The draft national strategy for libraries will be open to public consultation from the 2nd of September 2013 to the 11th of October 2013. The draft public libraries strategy is an initiative of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the County and City Managers’ Association and the Local Government Management Agency. It sets out a plan for the systematic growth and development of public libraries in Ireland for the period 2013 to 2017 in the context of people’s changing needs, Government policy and the current and predicted economic, social and cultural environment.
Since its origins in the Public Libraries Ireland Act, 1855, Ireland's library service has been continuously reviewed at national level by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government as part of its role in overseeing the implementation of successive public library legislation. In 1998 the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government published Branching Out: A New Public Library Service, the first strategic plan for the development of the public library service at national level. Branching Out: A New Public Library Service ran from 1998 to 2007 and was followed by Branching Out - Future Directions from 2008-2012. The Branching Out strategies and capital funding programmes delivered improved library buildings, opening hours, ICT, stock, staffing and staff training. They provided the mechanism for stakeholder co-operation to realise a uniformly agreed vision for public libraries and for planned and co-ordinated development and enhancement of the service.
The Branching Out strategies established a forum for all stakeholders to collaborate on forming a positive, inclusive vision for public libraries and led to a well thought-out and grounded national policy that transformed services, buildings and resources. As the progress made in these two previous strategies has been substantial, it is important to build on the momentum of results and outcomes already achieved.
The five year period of the proposed strategy begins in a very different economic climate and in a rapidly changing society with high levels of unemployment, a surge in birth rate and a significantly growing population of people aged over 65. Technological changes in the last decade have revolutionised life for the majority of people. The changing face of local government in Ireland under the action plan for effective local government, Putting People First2, will have far-reaching impacts at local and national level.
The public library service needs to provide an effective, vibrant and relevant service for people and communities in this changed and continuously evolving environment. A new strategy provides the framework to achieve this and to position the public library service to best advantage for the future, for the benefit of the public.
The draft public library strategy has been developed taking stakeholder views into account. The consultation process has included local and national policy makers, discussions with a broad range of focus groups, public library management and staff, government departments, interested public bodies and international library authorities. This public consultation is the final phase in the planned stakeholder engagement on the development of the public library strategy. The purpose of this phase is to open the consultation widely, ensuring input from as broad a range of interested parties as possible.
Stakeholders are invited to read the text of the draft public library strategy and return comments to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government via Libraries Development, Local Government Management Agency, before the 11th of October 2013 and respondents are kindly requested to use the electronic template provided.
Completed templates should be returned by post or email before the 11th of October 2013 to:
Local Government Management Agency,
Local Government House,
35 – 39 Ushers Quay,
Telephone: 01 6332200
Click here for “Public consultation on the draft Strategy forPublic Libraries 2013 – 2017” (PDF)
Click here for “Comhairliúchán poiblí ar anDréacht-Straitéis do Leabharlanna Poiblí 2013-2017” (PDF)