Communities Minister and Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan has made additional funding available to ensure that libraries, including Lisburn City Library, will not have to reduce their opening hours.
Mr Givan, has announced that he will be providing Libraries NI with additional funding of £225,000, which will ensure that the proposed reduction in Library opening hours will not now go ahead.
“The views of people are important in any public consultation and the responses received during the Libraries NI consultation has been clearly heard, both by the organisation and by me as Minister,” said Mr Givan.
“People care deeply about this important resource based in their local communities which is why I am delighted to be in a position to announce this additional funding of £225,000. This money will allow Libraries NI to address some of the financial pressures that the organisation like so many others are currently facing.
“Public libraries are a vital community asset and in my view they have an important role to play in delivering activities and programmes which contribute to innovation, creativity, social and economic wellbeing, working in partnership with a wide range of both the statutory and voluntary sectors. They remain a valuable resource and one which I will continue to support.”
Welcoming this announcement Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI said: “I am very grateful to the Minister for his support for the public library service and his recognition of the important role of libraries in communities. This additional funding is most welcome and will mean that the reduction in opening hours, planned for November will not now be required.
“Among the responses to the public consultation there are many examples of the difference that libraries have made, and continue to make, to the lives of people of all ages. It is heartening to read their stories and within the resources that are available to us, we will continue to develop and deliver services that meet identified need.”
Peter Dynes, local spokesperson for the ‘Hands Off Our Libraries’ campaign, which picketed Minister Givan’s constituency office in Lisburn, added: “We can’t be complacent going forward, but this an important victory for the communities which would have been effected by further cuts to these vital services.”