Burns to Share Resources with Famed Belfast Library

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

The Boston College Libraries have struck a resource-sharing partnership with the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that will create between them the largest repository of Irish publications in the world.

Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci joined University President William P. Leahy, SJ, in witnessing the signing of the agreement in Belfast on June 22.

"Boston College continues to build cultural and educational bridges across the Atlantic," said Cellucci. "Given their mutual interests and long-term ties, it seems only fitting that these major research libraries enter into a formal arrangement to share resources, enhance access to each other's collections and promote knowledge and understanding."

The agreement between the libraries will permit shared access to collections and enable students from Massachusetts and Ulster to tap the diverse resources of each library.

"This is the first such agreement between the Boston College Libraries and any library on the island," said Burns Librarian Robert O'Neill. "It is certainly one of the fruits of developing contacts over the years."

The Linen Hall Library is a major independent subscribing research library known for its extensive holdings on Northern Irish politics. The library maintains large collections in all areas of Irish interest, including travel, heraldry, poetry, theater and genealogy. Founded in 1788 as the Belfast Reading Society, Linen Hall is the last surviving subscribing library in the country.

The Burns Library, with more than 150,000 volumes and 15 million manuscripts, houses the premier collection of Irish research materials in the United States. Its Irish Collection documents the history, life and culture of the Irish people, with emphasis on the period from 1798 to the present, and with particularly strong holdings in the areas of Irish history, religion and politics.

"It is particularly appropriate that the Linen Hall, Belfast's oldest library, with its early Ulster printing and Northern Ireland political collection - the definitive archive of the recent Troubles - should develop such a relationship with the Boston College Libraries," said Linen Hall Library Director John Gray.

Return to July 22 menu

Return to Chronicle home page