City Mayor David Fitzgerald (FG) is appealing for money to be put into Kilkenny’s library service and not into “pet” capital projects such as “a bridge that may or may not be built in the years to come”.
He made the comments at a meeting of Kilkenny County Council’s arts and heritage committee, where it was again noted that in 2010 and 2010 Kilkenny had the lowest budget per head for the purchase of new materials.
Senior executive librarian Dorothy O’Reilly told members that the library services is asking Kilkenny County Council to contribute e100,000 to the stock acquisition fund for new books, CDs, large-print books, etc.
Last year’s allocation from the County Council was e43,000 plus an “unprecedented step” in which Kilkenny Borough Council also contributed e20,000. The previous year’s allocation from the County Council was e23,000.
These figures compare with the e80,000 spent by Carlow County Council last year, e70,000 in Laois, e105,000 in Co Waterford and e250,000 in Wexford, Ms O’Reilly pointed out.
“It is a no-brainer to say we do need to increase out stock budget,” she said. “We are looking at a new central library in Meubles (the John Street premises now owned by the County Council) and our stock will be depleted if we don’t get funding at this level.”
Cllr John Brennan (FG) proposed that the committee insist to the full council “that the book fund be maintained and increased in the up-coming estimates (budget).
“We are putting a new library into the city, and if we are going to continue to improve the services, surely we have to be funding it,” he said.
Mayor David Fitzgerald (FG) said he would be asking the Borough Council to take similar steps.
“There are vast lumps being put aside for pet capital projects while other services are being starved of cash, and I certainly will be arguing that we should be finding more (than e20,000),” he said.
“I would prefer to put e100,000 into the library than to put aside e2 million for a bridge that may or may not be built in the years to come.”
“If you continue on this trajectory,” he said, “we are going to have a library service that is going to collapse.”