Minister Joe McHugh has welcomed new grant funding for libraries in County Donegal worth €209,481.
“This initiative to modernise our library services is a brilliant example of smart thinking to improve access to a valuable community service and make it a hub of activity,” Mr McHugh said.
“This funding of more than €200,000 is going to make a visible difference to the service and it will do wonders for keeping the library at the heart of our social fabric.
“It also comes on the back of this Government securing a €2.1million investment last May to redevelop the Donegal Town Library into a community facility, library and family resource centre with offices for An Foróige. Work is ongoing on that and we hope to see it open by 2020.”
Mr McHugh, Government Chief Whip and Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, said: “I believe libraries are places to learn from people as well as from books and looking at the initiatives that this new funding will support you cannot fail to be impressed.
“It will enhance IT infrastructure, create new meeting spaces with state of the art technology and provide dedicated digital learning suites, all of which will attract new users of all ages.”
The funding is being provided through Minister Michael Ring’s Department of Community and Rural Development.
Mr McHugh said: “I cannot thank Minister Ring highly enough for his commitment in this sector and the initiatives that he is driving to bring new life and new dimensions to library services.
“Just look at what this €200,000 will help to fund – iPads, tablets and smart devices for users and for staff; computers and workstations including image deployment technology; software to support design, gaming and coding; meeting space technology; podcasting equipment and workstations; mobile LCD screens with audio; interactive whiteboards and digital training suites.
“Alongside that the funding can also be used to create Dementia Tables which facilitate play and learning for people with mild to severe dementia as well as those with intellectual disabilities, learning difficulties and autism. It is a remarkable initiative and I wish the County Council and library staff huge success with it.”
The almost €8 million investment comprises of approximately €6 million from Minister Ring’s Department and a further €2 million contribution from Local Authorities.
A total of 309 libraries will benefit.