Emma Clancy, Leitrim County Librarian, with Minister Michael Ring.
Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, officially launched the ambitious new five year strategy for Public Libraries in the LexIcon Library, Dún Laoghaire recently.
Our Public Libraries 2022– Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities is a progressive strategy which aims to improve access, use and visibility of the library as a community hub, and develop the library as a focal point for community and cultural development.
Minister Ring highlighted the vision for the Strategy, which was guided by the public consultation process, as one “of public libraries as attractive and welcoming spaces where all members of the community can access knowledge, ideas and information, and where people can reflect, connect and learn”.
Minister Ring continued: “The overall aim is to position the public library as an invaluable community resource, and increase active library membership from 16% of the population to 30% by end-2022.
Acknowledging the valued role of the librarian in delivering the broad range of services now available, the Minister said “Library staff have been leaders in driving change in our public libraries. I commend your commitment, passion and enthusiasm.”
The five year strategy is a joint initiative of the Department of Rural and Community Development, the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and the Local Government Management Agency(LGMA).
Tom Enright, Chief Executive of Wexford County Council added “As Chair of the Library Development Committee, which has responsibility for overseeing the implementation of this strategy, I look forward to working in partnership with all local authorities, the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Local Government Management Agency and all stakeholders in its delivery. Over the next five years, I am confident that the measures undertaken with the implementation of the Strategy will deliver an enhanced library service, more integrated, more visible and more accessible in the local community.”
Mary Quinn, Director of Service, Leitrim County Council welcomed the new strategy, describing it as “very positive news for library users throughout Leitrim. The abolition of library fines is an important step in removing barriers, thereby improving access to the broad range of services delivered by your local library service.”
In late 2017, Minister Ring allocated €3.75million from the Department of Rural and Community Development, supplemented by approximately €1.25 million from local authorities, to support the implementation of this 5-year strategy. This investment is designed to enhance and modernise public library services through the introduction of self-service technology, which will enable library users to take out and return books without staff assistance.
Emma Clancy, Leitrim County Librarian, explains that “the roll out of self-service technology in our libraries will enable our skilled and experienced library staff to assist library users and guide people to the many excellent services offered by our libraries”.
The strategy is available on the Department’s website www.drcd.gov.ie