The provision of a public library service is primarily a matter for local authorities in their capacity as library authorities under the Local Government Act 2001. However, my Department provides funding that supplements local authorities' investment in public libraries, thereby supporting them in the delivery of that service.
Funding of some €29 million is being provided through the Libraries Capital Programme 2016-2022 as a contribution towards the cost of developing library buildings which includes the continued rollout of the My Open Library service and also funding to support a Small Scale Capital Works Programme. My Department also provides funding that improves library technological capacity and resources, book stock and other areas of activity that enhance local library services.
Public libraries are providing services to schools through the annual Right to Read Programme for supporting literacy and reading development. As part of this programme, the public library service within each local authority provides supports to primary schools and students including class visits by arrangement, teacher’s library cards facilitating block loans, class novels and presentations. These supports are provided by each public library service according to its individual capacity and resources.
My Department currently has no plans to provide grants to local authorities specifically for the provision of library services to primary schools but will continue to provide funding to establish a modern, progressive library service which connects and supports communities and individuals.