The National Library is to undergo a major redevelopment having received €10m in grant funding for refurbishment.
The redevelopment will address issues facing the building on Dublin’s Kildare St, which dates from the 1890s, including measures to meet modern standards for universal access, fire prevention, health and safety, security, and environmental sustainability.
The space to be redeveloped measures 3,000sqm.
At the launch of the plans, Sandra Collins, director of the National Library, said the redevelopment of the library is a four-year project, with multiple phases impacting parts of the main building at different times.
“As Ireland’s memory-keeper, it is essential that the national collections in our care are kept safe and protected and the redevelopment works will put in place modern storage and preservation standards,” said Dr Collins.
She said the building is the home of more than 10m documents, including the largest collection of WB Yeats’s manuscripts, donations from the family of Seamus Heaney, and the first copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
“In making the collection safe, the person on the street doesn’t see that, they just want to know that those collections are there for the future,” Dr Collins told Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1.
“We’re going to entirely renovate and open up our west wing. It’s a beautiful building, we’re going to have new exhibitions space, a new cafe, a new retail space and a new seminar room.”
Dr Collins said the library would be ‘business as usual’ during the renovations.
The plans for the redevelopment were unveiled by the Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys.
“The National Library currently holds a significant amount of its collection in an historic Victorian era building, which is badly in need of upgrading and modernisation,” she said.
“Appropriately, this investment programme is called ‘Reimagining the National Library’, and will help transform the library into a worldclass facility for the storage and display of our national collection, as well as enabling the library to develop its capacity as a centre for research, culture, learning and tourism.
“The quality of our cultural facilities demonstrates in a very tangible way where our societal priorities lie and are crucial in terms of ensuring Ireland is an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest and I am currently developing a capital investment programme for the culture and heritage sector as committed to under the Creative Ireland Programme.”
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