The National Library of Ireland has unveiled the plans for a major €10m capital investment plan for the National Library of Ireland's main building on Kildare Street. The investment will be delivered as a phased programme of works in partnership with the Office of Public Works and funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The project, ‘Reimagining the National Library', 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. The redevelopment will address the following key areas for the NLI:
Refurbishment of the 1890s building to meet modern standards for universal access, fire prevention, health and safety, circulation, security, mechanical and electrical services, and environmental sustainability;
Upgrading and enhancement of visitor and reader facilities;
Upgrading the conditions in which heritage collections are kept;
Improvement of both access and security;
Upgrading and rationalisation of operational areas; and
Provision of better linkages throughout the Library's extended buildings complex.
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.
"At the same time, many of the collections held by the National Library have been digitised, and significant digitisation will continue throughout the refurbishment. Online access to collections will continue to be enhanced during the works."
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