Glucksman Library: Recording the Past and Future
The Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick (UL) is a leading library facility in Ireland, filled with 360,000 books as well as special collections and IT facilities. Opened in 1998 and named after the renowned philanthropists Lewis L. and Loretta Brennan Glucksman, the special collections feature many intriguing items.
One of these is a collection of books, plays and magazines relating to much-loved Irish poet and playwright W.B. Yeats. One of the finest Yeats collections in the country, it was donated to the library by Professor Michael Gilsenan of New York University.
A Yeats book published in 1921, Four Plays for Dancers, is held within the National Dance Archive of Ireland, also located on-site. The first of its kind in Ireland, the archive collects, preserves, digitises and catalogues dance resources, encapsulating a range of styles such as traditional, social, contemporary, ballet, urban and world dance.
A collection of over 500 letters written by renowned Limerick-born novelist and playwright Kate O’Brien are part of the library's larger literary archive relating to the writer.
Delving further into the past, the family papers of the Knights of Glin, also known as the FitzGerald family, are held here. The family's hereditary title dates back to the 14th century and contains within it a fascinating and varied history.
For enthusiasts of numismatics (to the uninitiated, that's collecting currency), the library stores the Eoin O'Kelly banknote collection. This is made up of examples of money from a time when Ireland had many small, private banks in the early 18th century.
A recent oral history project captured 140 distinctive voices from Limerick city and county for future reference. The recordings were gathered over the course of fifteen years and are a wonderful resource reflecting the local area and its culture.
The sizeable library building has been significantly expanded in recent years and is a technologically forward-looking resource for the campus population, researchers and the community.
Beyond the walls of the Glucksman Library in UL, for more of what Limerick has planned see the county's Culture and Creativity Plan, which has everything from traditional music to audio art events in the pipeline.