My Department's budget for library related expenditure for 2020 is c. €8.15m. This will fund public library infrastructure and services with a focus on fit-for-purpose buildings, ICT capacity and supports for marginalised, socially excluded and disadvantaged communities, in line with the actions under the Public Library Strategy Our Public Libraries 2022 - Inspiring, Connecting, and Empowering Communities.
In that context my Department funds a Libraries Capital Programme that will invest around €29m in 19 projects, as well as the My Open Library service, between 2016 and 2022.
The public libraries strategy aims to introduce the My Open Library service to 100 library branches around the country by 2022. The service is currently available in 15 public libraries and I have recently announced funding of almost €1.5 million for the provision of innovative technologies and the roll out of the My Open Library service in a further 17 branches in 2020.
My Department has also provided funding of €200k to support the Healthy Ireland at Your Library programme which will take place during 2020. The programme is now in its third phase and has been expanded to include interactive digital exhibitions. During Phase 2 a total of 921 events were held with a total of 23,028 attendees.
My Department will also provide c.€770k in 2020 towards the cost of leasing 16 public library buildings, and c.€250k to the Public Lending Remuneration Scheme which provides a small contribution to authors whose books are available in public libraries.
Funding of €650k has been approved from the Dormant Accounts Fund for the provision of Library Supports for Marginalised, Socially Excluded and Disadvantaged Communities. The objective of the Dormant Accounts Fund is to support people who experience economic, social or educational disadvantage, or to assist persons with a disability. This funding will help the public library service meet the needs of a diverse range of individuals and communities, which will facilitate inclusion and participation by all. It will build on existing library services and develop new relationships with local agencies and groups to facilitate greater engagement with those communities. The public libraries play a very important role in assisting in the delivery of additional educational services to comply with our Sustainable Development Goals and this funding will increase their capacity to continue that work.