Public Libraries Database

Dolphin's Barn

Dublin City Public Libraries’ Finance & Building plan for 2008 included the refurbishment of a branch library to be funded from the Libraries revenue budget. It was thought that a focussed approach to one library would be of long-term benefit to all of the libraries in future improvement programmes. It has been the practice up to now, to replace like for like, meaning the overall look of a library rarely changed and in fact, new furniture/fittings would be absorbed by their surroundings.

It was decided that Dolphin’s Barn was the most suitable candidate for improvement works (see ‘before’ photo).  A scope was decided on based on both the aesthetic and functional requirements. Dolphin’s Barn had been for some time in need of a new floor due to the deterioration over time of the original wood-effect tiles.
Library Details
Local Authority Name Dublin City Public Libraries and Archive
Library Dolphin's Barn
Library Name Dolphin's Barn Branch Library
Date Opened 5 January 1971
Contact Details
Address Parnell Road
County Dublin 12
Telephone + 353 1 4540681
Locality & Services
Type of Service Branch library
Type of Building Renovated purpose-built library
Description of Locality Residential area
Urban Population 20000
Stand Alone Facility Yes
Size & Costs
Number of Floors 1
Size (m2) 474
Cost of Library £350,000
Funding Sources Local Authority, DEHLG
Features & Facilities
Accessibility Accessible parking
Parking 1 accessible parking space
Internet Access 2 terminals
Wi-Fi Yes
Printing Yes
Photocopying Yes
References R.J. Casey, Dolphin's Barn Branch Library. An Leabharlann: the Irish Library. N.S. V.1(2) June 1972, p.34
Architect & Design Team
Architect Name Chief Architect, Civic & Amenities Dept, Dublin Corporation (1971)
County/City Librarian Dublin City Public Libraries and Archive; Dublin City Librarian (2008)
Additional Information

Also in need of attention was the lighting system, which had become unsuitable both from a functional point of view and also aesthetic. Like many other branches of its age, Dolphin’s Barn had a large, unwelcoming counter, built like a fortress around the staff, which too would have to be replaced. Likewise, the shelving, lounge furniture and mismatching desks bought at different times to accommodate new technologies, contributed to the overall dilapidated state of the library. Despite the best efforts of the staff there to display  stock and make the library an exciting and engaging space.

Dublin City Public Libraries engaged the services of a designer who has worked extensively on libraries across the UK to design a new floorplan for the library taking into account the changes detailed above and also to provide  a colour scheme that would brighten up the library. Based on the final design and after a process of tendering for suppliers, the works began with the replacement of the lighting, with the floor following after. The floor was completed over the last bank holiday weekend when the old desk was demolished. New shelving, lounge and study furniture and new desking for PCs and other technologies were also installed over the weekend and following week, along with the new counter.

As you will see in the ‘after’ photo, Dolphin’s Barn has been transformed into a vibrant, colourful and exciting new library. However, with some nice features from the old library remaining, we also have a library that has the character sometimes lacking in the sales catalogues.

For further information please contact Dublin City Public Libraries and Archive Library Authority


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