February is sign-up month across Kilkenny Library Service, with the aim of encouraging as many people as possible to become members of their local library and experience the range of services and opportunities that libraries today provide.
Libraries aren't just places to borrow books or study – they are also creative and engaging community centres where people can gather, make friends, relax, join a workshop and generally feel part of the community. The popularity of Kilkenny Library Service is seen in its visitor numbers, with over 280,000 visits made to the library branches in 2017.
“Libraries are not just about what we have for people, but what we do for people and with people," says county librarian Josephine Coyne.
“However, many people are still unaware of the range of services and programmes we provide and we want to encourage everyone to call in to their local library, join up for free and find out what services/opportunities may be there that suit their needs. Library staff are always available to show people around and explain the various services we provide, show people how to use our range of online services and generally welcome people to become part of this important customer focused service."
The local public library has also become a key technology hub in the community as people use the free internet service, print from home, access free wifi and access a range of services online such as training courses, language courses, e-books and e- magazines. Many libraries also provide free informal training courses to library members as well as basic training in how to use computers, mobile phones and tablets
Your library card gives you free access to national newspapers, books and audio books for all ages and interests, film and music collections, art and craft classes, children’s and adult events, exhibitions and workshops and so much more.
The new library strategy mission for public libraries is now under way for the time period 2018 – 2022. Kilkenny County Council current library profile has eight branches, a mobile library, local history service and an online platform.
Meanwhile, local councillor Peter 'Chap' Cleere has said that an ambition to increase library participation rates from 15% to 30% of population is very achievable over the next couple of years, providing the necessary funding and promotion is put in place.
"We are very fortunate in Kilkenny to have fantastic staff in our library service right around the county and I would encourage everyone to use these facilities and support their local library,” he said.
The Fianna Fail councillor added that the government needs to provide additional resources to local authorities to enable them to continue to put the library at the centre of the local community and to transform library buildings. Cleere added that 'there needs to be a greater emphasis on the marketing and promotion of our wonderful services that the library provide' at national level.
“February is the month that the library service will be going on a massive recruitment drive to encourage new members to join," said Cllr Cleere.
"It is completely free to join, and I would encourage as many people as possible to join your local library and ensure that it maintains its vital footprint in the community.”
To join for free just call into your local library, bring photo ID and proof of address. You can also apply online and go in person to your selected branch to pick up your card. See www.kilkennylibrary.ie. Contact Library Headquarters at 056-7794160 or your local branch.