From 'Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyage’ by Turtle Bunbury (MPG, 2008).
Commissioned by Dublin Corporation and built between 1907 and 1909, the purpose-built classical Pearse Street library was funded by one of the earliest philanthropic grants from Scottish-born steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Designed by Charles J. McCarthy, City Architect, the Georgian Revival building features a façade of Mount Charles sandstone from Donegal, dressed with Ballinasloe limestone. The building was sensitively remodelled by Bernard Grimes in 2002 with a new four storey range to the rear and now also contains the Dublin City Archive.
This excellent library was named for John T. Gilbert (1829-1898), author of the influential three volume 'History of the City of Dublin', published from 1857-59. Another of his great achievements was the establishment of the Public Records Office in the Four Courts. His valuable library of 17th and 18th century books and manuscripts relating to Dublin and Ireland was purchased by Dublin Corporation after his death. Held by the Pearse Street library, it is known today as the Gilbert Collection.
Other collections held by the library include the medieval City Charters and City Assembly Rolls; the archives of the 18th century Wide Streets Commission; the archives of the Mansion House Fund, and the papers of notable theatrical figures Jimmy O'Dea and Michéal Mac Liammóir. Discreetly on display in the library is the head of Admiral Nelson, salvaged when Nelson’s Column was blown up in 1966.