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five year plan

Public libraries set to open seven days a week between 8am and 10pm

Fines for overdue books will also be removed, according to a new five-year strategy for the country’s public libraries.

MANY PUBLIC LIBRARIES are set to open seven days a week between 8am and 10pm, as the government announces plans to double the number of visitors over the next five years.

The five-year strategy launched today outlines plans to have opening hours extended for 100 libraries across the country, along with new self-service facilities where the public will be able to take out and return books without staff assistance.

The strategy seeks to increase library use and grow active membership from the current level of 16% of the population to 30%.

The new “My Open Library” service, which offers the self-service facilities and longer opening hours, is currently available at Banagher and Tullamore libraries in Offaly, along with Tubbercurry library in Sligo.

Since the first full year of service in Offaly in 2015, visits during My Open Library hours increased by 183% in Banagher library and by 76% in Tullamore library.

The report also outlines that fines for overdue books are to be removed, and the Department of Rural and Community Development will explore non-monetary options for ensuring the return and preservation of book stock.

Libraries will also see the introduction of new co-working spaces and workstation facilities for hot-desking.

Furthermore, library management systems are to be improved and made more accessible with a more responsive and functional website.

The Department said in a statement today that libraries will work with local partners to reach disadvantaged, marginalised and new communities.

Tom Enright, chairperson of the Library Development Committee, said: “I look forward to working in partnership with all local authorities. Over the next five years, I am confident that the measures undertaken with the implementation of the strategy will deliver and enhance library service, [which is] more integrated, more visible and more accessible in the local community.”

The five-year strategy is a joint initiative of the Department of Rural and Community Development, the County and City Management Association and the Local Government Management Agency.

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