President McAleese opens James Ussher Library at Trinity College Dublin

Posted on: 11 April 2003

Trinity’s First 21st Century Building Officially Opened

The James Ussher Library, Trinity’s first 21st century building, was officially opened by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, today (Friday, 11 April 2003). The eight storey, €27 million building provides 9,500 square metres of high quality accommodation for staff and students of the college, in addition to being an important resource for scholars and researchers from higher education institutions elsewhere.

The James Ussher Library provides 750 new reader spaces, each of which is provided with connections to the campus network and the World Wide Web, greatly enhancing the quality of access to the rich diversity of information available to scholars.

The Ussher Library makes available more than 450,000 volumes of printed books and periodicals to the scholar on shelving adjacent to study facilities. Much of the Library’s collections of 4.5 million items has to date remained in closed access, resulting in a reliance on catalogues to find materials and delays before the publications were made available to the user.

Approximately 100 workstations have also been provided for the staff carrying out the acquisition, description and cataloguing of over 100,000 new items each year, which Trinity receives as a Legal Deposit Library for Ireland and also one of only six Libraries acquiring UK Legal Deposit material. The flow of published material into collection can now take place as a continuous integrated process, enabling the prompt delivery of academic material into the catalogues and onto the shelves.

The James Ussher Library also houses the Glucksman Map Library, Ireland’s largest map collection, with more than 650,000 printed and digital items in its care, dating from the 16th century to the present day.

Within the new building, the Glucksman Conservation Department has been provided with a custom-built facility for the further development of innovative techniques and quality benchmarks for its work on the care of manuscripts and early printed material.

Mr. Robin Adams, Librarian stated, “The opening of the James Ussher Library provides a statement of Trinity’s continued commitment to maintain its responsibilities to preserve what is best of the past and to facilitate the future exploitation of information resources. This Library will provide for the integrated use of the great range and diversity of media now available to the academic community in a flexible and stimulating environment”.

“The Library also recognises the importance of the provision of services to the widest possible range of readers through appropriate services for students with disabilities, in the design of study spaces and the availability of assistive technology facilities.”

The Library, named after James Ussher, one of Trinity’s first graduates and responsible for bringing together the core of the Library’s works at the end of the sixteenth century, is funded by the Government’s Higher Education Authority’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions initiative. Private donations were also received from Lewis Glucksman and Loretta Brennan-Glucksman and Atlantic Philanthropies.

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