valley next the assembly room. The Committee hope that the urban Council will immediately take steps to remedy these defects, and that they will get the plaster work repaired and the rooms properly coloured.

-signed on behalf of the Committee.



 [compiled by Mario Corrigan; Typed and edited by Niamh McCabe; Final editing - Dee O'Brien]

To celebrate the launch of  kildare Co. library and Arts Service Online History Journal - www.kildare.ie/ehistory  - articles from the Leinster Leader newspaper on 101 Years of Library Service in Naas Co. Kildare

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