A REFURBISHMENT of the library in Kinsale will “transform” the service it provides for the town and for the wider area, says the county mayor.
The Mayor of the County of Cork, Gillian Coughlan, and Heather Humphreys, TD, rural and community development minister, jointly marked the official commencement of works on Kinsale’s new state-of-the-art library.
The three-storey James O’Neill Building, in Church Square, will be converted into a modern library in the heart of Kinsale town.
The building, known as the Old Mill, dates back to the late 19th century and will be transformed into a multi-purpose space with a wide variety of opportunities for community and cultural use. It will be 11 times the size of the existing library, which is in the Methodist Hall.
Ms Humphreys said: “I was delighted to approve an investment of over €2.1m through my department’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
“The completed library will offer quality digital facilities to support small local businesses, tourists, and locals requiring these facilities for work or leisure. It will also have a strong cultural, community, and educational role, particularly in the area of digital literacy, while also preserving a listed building that is an essential part of the historic fabric of Kinsale town.”
Ms Coughlan said: “The redevelopment of Kinsale Library is a wonderful project that will transform the services available to the people of Kinsale and the wider area. A state-of-the-art library service is essential for a town with 10 primary schools and a community college with 1,100 students.
“The My Open Library service will also be introduced, extending the self-service opening hours from 8am to 10pm, 365 days a year. I’m particularly delighted to see a sensory space included in the plans for the new library.
“Inclusivity is one of the cornerstones of Cork County Council ethos and this project is another example of this,” Ms Coughlan said.
The chief executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, said: “The project will bring back into full-time use a building that has been vacant for some time, together with bringing heritage to life, enhancing activity and business in the Church Square part of the town. It is an ideal location; it is highly accessible, in close proximity to existing housing for older people, and it has adjacent car-parking.
“The significantly larger ground floor also affords our Library & Arts Service the scope to develop an enhanced and exciting service for the local community,” he said.
The investment will be €3.7m, jointly funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Cork County Council.
The minister has committed €2.157m from the Government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF), with the balance being provided by Cork County Council.
The council made the premises available, together with the adjoining car park, in a location where real-estate values are among the most expensive in the country.
Once complete, the venue will offer a ground-floor entrance space and attached gallery exhibition, a mezzanine, a children’s area, an adult-and-study area, and a digital-facilities suite.
The book stock available to borrow from Kinsale Library will increase from 5,000 items to 25,000.