Significiant Investment in Offaly Library Service
Offaly Libraries are to benefit from funding of €106,260 from the Department of Rural and Community Development and 35,420 from Offaly County Council.
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has announced a significant Government investment package of €3.75 million from the Department of Rural and Community Development supplemented by €1.25 million from local authorities for our public libraries. The funding will allow for the continued modernisation of the library service, enhancing services for library users and paving the way for the launch of the new public library strategy early in 2018. This is in addition to €2.75 million of capital funding already provided by Minister Ring’s Department for public libraries this year under the Libraries Capital Investment Programme.
Speaking at the announcement of the investment at Pearse Street Library in Dublin, Minister Ring said: “This very significant investment in our public libraries will enable the purchase of self-service technology for more than 200 libraries; books to promote literacy for children; and hot desk facilities for business people and job seekers. It is an exciting time for the public library service and for library staff.
“I am delighted to have this opportunity to significantly increase our funding for the public library service this year. This investment will bring funding by my Department for the library service to almost €6.5m in 2017. I must also commend local authorities who, even at this late stage in the year, will be able to match my Department’s investment with a contribution of €1.25 million.
Minister Ring confirmed his Department’s commitment to the public library service saying, “this funding demonstrates the Government’s and my Department’s continued commitment to the public library service. Funding will continue under the Libraries Capital Programme next year, with a considerable increase in project activity and funding over the coming three years.
Concluding, the Minister referenced the forthcoming public library strategy: “we will very shortly introduce a new five-year public library strategy. A key goal of the strategy will be to increase the number of library members and users. This funding will be an important enabler of actions in the strategy and will help us take a big step towards achieving this goal.”
The grant funding will support the following areas:
- RFID self-service technology. This funding will support the introduction of self-service machines 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 Work Matters. Work Matters promotes the public library as a space to support the information and research needs for people seeking employment, changing career or up-skilling or people involved in business. The Local Enterprise Offices, the Department of Education and the Citizens Information Board are also involved in this initiative. This funding will complement 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). The facilities will provide spaces for users to seek information, work, meet and collaborate.
- Right-to-Read Book Stock – People with good literacy skills are more likely to have higher self-esteem, better health and access to better jobs because they are more able to take advantage of the opportunities that life may offer them. The Right to Read Programme is an initiative for the delivery of structured literacy support at local level. This funding will support the acquisition of book stock for children, family reading and literacy development and will complement the suite of activities being delivered by library services as part of their local Right-to-Read Programmes.