The Clean Sweep – It’s the Final Countdown!

October 6, 2011 · 1 comment

in Collections,Conservation,Projects,Rare books

Opera Philosophica by René Descartes, 1664  (J 1941)

Opera Philosophica by René Descartes, 1664 (J 1941)

by Nikki Ralston, Conservation

Back in July 2011, I posted a short blog introducing The Clean Sweep, a preservation project aiming to clean and box our rare book collections. We have now started the final phase of the project, which will run to the end of 2011, and I thought that readers might be interested in our progress to date.

The Clean Sweep built upon ongoing boxing programmes and a pilot project carried out over 9 weeks between November 2010 and February 2011, during which 9,449 items from our LO and Dix collections were treated. During the 12 weeks of The Clean Sweep, 12,274 volumes were cleaned, measured and surveyed. The Rare Book Team completed work on the Dix collection, worked through the entire Thom collection and started on our largest rare book collection: the Joly Library.

We’re now in the home straight, but this is likely to be more of a marathon than a sprint to the finish line. Our target is 12,878 volumes. This would see work completed on the Joly Library, which holds a special place in the National Library’s affections, as it is one of our founding collections. Many readers will be aware that Dr. Jaspar Robert Joly, donated his collection to the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) in 1863 with the proviso that:

 “if … a public library should be established in Dublin under the authority of Parliament … analogous to the library of the British Museum in London … it shall be lawful for the said Society to transfer the collection to the trustees of such public library”.

The Whisky Demon or The Dream of the Reveller by Charles Mackay; Illustrated by Watts Phillips; 1860.  (J 1781)

The Whisky Demon or The Dream of the Reveller by Charles Mackay; Illustrated by Watts Phillips; 1860. (J 1781)

This came to pass with the establishment of the National Library of Ireland in 1877. Dr Joly’s astute eye and varied interests are revealed in his collection which extended beyond books to encompass pamphlets, maps, music, portraits, topographical prints and drawings, and some important manuscripts. It is a genuine pleasure and privilege to work with this collection. During the coming weeks we will attempt to highlight its diversity through blog posts, slideshows and a rolling display of items in The Clean Sweep’s home, The Trustees’ Room, just to the left of the Main Hall.

An Academy for Grown Horsemen by Geoffrey Gambado, 1812.  (J 397)

An Academy for Grown Horsemen by Geoffrey Gambado, 1812. (J 397)

We’ll be open to the public from 2-3pm Monday to Friday. In response to the enthusiasm of previous visitors, we will be offering regular tours of the project, the first of which is scheduled for 10am on Tuesday 18 October. Places are limited to 10 per tour and booking is essential, so if you’d like to join us please contact learning@nli.ie or (01) 603 0346.

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Susan Mc Keon October 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Congratulations on a marathon with the Clean Sweep Project. Its wonderful to have access to this project by the public.

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