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#15 My Word Is My Bond

A brief interlude. Do you know the Library Bond, signed by new staff? Without signing it, staff are not allowed to borrow our material. It states if you damage or lose our books, we will find you and, er, fine you.

Know all men by these presents that I, [state name] am bound unto the Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, in the sum of six hundred and fifty euro, for which sum well and truly to be paid I do bind myself, my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, firmly by these presents. Sealed with my seal and dated this day of [year].
Whereas the Provost and Senior Fellows of the said College have agreed to lend to the said person the twenty printed books now in the Library of the said College.
Now the condition of the foregoing obligation is such that if the said person shall return the said twenty printed books to the said Library on or before the agreed day in the same plight and condition in which he receives the same, that then and in such case the foregoing obligation shall be null and void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue in law.

Until recently, a similar oath was given by new students, too. We can see it being given in the Librarian’s Office, then situated in the (now) Old Library, in 1958.

At least it was in English. In times past, it was Latin.

Students were given an oath card, from which to read. A few of these have survived. If you look at the wording, it shows the oath-taker will not be allowed to remove books from the Library – they would have no borrowing privileges.

With thanks to Iris Bedford.

However, no-one currently working in the Library can recall when we *stopped* requiring students to swear the oath. Do you know? Do you know when it changed from Latin to English?