To maintain and preserve the collections of the Library and to make them available in the most appropriate ways for the use and enjoyment of the public and for scholarly study and research, in order to promote a wider appreciation and understanding of the international cultural heritage embodied in the collections and to foster relations between Ireland and the peoples whose cultures are represented in the collections.
Description and Functions
The Chester Beatty Library is a public charitable trust established under the will of the late Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, which was granted probate in 1969. The Library is in the ownership of a Board of Trustees who hold it for the use and benefit of the public.
As a charitable institution the Library is responsible directly to the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests and comes under the aegis of the Attorney General, in his role as protector of charities.
The Library is over 90 per cent funded by a grant-in-aid from the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.
The Library is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed under the terms of the will of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty as modified by an order of the High Court of 16 December 1997. The new arrangements for service of trustees, appointment of ministerial nominees to the Board of Trustees and of a new location for the library were approved by the Court in accordance with an agreement made between the Trustees and Government in 1996 and are now in operation.
The role of the Library is to protect, preserve and make available to the public in the form of exhibitions, popular publications, lectures and other events the heritage enshrined in the collections of the late Chester Beatty and to provide the world of scholarship access to the internationally important resource. As a body relying principally on public funding, the Trust is obliged to pay particular attention to the needs of the general public and of the Irish public in particular.
The mandate of the Library might be narrowly defined as care and custody of the collection and benefiting the public in modest and indirect ways.
This, however, would be contrary to the spirit of the founder and to the need to reflect the vital public contribution to the Library's future. The mandate of the Library encompasses all those things which it may do to add to the public value of the collections by way of exhibition, education, promoting pride in the collections and understanding between cultures and traditions represented in them.
The purpose of the Library, having regard to its duty of care, is therefore to contribute new value to the cultural life of Ireland at home and in its relations with peoples and cultures everywhere.