The Pollard Collection at Trinity College Dublin is a collection of over 10,500 children’s books housed in the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections.
You can search through the catalogue here (it’s a little awkward as it is arranged by author surname and does not show if an author is using a pseudonym or if the book and it is hard to cross-reference the items) or you can search through the main catalogue of the TCD library and use an advanced search to narrow the parameters (choosing Early Printed Books as the location etc.)
Once you’ve decided what you want to look at, you must fill out a little green slip to order the books up to the EPB reading room. The books take about an hour and a half to get to you (allow a little extra time if you’ve ordered just before lunch). My advice is to fill out some slips and take yourself off for a cup of tea or a wander about Dublin city centre. Once you’ve dawdled around for a bit, it will be time to head up the Early Printed Books reading room.
The journey to the EPB reading room is a bit strange. You’ll feel like you’re lost. Really lost. From the foyer of the Berkeley Library you go down two flights of stairs, along a twisty corridor that looks like part of a Cold-War bunker, then finally you reach the end of the corridor and you take the spiral staircases up and up and you emerge high above the rest of the library in one of the loveliest reading rooms in the world…
OK – it’s not as impressive as TCD’s Long Room but it is bright and quiet and there are shelves of old books snoozing on your right and, on your left, windows looking out over the college parks and the beautiful Museum Building. Put your jacket and bags in one of the lockers, claim a desk and go fetch your books. The staff are absolutely lovely and will willingly help with any questions or problems you might have.
You will not have to wear gloves (readers wearing gloves can often damage books because they can’t really feel how delicate the pages are and besides, hands can be washed and dried as often as needs be but nobody is going to wash the gloves four or five times in an afternoon). But you can only use pencils! Or your laptop, of course. Digital photography (without flash) is permitted (you just have to fill in a little form to say what you are taking photos of).
I blogged about my visit to the Pollard Collection in April 2015 and now I’m counting the days until I can get back to play with it.
You can find out how to get a Visiting Reader’s pass here
And if you want to contact EPB before you visit call +353 1 8961172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org