Dublin’s most famous library on the planet will soon close its doors for refurbishment. A delicate task, as the 750,000 works had to be moved with the utmost care, especially the fragile masterpieces of the Middle Ages.
There are no cranes or bulldozers in front of Trinity College University in Dublin (Ireland). The renovation of the 430-year-old world’s oldest library is underway in silence. The task is huge. To freshen up, all structures must be temporarily removed and the path cleared. “There are about 250,000 books in this room, and 750,000 in the entire library.”, says Helen Shenton, librarian and archivist at Trinity College Dublin. Among the most precious works, we find especially the 3,000-year-old Egyptian papyri and the largest collection of medieval manuscripts.
The library’s most popular gem The Book of Kells, a ninth-century Irish manuscript, a masterpiece of Christian art. The dilapidated and poorly insulated building does not adequately protect its treasures. Thousands of white bandages mark sick books. The forested library should restore the role of the cocoon. “We need to improve storage conditions, temperature and humidity, strengthen fire protection”, explains Susan Bioletti, curator at Trinity College Dublin. All books will be available to the public during business hours.