Those who avail of the Clare County Council library services on offer in Ennis were given a New Year cheer this week with the announcement of extended opening hours. The de Valera Library and the Local Studies Centre will open six days a week, thanks to a new initiative being pioneered by the Clare Library Service.
County Librarian Noel Crowley explained why. This is in keeping with Clare County Councils policy of making every effort to facilitate the public by making services available at more convenient times and is due to the successful automation of the Library service. The aim of the Council in introducing library automation was to improve the service to users by increasing access to and use of existing resources and to develop new services for the benefit of people from Clare. Computerisation has meant that the public now has access to a stock of over 200,000 books spread throughout the entire branch network, he added.
From January 4th, the new opening hours come into effect. Both the de Valera Library and the Local Studies Centre will open on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm while the library will open at 10 am on weekday mornings and the Local Studies Centre will have a 9.30 am opening time. According to Mr. Crowley, the increased opening hours of the de Valera branch should lead to further increased book issues which reached 122,500 in 1997. The library is heavily used by schoolchildren, both during class visits and as a homework/study centre after school by both primary and secondary students.
The extension of services in Ennis is in keeping with the new library policy being pursued by Environment Minister, Noel Dempsey. This policy entitled Branching Out: a New Public Library Policy was launched in Dublin late last year and addressed the measures deemed necessary to enable the potential of the public library service to be achieved.
Future developments planned at the de Valera Library will be that users will be able to access information about books from the comfort of their own homes thanks to their information age computer.
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