Newswire » Culture, Useful Info » NIVAL – A Haven for Art Lovers and Artists

NIVAL – A Haven for Art Lovers and Artists

NCAD Library

NIVAL – A Haven for Art Lovers and Artists

The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) is located on busy Thomas Street and is home to art students both national and international. Of course, when you are at college the library becomes your best friend and thankfully NCAD has one of the finest archived libraries in the country called NIVAL. It has been in use since 1997, but was developed since the 1970’s to satisfy the growing need for researchers interested in Irish visual arts. The library is primarily for research and if you are looking for information on Irish art and design this is the place to come. Archives date back to the 1900’s and material not to be found in any other library or facility can be found here. NIVAL’s main purpose is to record and document as much of 20th and 21st century Irish art and design.

There are collections that include monographs, exhibition catalogues, price lists, brochures, press releases and newspaper reviews, as well as subscribed journals that are back dated. The library is situated close to the main entrance on your right hand side. It is a completely different world on campus than the one just outside its gates, where the traffic and the hustle and bustle of Thomas Street are always in flow. The campus is decorated with lovely greenery and art-murals. Even though it is mostly brick and mortar, tranquillity greets you upon arrival.

The library is open to the public and a wide range of researchers, authors of books and articles, art and design practitioners, scholars and lecturers, as well as the general public visit here throughout the year. Katie Blackwood, who works as a librarian at NIVAL says: “NIVAL is open to the public so anybody can come in and request to view any of our collections. NCAD students often use NIVAL in researching essays and their thesis.”

The library is there to help anyone who has an interest in art. Getting your hands on information regarding collections is not hard at all. Material is only available on request and can’t be borrowed as it is mainly for reference, but it is absolutely free and no membership is needed. If you intend to view any of the special collections, first, you need to make an appointment. Inside the library, you will find every kind of aid to help your research. The library is equipped with study tables, Wi-Fi access, black and white photocopying and colour scanning to USB and much more.

Many of the materials in the library have been donated by individuals and arts organisations. “The Healy diary is part of a larger collection of Tur Gloine stained glass artists that was recently donated to NIVAL by Dr. David Caron. It was part of his research material for his PhD. I think he chose to donate it to NIVAL because it will be stored safely, preserved and made accessible to the public. KDW was donated to NIVAL in 2005 by Crafts Council of Ireland. I’d say they chose NIVAL for the same reason. They knew the collection will be safe and accessible,” Katie says about two of their more famous collections, the Kilkenny Workshops and Design Collection and the Healy Collection.

Both these were recently added to the Digital Repository of Ireland. “NIVAL plans to add more collections to the Digital Repository of Ireland but no decisions have been made yet. NIVAL staff digitised both the KDW and Healy collections. The objects (photograph, slide or pieces of paper) are scanned and digital files are then made. The KDW was a big job and it took one person a few months to scan everything. There was also a lot of preparatory work done beforehand to select the images and to arrange and catalogue the collection. The Michael Healy diary was a smaller project but it still took time. We worked in conjunction with the DRI on this project.”

The NIVAL Special Collections have a large database and some of the collections listed in the archive include: The National College of Art & Design (NCAD) Records (1997), The Evie Hone Collection (1997), The Posters Collection (1997), the Jan de Fouw Collection (1998), The Sybil Connolly Collection (1999), The Irish Trade Board (1999), Mia Cranwill Collection (2000), The Kilkenny Design Workshops Archive (2001), The Society of Designers Ireland Records (2007-2008),  The Rosc ’71 Collection (2005-2010) and the more recent HIBERNIA (2011) collection.

Collections can also be found online if you cannot manage the time to get to the campus. Collections online include The Irish Exhibition of Living Art (IELA), The Egan Gallery, The Friends of the National Collections, Earley & Company, The NIVAL collection of Artists Books, The College Student Registers, The collection of posters at NIVAL, The Irish Patchwork Society and Michael Healy (1873-1941) and many others.

The best way to see if you can find what you looking for is to go to NIVAL’s online site or get to the library itself, it is easy to follow and easy to use. NIVAL is a library for art and design subjects. Areas covered in the archives include: Arts Funding, Arts Organisations, Auctions, Collections, Community Art, Irish Art Abroad, International Art, Public Art and Sculpture. Other areas covered in the design archives are: Fashion, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Ceramics, Furniture, Glass and Metals.

It is an extensive archive with more than 10,000 solo and group exhibitions from the period 1900 to the present and more than 1200 files containing catalogues, press material and ephemera on Irish group exhibitions and exhibitions by non-Irish artists. There are also more than 3000 books and catalogues and approximately 100 journals. In 1997, NIVAL was formally established as a partnership project between the National College of Art and Design and the Arts Council.  Since then, the collection of material has grown exponentially and has developed into a research resource of national importance.


Opening hours of the library works as follows:

October – April

Monday: By appointment only – 10:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday: 10:00am– 5:00pm

Friday: CLOSED


May – June

Monday: By appointment only – 10:00pm – 5:00pm

Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday: 10:00am– 5:00pm

Friday: CLOSED


July – September

Monday: By appointment only – 10:00am – 4:00pm

Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Friday: CLOSED

#hashtags logo Hashtags: ,

Leave a Reply

© 1991-2014 Fountain Resource Group Ltd. · Registered Company Number: 193051C · RSS · Website designed by Solid Website Design