Consortium of National and University Libraries

Unique and Distinct Collections Group


  • The purpose of the group is to support the strategic objectives of CONUL by providing expert input on all aspects of Unique and Distinct Collections in CONUL Libraries
  • The group will focus on the promotion and visibility of Unique and Distinct Collections including Archive Collections, for research and public engagement
  • Communicate best practice for storage, management and preservation of Unique and Distinct Collections
  • Foster new partnerships with national and international bodies with common interests
  • Explore and identify other special collections, archives, and resources in Ireland of value to CONUL


CONUL Treasures: this online exhibition presents just a sample of the incredible variety of unique and distinct collections within the CONUL Libraries. Visit the Online Exhibition.

Action Plan 2017 – 2020:

  • Review the results of the Survey of Unique and Distinct Collections 2014-2016 for promotional activities and planning of collaborative projects
  • Review and define ‘Hidden Collections’ within Unique and Distinct Collections and options for accessibility
  • Define storage requirements for the preservation of Unique and Distinct Collections
  • Review Collection Development Policies of CONUL’s Unique and Distinct Collections to explore opportunities for the collaborative approach to collecting the Comprehensive record of Ireland’s memory

Membership 2017 – 2020: includes Representatives of 13 CONUL Libraries as follows:

Chair: Laura Shanahan (TCD)

Deputy Chair: Elaine Harrington (UCC)

Secretary: Kieran Hoare (NUIG)

Communications Officer: Karen de Lacey (RIA)

Members: Liam O’Dwyer (DCU), Catherine Cooke (TU Dublin), Barbara McCormack (MU), Colette O’Flaherty (NLI), Deidre Wildy/ Louisa Costelloe (QUB), Mary O’Doherty (RCSI), Sarah Poutch (UCD), Ken Bergin (UL), Frank Reynolds (UU)



  • The group will exist for a three-year term with allowances to ensure continuity
  • Meetings will be quarterly on average
  • Meetings venues will rotate


  • Minutes will be kept as meeting records to be archived at the end of term
  • Reporting will be to CONUL Board as required
  • An Annual report will be provided each year
  • The webpage will be kept up-to-date
  • Social media will be used to dissemination the work of the group