Minister for Rural and Community Development announces almost €2.8 million funding for libraries to adapt to Covid-19.


Heather Humphreys also turns the sod on the new Library in Portlaoise, Co Laois


A €2.8 million package to assist libraries to adapt to Covid-19 has been announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD.


Minister Humphreys made the announcement today (Wednesday, 05 August) as she turned the sod on the new Portlaoise Public Library.


The Department of Rural and Community Development will provide €2.5 million to support a Small Scale Capital Works Programme for public libraries.


The Department funding will be matched by local authorities to the value of approximately €280,000 giving a total investment of almost €2.8 million.


Turning the sod on the new library in Portlaoise, Minister Humphreys said,


“My Department’s Libraries Capital Programme is investing €3 million in this build but without considerable investment and commitment from Laois County Council we wouldn’t be here today commencing this exciting project.


I know this library will be a top-class facility located at the heart of your community and is going to be a huge boost to the town.”


Announcing the new Small Scale Capital Works Programme, Minister Humphreys said:


One of the key actions of our public library Strategy Our Public Libraries – Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities, is to develop library buildings that are fit for purpose and reflect the quality of services on offer.


I am delighted to be in a position to announce a Small Scale Capital Works Programme which is a new investment in public libraries.”


The Minister continued:


“We have in excess of 300 libraries across the country and this funding will support local authorities to transform many of their existing library buildings into modern, welcoming spaces that will leave a positive legacy for years to come.


“It will also allow libraries to be adapted to meet social distancing requirement and to provide additional remote working facilities. Libraries provide a broad range of important services for their communities and it is imperative that they be well maintained to ensure that people not only wish to utilise the service but also view the library as a modern, well equipped facility.”


Funding will be provided to upgrade facilities and technologies in libraries and make the buildings more sustainable and energy efficient.


In concluding, the Minister thanked local authority and library staff “for their continued energy and commitment, which has been especially evident during the past few months, and is key to the success of our public library service.”

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