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National Library at 'critical point' due to funding cuts putting collections at risk

Visitor numbers to the NLI are up 42% on last year.

The National Library of Ireland
The National Library of Ireland
Image: Flickr

THE DIRECTOR OF the National Library of Ireland (NLI) has said that continuing funding cuts is putting the collections and services at risk.

Speaking at the launch of the annual report yesterday, Catherine Fahy said the NLI are facing “huge challenges”. She said “it is of considerable concern that since 2008, we have suffered from year-on-year funding cutbacks, and now receive 44 per cent less funding than we did five years ago”.

Squeezed from all sides

She said coupled with decreasing numbers of staff and increasing demand for services, the NLI is “being squeezed from all sides”. However she said staff work tirelessly to maintain the services, adding: “We are at a critical point.”

On a positive note, Fahy said that the NLI is achieving good results with visitor numbers up 42% on the previous year, meaning over 250,000 people visited the library last year.

There has been an 85% increase in visitor numbers since 2009.

A total of 16,000 books, newspapers and periodicals were bought or received under legal deposit, including rare items and newly published material.

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Sixty collections of manuscripts, prints and drawings, and photographs were purchased last year, and 281 collections were donated.

The NLI’s website also continues to grow its presence with 7.3 million interactions.

Also speaking at the launch, Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said;

The NLI has weathered considerable funding cuts in recent years with a determination to continue providing high quality exhibitions, free of charge, to the public. The Government’s efforts to put the country back on a solid financial footing will benefit not just the economy, but institutions like the NLI, which play such an important role in preserving our culture and heritage.

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