Ballinasloe and Oranmore libraries will be the first in Galway to operate pilot projects for the controversial new ‘staffless libraries’ scheme, which sees libraries open on a ‘self-service’ basis after hours.
The Local Government Management Agency, which is spearheading the initiative, and the Galway County Council, which operates library services, say this new departure will allow for increased access to the services during unstaffed hours. The pilot project has already been run in Offaly and Sligo.
However the scheme is being opposed by the ‘‘Staff Our Libraries’ campaign, which argues that the new scheme will not support increased access, instead they are calling for libraries to be kept "staffed, safe and open to all".
As a result, Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is organising a public meeting to discuss the ‘staffless libraries’ scheme in the Westwood Hotel on Monday October 24 at 8pm. It is expected that members of the Local Government Management Agency, the Galway County Council, and the ‘Staff Our Libraries’ campaign will attend, as well as locally based writers.
Sen Ó Clochartaigh is calling on the public, "particularly library users", to attend and "inform themselves as to what is being proposed", and to make their views known to the relevant people.
"The one thing we all agree on is that the library services plays a really important role in our communities," he said, "and anything that can be done to enhance and develop them in a positive way would be welcome."