Trinity Library getting its technological groove on

12 Oct 2015

Trinity Long Room Library

Trinity Library, the largest of its kind in the country, is going technological after a five-year strategic plan on its future was published.

With more than 6m printed volumes, 750,000 visitors a year and the Book of Kells in its armoury, Trinity Library’s new plan will see the development of “21st-century physical and virtual exhibitions”.

Access to digital content will be “accelerated” and the library will “enhance search tools” and expand online learning initiatives.

Other plans include a longitudinal study of digital and physical visits as well as a funky sounding heat-mapping survey of how people use the library’s collections.

“Trinity has a tradition of innovation – it was the first library in Ireland to automate its catalogue, was the first to integrate conservation, was a pioneer in devising an exhibition around a single item,” said Trinity librarian Helen Shenton.

“So now, in that Trinity tradition, we must innovate — in both the virtual and physical realms — to create the library that ensures our multiple communities progress and flourish.”

Interestingly, plans include improving the Book of Kells exhibition, one of the biggest tourist draws in the country.

It’s a tricky time for libraries that, traditionally at least, counted their value in what they tangibly had to offer. The dawn of the digital age means libraries like Trinity’s, or indeed any other, must provide for a far more transient audience.

“Making material available is in the very DNA of libraries. However, libraries are undergoing massive shifts in how they operate,” said Shenton.

The plan, which runs until 2020, comes on the back of seven requirements it has set itself, across moral, intellectual, cultural, social, statutory, financial and professional lines.

Interestingly, the financial requisite is that Trinity has a “responsibility to contribute to the knowledge economy, nationally and globally”.

“Our vision is for Trinity Library to be the physical and virtual ‘go-to’ place to learn, to research, to study unique collections and showcase the impact of Trinity’s research to the world,” said Shenton.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic