Carlow Libraries are to benefit from funding of €600,000 for the provision of sensory facilities and equipment in public libraries that can help individuals with sensory impairments, special educational needs and other learning differences, and those on the Autism spectrum.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, made the announcement this week and said the funding will be matched by local authorities to the value of €150,000 giving a total investment of almost €750,000.
The Department has allocated €20,000 to each library authority which will be co-funded with a further €5,000.
Proposals will be accepted early in the New Year from each local authority setting out what facilities or equipment it will be providing. It is expected that the new services will be available in the libraries in mid-2020.
Minister Ring said: "I am very aware of the struggles some people face living with autism or learning differences.
"I want these people and their families to see our libraries as a safe and welcoming space for them, somewhere they can have fun in and learn and that is why I am delighted to announce this investment of almost €750,000.
"The public libraries strategy Our Public Libraries 2022 – Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities ensures that library services are inclusive, accessible and equitable to all.
"The aim of this funding is to improve the library experience and services for parents, guardians and carers of children, teens and adults with sensory impairments, additional needs and learning differences."