A new chapter has opened in collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast, University of Ulster, and Armagh Public Library. Representatives of each institution met in Armagh on Thursday 29 August to sign Memoranda of Understanding which formalise the existing relationships between the three institutions.
Archbishop Richard Clarke signed each memorandum as Chairman of the Governors and Guardians of Armagh Public Library. Professor James McElnay, Acting Vice-Chancellor, signed the memorandum for Queen’s University Belfast. Professor Anne Moran, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Educational Partnerships & International Affairs) signed for the University of Ulster.
The aim of this collaboration is to support academic research, by encouraging access by researchers to the scholarly resources of all three institutions; facilitating the exchange of ideas and expertise between researchers; and providing a framework for the development of collaborative research proposals, including joint or collaborative applications for research funding.
Members of the Library’s Governors and Guardians and of the Library Advisory Group joined the university representatives for the signing event, which was held in the Long Room of Armagh Public Library.
Speaking on behalf of Queen’s, Professor McElnay said, “Queen’s University and Armagh Public Library share a proud heritage of researching and chronicling the intellectual, social and cultural life of Northern Ireland. In addition to signalling an increase in the levels of collaboration and knowledge sharing within our existing research community, today’s announcement also means a new generation of postgraduate students will want to come to Armagh Public Library, attracted by the wealth of rare and valuable resources on offer.”
Professor Moran said, “This agreement between the University of Ulster and Armagh Public Library represents an exciting development for researchers based at the two institutions. Having taken custodial care of the Derry & Raphoe Diocesan Library, the University now looks forward to fruitful cooperative research with the historic Armagh Public Library, not only in terms of research in the area of church history, but the local, national, social and cultural history of this island.”
The Archbishop said, “Archbishop Richard Robinson had a vision for a university in Armagh, of which the Public Library, the Infirmary and the Observatory would all have been part. Historically, this has not proved to be possible. This new collaboration, however, strengthens the Library’s links with Northern Ireland’s two premier academic institutions, in a way of which he would surely have approved.”