The Carnegie Library in Kilkenny City
It was today announced that €149,520 would be invested into Kilkenny’s libraries for ICT capacity, digital services and facilities. The national investment package was approved by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD on Friday 14th September.
This investment has been approved for all counties across Ireland, benefitting 309 libraries in total. The almost €8 million investment comprises of approximately €6 million from Minister Ring’s Department and a further €2 million contribution from Local Authorities.
Announcing the funding, Minister Ring said: “This investment will enhance ICT infrastructure, create new meeting spaces with state of the art technology and provide dedicated digital learning suites. The new facilities and services will attract new users of all ages to our public libraries.”
The investment comes as part of the new strategy Our Public Libraries 2022- Empowering, Connecting and Inspiring Communities, which Ring launched in May. The aim of Ring’s strategy is to transform the public libraries into “an important enabler of digital services and facilitator of digital skills development”.
The investment signals the introduction of groundbreaking technology such as Dementia Tables, which include dementia and learning disability software to assist the public. Libraries will also work to reach disadvantaged, marginalised and new communities, increasing awareness of services available and firmly establishing the library as a resource for all by removing barriers to access and improving accessibility for all.
The funding enables the provision of iPads and smart devices for users and for staff to assist users. It also provides computers and workstations with image deployment technology, as well as software to support design, gaming and coding. There will also be interactive whiteboards, digital training suites, virtual headsets and mobile LCD screens with audio. Meeting space technology and podcasting equipment will also be made available with this funding.
Minister Ring concluded by thanking the local authorities and library staff for their ongoing commitment and support to the public library service, commenting “I have to commend the local authorities for recognising the invaluable service the libraries provide and for committing €2 million to this investment package.”