The Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library Project
For many decades, the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library collection was stored in unsuitable conditions. Cramped shelves and an environment susceptible to fluctuations of temperature and humidity caused deterioration in the books and left them difficult to handle without incurring further damage.
The Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Heritage Council and private donors, enabled crucial preservation and conservation of our historically significant collection to be carried out by book conservators.
'Congratulations on completing a successful Heritage Lottery Fund Project'
In a letter dated 29th November 2012 from Angela Lavin, Senior Grants Officer in the Heritage Lottery Fund Office, Belfast, it was noted that the records relating to the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library Project would be closed on 28th December 2012 and the project recorded as successful and complete. An outline of the main aspects of the Library Project can be viewed below.
Alongside the preservation and conservation aspects of the project, there was also a programme of Learning and Outreach activities which engaged with schools, community groups, Derry City Council, academics and the public to promote our unique collection.
A team was appointed to undertake the conservation work and learning and outreach activities. The conservation studio was based in Shantallow Library in Derry where one Senior Conservator and three Conservation Assistants all worked on the preservation and conservation of the collection. In addition, one funded internship student and one voluntary internship student also undertook conservation training.
The conservators worked alongside colleagues from University of Ulster who brought the collection alive and made it accessible through a programme of exhibitions and educational visits.
The Project’s lead funder, the Heritage Lottery Fund, awarded a grant of £500,500. Generous donations were also received from the Heritage Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Inner City Trust, the Honourable The Irish Society and a number of businesses and generous individuals. The full list of donors can be viewed on the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library Roll of Honour.
The conservation work on the collection was carried out according to the principle of minimum intervention, reflecting current best practice, which aims to stabilise the book while still maintaining its uniqueness as an historical artefact.
The Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library Project Blog began in September 2010 and ended with the project in June 2012. The blog details some of the conservation work carried out on the collection as well as providing an insight into the wider professional interests of team members.