Public libraries in Galway will be able to bring a massive boost to the digital and computer services they offer throughout the county with a grant of almost €375,000.
The newly announced funding will offer a wide range of upgrades to Galway libraries’ computer and IT services to modernise what they offer to the public.
Upgrades will include tablets and smart devices for staff and members, improved computer workstations, interactive whiteboards, conference technology, and “Dementia Tables” to facilitate learning and recreation for people with dementia or a learning disability.
Other offerings will help draw in younger people who may not make use of the library, or people simply looking to learn new skills, like podcasting equipment and workstations, and software and support for coding and game design.
Along with all these computer technology improvements will be new digital training suites.
Galway West TD and Minister of State for Rural Affairs Sean Kyne said, “The use of digital technologies by the library service shows that our libraries are evolving and are as relevant and as important to our communities as ever before.”
The funding is a mixed grant from the government and local authority, with the Department of Rural and Community Development providing €281,000 and the remaining €93,000 coming from Galway County Council.
Galway County Council is responsible for managing public libraries and the services they offer across the city and county.
The grant for Galway is part of €8 million being spent on bring libraries across Ireland into the 21st century.
309 public libraries will share in this funding under the Our Public Libraries 2022 strategy launched by Minister Michael Ring.
“This strategy seeks to enable the library as not only a community hub but also as an important enabler of digital services and facilitator of digital skills development,” said Minister Ring.
The minister thanked library staff for the service they provide to the community, and councils for contributing a quarter of the finding for this plan.
“I have to commend local authorities for recognising the invaluable services the libraries provide and for committing €2 million to this investment package.”