Hundreds of public libraries are to be kitted out with new technology aimed at encouraging more people to use them as places to work, study and learn.
Almost €8 million is being invested this year in computers, meeting-space technologies and digital learning areas in public libraries across the country.
Minister for Community Development Michael Ring said the move would help to ensure our public libraries become “an invaluable community resource”.
He said almost 300 of the State’s 330 libraries would benefit from the investment this year which will deliver iPads, workstations, podcasting equipment, interactive whiteboards and other forms of technology. Software will also be made available to promote learning of design, gaming and coding.
The move forms part of broader plans to double the number of visitors to libraries over the next five years.
This involves extending opening hours at public libraries and seven-day access, while new technology is to be introduced to allow members of the public to take and return books using unmanned scanners. Fines for overdue items are also to be abolished.
“It will develop digital learning centres and innovation centres, providing users with access to latest technologies and supporting library users who are not confident with technology,” said Mr Ring.