Public libraries in Galway and around the country will benefit from €2.8 million in funding to adapt to the new circumstances of COVID-19 and other improvements.
The Small Scale Capital Works Programme for public libraries includes €2.5 million from the Department of Rural and Community Development, and a €280,000 contribution from local authorities.
Funding will be provided to upgrade facilities and technologies in libraries and make the buildings more sustainable and energy efficient.
Each local authority responsible for a library is invited to submit a proposal for an initial allocation of €60,000, while up to 17 authorities will be eligible for €100,000 in funding.
Announcing the fund, Minister Heather Humphreys said it would allow libraries to become “modern welcoming spaces”, as well as assist in adaptations to comply with social distancing, and provide remote working facilities.
“Libraries provide a broad range of important services for their communities and it is imperative that they be well maintained to ensure that people not only wish to utilise the service but also view the library as a modern, well equipped facility.”
Galway’s libraries have been slowly reopening from shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 crisis in recent weeks.
Galway City Library, jointly run by both councils, reopened at the end of June, with new health and safety protocols, and limits on the number of public computers.
The other two main libraries in Galway City in Ballybane and Westside have also reopened their doors to the public after a long period of only operating call and collect services.
Ballinasloe Library is back open again from today, operating from Tuesday to Friday, and with restrictions in place of a maximum of ten people in the building at a time.
In total, there are 30 branches in the Galway Public Libraries network in towns and villages around the county.