Belfast's Linen Hall Library has received a £1million funding boost via the UK's Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The award comes from the Fund's Catalyst Endowment programme which will 'match' every £1 raised by the Library itself, up to a value of £1million over the next four years. In effect, the Library now has the potential to raise £2million to secure its future.
It's a bit of an early 'significant birthday' present for the Library as it prepares to celebrate its 225th anniversary next May.
The Library was founded in 1788 and is the city's oldest. It is renowned for its Irish and Local Studies Collection, which ranges from Early Belfast and Ulster printed books to the 250,000 items in the Northern Ireland Political Collection, the definitive archive of the Troubles.
It also has an extremely important genealogical collection. Among its primary sources are the Blackwood Pedigrees, a collection of over 1000 manuscript family trees; an index to births, marriages and deaths published in the Belfast News Letter 1738-1864 and the Greeves Pedigrees collection of Ulster family trees.
Announcing the grant, HLF's Paul Mullan said: 'The Linen Hall Library was chosen as a recipient of the award because it is one of the premier cultural institutions in Northern Ireland, if not the whole of the United Kingdom. The Library holds unique international resources about Ireland, and this award gives it the opportunity to protect and promote these treasures internationally.'