independent

Sunday 18 August 2019

New building will offer much more than

LOCAL Historian and author, Eithne Scallan, is a familiar face at Wexford Library and she considers the resources available at the facility second to none.

' Cantwell's Memorials of the Dead written by Brian Cantwell during the 1980s is an in depth account of the headstones in every graveyard in the County. This collection is unique to Wexford Library,' she says, giving just one example of the resources available to members of the public free of charge.

Library staff and users agree however that, in practical terms, it would be far more effective if all books and archives were available at the one location.

While the staff at the library are dedicated to delivering an efficient customer service and to organising events such as workshops, lectures, book launches, poetry recitals and storytelling for children, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so in such a confined space.

A poetry club was established at Wexford Library but then forced to move to a new location due to the noise in the current, cramped library building at McCauley's car park.

Traditionally, a library is perceived as a place of silence where conversation is discouraged. However, on any day Wexford library is a hive of activity, full of noisy distraction. The new library on Mallin Street, however, will include two meeting rooms which will facilitate the hosting of such meetings.

Wexford town library is more of a community library as distinct from a more traditional academic library. There is something quite unique about the library and the way in which it attracts such a diverse range of people to come together and share in their love for books, be it the latest 'chick lit' novel or a D.I.Y. manual. However in a county which has produced more professors of History than any other county, it is clear that there is a need for a library that facilitates research and learning as well as social engagement.

The new library is designed to achieve the double objective of providing the town with a socalled 'community' library space and an 'academic' library environment, something unattainable within the restricted confines of the current library facility.

Fionnuala Hanrahan, County Librarian, explains that the new building has been designed to cater for the needs of all library users.

The first floor is intended to facilitate people coming together so as to encourage social engagement within the library. This floor will include two meeting rooms for use by community groups and societies. There will also be a specific exhibition viewing area. In addi-

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