Committee Welcomes Positive Response from Libraries NI
Date: 21 October 2011
Reference: CAL 03/11/12
The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure has welcomed the announcement by Libraries NI that eight of the ten libraries earmarked for closure will remain open, albeit subject to further review.
Committee Chairperson, Michelle McIlveen, said: “The Committee is pleased that Libraries NI has taken the views of the Committee, local communities and local action groups on board regarding the important role libraries have.
“Libraries are not just about lending books, but offer many benefits, including a place for members of the local community to meet, learn and interact. The closure of the libraries in Moy and Moneymore, will be very disappointing for those who rely on the services they provide.
“As older and younger people, people with disabilities and those with dependents have been recognised as the groups who have most to lose from their local library closing, everything must be done to minimise the impact of the closures on these communities.
“With regards to Gilford, the Committee welcomes the partnership approach that will be taken to use alternative facilities to develop an innovative approach to library services there. This is an approach that the Committee has always endorsed, and encourages Libraries NI to adopt similar measures in Moy and Moneymore.
“The Committee urges Libraries NI to work with those communities whose library is subject to further review. These libraries should receive all of the support they need to meet the conditions set by Libraries NI, within a realistic timescale.”
The provision of library services has been a priority for the Committee. It insisted that the decision to close libraries should only be taken as a last resort, once all other avenues and methods were exhausted. It has held Libraries NI to account, and will continue to do so throughout all future reviews.