Face coverings made mandatory for library use and Books of Kells tours

The Library will provide masks to students who forget to bring a face covering in “emergency” situations

College has announced that face coverings are now mandatory for students using the Library, as well as for tourists visiting the Book of Kells. 

Students using the Library will be reminded by signs and staff to wear a face covering.

Similarly, security guards at Nassau Street have been guided to ensure that ticketholders for the Book of Kells exhibition have brought a face covering.

Speaking to Trinity News this evening, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Eoin Hand stated: “Face masks are now mandatory in the library at all times with signage and verbal reminders from the library staff.”

“All desks have been calculated at a 2m distance to ensure there is, following strict government guidelines, a safe distance between each and every library user,” Hand continued. 

“In emergencies, the library will provide masks for those who have forgotten to ensure no one is denied access to this vital working space.”

Responding to the decision on Twitter this evening, TCDSU stated: “We are delighted to hear that face coverings are now mandatory in the library. TCDSU are working with College to ensure that welfare is put first throughout the coming months.”

The tweet continued: “This is a step in the right direction towards a safe college experience this year.”

The Library began its fifth stage of reopening today, with the Early Printed Books and Manuscripts & Archives departments opening a joint Research Collections reading room as part of the resumption. 

The John Stearne Medical Library at St James Hospital was opened today, joining the Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher and Hamilton Libraries, which have been opened since 20 July. 

In a press release this evening, College confirmed that “following recent changes in  Government Guidelines on Covid-19 announced on Friday evening 7 August 2020, face coverings will now be mandatory within all Library areas”.

Face masks are compulsory for visitors to the Book of Kells and Long Room exhibition, who will not be admitted to the exhibitions without a face covering, with the exception of children under 13 and those with special needs. 

College has announced several safety precautions for tourists who visit the exhibition previously, including no walk-up ticket purchases and a maximum of 25 people per half hour. 

Confirming the move to make masks mandatory for visitors, Hand explained: “All tourists are now being made to wear face covering as well. Tourists will be denied access if they do not have a mask or if they refuse to comply with the regulations.” 

“A security guard at Nassau Street entrance will scan the tickets, check to ensure they have a face mask, then an attendant at the south entrance of the library will scan the ticket again,” Hand added. 

“Those who refuse to comply will be denied access.”

Currently, 153 people have booked to visit the exhibitions this week and 24 have booked so far for the following week.

College officials also claimed that they will not be “marketing to international visitors”. 

Instead, they will be directing “all soft marketing” to a domestic audience, in the interest of safety.

College did not say whether they would be requesting proof of quarantine or self isolation from isolated visitors visiting the exhibitions.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.