Portrait of a Library

Each book with its personal history, documented by the date stamps in the inside cover, representing a new reader with every new date. Sometimes a clue about previous readers would be left in the form of a bookmark; a receipt from a supermarket, a postcard from a sunny location, or a scrap of paper torn from a notebook. recent discoveries of routing slips, suggested books ordered from other library branches and considering the motivations of the people who sought these specific titles.

During July 2010, I approached the public library in Dalkey, Co. Dublin with the intention of beginning a photographic art project. I visited the library a number of times to document its contents while it was closed for cleaning on tuesday and thursday mornings. My visits began in August when I started the work of photographing the books and other aspects of the library space. Across several visits I made over a thousand photographs.

The resulting images have become a series of photomontage grids, diptychs and single image photographs of book details and the library interior. The collection of photographs contained in the ‘Portrait of a Library’ project documents the contents of a library. it’s history of borrowing is marked by their beautiful worn book covers, broken spines, creased pages and intriguing date stamps.

The new Dun Laoghaire Rathdown library borrower card features images from the Portrait of a Library series.

With thanks to Dalkey Library branch and Dlr Libraries