Almost 50 library branches nationwide including Tullow in Carlow are set to benefit from over €3 million funding for self-service facilities.
The funding will bolster the 'My Open Library' service, allowing library members to utilise services via extended opening hours between 8am and 10pm 365 days a year.
The news was announced today (July 26) by the Minister for Rural and Community Development as part of the World Library Congress taking place in Dublin.
Among the library facilities to benefit include Tramore in Waterford, Clifden in Galway, Newcastle West in Limerick, Blanchardstown and Malahide in Dublin, and Cashel in Tipperary.
Minister Heather Humphreys said supporting Irish libraries is "a key priority".
She said, "[The 'My Open Library'] initiative allows people to avail of self-service library services between the hours of 8am and 10pm, seven days per week. I’m delighted to make this announcement as the World Library Congress opens in Dublin, and runs over three days.
"Supporting our libraries is a key priority of mine as Minister for Rural and Community Development. They provide such essential services to people, both young and old, and this funding will give so many more people greater access to their local branch.
"It reflects the fact too that some people like to visit their library early in the morning or late in the evening due to work commitments. I’m delighted that we are in a position to roll the initiative out in these additional branches.”
Approximately €2.2m will be provided to roll-out the 'My Open Library' initiative in 17 branches, with €900,000 going towards enhancing the equipment in a further 29 branches which already have the service in place.
The initiative aims to complement regular staffed hours to ensure optimum delivery, support for customers, community engagement and the development of programming activities.
The minister concluded: "'My Open Library’ is the flagship initiative under the current Public Libraries Strategy ‘Our Public Libraries 2022 – Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities’. It will also form an important part of the successor to the current public library strategy which my Department is currently working on.
"I would like to thank all those that took the time to respond to the recent public consultation on the development of the new strategy. I look forward to considering these responses and to the opening of further ‘My Open Library’ facilities into the future.”
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