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Cork Independent

Cork Profile

Patricia Looney, Senior Executive Librarian, Cork City Libraries

Wednesday, 5th September, 2018 4:41pm

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

An architect (I could be designing the new City Library!)

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

I have a Social Science degree from UCC and worked in the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service when I left college. I lived in Killarney and loved it. Then I came to Cork City Libraries as a library assistant. After a couple of years I took a career break to do a postgraduate diploma in Library and Information Science in UCD. I came back to Cork City Libraries, and the rest is history as they say.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

Bringing aspects of culture and literature to those who may not venture into the more traditional cultural spaces in the city. At the moment, I’m working with the Director of Ó Bhéal, Paul Casey, on an exciting new publication called 'Intercultural City Voices'. Fiction and non-fiction submissions are being sought for the book, which is themed around the experiences of ordinary people living in Cork who are not from Ireland. The book will be launched at Cork City Hall on Thursday 22 November as part of the sixth annual Winter Warmer Poetry Festival.

What motivates you?

Deadlines! I’m also motivated by new projects like the 'Intercultural City Voices' publication, Cork World Book Fest, Culture Night, and improving spaces, collections, programmes and events to meet the needs of the people who use the city libraries daily.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

Keep smiling.

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?

Working in some area of social work.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

My greatest life achievement is the gift of my two daughters (they will kill me!). Career-wise, to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the cultural life of the city, working with local groups and organisations, writers and poets and other wonderfully creative people that bring Cork to life.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

My parents, who instilled in me a good work ethic and respect for people.

What is the life dream now?

To be happy.

How do you switch off?

A good book of course, and a walk on Derrynane beach.

What is your favourite Cork memory?

Going to Buckley’s Stores at Christmas to see Santy (never Santa).

What is your favourite place in Cork?

I love walking through the English Market at lunchtime to experience the hustle and bustle of locals and tourists.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto? ‘Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours shine any brighter.’


When are you at your happiest?

When I’m having fun and socialising with people who care.

Any regrets?

Too few to mention.

What is your hidden talent?

Too well hidden I think!

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I never set out to be a librarian.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

The 'Intercultural City Voices' publication is looking for submissions, which can be a maximum of six poems or prose no longer than 2,000 words.

Assistance with translation is available by contacting myself at and all entries can be submitted to by Monday 15 October.

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