The National Collection of Children's Books (NCCB) was a two-year interdisciplinary and inter-institutional project (Trinity College Dublin and Church of Ireland College of Education), funded by the Irish Research Council, examining children's books held in five libraries: Trinity College Library; Church of Ireland College of Education Library; Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street; the National Library of Ireland; and Cregan Library, St Patrick's College, Drumcondra (DCU). It is hoped that the NCCB project is the first step towards a more comprehensive detailing of collections of children's books in libraries throughout Ireland. The project began in December 2013 and ended in December 2015.
The project was led by Dr Keith O'Sullivan (Church of Ireland College of Education) and Dr Pádraic Whyte (School of English, Trinity College Dublin).
The collections examined include the Kildare Place Society archives, as well as the Bartlett-Puffin collection in Church of Ireland College of Education Library; the more than 10,000 items from the seventeenth century to the early twentieth century in Trinity College Library's Pollard Collection of Children's Books; an extensive children's book collection, containing texts from the eighteenth century onwards in Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street; a comprehensive range of texts of Irish interest in the National Library of Ireland; and the Junior Special Collection, Patricia Lynch and Padraic Colum collections in Cregan Library, St Patrick's College, Drumcondra (DCU).The NCCB catalogue includes books from named collections as well as children's books found in the host institution's general catalogue.
Using the Website
The NCCB website has two main functions:
A centralised catalogue of children's books collections in the five aforementioned libraries, allows users to search for items across the five libraries. The main catalogue of records includes all titles in over 90 languages, including English, Irish, French, German, Italian, Latin, Ancient Greek, Spanish, as well as other European languages. It is hoped that the project will contribute to the continuing development of the strong Irish profile in children's literature research by providing a centralised online platform that will attract both national and international scholars and encourage new research in the area.
There is also an additional database section that highlights a significant number of texts of interest from these libraries and provides further detailed descriptions of, and images from, these texts. The additional database focuses on English-language texts of interest to the NCCB's English literature scholars. However, it is hoped the database will encourage other language and literature scholars to explore the main catalogue and, if they so desire, develop the database further.
As the research team was led by English literature scholars and educationalists at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, and the Church of Ireland College of Education, the project focused on literary and educational texts, paying particular attention to texts of Irish interest or with a connection to Ireland, as well as the predominant genres and forms present in the collections, illustrations, authors of note, editions of interest, and books explicitly targeting boy or girl readers.
The research team comprised two principal investigators Dr Pádraic Whyte (TCD) and Dr Keith O'Sullivan (CICE); two postdoctoral researchers, Dr Ciara Boylan and Dr Ciara Gallagher; and, a research assistant/catalogue developer, Mr Paolo Defant.
Pádraic Whyte is assistant professor of English and co-director of the master's programme in children's literature at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. He is author of Irish Childhoods: Children's Fiction and Irish History (Cambridge Scholars, 2011) and co-editor of Children's Literature and New York City (Routledge, 2014). Forthcoming publications include a co-edited volume Children's Literature Collections: A Model for Research (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and 'Children's Literature' in Liam Harte (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Fiction (Oxford University Press, 2016). In 2012, he delivered the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Lecture on American Children's Literature at Yale University.
Keith O'Sullivan is head of English at the Church of Ireland College of Education, Dublin. He co-edited Children's Literature and New York City (Routledge, 2014) and Irish Children's Literature and Culture: New Perspectives on Contemporary Writing (Routledge, 2011). Forthcoming publications include a co-edited volume Children's Literature Collections: A Model for Research (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and an essay on The Hunger Games in Stephen Matterson and Bernice Murphy (eds.), 21st Century Popular Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). In 2012, he was the recipient of an inaugural David Almond Fellowship for Research in Children's Literature at Newcastle University and Seven Stories.
Ciara Boylan was a postdoctoral research fellow, focusing on educational texts, on the National Collection of Children's Books project. She completed her doctorate in modern Irish history at the University of Oxford. She has published on the nineteenth-century Irish education system, twentieth-century educational publishing and the Great Famine. Her research interests include the history of education and educational publishing, the history of children and childhood, and nineteenth-century Irish reform politics and social history.
Ciara Gallagher was a postdoctoral research fellow, focusing on literary texts, on the National Collection of Children's Books project. She received her PhD in English from Maynooth University and has taught at Maynooth University, University College Dublin, and Trinity College Dublin. Research interests include colonial and postcolonial children's literature, nineteenth- and twentieth-century Irish children's literature, as well as contemporary Indian children's literature. She has published on Salman Rushdie's children's literature and nineteenth-century Irish-American children's books.
Paolo Defant was a research assistant and catalogue developer on the National Collection of Children's Books project. He coordinated the development of the catalogue, completed the migration of bibliographic records and curated the cataloguing standards on the NCCB project. He is a graduate of the Masters in Library and Information Studies at University College Dublin. Prior to the National Collection of Children's Book, he worked in the Art Library and Special Collections of the National Gallery of Ireland and has delivered library projects in Marsh's Library, the Latin American Solidarity Centre and the Children's Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin.
The Irish language entries to the database were coordinated by Dr Claire M. Dunne, Rannóg na Gaeilge, Marino Institute of Education, Dublin.