19 May 2022

The Library Treasures Podcast

Guest post by Alexandra Caccamo and David Rinehart.


 In 2015, the Maynooth University Library’s Special Collections and Archives (SC&A) Department started the LibraryTreasures blog on WordPress. We have continued to publish a new blog every month detailing treasures found in our collections in both the Russell Library and the John Paul II Special Collections and Archives. It was with the shock of the pandemic and a quick pivot towards presenting our service virtually that we began to think about other ways to reach new and existing audiences.

Historically, SC&A departments tended to be thought of as exclusive spaces for distinguished researchers and academics. Further, in some cases, what makes these collections ‘special’ is their antiquity, making the use of technology seem like a contradiction or an anachronism. However, the ideologies, philosophies, and strategies that drive many libraries, which include Special Collections and Archives departments, recognize these collections as important objects, stories, and perspectives for our culture. This is history which belongs to everyone. Thus, there is a drive to make these collections more discoverable and easier to access for all members of the local and global community. And so, the importance of technology and social media has become increasingly evident.

Back to the pandemic. With this increased focus on bringing Maynooth University’s collections to the people, and the physical service being put on hiatus, saw an opportunity to enhance and grow our digital skills. The Special Collections and Archives department then set out to expand our blog to include not only the visual medium of written work, but to the audio and audio-visual mediums of podcasts and YouTube videos as well.

We now have six Library Treasures videos and two episodes of our podcast available on our Library Treasures blog. The most recent two episodes were an interview with the incredible and talented academic from the MU Department of Early Irish, Dr. Elizabeth Boyle in two parts. Part 2 just launched on May 13th.

Dr. Boyle talked with us about a recent item of great historical significance which she helped us acquire. This incunable, Orosius’ Historiae Adversus Paganos or The Seven Books of History against the Pagans (1471), is the earliest print copy of Orosius in an Irish Library. It is also the first printed work to mention Ireland and its landscape and climate. Without going into too much detail, Orosius wrote in the 5th century about the God given right kings had for ruling. Orosius’ works shaped the belief monarchs have had about their divine rights and caused a paradigmatic shift in political discourse which has prevailed for over a millennium.

Follow us on Twitter: @SCA_MULibrary
Follow Elizabeth Boyle on Twitter: @thecelticist
Follow Alex Caccamo on Twitter: @accaccamo
Follow David Rinehart on Twitter: @DCRinehart


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