Trinity College Trust has donated €1 million to the Old Library Restoration fund.
The TCD Association and Trust, a voluntary committee made up of Trinity graduates, announced this contribution during a reception celebrating the Trust’s existing contributions to the Old Library Restoration fund. This is the single largest donation the Trust has made in its history.
College has discussed ongoing projects to preserve the Old Library since 2004, and announced a major overhaul of the building in 2019.
Renovations are due to begin in late 2023, and are expected to take five years. Renovations are expected to cost €90 million. Heneghan Peng Architects, who previously renovated the National Gallery, will undertake restorations.
The Trust has previously donated to the Old Library Restoration fund. In May, the government donated €25 million to the fund. In September 2021, the Prince of Monaco visited the Old Library and donated €1 million to the fund.
The restoration project will involve the removal of 750,000 books, some printed on silk and vellum, for cleaning and repair to ensure their preservation. The Old Library’s collection of books have been in the possession of College for over 400 years.
The Book of Kells, housed in the Old Library, will be moved in late 2023 to the newly-renovated Printing House Square and remain there for the duration of restorations to the Old Library.
According to College, the Old Library is being renovated due to “ significant conservation and environmental challenges” and “external pollution and dust accumulation” affecting the quality and preservation of the Library’s collection. The renovations will introduce new fire safety measures and environmental controls.
A new Research Collections Study Centre will be established during renovations, allowing scholars to access the Library’s collections. A Virtual Trinity Library is also planned which will provide digital access to the collections.
The visitor entrance to the Old Library will be relocated from Fellows’ Square to Berkeley Podium, adjacent to the Berkeley Library entrance. The current retail facility will also be relocated to the Berkeley Podium.