Sometime in 1969, Jimmy Vitty, then Librarian of the Linen Hall Library, was handed a civil rights leaflet in a Belfast city centre bar. He kept it. Since then the Library has sought to collect all printed material relating to the ‘Troubles’. In the intervening three decades, we have amassed over a quarter of a million items.
The Northern Ireland Political Collection (NIPC) is a unique resource. No other institution in a localised conflict has systematically collected material from all sides. Much less has it been done in the field, and often literally across the barricades. – Linenhall Library
Yesterday in Belfast’s Linenhall Library, the digitised version of the the Northern Ireland Political Collection was launched. Initially the digitisation project started back in 2014 at a cost of around £500,000.00. Now users of the library can access the extensive catalogue with over 300,000 items via iPads and online but more importantly people all over the world can view the collection as well.
This was a fairly hectic shoot as there was an amazing turn out from the invited public and the media as well. The presentation area in the library wasn’t massive so once everyone was in it was quite a tight squeeze! The political collection in the library is famous enough by itself but when you add legendary journalist Kate Adie OBE to the mix as guest speaker the event became even more special.
After the initial frenzy from the media at the start of the event everything settled down into the speeches. After a short introduction from library director Julie Andrews, Kate Adie OBE took to the stage and talked for about 30 minutes and shared her experiences on conflict and how they related to the new digitised political collection.
You can access the divided society content here – Divided Society