The National Archives of Ireland was established in 1988 following the amalgamation of the State Paper Office (SPO) and the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI). Under the terms of the National Archives Act (1986), the National Archives is responsible for the preservation of departmental records that warrant permanent preservation as archives, and of providing access to archives in its care to members of the general public. Records of governmental departments and their agencies are transferred to the National Archives when they are thirty years old.
The National Archives has developed policies to ensure the permanent protection and preservation of archives in their care and to facilitate access through the provision of a high quality public service. The Archives Framework 2018–2020 sets out the policy framework to ensure a coordinated and standardised approach in the management and preservation of archives during 2018–2020. The National Archives Strategic Plan 2018–2022 outlines the priorities for the development of archives including the completion of the Archive Repository Project, improving the visibility of archival and public services, and developing the civil service-wide records management plan including the development of capability in the National Archives to manage electronic records. The Digital Imaging Policy 2016 sees digital imaging as the primary means of assisting preservation whilst simultaneously enabling wider access to collections of national significance.
The Irish Society for Archives was founded in 1970, before the National Archive Act. It published the Irish Archives Bulletin which later grew into Irish Archives, which remains Ireland’s only dedicated archives journal that promotes the place of archives in Irish society. It also organises lectures on topics of interest to archivists, the users of archives and the wider public.
The Library Council, established in 1947, was replaced in 2012 by Libraries Development as the national agency for the development of libraries within the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). Local authorities operate a network of public libraries across Ireland. Public libraries are open to everyone and most of their services are free.The Department of Rural and Community Development published Our Public Libraries 2022: Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities in March 2019 to guide the development of the public library service in Ireland. The first national strategy for the library service entitled Branching Out was published in 1998. Opportunities for All was the title of the libraries strategy for 2013–2017. The web portal Libraries Ireland is managed by Libraries Development, within the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), on behalf of the public libraries. This work is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The tender process for the procurement of library books for the libraries of Ireland has granted 60% of the EUR 6 million annual contract to a UK company. This has had a negative impact on Irish booksellers. The decision was heavily criticised by Irish cultural bodies such as the Irish Writers Centre and Poetry Ireland.