Thursday 27 June 2019

National Library of Ireland unveils new book repository

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has today unveiled a new book repository at its main Dublin premises in Kildare Street. The state-of-the-art facility, which is not open to the general public, will provide modern and safe storage for the national published collections. It contains 4.5 kilometres of shelving filled with 200,000 books. The work was funded under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 programme, and the opening marks the completion of phase one of the Library’s multi-million euro capital development project.

The National Library of Ireland
Funding of €1.6 million was made available for this phase of development by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (CHG) 2017. The work has been delivered collaboratively by the National Library, the Office of Public Works, and the Department of CHG.

Speaking at the official opening this morning, NLI Director Dr Sandra Collins said: “The completion of this phase of the Library’s capital development project is a huge milestone. The new book repository gives us the great relief of having safeguarded the national published collections, bringing them from poor conditions into modern, safe storage.

“This work represents the most significant development in collection care since the National Library of Ireland first opened its doors in 1890: when the Government presented us with a once in a lifetime opportunity of a major capital project, we acted swiftly and collaboratively to identify the most pressing works.

"At the time, given the exposure of our books to the risks of fire and water, we embarked on creating a new, fit-for-purpose book repository."

Phase one of the NLI’s capital development project encompassed moving 350,000 volumes from five floors of storage in the Victorian West Wing into both new onsite storage and high-quality offsite storage. During the course of the move, there was an audit of materials, with space and resource efficiencies identified after re-sizing of volumes, and after digitised, less-used and duplicate copies were moved to offsite storage.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, said: “While the phase one work may not be visible to the public, it represents a vital piece of investment that will help to safeguard the national collection for generations.

"The completion of phase one positions the NLI to now begin implementing its more public-facing developments. I am excited about seeing new visitor experiences at Kildare Street, as well as further opening up the Library as a place of research, learning and cultural engagement for everyone.”

The €14.7m NLI capital development plan will continue to 2021. The coming phases will include investigative works in the Library’s West Wing, an application for planning permission, and the development of new public spaces and services, as well as ensuring universal access for all visitors.

The NLI will remain open throughout, minimising disruption to its services for readers and visitors. The collection care carried out through 2017 – 2019 was facilitated by a temporary closure of the reading rooms on Mondays. This service will be restored from Monday 30 September.