As Minister for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development and Fine Gael TD for Galway West and Mayo South I am delighted to confirm investment of €168,000 for Galway’s libraries and €121,000 for Mayo’s libraries.
The funding is part of a €3.8 million national allocation from the Department of Rural and Community Development which will support three key areas including the introduction/modernisation of self-service technology, hot desk facilities and the purchase of new book stock. The investment will align with and support the new library strategy, Libraries Ireland 2018 – 2022.
The funding for Galway comprises €126,028 from the Department of Rural and Community Development and €42,010 from Galway County Council. The funding for Mayo comprises €90,925 from the Department of Rural and Communtiy Development and €30,308 from Mayo County Council.
Libraries are much more than repositories of books – they are focal points of our communities and hubs for education and work.
In other countries libraries are being closed but in Ireland we recognise the value of our libraries which is why we are investing in them and helping them to evolve. The introduction and enhancement of self-service technology for borrowing and returning books frees up staff for other important work while the funding for the ‘Hot Desk Facilities for the Work Matters Initiatives’ ensures that our libraries are centres for work as well as education. This initiative provides desk space, IT facilities and other resources to help workers and jobseekers.
The investment is also enabling our libraries to purchase new books and resources to underpin core services and initiatives such as the Right to Read Programme.
As Minister with responsibility for Digital Development I’m also encouraged by the schemes being supported which are examples of how digital technology is complementing libraries, not replacing them. Libraries Ireland is also working on a new service which will enable members to borrow and return books throughout the network of libraries across the country.
Programmes included in this investment:
• RFID Self-Service Technology – to support the introduction of self-service machines and other ancillary technologies in ‘non-RFID enabled’ libraries, as well as additional machines and the modernisation of existing first-generation machines in the more advanced local authorities,
• Hot Desk Facilities for the Work Matters Initiative – to supplement existing resources including book-stock relevant to business people and jobseekers, online resources and ICT facilities (e.g. PCs, printers and photocopiers, and high-quality broadband and Wi-Fi), and provide spaces for users to seek information, work, meet and collaborate, and
• Book-stock for the Right-to-Read Initiative – to support the purchase of book-stock for children, family reading and literacy development and complement the suite of activities being delivered by library services as part of their local Right-to-Read Programmes.