The new library in Portlaoise will represent a major improvement on the services being by the existing library which was constructed in 1994 to serve a population of less than 10,000, according to Laois County Council.
Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Mary Sweeney, who also works in Portlaoise library, said the staff were delighted they would finally have the space to do the things they wanted to do.
“The library services has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, and space has been a big problem for us. We always saw it as a temporary measure,” said Cllr Sweeney, who also works for the Library Services.
“The staff are delighted, they will finally have the space to what the things we want to do. They can really see the potential of the new building.
“It’s also great to be back on Main Street in the heart of the town,” she said.
The new library will also be a general exhibition area providing for exhibitions, reader development and cultural events, music recitals and community activities, enabling presentations on aspects of the heritage of Laois.
The council also envisages that the local studies and local history research section will be part of the new development providing access to family history references and archives, according to Anna-Marie Maher, director of services.
County manager, Peter Carey said the new library would contribute to the regeneration of Main Street.
“The proposed new library presents an excellent opportunity to contribute to the regeneration of Main Street and the vision to develop a cultural quarter in the historical part of Portlaoise town,” he said.
He thanked the members of Laois County Council and Portlaoise Town Council for their support and paid tribute to Jonathan Shaw, for his positive attitude and completion of the purchase.
While county librarian, Bernie Foran said she was excited by the news and looked forward to the development of this new facility.
The news was also welcomed by Mayor of Portlaoise Town Council, Cllr Willie Aird. He said it was very positive news for the town and for the Main Street.