Castlecomer Library will receive the My Open Library service from next year with “no reduction in staffing levels”.
Fianna Fáil's Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development “his plans to roll out staffless libraries by county”.
My Open Library is an initiative under Opportunities for All, the national public library strategy 2013-2017, which seeks to extend access to library services and facilities at times when they would be otherwise unavailable.
It provides additional opening hours for library members between 8am and 10pm, seven days-per-week, affording members the freedom and flexibility to use the library at times that suit them best.
Minister Michael Ring, said: “The My Open Library service will be introduced in a further 20 library branches from early 2018 following a successful trial of the service in Tullamore, Banagher and Tubbercurry libraries.
“These branches, which are detailed in the attached table, were selected and funded by my Department on foot of applications from local authorities.
“Learning from this phase of the roll-out will help inform and shape the future development and implementation of the service across the broader library network.
“There will be no reduction in staffing levels or staffed hours as a result of the service.”
The Minister said that funding permitting the My Open Library will be introduced in additional branches from 2019 onwards.
These branches will be identified and selected subject to suitable applications being received from local authorities in coming years.
Acting County Librarian for Kilkenny Library Service, Josephine Coyne, said: “Discussions are ongoing nationally with Impact Trade Union regarding the rollout and implementation of the My Open Library service so there is no definitive timeframe at the present moment.”
The Government this year announced funding of €126,582 to assist the modernisation of the library service in Kilkenny.