Wick­low li­brary ex­pected to open next sum­mer

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

CON­STRUC­TION on a new li­brary for Wick­low town will com­mence in Septem­ber or

Oc­to­ber and should be com­plete and open to the pub­lic by the sum­mer of 2019.

The li­brary will be lo­cated in the old Ul­ster Bank premises on the Up­per Mall, which was pur­chased by Wick­low County

Coun­cil last year. The whole cost of the pro­ject, in­clud­ing ac­qui­si­tion costs and ren­o­va­tion costs, will reach an es­ti­mated €3 mil­lion.

Direc­tor of Ser­vices for Com­mu­nity, Cul­tural and So­cial De­vel­op­ment, Michael Ni­chol­son gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on plans for the new li­brary at Mon­day’s meet­ing of Wick­low County Coun­cil.

The build­ing has six sto­ries, two of which are be­low ground. Floor 0 will con­tain a lo­cal stud­ies area and de­liv­er­ies will also be made to this floor.

Floor 1 will con­tain the ar­chives sec­tion for the whole county and the County Ar­chiv­ist will be sit­u­ated there per­ma­nently. The floor will be cli­mate con­trolled be­cause it will con­tain such a vol­ume of vin­tage doc­u­men­ta­tion, some dat­ing back to the 1700s.

Floor 2 will in­clude a chil­dren’s li­brary room with over 4,500 books. The adult li­brary will be lo­cated on the third floor and will con­tain over 10,000 books. Twenty-five IT sta­tions will be sit­u­ated in the IT room on floor 4, while an ex­hi­bi­tion and meet­ing room will be in­cluded on floor 5.

Wick­low Li­brary will be the first li­brary in the coun­try to pro­vide adult chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion with the Dis­abil­ity Fed­er­a­tion of Ire­land.

Coun­cil­lors at Mon­day’s meet­ing passed a Part 8 un­der the Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Reg­u­la­tions al­low­ing for the build­ing’s change of use from a bank.

The front of the prop­erty will be re­set so as to give more foot­path room to pedes­tri­ans and users of the li­brary.

Cllr Gail Dunne said: ‘A new li­brary for the cap­i­tal town will be a bril­liant de­vel­op­ment. I wel­come to re­set­ting at the front be­cause of the amount of cars and buses go­ing past. It’s in an ideal area with two schools in close prox­im­ity. It will also bring some life back to that part of town.’

Cllr Shay Cullen de­scribed the plans as highly im­por­tant to Wick­low Mu­nic­i­pal District.

He said: ‘It’s a mag­nif­i­cent build­ing. I com­pli­ment Michael Ni­chol­son and the County Li­brar­ian Brendan Martin on their fore­sight in pur­chas­ing this build­ing. That area of town is in need of support in or­der to get peo­ple to use that part of the town more fre­quently. The li­brary will also be com­pli­mented by the re­cent re­open­ing of the town hall.’

Cllr John Snell said all six elected mem­bers of the Wick­low District were fully sup­port­ive of the pro­ject. ‘It should help bring some new life to the Up­per Mall area. I also have to commend the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive for help­ing to bring life back to Mar­ket Square by re­open­ing the town hall.’

He also joked: ‘Maybe if any left­over money is found in any of the safes in the old bank it could be put into the re­fur­bish­ment of Wick­low Court­house.’

Cllr Irene Win­ters said: ‘It will make a huge dif­fer­ence to the town. Mov­ing the ar­chives to the new li­brary is also a great idea. I think there is a per­cep­tion that they are dif­fi­cult to ac­cess when they are in the county build­ings.’

Cllr Mary Ka­vanagh said the planned de­vel­op­ment was al­ready cre­at­ing plenty of ex­cite­ment.

‘It’s a cutting-edge and mod­ern build­ing. When peo­ple get the de­tails I think they will be count­ing down the days un­til it opens.’

Cllr Daire Nolan said: ‘It will be a beau­ti­ful, mod­ern fa­cil­ity. It will re­vi­talise any area which has suf­fered greatly. It will be an amaz­ing boost for the town and hope­fully will be well uti­lized by the pub­lic.’

The old Ul­ster Bank on The Mall, where the new li­brary will be lo­cated.

Cllr Shay Cullen.

Cllr John Snell.

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