Building Programme

Service changes to facilitate the NLI’s building programme

The National Library of Ireland is embarking on a redevelopment of its main building on Kildare Street, in partnership with the Office of Public Works (OPW) and funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The project will allow us to create suitable storage and preservation conditions for the national collections, which are otherwise at risk of deterioration. It will also deliver enhanced public spaces and services.
This is a four-year project, with multiple phases impacting different parts of our main building at different times. The initial stage of the development is the construction and filling of the first floor of a high-quality book store in the East Wing of the Library which will provide suitable storage conditions for the national Published Collections. Service changes are being introduced in order to deliver all the work associated with safely managing and moving the collections during this stage.

1. Will services be unavailable, and if so from when?

From 14 August 2017:

• The Main and Manuscripts Reading Rooms will be closed on Mondays only.
The reading rooms will continue to be open all day Tuesday – Friday (with late opening until 7.45pm on Tuesday and Wednesdays as normal) and on Saturday morning. All our digital services, including the online catalogue, will continue to be available 24/7.
• Access to the Prints & Drawings and Ephemera Collections will be online only.
The physical collections will be stored offsite for the duration of the project and physical access to the collections will not be possible. 17,000 images are currently online, with more being added.  We will continue to catalogue and digitise these collections on an ongoing basis, and requests for cataloguing and/or digitisation of particular collections by researchers should be directed to

2. Are these the only service changes?

We are preparing some of the books, periodicals and newspapers consulted in the main reading room to move to the new bookstore in the East Wing of the Library. We are checking volumes, resizing the collection to make the best use of storage space, enhancing catalogue records and carrying out cleaning. As we do this work you may find that a particular volume is temporarily unavailable when you request it. If this happens, reading room staff will facilitate you in whatever way they can.

3. Why have services been affected?

The project involves a great deal of work with the collections behind the scenes, and it requires the Monday closures to get this work done. We are taking this approach in order to ensure the long-term management and availability of the national collections. We hope that the inconvenience during the period of the project will be offset by the major and much-needed redevelopment of our main building, which should bring great benefits for the national collections and our users.

4. Will other services be affected?

All other services – the genealogy advisory service, the National Photographic archive, our exhibitions, tours and workshops, public events programme and café – are unaffected by these changes and operate as normal.

5. What improvements will there be for the National Library when this project is complete?

This project will provide suitable storage for the books, newspapers and periodicals currently consulted in the main reading room, moving them from the West Wing where they are currently at risk. It will also provide enhanced public spaces which 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.