Concern over future of library

Matt Britton

Reporter:

Matt Britton

With the imminent retirement of a librarian who has devoted much of her working life to running the library in Ballyshannon, this superb facility is set to close its doors to the public on Friday.

With the imminent retirement of a librarian who has devoted much of her working life to running the library in Ballyshannon, this superb facility is set to close its doors to the public on Friday.

The librarian, May Walsh, has worked with the library service for over 20 years and moved to the existing library from the old and much smaller original library. Indeed it’s thought the library in the town is in fact the oldest library in the county.

However, because of the embargo on recruitment within Donegal County Council, it seems that like other libraries in the county, the Ballyshannon facility will close temporary.

The Chairman of Ballyshannon Town Council, Cllr. John Meehan told the Donegal Democrat, “I have been in touch with the County Librarian seeking clarification but as yet have not received any reply. But you can rest assured that Ballyshannon Town Council will be doing everything in its power to ensure that this facility remains open.

“The feelings are running very high in the town and I am most disappointed in the way that the County Council have communicated this to the library users in the town.

“I will be organising a public meeting to address this in the New Year.”

Cllr. Meehan added, “I have already been approached by various people, both young and old who are all suitably qualified and have all volunteered to keep the library open - we just cannot let this facility go.

“Many of these may be on Job Seeker’s Allowance but want to make a contribution to society, they want to work. It is a bit ironic that the system pays people not to work when there are people out there willing to make their contribution to the community.”

Barry Sweeny of the Ballyshannon Regeneration Group commented, “I am aware that there is a campaign to save the library and I would be extremely supportive of this.

“So many positive things have been happening in the town over the last number of months as a result of the Backing Ballyshannon initiative - everybody is working together to improve the town and to bring more facilities and hopefully more employment to the area.

“It is an absolute shame that here we have a state-of-the-art facility and it is about to close because of the recruitment embargo.

“There are many educated and capable people who are retired or others on Job Seeker’s Allowance who are only too willing to give of their time freely in order to keep this facility open and every effort should be made to tap into this great community spirit that exists.”