Launch of National Library Strategy

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  • Ambitious new strategy along with 66-point action plan to place libraries ‘at the heart of our communities’ 
  • Unprecedented investment to transform library facilities into multi-purpose social and educational spaces
  • Every single library user to be given free access to a book club
  • Huge increase in library activities from computer and language classes to cultural events and exhibitions
  • Treble the number of ‘My Open Library’ facilities, which provide library access 365 days per year
  • 50% increase in payments made to authors
  • Ireland’s newest library in Portlaoise officially opens; €7.5 million investment
  • Minister Humphreys and Minister Joe O’Brien also announce €550,000 in funding for library supports nationwide


The new strategy ‘The Library is the Place’ is available to view here


Media Release: Monday, 17th July 2023

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today launched The Library is the Place, an ambitious new five year strategy designed to support and strengthen our public library network.

The Library is the Place contains 66 separate actions which will ensure our public libraries become multi-purpose social and educational spaces for all members of the community to enjoy.

The strategy was launched as Minister Humphreys officially opened Ireland’s newest library facility in Portlaoise, which received an investment of almost €7.5 million.

Among the highlights of the Action Plan are:

  • To develop every library in the country into a multi-purpose education and social space for all members of the community;
  • Treble the number of ‘My Open Library’ facilities to over 90. These provide library access between 8am-10pm, 365 days per year;
  • To provide every library user in the country with access to a book club;
  • To increase visitor numbers and the amount spent on books in every library year-on-year;
  • To ensure the further roll-out of Outreach Library Services and mobile libraries with a particular focus on rural communities;
  • 50% increase in authors’ remuneration through Public Lending Remuneration (PLR) Scheme;
  • Rollout of the national “Skills for Life” umbrella programme with a focus on digital skills, financial literacy, sustainable lifestyles and environmental awareness;
  • Increase the availability of services and materials in the Irish language in every library facility


Launching the strategy today, Minister Humphreys said:

 I’m delighted to officially open Ireland’s newest library facility – a €7.5 million state-of-the-art project in the heart of Portlaoise. This facility is on the site of an old Department store. And now, it has been totally transformed for 21st century use. I’m very pleased also to launch ‘The Library is the Place’ – our ambitious new strategy designed to support and strengthen our public library service over the next five years. Our libraries are at the heart of our towns and villages – with over 300 facilities nationwide. They are places that provide key services and cater for all members of the community. And as Minister, I’m determined for this to continue as we implement this ambitious new strategy and action plan. The Library is the Place’ is about ensuring our libraries continue to adapt to the rapid changes taking places in society. It’s about ensuring that they become multi-purpose social and educational spaces for people of all ages – from our toddlers right up to our senior citizens.”

 The Minister continued:

“This strategy sets out 66 concrete actions that we will deliver over the next five years. We will treble the number of ‘My Open library’ facilities to over 90. These are facilities that can be accessed 365 days of the year. We will deliver an ambitious library capital programme underpinned by unprecedented investment from my Department. We will provide every library user in the country with access to a book club. And we will significantly increase the activities available in our libraries – from computer and language classes to arts and craft. I really believe ‘The Library is the Place’ will transform our libraries facilities for the better – benefiting all members of our community regardless of their age or ability.”


Other commitments contained in ‘The Library is the Place’:

  • Delivery of an ambitious Library Capital Programme underpinned by unprecedented investment;
  • A new national network of Gigabit libraries to offer superfast internet services to users;
  • New online infrastructure to give users access to cultural, heritage and local historical resources;
  • Libraries to host events and exhibitions as part of national festivals e.g. Culture Night, Heritage Week, Seachtain na Gaeilge and Criunniú na nÓg;
  • All new library buildings to support Local Authority Climate Action targets;
  • Delivery of digital skills training, a national leadership programme and a new national media literacy programme for library staff;
  • The expansion of the Right to Read Programme and the Right to Read Local Networks.


Minister Humphreys concluded:

Our public libraries are for everyone. They are a fantastic free resource at the heart of our communities providing spaces for information, recreation and inspiration. I would like to pay tribute to all our library staff who are so committed to serving their community. Without them, our libraries simply wouldn’t exist. I want to thank them for all of the hard work and I know they will help implement ‘The Library is the Place’ with great determination and commitment.”


The new strategy ‘The Library is the Place’ is available to view here


Allocation of Funding under Dormant Accounts Fund for Library Supports

Also today, Minister Humphreys and Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien, announced €550,000 in funding for library supports for marginalized and disadvantaged communities under the 2023 Dormant Accounts Action Plan. (See projects in appendix 2 below)


This funding will support: 

  • a Digital Equity and Social Inclusion programme to purchase modern equipment in public libraries
  • events and programmes which reach out to marginalised, socially excluded and disadvantaged communities
  • the Little Library programme


Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said:

 “Hand in hand with the announcement of the new strategy and the opening of this new library, I am delighted along with Minister Joe O’Brien to announce the allocation €550,000 of Dormant Accounts Funding to further support our libraries in our communities. As evidenced by the title of the strategy – the library is the place for all in our communities and this funding will help our libraries to go even further in facilitating inclusion and participation by all.”


Also announcing the funding, Minister O’Brien said:

 “I am delighted to approve this funding under the 2023 Dormant Accounts Action Plan. This funding will support events and programmes which reach out to those most marginalised in our communities. It will also provide for a number of measures to support digital equity and social inclusion such as sensory spaces and equipment, Magic Tables and Acorn Age Friendly tablets. I have seen first-hand the positive effects of this equipment on a range of users, including neurodivergent people, people with reading difficulties and older people. This funding will build upon the success of previous years’ projects and go a long way to ensuring that the wonderful facilities available in our libraries are accessible and used by all in our communities”.



The Library is the Place’

The new strategy was developed by the Department of Rural and Community Development in partnership with the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and local authorities. It is a 5-year plan for the period 2023-27 which sets out the strategic context for further investment in library infrastructure, technology, programmes and services.

The strategy was drafted following an extensive consultation process that included a public consultation which resulted in 2,993 returned questionnaires, focus groups with over 300 libraries staff members, further focus groups with key stakeholder groups and interviews and workshops with key interested parties.


Main points of new Strategy

The strategy contains three overarching themes:

      • People
      • Spaces
      • Connections


66 strategic actions have been listed under nine strategic objectives and three enablers.

A list of the Strategic Objectives and some of the specific actions to deliver these are:


Reading and Literacy is at the heart of what we do

      • Expansion of Right to Read programme
      • Access to a book club for library users
      • Increase in availability of services and materials in Irish language


Libraries for all

      • Increased active library users
      • Increased Outreach library services such as mobile libraries or digital services


Skills for Life

      • National “Skills for Life” umbrella programme covering issues such as digital skills, financial literacy, sustainable lifestyles and environmental awareness


The Library as the Centre of the Community

      • Increased visitor numbers
      • Freely accessible meeting, study and social space
      • Use of user-centred design approaches in development of library services


Our Buildings

      • New Standards and Benchmarks to be published
      • New Libraries Capital Programme to be developed
      • New and refurbished library buildings to meet highest standards of construction, energy efficiency etc


Sustainability and Climate Action

      • New library buildings to support local authority climate action plans
      • Transition to hybrid, hydrogen or electric library vehicles
      • Libraries to provide information on Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Action Plans


Our Digital Offer

      • Continuous improvement to Library Management System
      • Development of apps for access to library services and resources
      • New national network of Gigabit libraries



      • Recommendations on new online infrastructure for access to cultural heritage and local history
      • Libraries to hold events to mark festivals celebrating Irish culture


Cross border and Transnational Co-operation

      • Implementation of professional development programme in partnership with Libraries Northern Ireland
      • Development of network with European peer countries to share/exchange best practice


Data Supported and User-Focussed Service Design

      • Development of data dashboard for library leaders and ultimately the public
      • Expansion of user-centred design approaches to library services



      • Library authorities to be supported to develop marketing campaigns
      • New annual national public library open day
      • Annual training for library staff on marketing and communications


Library Team

      • Workforce planning and strategies to ensure libraries have adequate staff resources
      • Digital skills training to be rolled out for library staff


How to join your library online

Library membership is completely free of charge for everyone in every public library in the country.  If you are not yet a library member, you can join now by following the instructions below:

  • Complete the online form at the following address:


  • You will be assigned a temporary library number and you can set up a library PIN. With those, you’ll be able to access all of the online services listed in this document immediately, all completely free of charge.
  • Contact details for all public libraries are available on https://www.librariesireland.ie/ or local authority websites.


Dormant Account Funding

Appendix 1 – County Funding Allocations

Local Authority Total Cost Total DRCD Funding Total LA contribution
Meath €5,551.78 €4,996.60 €555.18

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