Government announced funding of €25 million for the restoration of one of Ireland’s foremost national heritage sites, the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin yesterday. The Old Library is home to the magnificent Long Room and precious manuscripts, including the 9th century Book of Kells.
An TaoiseachMicheál Martin said: “I am delighted to announce €25 million in Government funding for the Old Library, one of Ireland’s foremost heritage sites and a jewel in the nation’s crown. This landmark restoration project will use leading technology and preventive conservation, providing optimum environmental conditions for the 18th century building and its precious collections. With the aid of this Government funding we are safeguarding our heritage for generations to come.”
Virtual Trinity Library, an ambitious digitisation initiative of the Library of Trinity College Dublin’s most valued collections was launched this week. It will conserve, catalogue, curate, digitise and research these unique collections of national importance, making them accessible to a global audience, from schoolchildren to scholars.
Using the most advanced technology the Library’s new Digital Collections platform will showcase the breadth of these collections, ranging from precious manuscripts to scientific papers.
The Library of Trinity College Dublin is joining other world libraries that are collectively enabling access to patrimony and cultural heritage.
Highlights of the collections of the Library of Trinity College Dublin and their fascinating history are showcased in a new online exhibition Director’s Choice Uncut. The Library invites you to connect and be inspired by a range of diverse objects and their stories in this magnificent new online exhibition selected by the Librarian & College Archivist, Helen Shenton. Building on the success of the Director’s Choice: The Library of Trinity College Dublin published this year by Scala Arts & Heritage Publishers, this new expanded digital platform features even more of the Library’s treasures.
The scientist Rosalind Franklin, the folklorist, dramatist and theatre-founder Augusta Gregory, the mathematician Ada Lovelace and the writer and pioneering women’s rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft have been chosen from a list of more than 500 suggestions.
There are currently 40 marble busts in the beautiful, historic space – all men. As the College recognises that its public spaces must better represent our diversity, it has decided as a first step to introduce a series of sculptures of women.
This is the first time in over a century that the University has commissioned new sculptures for this prestigious location. The first for this space were commissioned in the 1740s, soon after the Library was finished, and the collection was gradually extended in the following years. No new sculptures have been commissioned since the 1880s and no additional sculptures have been installed since the 1920s.
Dublin City Council has granted planning permission to Trinity College Dublin’s conservation and redevelopment plans for the Old Library, home to the magnificent Long Room and precious manuscripts, including the Book of Kells. This follows last month’s historic unveiling of the new Book of Kells Treasury and display which forms the first component of these redevelopment plans.
As part of Trinity College Dublin’s overall plans for the resumption of activities the reopening of the physical Library and services will be phased and gradual. The safety of our staff and students will at all times remain our priority throughout this process.
“When we had to close the library buildings, we kept the Library open online and continued to provide students and staff with our Library services throughout COVID-19, including online services and virtual consultations. I am delighted that the reopening of the physical Library will now begin, starting on a modest scale, from the end of this month, culminating with virtually full access in August (with social distancing and other safety measures in place.) All of this will be complemented by a range of new online services starting on June 29th through to August. The overarching goal is the safe resumption of activity within the Library in a phased manner that enables access whilst protecting the health and safety of our readers and our Library staff. We very much look forward to opening our doors once again to our readers,” says Librarian and College Archivist, Helen Shenton.
Illuminating the Middle Ages which showcases the treasure trove of medieval Latin manuscripts in the Library is this week’s choice of exhibition in the online exhibition series. Professor M.L Colker who created the first comprehensive catalogue of the Library’s medieval Latin manuscript collection sadly passed away last week. We pay tribute to his pioneering work by revisiting this exhibition curated in his honour.
In the 1950s, Marvin ‘Mark’ Colker of the University of Virginia embarked on the Herculean task of cataloguing this collection, comprising around 450 manuscripts.Over the course of 30 years, Colker made regular visits to Dublin, spending long hours working tirelessly in the manuscripts reading room at the Library. His dedication resulted in the publication of Trinity College Dublin Library: Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts (Dublin, 1991), fondly referred to as the ‘Colker Catalogue’. His ground-breaking work is the cornerstone for any project or research based on the Latin manuscripts.
By way of tribute, an exhibition entitled Illuminating the Middle Ages showcases the diversity of material made accessible to researchers through Colker’s commitment and expertise. The online exhibition features vividly illuminated psalters, a vibrantly decorated Book of Hours, a handbook for classical learning and a thirteenth-century copy of Peter Lombard’s Sentences. It also includes images from the Book of Armagh, the sumptuously decorated Dublin Apocalypse, as well as a unique handbook for confessors.
Colker’s work was also honoured with the publication of a special edition of Hermathena: a Trinity College Dublin Review — the Department of Classics’ journal which has been published without interruption since 1873. The special issue of Hermathena was edited by Anna Chahoud, Professor of Latin.
The collection, entitled Fabellae Dublinenses Revisited and other Essays in Honour of Marvin Colker, includes essays by scholars from Trinity College (John Scattergood, Edward McParland, Anna Chahoud) and abroad (Thomas Smith, Ernesto Stagni, Giulio Vannini, Ornella Rossi, Silverio Franzoni). The collection of essays gives special attention to the text known, after Colker’s discovery in TCD MS 602, as ‘Petronius Redivivus’. The studies partly engage with Colker’s pioneering research on select Latin manuscripts (MS 602, MS 632) and partly offer a complementary tribute to the extraordinary value of Trinity Library collections for literary, historical and architectural inquiries (MS 115, MS 496, Fagel Collections I.1.95).
We’re running a short survey to help us understand your experiences of the Library. As a thank you, we will enter you into a draw to win prizes including Trinity Ball tickets, TCard credit and more.
Your views will help us to better appreciate all of our users’ needs and provide valuable insights to enable us to develop responsive services for the future. The survey will take about fifteen minutes to complete. The closing date is 14 December.
What challenges and risks do the books in the Old Library face every day and how do we ‘keep’ the books? What is red rot and what does foxing and acid books mean?
What measures do we take so that library visitors can continue to enjoy and use special collections in the future? Why do we clean books, and what is the dirt? What are Smoke Sponges, Backuums and unbleached cotton tape?
How has the Old Library building changed over the years since 1712? What type of books do we have in the Long Room and when were they made? How many books are there and how have the collections grown over the years?
To learn the answers to all of these questions and more, come to the Long Room in the Old Library to hear about keeping the collection of early printed books. The Preservation Assistants are part of an ongoing project, started in 2004, to systematically clean the 220,000+ books of the Old Library. The Preservation Assistants will explain the challenges of preserving an historic collection in a historic setting and explain how the books are cleaned and preserved for the future. Examples of books from the collection, dating from the 15th century to the 19th century will be shown.
Occasionally, other staff from the Preservation & Conservation Department may speak about preservation activities in the Old Library.
Talks run Monday to Friday at 3pm until 28 June 2019 and last 15-20 minutes.
What does ingrained dirt on books and ice hockey have in common? What is red rot and foxing? How long did it take Trinity College Dublin to acquire its first 100,000 books and how many books are added annually? Do people still read the books in the Old Library? How are the books in the library organized on the shelves? Where can you see every page of the Book of Kells? What subject matter is covered in the Library and how was the collection built over time? What are the greatest threats to a historical library and how do we protect the books?
To learn the answers to all of these questions and more, come to the Long Room in the Old Library to hear the Preservation Assistants talk about keeping the collection of early printed books. The Preservation Assistants are part of an ongoing project, started in 2004, to systematically clean the 220,000+ books of the Old Library. They’ll walk you through the challenges of preserving an historic collection in a historic setting and explain how the books are cleaned and preserved for the future. Examples of books from the collection, dating from the invention of the printing press in the 15th century to the Victorian Era in the 19th century will be shown.
Talks run Monday to Friday at 3pm until 18th August and last 20 minutes.