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Half a million books to be moved and €10m spent to preserve National Library collections

Current storage conditions put some collections at fire risk.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

THERE ARE PLANS to spend €10 million and move over half a million books at the National Library of Ireland in order to preserve the State’s collections.

Arts Minister Heather Humphries announced the redevelopment which will also see the Library’s west wing made into a public space.

The money is being sent to ensure the protection of books in the Victorian-era segment of the Library where collections are currently kept in tight spaces and are exposed to potential fire risks, including uncovered wires.

Environment conditions such as dampness and dirt are harming the books, according to Dr Sandra Collins, director of the National Library, who also said she is delighted about the announcement.

Speaking at the launch today, Humphreys said, “This investment will help transform the Library into a world-class facility for the storage and display of some of our most important historical documents.”

She added that the redevelopment will “upgrade existing storage facilities” and “address fire safety concerns”, as well as improving visitor areas.

The project is in partnership with the National Library, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltach, and the Office of Public Works (OPW), and will see the introduction of a new exhibition area, lecture room, cafe and retail space over four years.

“It’s a big undertaking,” Dr Collins told TheJournal.ie.

For us in the library there is half a million books to take out of the space that we’ll be renovating, and that’s not a small job at all.

She added, “But we know it’s for the good of the collections and will give us another hundred years. This is an investment for the long-term future.”

She said that this means that “collections of greats like Yeats, Heaney and Joyce and the published legacy, really the story of Ireland – every book that has been published in the state – that these will be safe for generations to come”.

Named ‘Reimagining the National Library’ the project will take four years to complete.

The National Library will continue to be open throughout redevelopment with the Main and Manuscript Reading Rooms being closed every Monday from 14 August.

Read: The National Gallery of Ireland reopens its historic wings after multi-million revamp >

More: Painting of eyes of Irish writers and poets donated to National Library of Ireland >

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