#TCDLIBRARYSURVEY What we’re doing with your feedback

Last year, 1,189 of our readers responded to the Library Life Pulse survey conducted during Ireland’s fourth and strictest lockdown. The findings showed that the impact of the Library on our readers’ wellbeing was significant and up 10% from pre-Covid times to 61%.

We were delighted that you agreed positively with the following statements:

It is easy to access help and support when I am in Library buildings (71%)
The Library offers relevant training and skills support for students and staff (71%)
The Library has the right resources for my course/research degree programme/role (74%)
The Library is helping me to succeed on my course/research degree programme/in my role (76%)
I am satisfied with how the Library communicates with me (74%)

We acknowledge there is room for improvement with the following:

Suitable study/work space is readily available in the Library building(s) (46%)
It is easy to find the location of suitable study/work spaces in the Library building(s) (53%)
It is easy to access help and support when I am using Library services online (50%)
The Library has helped me to develop the skills I need for my studies/role (51%)

How are we acting on your feedback?

The high-level findings of this survey have been shared with the Library’s Leadership team and the university’s Library and Information Policy Committee. In the months following the survey, we have been exploring ideas and discussing solutions to issues you have identified in key areas of Space; Access to Resources; Training and Support and Communications. You can find out more about the survey findings and our action plan here:

We will be consulting with staff and students in making those improvements and will provide updates as they are being implemented.

Library exhibition celebrates poet Derek Mahon’s life and work

The life and work of poet Derek Mahon was celebrated last November in Trinity College Dublin with a conference organised by Trinity’s School of English in association with Poetry Ireland and hosted in the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute. The event took place ahead of what would have been the poet’s 80th birthday.

To mark the occasion an online exhibition entitled Derek Mahon: Piecing Together the Poet was also organised jointly by the Library of Trinity College Dublin and the Stewart Rose Library of Emory University (home to the principal Mahon archive). The exhibition features readings by Mahon himself and Stephen Rea along with specially commissioned interviews with friends and fellow poets. It also features atmospheric photographs by John Minihan.

The exhibition charts the formative influences of Mahon’s life and work including: his ambivalent relationship with Belfast where he grew up; Trinity, where he found his voice as a poet; contemporary poets, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Michael Longley and Brendan Kennelly, all friends and close associates of Mahon; his great reflective poems, such as the famous ‘A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’, as well as his beautifully lyrical shorter pieces, including the consolatory ‘Everything Is Going To Be All Right’ both read by Stephen Rea.

Mahon with other Irish writers in Paris, 1989. Image © John Minihan.
Writers: Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Jennifer Johnston, Derek Mahon, Sebastian Barry, John Montague and Tom Kilroy

Professor Nicholas Grene, a member of the conference organising committee and Emeritus Professor of English at Trinity, commented:

“Derek Mahon was a star in a generation of wonderful Trinity poets. He was our very first Writer Fellow in Trinity in 1986 and was awarded an honorary degree by Trinity in 1995. His international distinction as a poet was recognised in a number of prizes including the David Cohen lifetime achievement award in 2007.”

For more, see Library online exhibition ‘Derek Mahon: Piecing Together the Poet’ https://www.tcd.ie/library/exhibitions/mahon/

Trinity unveils sensory spaces to make campus more inclusive

Trinity College Dublin unveiled a series of new spaces on campus that have been designed as supportive sensory environments to meet the needs of students and staff. 

The plans were devised by TCD Sense – The Trinity Sensory Processing Project – which aims to make Trinity more inclusive by reviewing and improving new and existing spaces, building sensory awareness and delivering specialist supports to students who experience barriers to managing and adapting to the sensory environments of college. 

The project currently spans more than 80 study spaces in the Library, sensory areas within four student social spaces, as well as individual sensory rooms. Hundreds of students are using these spaces every day, but much more is to come. 

Since the project was begun in 2019 by staff in the Disability Service and Discipline of Occupational Therapy, TCD Sense has developed strong partnerships with the TCD Students Union, the Trinity Ability Coop, as well as staff in the Library and the science laboratories and with numerous other areas across Trinity.  

Jessica K Doyle, TCD Sense Project Officer, said:  

“We are all sensory beings, and although we may not always be fully aware of it, sensation is everywhere. Sometimes we may crave activity and movement, louder music and natural light and brighter colours. At other times, we might feel extra sensitive and prefer quieter spaces with dim lighting and less going on. Everyone has a unique sensory system and ways of perceiving and processing sensation that can change depending on time, context, mood, energy levels, neurotype & mechanism of perception”. 

Kieran Lewis, Senior Occupational Therapist at Trinity, said: 

“We are focusing on areas which students use most. Over the past number of months, as well as the spaces in the Library, we have designed sensory areas within four student social spaces, as well as individual sensory rooms.  These have been designed to enable students to engage fully in the college environments and to allow for individuals’ different sensory preferences”. 

User experience research by the Library with students highlighted the impact of the sensory environment on wellbeing and productivity; lighting, noise and sanctuary affect student comfort in library spaces, especially students who experience sensory overload and have high awareness of the sensory environment. These findings are reinforced by further research by the Disability Service and Discipline of Occupational Therapy, which included a sensory audit of Library buildings.  

Helen Shenton, Librarian and College Archivist at Trinity, said: 

“As part of this collaborative University initiative TCD Sense, the Library has created six sensory spaces across the Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher, Hamilton and Stearne libraries which will support our students and staff with diverse sensory needs. Another five will be completed in the coming weeks.  Based on inclusive research with our students, we have designed a range of environments that will help our readers feel at ease and comfortable while in the Library. We hope they will improve the quality of their experience both in the Library and across the University.” 

In May 2019, 150 students registered with the Disability Service in TCD completed a survey on sensory experiences: 

  • 68% reported that there is no quiet space on campus that they can access easily if feeling overwhelmed 
  • Over 50% commented that they go home/leave campus if feeling overwhelmed 
  • 93% would use a quiet space if it was available in the library 
  • 49% reported difficulty with acoustics (e.g. noises, echoes, humming) in the library 
  • 41% reported difficulty with acoustics in lectures. 

This development is being part funded from a €5.4 million fund for students with disabilities announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris earlier this year. Trinity has used €233,934 of its allocation of €482,364 on these developments. Additional resources of €126,500 have come from the Trinity Library, TCDSU and the Director of Student Services.  

Trinity Provost Linda Doyle welcomed the new spaces:  

“This has been a return to campus like no other, at a time when students and staff have been under unprecedented stress. It’s more important now than ever that everyone in the College community has access to places around the campus where they can find respite to focus, or to relax in peace. The TCD Sense Project is a wonderful addition to our campus and will contribute to the health and wellbeing of all.” 

Trinity Student Union President Leah Keogh said: 

“It has been a joy to work alongside the Disability Service on this project which has uniquely provided quiet spaces in busy places. The attention to detail is what has made this project so effective; the colours, textures and pieces were all hand selected to create the best possible environment for students to take some time out. This project has set the benchmark for what our student spaces should be going forward.” 

Dr Clodagh Nolan, Asst. Professor, Discipline of Occupational Therapy added: 

“Learning and social environments are fraught with sensory information that needs to be processed and managed by individuals. For some it can be overwhelming whereas for others it can be underwhelming. Managing the sensory environment including its design is an important element in enabling a person to learn constructively and to get the most from their day-to-day activities whether those activities include study, research, or social engagement. Real world research into the sensory environment which included all stakeholders in collaboration with the Discipline of Occupational Therapy has enabled us to translate the findings of this research into managing and changing environments to meet the needs of those who are challenged by these environments.”  

Declan Treanor, Director of the Trinity Disability Services, said:  

“We have identified making Trinity a more inclusive place from a sensory perspective as a key aim in The Disability Service’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2025. Plans are underway to look at developing a sensory map of Trinity, including sensory design principles in new developments, as well as adding sensory designed spaces in student accommodation and other spaces that are deemed to be useful to develop. We are looking at indoor and outdoor opportunities. We are also developing a sensory environment evaluation tool in collaboration with Technological University Dublin”.  

More information on the supports and resources available in managing the sensory environment and on the project can be found here.

The Library Pays Tribute to our Friend and one of Ireland’s great poets Brendan Kennelly

Brendan Kennelly Private Collection

It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of our friend and one of lreland’s major poets, Brendan Kennelly.

Brendan Kennelly was a poet, a professor, a public figure, cultural commentator, and a mentor to many.  Throughout his life on the Trinity campus he was also a great friend to the Library of Trinity College Dublin.

Trinity College Dublin honoured his immense contribution to Irish life with a celebratory online event on his 85th birthday in April of this year. The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive was also launched on the occasion of the event. With the appointment of an archivist in the Library in the Spring to oversee the cataloguing of the poet’s papers, this unique collection will be made available to students and scholars.

The celebratory event which was organised at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during our last lockdown, featured a read message from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins along with selected poems recited by celebrated singer, Bono, poet, Paula Meehan and Trinity student Lily O’Byrne. We were especially honoured that Brendan himself attended online from Kerry where he spent his final years. The event also prompted members of the public to contribute further items to this constantly expanding archive.

The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive reflects all of the facets of Brendan Kennelly’s life. His work, with roots in early twentieth-century rural traditions, developed to give a voice to the marginalised urban dweller, as well as difficult historical characters such as Judas and Oliver Cromwell. The poet’s own private life has often involved struggle and triumph, both of which he has shared freely and publicly, giving encouragement to many in their own personal struggles. Professor Kennelly’s teaching influenced generations of scholars, teachers, parents, and citizens and he has always been unfailingly encouraging to younger poets, from Paula Meehan to Leanne O’Sullivan. The collection contains literary drafts, lectures, research materials, reviews, workshop material, works by others, theatrical ephemera, personal material, photographs, memorabilia, and a great quantity of correspondence

The Library’s online exhibition ‘Forever Begin’ draws from the archive and provides wonderful insight into the poet’s life and immense contribution to Irish literary and cultural life over many decades.  

Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.

The Library launches a video series on the Dutch Fagel collection

The Library of Trinity College Dublin and the KB National Library of the Netherlands have launched a video series about the Dutch 18th-century Fagel collection. The Fagel collection which is considered one of the jewels of the Trinity Library’s collections was built up over five generations of the Fagel family.

The Library of Trinity College and the KB National Library of the Netherlands are joint collaborators in the ‘Unlocking the Fagel Collection‘, project which aims to provide digital access to the collection. In the next two years, all books and pamphlets will be catalogued and made available through the online catalogue of the library of Trinity College, and the Short-Title Catalogue, Netherlands (STCN). It forms part of the Virtual Trinity Library, a digitisation initiative of the Library of Trinity College Dublin’s most valued collections.  These videos aim to present an integrated story of the family (many of whom held high public office in the Netherlands), the collections and the overall collaborative library project.

Continue reading “The Library launches a video series on the Dutch Fagel collection”

Wishing departing Library colleagues a long and happy retirement

Pomodoro Sphere

For the second time in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reached September and are unable to mark the imminent retirement of respected colleagues with the traditional celebrations and ceremonies we normally expect and that they deserve. This year, we are saying goodbye to Assumpta Guilfoyle, Sean Breen, and Peter Guilding. Between them, they have given the Library 136 years of service.

Sean (48 years) has worked in Reading Room Services and for many he is the embodiment of the BLU counter. Assumpta (47 years) and Peter (41 years) have worked in Cataloguing (Bibliographic Data Management Department), where they played significant and well-known roles: Keywords, Banned Books and Shared Cataloguing Programme.

They are joined by two colleagues, Paul Doyle and Loretto Curley who also retired in 2020.

Continue reading “Wishing departing Library colleagues a long and happy retirement”

Welcome to all new undergraduate students from the Library of Trinity College Dublin

Dear students,

A very warm welcome to all new undergraduate students starting classes today − we wish you every success in your studies at Trinity. The libraries are open and, in keeping with the Provost’s ‘Return to Campus’ guidelines and public health advice, face coverings and two metre social distancing are currently mandatory. Pre-booking is required to enter the Library with each individual booking being for 1 hour 45 minutes.

From today, we are also introducing extended opening hours to include evening and Saturday openings in the Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher and Hamilton Libraries as well as Saturday opening in the John Stearne Medical Library.

Continue reading “Welcome to all new undergraduate students from the Library of Trinity College Dublin”

Trinity marks major benefaction by Prince Albert II of Monaco to the preservation of the Old Library

His Serene Highness (HSH) Prince Albert II of Monaco visited Trinity College Dublin today as part of his three-day visit to Ireland.  An unveiling ceremony took place during his visit, marking a major benefaction Prince Albert II has made to the conservation of the iconic Old Library at Trinity College.

Welcoming Prince Albert II to Trinity, Provost & President, Professor Linda Doyle said:

“We are delighted to welcome Prince Albert II to Trinity College Dublin. His visit builds on Trinity’s existing links with Monaco through the Princess Grace Irish Library and our Centre for War Studies. Prince Albert joins a tradition of philanthropy that dates from the establishment of the University in 1592. On behalf of the Trinity community, I would like to thank Prince Albert for his support of this landmark restoration project which will ensure the preservation of the Old Library, as a global cultural icon for Trinity, the city of Dublin and Ireland.”

Continue reading “Trinity marks major benefaction by Prince Albert II of Monaco to the preservation of the Old Library”

Ussher Library Basement Stock Relocation Project

Ussher Library

As part of the enabling works for the Old Library Redevelopment Project, a stock relocation project has commenced in the Ussher Library basement. The goal of the project is to clear the Ussher basement so that it can be redesigned as a temporary home for the Early Printed Books and Manuscripts & Archives departments while the Old Library is decanted and renovated.

The Ussher basement stock relocation project will involve temporary restrictions on access to selected collections. Full details and updates are available on the Library’s ‘Plan your visit‘ webpage.

#TCDLIBRARYSURVEY − A BIG THANK YOU TO TRINITY STAFF AND STUDENTS FOR YOUR FEEDBACK

pop art image of Berkeley Library

We are extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to complete our recent Library Life Pulse survey, particularly as we know how challenging the past sixteen months of the pandemic has been for students and staff. 

Your feedback is helping us to understand readers’ needs and in turn, shape the development of responsive services for the future. Across all user categories, the survey results are revealing improved satisfaction rates for online support and skills development.  

Over the Summer months, we will be analysing the findings in greater detail in order to create an action plan that addresses your feedback. We will provide a further update during Michaelmas term. 

Congratulations to all our survey prize draw winners whose names were selected to win from a selection of Trinity Gift Shop online gift cards; One for All gift vouchers and T-Card credit. A special mention to our overall winners James Deegan and Allison Chambers who were the lucky recipients of Airpods and a Fitbit Tracker respectively.