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Taobh Tíre: a better library service for rural and isolated communities

Taobh Tíre is an initiative of Donegal County Council that seeks to improve library services to rural and isolated communities across County Donegal.

The Library Service works in partnership with local community groups and other agencies to provide access to books and information services in areas that are too small to sustain a branch library. The project began in December 2002 and 13 Taobh Tíre Centres were established across the County. These centres are usually located in Family Resource Centres, Community Development Projects, Community Co-operatives or other community buildings.

The final report of the project was launched in July 2009 and it states that this type of service delivery is successful and should be adopted by the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government for a national programme. This report can viewed using this link Taobh Tíre Final report

Some Taobh Tíre centres subsequently closed down, but 8 centres remain.


Taobh Tíre and You

Each Taobh Tíre Centre has a small collection of books and one or more computer(s) with access to the Internet. By providing access to the Internet, the Taobh Tíre centre also provides access to the Library’s online catalogue of books, videos, CDs, DVDs and audiobooks. A member of the public can join the library through their local Taobh Tíre centre. They can use the books on site in the Taobh Tíre centre. They can also order items through the library’s online catalogue from any library in the County and have them delivered to their Taobh Tíre centre. As well as access to the library catalogue, the Library Service provides a range of information databases free of charge to library members.

To search the library catalogue, use this Search the Catalogue link.

To use the information databases, use this Online Resources link.


Mevagh Taobh Tíre taster collection  OSCAR (Computer with online access to library services) Taobh Tire Pettigo  


The list of community organisations that provide Taobh Tíre library services are:


Aislann Chill Chartha

Údarás Building

Phone:074 9738376

An tSean Bheairic

Main Street
Phone:074 9180888

Áras Sheáin Bháin

Leabharann Sheáin Bhain
Baile Na finne                                 
Phone: 074 9546071

Comharchumann Forbartha & Fostaíochta Arainn Mhór                                                   

(Arranmore Development Co-operative)

Ionad an Chrois Bhealaigh

Árainn Mhór
Phone: 074 9520024


Comharchumann Toraí (Tory Island Co-operative)

Tory Island
Phone: 074 9135502


Mevagh Family Resource Centre                                   


Phone: 074 9155055

St Johnston & Carrigans Family Resource Centre                              

St Johnston
Phone: 074 9148551

The Forge Family Resource Centre

Main Street
Phone: 071 9861924

Background to The Taobh Tíre Project

The Taobh Tíre is a national research project funded under the Library Council of Ireland’s Public Library Research Programme. The project has investigated and implemented new and innovative methods of delivering library services to rural and isolated communities in County Donegal. Although the research was carried out in County Donegal the results are applicable to rural and isolated communities across Ireland.

Donegal County Library Service has adopted a partnership approach to service delivery, in that Donegal County Library provides the books, a PC with internet access, a weekly delivery service and a range of information services. The partner organisation provides the space to house the Taobh Tíre centre, the staff to look after the day to day running of the centre, they are also responsible for the local promotion of the centre. This co-operative approach has proved to be very successful to date. However it cannot continue to be successful without the support of all partners.

The project began in December 2002 with desk research and consultations, which investigated models of good and innovative practice. A profile of potential areas was undertaken. Target areas were then selected following this process and Taobh Tíre moved on to implementing models on a phased basis. Thirteen models/centres have been set up in rural and isolated locations across Donegal. These include the off shore islands of Arranmore and Tory and one urban point in Letterkenny. The urban point is isolated due to the socio-economic problems experienced in the area. 


Benefits of the Project

The project provides new opportunities for education, life-long learning, leisure and personal development in areas that are unable to sustain a full time branch library. Without exception, there is great enthusiasm for the project, which shows the widespread recognition of the need to increase the social, educational and cultural opportunities of every person in the county.  It also acknowledges the importance of the library service as a true gateway to resources for children and young people, for learning and information, and for culture and the imagination. This was confirmed by the awarding of a special category award for Community Services Outreach to the Taobh Tíre Project by Co-operation Ireland at their Pride of Place Awards in County Carlow in October 2006 and The Taoiseach Public Service Excellence Award in 2008.         

Due to the success of the Taobh Tíre Donegal County Council is hoping to mainstream the project. A lot of work will take place on the consolidation of the existing Taobh Tíre centres before the service will be expanded to other communities.


Further Information

The service provided by Taobh Tíre is an important element in ensuring the sustainability of small communities and of the delivery of equitable services across the wider population.  For further information on the research and implementation of Taobh Tíre, please see reports below:        


  • An Chomhairle Leabharlanna/The Library Council researched models of good practice nationally and internationally. To see this review, click here Library Council Desk Research

  • The Research & Policy Section of Donegal County Council profiled target areas, assessed the potential for partnership and identified needs. For an executive summary of this report, click here Research & Policy Executive Summary

  • For a report on case studies with Donegal Youth Council, The Western Education and Library Board, Ardara Parish Council and Aislann Chill Chartha, click here Research & Policy Case Studies 

  • The interim report of the project was published in early 2005. This gave details of achievements of phase I and recommendations for phase II. To see this report, click here Taobh Tíre Interim Report

  • The final report of the project launched in 2009, click here Taobh Tíre Final report


For further information on Taobh Tíre contact: Donegal County Library, tel: 074 9153900