Trinity College Dublin to dename the Berkeley Library

by Alex Greaney
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Trinity College Dublin is to dename the Berkeley Library while adopting a retain-and-explain approach to a stained-glass window commemorating George Berkeley, writes Alex Greaney. 

Trinity decided that the continued use of the Berkeley name on its library is inconsistent with the University’s core values of human dignity, freedom, inclusivity, and equality. The denaming does not deny Berkeley’s importance as a writer, philosopher, and towering intellectual figure. His philosophical work will still be taught at Trinity and remains of significant contemporary relevance. A separate process will determine what the new name for the library should be.

Portraits depicting Berkeley will be assessed in the future by a new overall College policy on artwork, while the academic Gold Medals memorialising Berkeley will be reviewed by the relevant academic department. 

Opened in 1967, Trinity’s largest library was named in 1978 after George Berkeley, the world-renowned philosopher, and former Librarian at Trinity. Berkeley published some of his most important philosophical works while at Trinity in the 1700s. He bought slaves – named Philip, Anthony, Edward, and Agnes Berkeley – to work on his Rhode Island estate in 1730-31 and sought to advance ideology in support of slavery.

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