Our Library

odwyerlibraryed.jpgThe Irish American Heritage Museum’s Library contains hundreds of volumes related to Irish history, culture and customs donated by other individuals.  It was originally endowed by the generous support of the Paul O' Dwyer family, including his children William, Rory, Brian, and Eileen, and The Mayo Foundation in Ireland.

The Library supports the mission of the Irish American Heritage Museum by building a collection focused on the story of the Irish experience in America and Irish history and culture. The Library collects, preserves, provides access to, and facilitates research use of materials within this scope. The collection, consisting primarily of print materials, is particularly strong in the areas of the Irish American experience, Irish history, Irish literature and literary criticism, Irish American literature, Irish culture, and research materials supporting genealogical research. It has been designated by the National Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians as a repository of the National AOH’s history: the Library includes microfilm and printed copies dating back to the early part of the 20th century of the Hibernian Digest and Proceedings from the National AOH Conventions.

The Library is open to researchers and visitors during the Museum’s public hours and by appointment.  While the Museum staff is unable to loan books directly to visitors, books can be borrowed through anyone’s local library. The Museum received in 2016 a grant through the Capital District Library Council to digitalize its Card Catalogue, making it easier to borrow titles from the O’Dwyer Library through one’s own local library through the Capital District Library Council’s Interlibrary Loan Program.

Although the Museum occasionally purchases materials for the collection, the majority of the collection is acquired via donations. Types of materials collected relate primarily to the collection scope described above. Types of materials not included in the collection are media formats that the Museum does not have equipment to support, materials that duplicate current holdings, and materials the value of which is insufficient to compensate for problems of space, preservation and storage.

Within the collection guidelines, however, monetary and material donations are welcomed as the chief means of developing the collection. They are acknowledged in writing whenever the donor is known. Material gifts are evaluated for relevance to the collection. Those items not needed for the library, or for which the library is not suited, may be declined at the discretion of Museum staff, or if left with the Museum may be sold to raise funds or otherwise disposed of. The Museum does not accept material gifts with restrictions on their use or disposal.  If a large material gift is planned, a list of materials compiled by the donor should be first sent to Museum staff.  It is the responsibility of the donor to assess the value of his/her donation for tax purposes. The Museum staff welcomes questions concerning proposed donations.