Wednesday 13 May 2020

National Library starts preparing for July reopening

This morning, the National Library of Ireland had its first visitors (members of staff) since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced on 12 March. (That's two months with no dusting... must look a bit like my office at the best of times.)

Photos have been uploaded to Twitter, and probably to other social media that I don't use, to show us that the beautiful building and its gorgeous interior areas are atill looking good. A few minor repairs are being carried out in the absence of the public and all the staff, in anticipation of the doors reopening to researchers on 20 July.

That's the date when Phase 4 of Ireland's 'road map' to the lifting of public health restrictions is scheduled to be actioned, subject to the National Public Health Emergency Team agreeing that the conditions are right.
Phase 4 allows museums, galleries and other cultural outlets (the category that includes archives and similar to re-open, provided staff and visitors can move freely without coming into contact with others, social distancing can be maintained AND strict hand hygiene is enforced on entry.

It's a long way off yet; next week will mark the half-way point of the closures of the Republic of Ireland's major repositories (and a good many smaller ones, too). Northern Ireland's plans, released yesterday, don't currently include dates, but we'll get a better idea of timelines as weeks go by. However, seeing the National Library starting its preparation for a return of staff and researchers should give us all a bit of a lift.