County Longford is set to benefit from a national fund of €1.5 million to support the continued roll-out of the My Open Library service, which was announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring last Thursday.
My Open Library allows access to public libraries on a self-service basis from 8am to 10pm, 365 days a year. The Department funding will be matched by local authorities to the value of c.€0.5 million giving a total investment of almost €2 million. The public libraries strategy Our Public Libraries 2022 – Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities aims to introduce the My Open Library service to 100 library branches around the country by 2022.
The popularity of the My Open Library service is evident from statistics for the recent August Bank Holiday weekend when more than 1,334 people visited the 15 My Open Library branches. Deansgrange Library alone had 175 visits over the three days. These branches would traditionally have been closed for the bank holiday weekend i.e. Saturday to Monday inclusive.
The My Open Library service is currently available in 15 public libraries, including Ballymahon Community Library, with a further three due to open before the end of the year.
Included in this funding package is funding for innovative technology including 22 ‘Magic Tables’ which have been piloted across the country over the last year and have been a great success. These tables are being used by carers and people with dementia, autism and learning difficulties.
Granard Library is one of the 17 new libraries set to benefit from the My Open Library announcement, with Edgeworthstown and Ballymahon Libraries set to benefit from the funding set aside for the Magic Tables facilities.