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Queen's names £40m library after Belfast Telegraph owner

By Kathryn Torney

Queen's University will today announce that its new world-class library will be named after Belfast Telegraph publisher Sir Anthony O'Reilly.

The £40m state-of-the-art library is due to be completed by 2009 and will be named The Sir Anthony O'Reilly Library. It is one of the most ambitious building projects in Northern Ireland and also the most significant fundraising initiative in the university's history.

The decision was taken to name the library after Sir Anthony to mark his role as a benefactor to Queen's and also his commitment to higher education.

The library is the centrepiece of Queen's ambitious £200m building programme which aims to create a campus that will be the envy of the world.

Funding for the library includes a £4m donation from Sir Anthony and the Ireland Funds.

The funding gift, which was announced in 2004, involves a large personal donation from Sir Anthony of £3m in the form of a direct donation of £2m and a guarantee through the Ireland Funds of £1m over the next five years. Independent News & Media (Northern Ireland), publishers of the Belfast Telegraph, agreed to donate £1m over the same period.

The library fundraising campaign has been spearheaded by the Queen's University Foundation and all the money has come from private sources.

The new library will become a central hub of the university and will take into account the needs of an increasingly diverse range of users, providing research and teaching facilities for part-time and full-time students, the local community and businesses.

It will have the very latest technology, including fully integrated and flexible wireless technology and multi-media facilities. There will be 2,000 reader places and the library will house 1.5 million volumes.

There will also be a specialist language laboratory and a purpose-built Special Collections area for the care and display of unique and rare manuscripts, enabling the collections to be studied comprehensively by researchers at the university.

Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said today: "We are honoured that this building will be named after one of our most distinguished honorary graduates, Sir Anthony O'Reilly.

"Sir Anthony's dedication to the advancement of society in Ireland is legendary."

There will be a private dinner tonight to mark the announcement of the naming of the library. Sir Anthony is due to attend and will be accompanied by Lady O'Reilly.

Among the guests will be key executives from Independent News and Media, including the Belfast Telegraph, and senior Queen's representatives, including members of the Queen's University of Belfast Foundation Board, the Vice-Chancellor and Director of Estates Gary Jebb.

A site visit will take place prior to the dinner at which Sir Anthony will be able to view building work in progress.

Boston-based architects Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbot (SBRA) have experience in designing and developing over 50 major academic libraries, including those at Yale, Cornell, and Harvard. SBRA is working in association with Robinson Patterson Partnership, Belfast.

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