The Dublin Library Society at 24 D’Olier Street, was a purpose-built design by George Papworth, the son of an English stuccoist. This building was the society’s home until the library closed in 1881.
It was in the society's former premises on Eustace Street that the young Daniel O’Connell studied and served as one of its vice-presidents from 1822 to 1842.
The Dublin Library Society was not a circulating library (commercial ventures which contributed greatly to the spread of reading). The only other serious libraries in the city were Marsh's and Trinity, both of which had limitations either in terms of range or access. There had been several earlier attempts to establish private libraries in Dublin, one as early as 1754. However, these private libraries do not appear to have prospered. (The Linen Hall Library in Belfast is a library which has survived from that era. It was founded by artisans in 1788 and still functions as an important research library.)
- The Dublin Library Society was established in 1791 to meet the needs of the city’s serious readers.
- Membership was one guinea per annum and by 1818 the library had 1,200 members.
- Books were stamped with the society’s seal (a harp surmounted with shamrocks) to reduce thefts.
- The 1820s and 1830s were its most successful period. The library went into decline in the 1840s and was known as the D’Olier Street Club around the time of its closure in 1881.
- The Alliance and Dublin Consumers Gas Company acquired the building and moved in. In the 1930s, the Gas company completely replaced the original flat-fronted Georgian facade with polished granite and black marble. The interior was also radically renovated, resulting in what is now the city’s finest Art Deco building.
- This building is now the Trinity College School of Nursing and Midwifery (since 2001).