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Welcome from the Library of Trinity College Dublin

Librarian Helen Shenton pictured in front of Berkeley Library

A very warm welcome to all returning students, academics, researchers and staff.

Library Supports & Services

We have a new orientation guide which is a result of students’ questions about the Library; a special thank you to the Global Student Ambassadors who were so generous with sharing their top tips in this new Getting to know your Library video.

We in the Library kickstarted the new academic year with in-person student orientation programmes. They included tours for postgraduates, mature and Trinity Access Programme students.

Sensory Library tours are also taking place this week as part of Trinity’s Autism orientation programme, and we look forward to welcoming incoming first year undergraduate students with the wonderful S2S Mentor team. Keep an eye out for new sensory furniture and spaces as part of the TCD Sense project.

This semester’s Library HITS (Helpful Information for Trinity Students/Staff) are starting next week and the first module will focus on skills for postgraduate and returning students. The interdisciplinary taster sessions co-delivered with Student Learning & Development are relevant for all students and cover everything from essay writing, academic integrity and critical thinking to publishing and promoting your research.

If you have any queries, Library staff are here to assist you with virtual consultations, skills workshops and a range of services. Please  email Library@tcd.ie and a Library staff member will get back to you, or contact your Subject Librarian directly.

The Welcome to the Library page has everything needed for you to get started.

Library entrance refurbishment

A refurbishment project of the Library entrances will start in the coming months. It will involve the installation of new access control gates at the entrances of the Berkeley, Lecky, John Stearne and Hamilton Libraries, providing automated access to the Library using the physical ID card and Trinity Live App. The aim is to give seamless access for staff and students, while improving security for Library collections and enhancing the spaces. All information on the project will be available on the Library website.

Virtual Trinity Library

In June 2022 the Library released the digitised version of the one of the world’s finest manuscripts, the Book of St Albans by the 13th century scribe, historian and artist Matthew Paris. The Book of St Albans received conservation attention, cataloguing updates, and was fully digitised, as part of the Virtual Trinity Library’s ‘Manuscripts for Medieval Studies’ project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The digitised version is being used by students of the M. Phil in Medieval Studies. Its launch received extensive media coverage in the Irish Central, Irish Times and Irish Independent.

Discover more at European Researchers’ Night on September 30th and join the Library and those involved in the research theme ‘Manuscript, Print and Book Cultures’ for a range of activities on Trinity’s outstanding Library collections.

Old Library Redevelopment Project 

The Old Library Redevelopment Project is progressing apace with the decant of the collections from the Old Library, involving the gargantuan task of transferring 350,000 early printed books as part of a total 700,000 items.

Access to all the Library’s Research Collections and its staff expertise will continue throughout the lifetime of the Old Library Redevelopment Project (OLRP).

The Joint Research Collections Reading Room is currently housed in the East Pavilion of the Old Library. In 2023 it will transfer to an Interim Research Collections Study Centre in the basement of the Ussher Library. You will find up-to-date information on the Old Library Redevelopment: Update for Readers section of the Library website.

The Old Library and Long Room remain open and accessible to you and visitors for the next year. The restoration and construction phase will require its closure from the end of 2023.

The Book of Kells Interim Exhibition will ensure that the 9th century manuscript remains on view throughout. Subject to planning permission, the plan for the Interim Exhibition is to restore the historic Printing House to display the Book of Kells and erect a temporary pavilion in New Square to host a temporary exhibition for the three years of the Old Library’s closure.  

Join us on Culture Night, 23rd September, when the Conservation team will be giving talks on the conservation process as part of the Old Library Redevelopment Project.

The Old Library Redevelopment Project has received significant international media coverage, including The Guardian, New York TimesBBC World News, the German national broadcaster ZDF and most recently France 2 aired a piece in August.

Please enjoy the Long Room, often called the ‘most beautiful room in Ireland’, this year – as a reminder, every member of Trinity’s community is welcome to visit for free, but it is important to book ahead, for more details email BookofKells@tcd.ie. The Library will also be organising tours for staff and students in the coming months with more information to follow.

Finally, the 87th IFLA World Library and Information Congress was held in Ireland for the first time at the Dublin Convention Centre in July. I was honoured to give a keynote presentation on intertwined digital and cultural heritage, and the former Chancellor Mary Robinson gave an outstanding keynote address on ‘Climate Justice’ to the 2000+ delegates at the opening ceremony. Her challenges to us all were stark, simple and clear, and highly recommended viewing, as we figure out our collective and individual responses to the environmental crises.

With warmest good wishes for the forthcoming semester,

Helen Shenton


Librarian and College Archivist

Timelapse of the Decant of the Library Collections

Old Library Redevelopment Project December 2022

The monumental task of decanting the Library collections commenced last Spring as part of the Old Library Redevelopment Project.

All of the Library’s Research Collections housed in the Old Library are being transferred to special storage. This means removing 350,000 Early Printed books and a total of 700,000 collection items as part of the Library collections.

A series of timelapses are capturing the painstaking work of the Library team involved in the project. So far almost 3.5 km of books stacked side by side have been removed or 32% of the overall project.  There is a target of over 10.5 km in the overall project. That means just 7 km to go.

Readers will continue to have access to all material in an Interim Research Collections Study Centre during the lifetime of the building conservation project.

Exploring The Library’s Databases – Research Treasure

Last term the Library was pleased to announce the purchase of 14 new electronic resources supporting multiple disciplines across the Arts and Humanities. We thought we would take a closer look at some of the collections, starting with the Gale Primary Sources, British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800–1900 and Part III: 1741–1950, which provides 23 publications (nearly 1.4 million pages) from across the United Kingdom and Ireland to reflect the social, political, and cultural events of the times. Link – A-Z Databases: british newspapers

How does this archive help researchers?

Continue reading “Exploring The Library’s Databases – Research Treasure”

The Old Library: 2022 a Year of Change

2022 will be a year to remember for the Library of Trinity College Dublin.  The monumental task of decanting the Library collections commenced last Spring as part of the Old Library Redevelopment Project.

Project assistant, Patricia Bedlow, cleaning a book for removal

All of the Library’s Research Collections housed in the Old Library are being transferred to special storage. This means removing 350,000 Early Printed books and a total of 700,000  collection items as part of the Library collections. Readers will continue to have access to all material in an Interim Research Collections Study Centre during the lifetime of the building conservation project.

The decant, led by the Library team, is a massive operation, with more than 50 Library staff assisted by over 25 project assistants. Significant care and consideration goes into moving a collection of this scale and the dedication of the Library team is impressive.

Project assistant, Bogna Stolarska (Poland) Measuring for slip case

This is one of the largest decants of a heritage building in Ireland. As part of the decant process, each book is carefully cleaned with a specialised vacuum, measured, electronically tagged and linked to an online catalogue record, before being safely relocated to a climate-controlled storage facility.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan visited the Old Library in October to see at close quarters the monumental task.

The Old Library Redevelopment Project is a transformative undertaking and is ensuring this 18th century Old Library building and its collections are conserved for the next century.

National and international media have also captured the once in a lifetime conservation project including the just published Financial Times, The Guardian, New York TimesBBC World News, the German national broadcaster ZDF and France 2.

Library team & project assistants involved in the Old Library Redevelopment Project

For more information on the Old Library Redevelopment Project see Old Library Redevelopment Project – Trinity College Dublin (tcd.ie).

The Fagel Collection Presented in The Hague

Ambassador Rogers, Trinity Library colleagues and KB National Library of the Netherlands counterparts meet in The Hague From left: Maarten Heerlien, Esther van Gelder, Laura Shanahan, Ann-Marie Hansen, Brendan Rogers, Lily Knibbeler, Geertrui Verbraak, and Lucinda Jones

At the invitation of Brendan Rogers, the Irish Ambassador to the Netherlands, colleagues from the Library of Trinity College Dublin were recently in The Hague to speak about an important ongoing collaboration with the KB National Library of the Netherlands.

Ambassador Rogers welcomes guests to the KB

The Unlocking the Fagel Collection project began in late 2020, to document and make more widely accessible this 18th-century Dutch collection which was acquired for Trinity College in 1802. With funding now secured to continue the work on the Fagel Collection until 2025, this was an occasion to meet confirmed partners and explore public interest for the possibilities of the next phase.

Laura Shanahan, Ann-Marie Hansen and Esther van Gelder in discussion with Garrelt Verhoeven.

The next major activity planned is an academic symposium on June 22-23, 2023. This will allow stock-taking of the current state of knowledge regarding the Fagel library, the collectors who contributed to it, and the wider context in which it was and is used. Proposals for papers are welcomed on a wide range of topics, and to harness the fresh enthusiasm resulting from the recent visit, the deadline for submissions has been extended to January 20, 2023.

To learn more about the Fagel Collection and project, see the Library’s videos on The Fagels and Unlocking the Fagel Collection.

Exam Strategies – Academic Year 2022/23

Yellow heart and fingers' crossed, wishing the students of academic year 2022/23 good luck.

Are you ready for your exams? If you’re feeling stressed or underprepared the Library is here to help, and we have dedicated a webpage with helpful links and tips.

Exam Strategies | Trinity College Dublin (talis.com)

Check out recommended reading for study skills to get the most out of your revision time.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we have links to free online resources that give advice on coping with exams. Eg, Coping with exam stress. And our Student Counselling Services have tips too. https://www.tcd.ie/Student_Counselling/outreach/

Practice makes perfect with our collection of past papers, practice answering exam questions that have come up in previous years. To view online resources expand the record by clicking on the title, click where it says “AVAILABLE ONLINE” or “1 COPY AVAILABLE” in the case of a book for example.

Student Learning – Exam Papers – Student Learning Development – Trinity College Dublin (tcd.ie)

We are always happy to take questions at the Library Counter or get in touch with your Subject Librarian.

Good luck from your Library!

Reader’s Choice is now Reader Recommendation

Based on the popularity of the Library’s Reader’s Choice pilot scheme for books received under UK electronic legal deposit (UK eLD), the Library has extended the scheme’s scope and improved how it works in Stella Search. Under the pilot scheme, print requests were limited to specific publishers and publication years and were mediated by single-purpose, pre-loaded records in Stella Search. With Reader Recommendation, the UK eLD records themselves include the link to the recommendation form; purchased print copies will be requestable via new records for the print version. Of course, the Library continues to be under pragmatic constraints in operating the scheme, particularly the availability of the print titles from its suppliers, and the availability of funds. As before, it will monitor and review the scheme in the context of evolving collection development policies and practices.

Access Gate Success – All Areas Complete

The Berkeley, Lecky, Hamilton, and John Stearne Medical Library, (St. James’s) entrances have all been upgraded with new access control gates. We thank you for your patience and cooperation while the refurbishment works were being carried out, and for adjusting to the changes.

The aim of the project is to provide seamless access to Library spaces for staff and students, while also improving the security of Library collections and enhancing the look and feel of Library entrances.

Make sure you have your ID card on you at all times, or phone for those using that service. Entering and exiting will require identification.

Continue reading “Access Gate Success – All Areas Complete”

Access Gate Update – Berkeley Library Doors Re-opened

Berkeley Library gates have re-opened. Sign with access instructions in front of the barriers.

The Berkeley Library entrance has reopened today at 9am (Friday 28th October 2022).  The Berkeley foyer toilets have reopened and are operating as normal.

The Lecky Library entrance is now closed – please use the Berkeley entrance.

Make sure you have your ID card on you at all times, or phone for those using that service. Entering and exiting will require identification.

From 9am on Friday 28th October 2022, the access control gates can be opened by TCD staff and students.  You should simply hold your ID card to the card reader at the side of the pedestal for both entrance and exit.  The barcode reader (red light) at the top of the pedestal will not read the physical ID card.

Thank you for your patience while these important upgrade works are being carried out and apologies for any inconveniences.

Major Library collections move from Old Library as part of landmark conservation project

 One of the largest decants of a heritage building in Ireland − 350,000 early printed books and 700,000 collection items

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan visited the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin yesterday [October 19th] to see at close quarters the monumental task of decanting the Library collections as part of the Old Library Redevelopment Project.

In order for the landmark conservation project to start, all of the Library’s Research Collections housed in the Old Library must be transferred to special storage. This means removing 350,000 Early Printed books and a total of 700,000 items as part of the Library collections. Readers will continue to have access to all material in an Interim Research Collections Study Centre during the lifetime of the building conservation project. It is one of the largest decant processes to take place of a heritage building in Ireland.

Minister for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan was joined by Trinity Provost, Dr Linda Doyle, Bursar, Professor Eleanor Denny, Librarian & College Archivist, Helen Shenton during the visit and met with the Library team involved in the historic project.

Minister for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan pictured with Library staff and project assistants.

As part of the decant process, each book is carefully cleaned with a specialised vacuum, measured, electronically tagged and linked to an online catalogue record, before being safely relocated to a climate-controlled storage facility.

Minister Noonan said on the occasion of the visit: “I am delighted to be here today, witnessing this historic once in a lifetime decant as it unfolds. We have a shared responsibility towards our cultural heritage and Trinity College Dublin through this conservation project is ensuring this 18th century Old Library building and its collections are conserved for the next century. Significant care and consideration goes into moving a collection of this scale and the dedication of the Library team is impressive.”

Keeper of Preservation & Conservation, Susie Bioletti explains the steps to the decant and collection care while Daniel Sheridan, Senior Project Assistant demonstrates the specialised vacuum process.

Provost, Dr Linda Doyle said: “The Old Library Redevelopment Project is a transformative undertaking which will preserve this priceless cultural institution for the next generation and beyond. The decant, led by the Library team, is a massive operation, with more than 50 Library staff assisted by over 25 project assistants. It marks a key stage in this transformative redevelopment project.”

 
Minister Noonan, joined by the Provost, Dr Linda Doyle and Bursar, Professor Eleanor Denny, is shown a book on Kilkenny, his native county, ready for transfer by Project Assistant Supervisor, Dena Horan.

Minister Noonan met with Library staff who designed the project and are now carrying it out, helped by project assistants. The project assistants busily working away in the Long Room are early career archivists, conservators and museum professionals from across the country and internationally.

The first book to be decanted was a 19th century publication, ‘Reeves’ History of the English law: from the time of the Romans to the end of the reign of Elizabeth’ and many more have followed.

“This is a particularly complex and sensitive decant. There are so many precious books, manuscripts and objects held in the vast collections, which extend over many centuries. Imagine a house move at scale – thousands of times bigger and more complicated in order to move 700,000 items,” explained the Librarian and College Archivist, Helen Shenton.

Minister Noonan takes his time studying the book with the Bursar.

Trinity Bursar, Professor Eleanor Denny is Chair of the Old Library Redevelopment Project and is leading the project for the University along with all other construction projects on campus:

“The decant process is critical for the next stage of the restoration project. Once complete, the Old Library will close at the end of Autumn 2023 and the urgent structural and environmental upgrades can then take place over a three-year period. It is a once in a lifetime project, and it will future-proof both the 18th century building and its collections for the 22nd century and beyond.” said Professor Denny.

For more information on the Old Library Redevelopment Project see: https://www.tcd.ie/old-library-campaign/