herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Library boom for Dublin as recession bites

DUBLIN is getting a new city library, designed to be an economic, social and cultural hub, the council has revealed.

The news comes as figures show the recession has been a massive boost for the popularity of the capital's libraries.

More than 2.3 million books and other items were borrowed from Dublin library services last year, an increase of 11pc.

The Ilac Shopping Centre on Henry Street has been home to the Central Library since 1986.

However, the 30-year lease on the first-floor premises only has four years to run and the council says the priority is to provide a "new fit-for-purpose city library".

"A new city library will provide a key civic, regional and national resource offering access and opportunity in all subject areas to all ages and abilities," the council says.

The new facility will be designed to act as "a window on the world of knowledge".

It is to be a "centre of learning and literature, information and memory, a commune of research and reading and a hub of ideas and creativity".







Booming

The council adds: "It will be at the heart of the economic, social and cultural life of the capital".

The council has budgeted a net €16,321,454 to operate library and archive services across the city in 2012.

Income totalling €921,700 is generated through fines and sales as well as the provision of books to prisons (€159,200).

Rent is also recouped at a rate of 50pc on three leased buildings, amounting to €313,500.

Activity is booming for the service, with 2,346,642 items borrowed last year, an increase of 11pc on the number of loans for 2010.

In addition, some 2,802,825 visits were made to city libraries, an increase of 12pc on 2010.

Some 729,586 online visits were made, an increase of 26pc on the previous year.

In a report in 2009, the then Dublin City Librarian Deirdre Ellis-King said the recession was having a big part to play on the rise in the number of people borrowing books.

"This (increased) usage, which may be attributed to recessionary influences including increased unemployment, is allied, from reports of observation at branch level, to increased use of library computer services for purposes of job-seeking and preparation of CVs," Ms Ellis-King said.

hnews@herald.ie

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