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President donates 700 books across Dublin’s libraries

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The collection includes some from Michael D Higgins’ own personal library accumulated over his term of office.

Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins has donated some 700 books to libraries across Dublin.

The collection includes some from the president’s own personal library accumulated over his term of office.

The books include titles acquired by Mr Higgins for his own personal research, and those presented to him from a wide range of sources on his local, national and international itineraries.

Many of the volumes are personally inscribed by the author or donor, with some of them marking historic events attended by the president.

The collection is diverse and multilingual and consists of an eclectic mix of subject areas, spanning children’s and adults’ material, including fiction and non-fiction, print and audio.

Michael D Higgins donates books to library
President Michael D Higgins meets Maya Andayani and her six-month-old baby at Cabra Library in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

The president visited Cabra Library, where he donated part of the collection on Tuesday.

Speaking at the event, Mr Higgins said: “Books have been very important in my own life, even these days I am surrounded by books and I enjoy it.

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“I think that in relation to child development it’s wonderful to see, particularly now the young parents and fathers as well as mothers introduce reading early on.

“If I had a wish for the children of Ireland into the future they would all have access to reading, to a musical instrument and be able swim and then you have the greatest equipment for life.

“Libraries are so important, they will be used evermore in the future. It’s a valuable part of the public. Books are published to be read.

“It’s very possible to do everything that is modern in a technological sense and at the same time have people who want to speak about books and help people in relation to making choices.”

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Asked which are his favourite books from the collection, he replied: “I have spent a great deal of time (reading) history and biography.

Michael D Higgins donates books to library
Michael D Higgins meets Adrienne Lynch and her daughter Terri (Niall Carson/PA)

“I think the historical and biographical (collection) is where I would have spent most time on.”

Library users will soon be able to access the books across the city’s libraries.

Dublin City librarian Mairead Owens said: “We’re delighted President Higgins has chosen to donate his personal collection to our libraries.

“President Higgins has made education and the promotion of independent critical thought a cornerstone of his presidency, and he has spoken on a number of occasions of the importance of public libraries, and of public spaces.

“He chose to make this donation to Irish libraries because he views libraries as places that help people to nurture their inquisitive natures, and books as windows onto a wide variety of worlds, both real and imagined.

“The collection reflects the president’s status and interests as a linguist, poet, sociologist and former politician.

“A beautifully worded bilingual label has been provided for insertion in each book.”

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