Works begin on new €6 million library
Progress on the new state-of-the-art library for Wicklow is going well and the facility should be completed by late 2020.
The project will cost around €6 million in total, including the €1 million cost for the purchase of the building.
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy and Minister for Health Simon Harris were recent visitors to the site, where they inspected drawings for the project. Fifty per cent of the project cost (€3 million) is being funded through Minister Murphy's Department under the Urban Grants Scheme.
Wicklow County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Irene Winters, said: 'The coming twelve months will see the construction of a state-of-the-art library and archive for Wicklow town and county over six floors. The fact that only two of the six floors are dedicated to book borrowing, demonstrates how libraries have evolved from crammed rooms, containing nothing but shelves full of books, to bright spaces with a range of services.
'The top two floors will be particularly attractive, being dedicated to study spaces, IT areas, a community room and an art gallery,' she said.
Cllr Winters was particularly pleased that Wicklow County Council had the vision to provide a purpose-built archive section, while the central local studies collection will also be relocated to the new library.
Minister Harris praised all involved in the project while Minister Murphy said he was glad his Department could help out and that he hoped to be back for the opening in a year's time.
Sean Quirke, Deputy Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, thanked both the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for their grant aid for the project.
In 1925, the first Wicklow Branch Library was located at Bellevue House, The Mall, which later became the Bay View Hotel. In the 1930s, the library moved to the former technical school at the Mall, locally known as the 'Tin Shed'.
The current Wicklow Library opened its doors in May of 1980.
Mr Quirke said he was particularly pleased to see two former Wicklow town library staff members - Noreen Tyrrell and Ann Forde - in attendance. He further mentioned that In 1924, a 21-year-old Michael O'Donovan, better known as Cork author Frank O'Connor, came to Wicklow to help establish the new library at Bellevue House.