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Minister Humphreys announces details of a major redevelopment programme for the National Library of Ireland

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., in conjunction with the National Library of Ireland, today (Wednesday) has unveiled the plans for a major €10m capital investment plan for the National Library of Ireland's historic Kildare Street premises. The investment will be delivered as a phased programme of works in partnership with the Office of Public Works.

The redevelopment will address the following key areas for the NLI:
· Refurbishment of the 1890s building to meet modern standards for universal access, fire prevention, health and safety, circulation, security, mechanical and electrical services, and environmental sustainability;
· Upgrading and enhancement of visitor and reader facilities;
· Upgrading the conditions in which heritage collections are kept;
· Improvement of both access and security;
· Upgrading and rationalisation of operational areas; and
· Provision of better linkages throughout the Library’s extended buildings complex.

Making the announcement Minister Humphreys said:

"The National Library currently holds a significant amount of its collection in an historic Victorian era building, which is badly in need of upgrading and modernisation. I was therefore delighted in October 2015 to allocate €10m in funding to invest in this vital cultural institution. I am very excited today to be in a position to unveil the plans for the development which will see the first major investment in the historic wing of the Kildare Street building since the 1890s".

“Appropriately this investment programme is called "Reimagining the National Library", and will help transform the Library into a world class facility for the storage and display of our national collection, as well as enabling the Library to develop its capacity as a centre for research, culture, learning and tourism".

"The redevelopment is another significant investment by this Government in our National Cultural Institutions, following the opening in June of the magnificently restored historic wings at the National Gallery. Substantial upgrades are also getting underway at the National Concert Hall and the National Archives".

"The quality of our cultural facilities demonstrates in a very tangible way where our societal priorities lie and are crucial in terms of ensuring that Ireland is an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest and I am currently developing a capital investment programme for the culture and heritage sector as committed to under the Creative Ireland Programme".

The Department, the National Library and the OPW have been working on an investment plan since the Minister announced the grant of €10m to upgrade the National Library's Kildare Street premises in October 2015. Plans have now been finalised and the first phase of works will get underway shortly.

Notes to Editors:

The NLI building, which dates from the 1890s, has a long frontage on Kildare Street adjacent to Leinster House. The space in need of redevelopment in the historic building is substantial, approximately 3,000 square metres.

The 1890s storage area facing onto Kildare Street will be assessed for a phased redevelopment to open up the collections to public view in new and innovative ways. Other possibilities to be evaluated include developing innovative methods to feature the Library’s heritage collections and ways to make visitor attractions, such as exhibitions, accessible from the street.

The redevelopment is also planned to increase seating and circulation capacity for researchers and visitors and to provide enhanced access for readers to its major Irish studies collections. Modern information and learning practices will be accommodated by providing meeting rooms and project spaces for use by groups of researchers and project workers.