Kildare South Fine Gael TD and Minister Martin Heydon said welcomed €11,008 in Government funding announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys which is being made available to assist libraries across Kildare to reach out to and improve services for vulnerable and marginalised groups.

Minister Heydon said, “This funding is designed to support and encourage the use of libraries by children, the elderly, people with disabilities and the marginalised and disadvantaged communities, with a number of projects also designed to reach out to Ukrainian families who have fled the war. The funding will provide for a range of equipment, classes and activities in libraries across the country and I am delighted that many libraries in Kildare will benefit.

“For Kildare Libraries 3 new initiatives are being introduced. Students in DEIS schools will receive an introduction to fast fashion– what it is, what effect it has on our environment & society.  A sensory cubbie space will offer a safe space in Kildare libraries for all ages and in particular for those with autism, sensory difficulties, and dementia.  In addition under a LOTE (Languanges other Than English) programme, a two year subscription will be available for digital book/audiobook resources in many languages with English translation. Titles in Ukrainian and Russian will be available to benefit refugees arriving into Kildare.”

“In total, the Government has announced €700,000 nationally in funding for library supports, approved under the 2022 Dormant Accounts Action Plan.  This funding compliments over €3.1m announced by Minister Humphreys recently for major expansion of My Open Library.

Minister Martin Heydon continued, “Fine Gael is working to build stronger, safer communities and we are determined to support and improve our libraries, which are integral to communities across Kildare. It is important to reach out to vulnerable and marginalised groups and ensure they have access to quality library services.

“At a national level this initiative will see €400,000 allocated to events and programmes which reach out to marginalised, socially excluded and disadvantaged communities. €150,000 will be granted for the provision of digital equity and sensory equipment which will improve accessibility to public library services for people with a disability and those with sensory needs, autism, or older members of our community. And a further €150,000 is allocated for the provision of literacy supports in tandem with the national Right to Read Programme such as literacy, numeracy, digital skills licences.”

“While this funding is small in nature, it will have a big impact in terms of improving people’s lives. I want to pay tribute and thank all our library staff, who play such an important role in cities, towns and villages right across the country”, concluded Minister Heydon.