Demolition work has started on the site of the long planned new Portlaoise library on Main Street.
Contractors Frank C Murray Construction began work on Tuesday February 3 by erecting fencing around the old Shaws shop.
Demolition is underway this March, with workers taking down the building from the roof down.
The footpath beside the shop will be closed for the duration of the build with some parking spaces on Church Avenue also affected.
Laois County Council chose demolition as the most cost effective solution for the new library which is designed by Portlaoise architects McOH. It is planned since 2013 when the council bought the vacant shop for €450,000.
Doors could be open in time for Christmas 2021. The job is expected to cost over €5 million and will take approximately 20 months to complete. The cost is shared between the council and central Government.
The 16,000 sq ft facility will offer library services and an exhibition area, study, IT section and a community meeting room.
The development is expected to restore footfall to the Main Street, lost after town centre schools moved out.
Portlaoise's library is currently housed above shops in Lyster Square.