Stories within Stories

I am currently listening to John Banville’s award-winning novel, The Sea, on CD. I borrowed it from the library in Lismore ~ a town at the other end of Co. Waterford from Tramore. The library system is brilliant in Co. Waterford now as the one library card allows one to borrow from any of the libraries in Waterford City and County. (This is because of changes in local administration a few years ago.)

When I’m travelling around Co. Waterford now, I always make sure that I have my library card with me and have taken to paying visits to the various libraries in different towns I happen to be in.

The library in Lismore is a beautiful building:

Lismore Library, Co. Waterford.
Lismore Library, Co. Waterford.

It was one of the many libraries in Ireland which was funded by philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.

Plaque on Wall by Lismore Library, Co. Waterford
Plaque on Wall by Lismore Library, Co. Waterford

I’ve been reading more and more about Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) since I was in Lismore Library and am absolutely fascinated by his life and the fact that there are probably readers of this blog from across the globe who are also fortunate enough to be users of a Carnegie Library.

Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland, the son of a weaver. He emigrated with his family to America when he was 13, and went on to be a self-made steel tycoon ( not without issues arising over worker’s pay.)

In 1901, Carnegie sold his steel company for $200 million ~which seems like an enormous sum for that time. He got involved in philanthropy and had a special interest in funding libraries~ approximately 2,800 were funded by him in America, Britain and Ireland.

I was thrilled when I found John Banville’s, The Sea, in the library in Lismore as I’d been on the look out for it for a while. Lismore is one of Waterford’s inland towns ( a heritage town) and it felt right that The Sea should be there waiting for me.  The novel itself is very much a story within a story and I don’t want it to end as I love the masterful use of language within it and the fact that it makes me feel so connected to library users who have benefitted from Andrew Carnegie’s donations. (Where I get books matters a lot to me! I don’t know if other people feel like that about them?)

I’ve been a library person since I was a kid hooked on Enid Blyton’s Famous Fives and Secret Sevens. I suspect I’ve used other Carnegie Libraries in my time but didn’t realise it.

I’d love to hear about your library especially if it has a connection to Andrew Carnegie, or indeed if you have been in any other buildings associated with him.