Reference Library and Archive

Reference Library and Archive

The specialist reference library boasts an impressive and extensive collection of books, pamphlets, journals, periodicals, handbooks, catalogues and newspapers relating to the history, technology and practice of printing, typography, bookmaking, papermaking and other associated crafts.  Also included in the collection are books, items of ephemera and photographs showcasing various styles of printing and print houses of old.

The Library is reference only. To access the Library you can make an appointment by contacting

Prior to your appointment, please provide a list of the items you have identified in the catalogue that would like to access. A table will be set up with all items ready for you on your arrival and WIFI is available in the Museum.

A worn catalogue of printing equipment that is shaped like a letterpress cabinet (pre-1971).

#OpentheArchives at the National Print Museum

In collaboration with students studying heritage and public history, the Museum seeks to highlight items from its lesser-known archive. Students carefully select and research a number of items; discover their findings below!

Irish Leisure through the Decades

‘What can the archive tell us about everyday life? This was the question I hoped to answer as I began to delve into the National Print Museum’s collections. At first, the items that caught my attention seemed to be a random mix, but more research prompted me to choose an overarching topic of leisure time. From a picture of a tug-of-war team to an advertisement for a new computer lab, the six items chosen all tell something about how Irish people spent their time off. In selecting these, I wanted to cover a range of decades across the twentieth century. Some items have more in common with others, including themes like sports, dancing, fundraising, and the arts. In different ways, they all reveal something about Irish social and cultural life, some perhaps more unexpected than others!’

– Margaret Aimar, MPhil, Public History & Cultural Heritage, Trinity College Dublin, Spring 2024

MA student Margaret examines a newspaper from the Museum's archives
Margaret Aimar examines advertisements in The Argus, dated 10 June 1950.

A Newsprint Lense on Irish History

‘Being onsite at the National Print Museum for the last month has been such an incredible experience. While the museum had a fair idea about what was in their archive, combing through it and picking out what interested me, and being the first to research those pieces has been simply amazing. As a history student I chose to focus on the stories of the events and people in these pieces. In a living and working museum such as the National Print Museum, having an onsite archive filled with important newspapers and documents from the past is so important, and adds to the heritage of the museum which you can see and touch, just like the printing machines themselves!’

– Katie Breen, MA, Public History, University College Dublin, Spring 2022

Katie Breen examines some photographs capturing the ‘Battle of the Four Courts’, printed in ‘The Irish Times’, Saturday, 8 July, 1922
Katie Breen examines some photographs capturing the ‘Battle of the Four Courts’, printed in ‘The Irish Times’, Saturday, 8 July, 1922

Éamon de Valera is installed as third President of the Republic of Ireland at a ‘brief and simple ceremony’ at Dublin Castle on June 25....

As part of her MA in Public History at University College Dublin, Katie Breen carefully selected and researched items from the Museum's lesser-known archive....

“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?” … In the early 1950s when anti-Communist hysteria swept across the United States of America, thousands of Americans had to ...