Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English says new Library Strategy in 2017 will “build communities and expand knowledge”
Thursday, 10th November 2016
“As the final year of ‘Opportunities for All’, the strategy document for our Public Libraries nationally approaches, I look forward to working with staff and stakeholders around the country on creating an ambitious and all-embracing successor strategy to further the economic, social and cultural mission of our Public Libraries, and of our country overall”. This was the message from Minister with responsibility for libraries at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Damien English, to the Library Association of Ireland (Public Libraries Section) Conference tonight Thursday 10th Nov 2016 in the Faithlegg House Hotel, Co. Waterford.
Minister English stated “These early years of the 21st century have seen rapid change. Public libraries are now at a turning point. We need to re-establish what people and our communities need. We have to determine what additional services will be offered in our communities and what the best way to deliver these services will be. Particularly, we have to focus our attention on the non-member, or those who will become our new library users in the years ahead, as well as bridging the digital divide for older people.”
He continued: “As Minister, I believe our new Public Library strategy should be firmly focused on maximising the number of people who can access our library services. In the development of the new strategy we must broaden the library’s role in the community. We need to expand its reach and connections to support larger community goals. I value the input and ideas of all staff in this work.”
Staff contribution vital
Speaking at the event Minister English told delegates: “Your personal engagement and genuine interest has contributed greatly to the successful implementation of the current strategy. Your contribution is vital to the next new chapter for public libraries in Ireland. So far in the lifetime of the current strategy, you have reached out and connected with over 850,000 library members. You have enhanced their confidence in using the library service. I look forward to working with staff and stakeholders to develop a world class strategy for our Public Libraries. A strategy that will stand the test of time and allow libraries remain the ‘Foundation’ for our main streets of our towns.”