The National Library of Ireland (Irish: Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann) is Ireland's national library located in Dublin, in a building designed by Thomas Newenham Deane. The Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism is the member of the Irish Government responsible for the library.
The mission of the National Library of Ireland is 'To collect, preserve, promote and make accessible the documentary and intellectual record of the life of Ireland and to contribute to the provision of access to the larger universe of recorded knowledge'
The library is a reference library and, as such, does not lend. It has a large quantity of Irish and Irish-related material which can be consulted without charge; this includes books, maps, manuscripts, music, newspapers, periodicals and photographs. Included in their collections is material issued by private as well as government publishers.
The Chief Herald of Ireland and National Photographic Archive are attached to the library. The library holds exhibitions and holds an archive of Irish newspapers. It is also ISSN National Centre for Ireland. The library also provides a number of other services including genealogy.
The main library building is on Kildare Street, adjacent to Leinster House and the archaeology section of the National Museum of Ireland.
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.
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 arrangement remained in place until the library became an autonomous cultural institution in 2005.
After the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1924/5 the Library was transferred to the Department of Education under which it remained until 1986 when it was transferred to the Department of An Taoiseach. In 1927 the Library was granted legal deposit status under the Industrial and Commercial Property (Protection) Act, 1927. In 1992 the Library transferred to the newly established Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (now Arts, Sport and Tourism) and on 3 May 2005 became an autonomous cultural institution under the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997.