The new Community Library in Ballymote was officially opened by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Mr Phil Hogan TD, accompanied by Cathaoirleach Councillor Joe Leonard, Minister John Perry and members of the Oireachtas, Sligo County Councillors, and members of the Ballymote community.
Minister Phil Hogan unveils the plaque at Ballymote Community Library accompanied by (from left) Deputy Tony McLoughlin, Cathaoirleach Councillor Joe Leonard and Minister John Perry
In his address Minister for the Environment, Community and Local; Government, Mr Phil Hogan, TD., said ‘I was impressed earlier with the fine new library building constructed here in the town. It will be a great resource and will provide a first class library service to the community from this modern and fully equipped building. The further investment in this modern fire station will safeguard communities here in Ballymote and its hinterland by strengthening the capacity of the fire service in Sligo.
Sligo County Librarian Donal Tinney placed the opening of the new Community Library in the context of Ballymote’s rich heritage and culture. ‘From the Book of Ballymote to Brother Walfrid, the founder of Glasgow Celtic, to the Fighting 69th, this area is blessed with a rich history and heritage The Library’s central location will ensure it is at the heart of the community, and I would like to pay tribute to the Library staff and the project team for their workmanship and skill in providing this facility for the community.’
Minister Phil Hogan examines an exhibition in Ballymote Community Library with Sligo County Librarian, Donal Tinney
For that reason it is named the ‘Ballymote Community Library, and the facility will operate in partnership with the community, local voluntary groups and the educational sector.
There is a very broad range of facilities, including internet access and wi-fi, and the library will be a very important public space and will be used by the community for meetings .
County Manager Hubert Kearns said great credit was due to the Project Team ‘for the standard of the facilities at the new Community Library and Fire Station, and commended the local Councillors for their support for these projects. There is a great community spirit in Ballymote, and there is a very strong ‘self-help’ mentality; This is especially important at a time when the Council has to focus on the delivery of our core services which the community expect we will deliver to a high standard.’
Sligo County Council, up to now has provided a part time branch library service in Ballymote which until recently had up to 607 active members. The old branch in terms of accessibility and size was totally inadequate to deliver a modern community based library service.
Sligo County Council’s Library Development Plan 2006 -2010 included proposals to improve the level of service in Ballymote in response to a public consultation process and written requests by local community leaders. This plan was to develop a purpose built Library was assured with the support of the County Manager, local County Councillors and members of the Oireachtas.
Funding for the project was secured in 2010 from the Department in consultation with The Library Council. A team of Sligo County Council staff made up from Administrative, Technical, Engineering and Library sections was set up to deliver the project with a budget of €950,000 of which over half was for stock alone.
The successful contractors were Rhatigans who utilised many local contractors while the construction consultants were Davis Langdon PKS.
A building on Teeling Street was seen as being the most suitable location for the proposed new Community Library, given its location in the heart of the town and at a major junction with Lord Edward Street. The new Community Library is ideally placed as it is located as it is highly visible and is also beside the two main supermarkets. In addition the proximity to both the local primary and secondary schools is an added bonus.
The main aim of this Library development is to provide the people of Ballymote and the surrounding hinterland with a modern library service, one which encompasses the full range of 21st Century library services.
The size of the Library has been increased from a mere 22sq metre to over 400 sq. metres. The additional space allows for the display of increased book stock, shelving and exhibition space, along with the provision of meeting room facilities and audio visual conference room. Flexibility in terms of the layout was regarded as critical to the successful functionality of the Library and as such the maximum use of space has been achieved.
The range and variety of materials to lend have increased immeasurably with the provision of books, newspapers, periodicals, language courses, dvd’s and books and music on CD.
The Library provides a self issuing facility to reduce manpower requirements while also providing flexibility for readers through reducing queues. Another feature of Ballymote Community Library is the provision of a dedicated music room for practicing or recording and reflects the tremendous wealth of music for which County Sligo is renowned. In corporate into the design of the library is a dedicated children’s area for story-times and activities.
Ballymote Community Library brings the latest 21st Century facilities to readers through the availability of downloadable audio books and eBooks.
Not only will Ballymote Community Library be a major focal point for community interaction with meetings, exhibitions, seminars, schools visits, and lectures it will also provide the Community of Ballymote with a neutral space in which to converse and meet on daily basis.