The project is called ‘Reimagining the National Library’. It will allow the NLI to create the storage and preservation conditions necessary to keep the national collections safe for the long-term. At the same time, the Library will benefit from enhanced public spaces and services.
Speaking at the announcement, Director of the NLI, Dr Sandra Collins said: “We are very excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine the National Library. 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.
The Library is also delighted that the redevelopment will deliver on our ambition to enhance our public spaces and services. The enhanced public spaces will enable new and continued engagement with the national collections, and universal access to our services. The renovated West Wing will include a new exhibition space, a new lecture room, a public lift to all floors and a new café and retail space.
The redevelopment of the National Library is a four-year project, with multiple phases impacting different parts of the main building at different times. We are working hard to make sure that the building works will have as little impact on our readers as possible, and the Library will remain open throughout the project duration.”
The budget for the redevelopment works at the NLI is €10 million and funding is provided by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD commented:
“The Creative Ireland Programme prioritises Government investment in our cultural institutions, so I am delighted today to be unveiling the plans for this major €10 million investment package in the National Library of Ireland. It is the most significant investment in the historic wing of the Kildare Street building since it was first opened in 1890.The redevelopment plan will not only refurbish the historic building and upgrade the storage facilities for our national collections, it will also completely transform the visitor experience at the National Library and will allow the NLI to develop further as a venue for research, culture, learning and tourism.”
Additional Coverage via The Irish Times:
While thankful of the major capital investment, Dr Collins said she hoped the continued improvement in economic circumstances will lead to the creation of new posts for the “understaffed” library.
“One of the big challenges for us is on the staffing side. The project is a capital investment. If we are to look across the sea at our neighbours in the national libraries of Wales or Scotland we can see that they have three times as many staff as us,” she said.
A major digitisation process of library materials will continue during the renovation, Dr Collins said.