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You are here About the Library > Welcome to the Academic Year from the Librarian

Welcome to Academic Year 2020/21

The Librarian and College Archivist, Helen Shenton

A very warm welcome to all students, academics, researchers and staff. An especial welcome to the first year students who are joining us in such extraordinary times − we wish you every success in the University, as you rise to the challenges of Trinity's Graduate Attributes of 'thinking independently' and 'acting responsibly'. The Library is here to help you think independently.

Library staff are here to assist you with virtual consultations, skills workshops and many services. Watch out for Library HITS (Helpful Information for Trinity Students/Staff) our interdisciplinary taster sessions, co-delivered with Student Learning & Development, covering everything from getting started with the Library, to academic integrity and critical thinking. We've recently been proud to partner with Disability Student Ambassadors to deliver small-group tours for students with sensory disabilities, which is helping us better understand how to improve the Library experience for all students.

Library staff are not only very knowledgeable about Trinity's extensive resources but are extremely savvy about other external sources of information. During lockdown, when there was no physical access to the buildings, Library staff displayed extraordinary ingenuity in helping readers get alternative access to information. Please contact us via live chat on the Library website, email Library@tcd.ie and a Library staff member will get back to you, or contact your Subject Librarian directly. Our New Students page has everything you need to get started.

COVID update

On lockdown in March, the Library accelerated online access to material and increased e-resources. Since June, the Library has reopened all the buildings in phases and has created several new services from scratch. These include 'Click & Collect', 'Scan on Demand', and retrieval and delivery of Library material across Ireland via An Post.

Under the current COVID-19 Level 3, all the libraries are open. On 5th October, a new booking system for the Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher, Hamilton and John Stearne Medical libraries and the 1937 Postgraduate Reading Room begins. Full details are online of all the opening hours and the booking system. Please note that face coverings are mandatory in the Library at all times, along with all other COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including two-metre social distancing and a 'keep right' policy.

The Library has been very active over the last six months in building an archive reflecting the TCD community's experience of living with a pandemic. We are shortly going to invite students to add to this archive by giving us their impressions of student life under the new arrangements. There will be prizes!

E-resources

The Library purchases e-journals, e-books and databases to support your learning and research. Our off-campus access page provides information and tools to ensure you can access these resources seamlessly.
This year, transformative Open Access agreements were negotiated through the IReL Consortium which will allow for the publication of articles by authors from member institutions on an open access basis at no additional cost. The IReL Consortium (Irish Research e-Library) provides Irish higher education institutions, including Trinity, with access to over 40,000 e-journals and other information resources. The first of these transformative agreements was signed with the global scientific and health publisher Elsevier to support open access for research in Ireland.

ORCID

In a joint initiative between the Dean of Research and the Library, Trinity has joined the Irish ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) Consortium, which is part of a co-ordinated approach to the adoption and integration of ORCID services and resources in Ireland, directed by the Higher Education Authority.

Every researcher has free access to, and use of, an ORCID ID linked to a personal ORCID research profile. As a unique, lifelong digital identifier, a researcher's ORCID ID reliably connects them with their works, awards, affiliations; it alleviates mistaken identity; each researcher owns and controls their record; it saves time as the information is 'entered once and reused often' and further integrates ORCID with Trinity's Research Support System. We would encourage academic and research staff and students to use their unique ORCID ID, see full details and ORCID registration.

Open Scholarship

Over the last year 'Unboxing Open Scholarship', an initiative of the Taskforce on Open Scholarship, welcomed over 750 people to 12 events on subjects ranging from Citizen Science to Research Impact & Evaluation in an Open Scholarship era, to 'Curing the Pathologies of Academic Publishing' with the co-founder of PLOS (Public Library of Science).

Our final events are shifting online. On October 8th 2020, we will be joined by Professor Margot Finn, President of the Royal Historical Society (RHS) and University College London's Chair in Modern British History, for a webinar jointly hosted with Trinity Long Room Hub, on 'Open Scholarship in the Humanities'. On October 15th, Gareth O'Neill, Open Science Consultant at the Technopolis Group will explore the role of researchers in the European Open Science Cloud.

The aims of the Taskforce on Open Scholarship were to take the temperature of how far Trinity should go along the road to Open Scholarship (what is obligatory? where do we actively follow? where do we lead?); to determine the scope of Open Scholarship (including Open Access and Citizen Science); and to identify steps and cultural change, including by curating events such as 'Unboxing Open Scholarship'. The recommendations will shortly be presented to help advance the strategic objective in the University's Strategic Plan 2020-2025, namely to 'Lead on Open Scholarship and promote Open Access publication'.

New Treasury and Book of Kells display case and the Old Library Redevelopment Project

A recent highlight has been the re-opening of the newly refurbished Treasury and Book of Kells display case. The Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin TD, joined by her husband, Deputy Francis Noel Duffy, visited the new Treasury earlier this month, and we publicly launched the new Treasury – see Morning Ireland, RTE Radio 1; RTE 1 Television One O'clock News; 6.01 News; RTE News YouTubeRTE online; BBC Evening Extra (scroll to 1.49), Irish Times hardcopy & online version; Irish Independent hardcopy & online; and Irish Central  – among others.

When COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, please arrange to visit the Book of Kells in its stunning new display case, by emailing the Visitor Services Team bookofkells@tcd.ie who will organise a ticket.
The new Treasury is the first step of the Old Library Redevelopment Project, one of the major capital projects of Inspiring Generations – The Campaign for Trinity College Dublin. The Old Library Redevelopment Project is a very significant undertaking to conserve and protect the Old Library and its collections, to create a new Research Collections Study Centre, and to create a new exhibition, temporary display space and new visitor facilities. The integrated design, by the award-winning architects Heneghan Peng, was approved by Board in the summer to apply for planning permission to Dublin City Council.

Virtual Trinity Library

This coming year will also see progress on components of the Library's second capital programme, the digital corollary to the Old Library project, namely the 'Virtual Trinity Library'. By digitising the Library's vast unique and distinct collections, we aim to create a new research entity that is open for the world. Funding has been secured from the Dutch Government to start the Fagel Collection Project in collaboration with the Royal Library of the Netherlands, and inaugural activities and events will start in the autumn.

As part of the flagship Virtual Trinity Library programme, the Library's digitised collections will be made available in the new Digital Collections repository. We invite you to explore some of our more well-known treasures as well as many hidden gems in all their magnificent detail on this new platform.

And finally

A library is many things. It is both virtual and physical. Mary Beard recently described a library as 'really, really edgy' saying that 'what is on the shelves is incendiary'. The Bodleian Librarian Richard Ovenden's recently published Burning Books is a harsh reminder of the symbolism and political threat that libraries can represent. The library as physical sanctuary was brutally reinforced during lockdown.

When we had to close, the role of the Library as a safe oasis, with very good connectivity, conducive to study in the maelstrom of noise and worry, came sharply into focus. I was incredibly moved by the accounts of the plights of, for example, postgraduates and their descriptions of the Library as a haven where they could think and concentrate.

Whichever version of the virtual and/or physical Library you use, I wish you every success in the coming academic year.

 

Helen Shenton
Librarian and College Archivist
The Library of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin