UCD appoints Dr Sandra Collins as Librarian

Posted 20 December 2021

Dr Sandra Collins has been appointed Librarian to University College Dublin, taking up the role in March 2022.

Currently the Director of the National Library of Ireland (NLI), Dr Collins career spans 25 years in senior library, research and innovation roles across academic, industry and public sector organisations.

During her term as NLI Director, a position she has held since 2015, Dr Collins initiated a major capital development project to renovate the main library building on Kildare Street.

She oversaw the acquisition of a number of world-class collections of papers and born-digital archives.

She also instigated major digital collecting initiatives including over 300,000 Irish websites and the cataloguing/digitising of historical papers related to the Decade of Centenaries.

Among her ambitious outreach projects is the 'Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again' at the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre, and the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), in partnership with UCD at Newman House.

“Twenty-five years ago, I completed my PhD in UCD, and I am delighted now to be returning to the University where I learnt so much, and I relish the prospect of working with the global community of students and staff in the university,” Dr Collins said.

“During my time as Director of the National Library of Ireland, a particular highlight was the partnership project with UCD to create the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI). Alongside this landmark collaboration, it was my privilege to lead the organisation through a particularly successful strategy period.

“It was an incredible honour to serve as Director of the NLI, during seven happy, fulfilling and inspiring years, and I look forward to all the possibilities of the next chapter working with the exceptional team at the UCD Library.”

Announcing the appointment, Professor Mark Rogers, Registrar and Deputy President of UCD said he was “delighted to welcome Dr Sandra Collins to UCD as Librarian”.

“She joins us at a crucial stage as we seek to maximise digital technology in our teaching and learning and our research as well as preserving and promoting the cultural heritage collections that are under our guardianship.

“The breadth of her experience and expertise spans science and the humanities. She has demonstrated her multidisciplinary capability throughout her career. She has shown ambitious vision as well as a capacity to operationalise major projects and will bring these skills to her new role here with us in UCD.

Adding: “A modern library is so much more than shelves of books and databases of journals. Dr Collins joins a dedicated and dynamic team across our five libraries who provide guidance to our students, our faculty and our researchers.

“Just as important are the collection gems in our own archives, special collections, National Folklore Collection, Irish Poetry Reaching Archive, digital library and cultural heritage repositories and we plan to bring these to a new level of awareness here in Ireland and internationally.”

Dr Collins holds a PhD in nonlinear fluid dynamics from UCD. She was awarded the Conway Gold Medal for Mathematical Physics for first place in her undergraduate degree at UCD.

She is a member of the Irish Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations and the Advisory Forum to the Government’s National Conversation on Research.

She is also a board member of MoLI, the Chester Beatty Library, the Irish Manuscripts Commission, the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) and the Irish Consortium of National and University Libraries (CONUL).

Internationally she is a member of the Research Data Alliance Council and European Foundation Board, and the CENL Executive (the European Conference of National Libraries). She was the 2020 UCD Alumni awardee for Research, Innovation and Impact.

Prior to this, Dr Collins was the founding Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland in the Royal Irish Academy.

Previously she was Senior Programme Manage with Science Foundation Ireland with responsibility for Strategic Research Clusters with a total investment programme of €150 million.

She was a senior researcher and master engineer with Ericsson Telecommunications for ten years and lectured in mathematics, mechanics, fluid dynamics and financial mathematics at DCU for four years.

Her research and publications were in the areas of applied mathematics, specifically in nonlinear fluid dynamics, resonances, shock waves, numerical simulation and data modelling and analysis.

UCD Library consists of five libraries, and a number of cultural heritage repositories of national and international significance.

An inclusive space, UCD Library acts as a learning common, and is a community resource and hub.

The Library has over 1.7m visits per annum and the staff of 100 provide an extensive portfolio of services and collections for over 30,000 students and over 3,000 staff.

By: Staff Writers