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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Old Library Redevelopment Project entail?

This redevelopment project will draw on 21st-century design and technology to safeguard the Old Library building and conserve its precious collections for future generations. It includes urgent structural and environmental upgrades; and the redevelopment of facilities in line with library and museum experiences around the world.

Central to the redevelopment plans will be the conservation and protection of the 18th-century building, and its precious manuscripts and research collections. It will also include the development of a Research Collections Study Centre for students and scholars both nationally and the world over. It will also re-envision the Library's treasures with a one-of-a-kind  exhibition.

Why are you doing this now?

The Old Library faces significant conservation and environmental challenges. External pollution and dust accumulation are taking their toll on the collections and the fabric of the Old Library building. There is a need to modernise environmental control and fire protection measures. Recent fires in similar heritage sites across the globe provide stark warnings.

When will restoration and construction works start?

The Old Library and Long Room, which had been due to close in late 2023, will remain open to visitors until the end of 2025. The Book of Kells will remain in place and on display for visitors in the Old Library, alongside an exciting new exhibition in New Square: the Book of Kells Experience. Restoration and construction works are scheduled to start at the end of 2025. From 2023 a new interim Research Collections Study Centre will be located in the Ussher Library Basement.

For Library readers seeking operational updates on the Old Library Redevelopment Project please see our Library Guide.

Will there be continuity of Library services and access to the Research Collections and Staff?

There will be continuity of overall Library services, access to Research Collections material, and the expertise of Research Collections staff. The Joint Research Collections Reading Room is currently housed in the East Pavilion of the Old Library and will remain there until 2023. It is the joint reading room for Early Printed Books, Special Collections, and Manuscripts & Archives Collections. In 2023 the Research Collections service will move to a new interim Research Collections Study Centre in the basement of the Ussher Library where readers can access material under usual conditions. There will be extensive communication with the College community, researchers, visitors and public during enabling works and the decant involving the transfer of materials. Disruption will be kept at a minimum. There may be brief periods where certain collections are temporarily inaccessible during the relocation process, and the Library will alert readers where directly relevant to their need. For Library readers seeking operational updates on the Old Library Redevelopment Project please see our Library Guide.

Has planning permission been granted?

Dublin City Council granted planning permission for the Old Library Redevelopment Project in October 2020, and the historic unveiling of the new Book of Kells Treasury and display which forms the first component of these redevelopment plans also took place in autumn, 2020.