College invites suggestions for new name for Berkeley Library

A newly-established working group are accepting “evidence-based” submissions on the name of the Library

College has invited suggestions of new names for the Berkeley Library, also known as the X Library.

A newly-established Legacies Review Working Group will review  “evidence-based” submissions from the public on the name of the library. Submissions will be accepted until 31 January 2023.

The Trinity Legacies Review Working Group, composed of representatives from the student body, unions and academics, will assess College’s historical legacies and make recommendations  to the relevant decision-making authorities within College.

The Trinity Colonial Legacies Project, established in 2021, has been examining College’s colonial legacies through research and engagement with public audiences. Slavery, statues, curriculum development, museum and library collections are all included in this project.

College have published a working paper by the Trinity Colonial Legacies Project on Berkeley’s Legacies at Trinity, detailing his “slave-owning activities and his ideological support for the slave system and settler colonialism” and the “memorialisation” of Berkeley by College. The working paper also compares College with other universities around the world addressing their colonial legacy. The Legacies Review Working Group is encouraging people to read the working paper before sending submissions on renaming the library.

The Legacies Review Working Group will also address the future of human remains that originated on Inishbofin and are now held in the Haddon-Dixon Collection in College. The bodies were removed by College students for research purposes without the islanders’ consent in 1890. One of the students who stole the bodies, Andrew Francis Dixon, later became the Professor of Anatomy at College.

College has published a working paper addressing the request of Inishbofin residents to bring the bodies back to the island for burial. The working group is accepting submissions on this issue until December 7.

Provost Linda Doyle praised the working group: “I am glad to see that this process is underway. The goal is to shed light, not heat, on these complex legacy issues. Key to this process are the evidence-based submissions, which are an important part of broadening our understanding of all the dimensions of these matters.”

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) were mandated to support the renaming of the library in February, following the passing of a motion at TCDSU Council. In August, TCDSU announced they would refer to the library as the X Library in all subsequent communications until the library was renamed. In September, TCDSU announced that they were engaging with the Senior Dean and College Board on renaming the library.

A petition to rename the library was launched by students in February and gained over 300 signatures.

In September, Trinity Ógra Shinn Féin launched a petition to rename the library to the Wolfe Tone Library, after the leader of the 1798 Rebellion, Theobald Wolfe Tone, who was a Trinity alumnus.

DU Gender Equality Society (DUGES) have also petitioned for the Library to be renamed the Wilde Library after writer and Trinity graduate Oscar Wilde.

Ellen Kenny

Ellen Kenny is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News and a Junior Sophister student of Politics and Sociology. She previously served as Features Editor