The new library, which opened its doors to the public on June 11 2009, celebrated its first anniversary with satisfaction levels among the general public very evident. In its first full year of operation the new 847 sq m state-of-the-art library had 108,785 visitors pass through its doors in comparison to visitor numbers of 64,195 the previous year.
A total of 5,700 people - 3,188 adults and 2,512 children - joined the new library, a jump in membership from 4,132 the previous year. Staff were extremely busy and lent out 122,940 books and audio materials; this was a significant increase on the previous year’s figure of 85,462. Children are very definitely avid readers in Mullingar Library, as they borrowed 61,900 books which surpassed the adult readership who borrowed 61,040 .
The new library also has a greatly enhanced range of facilities. There is a dedicated computer room with a suite of 16 public access computers, a local studies department which holds a range of reference materials on the heritage and history of the county, dedicated study spaces, and a separate teenage area for the young adult members. All services are fully computerised and a recent addition in this regard is a self issue machine which allows members to check out their own books rather than queuing at the main library desk if they so wish. Library members booked 3,658 internet sessions on the public access computers during the year.
The library is also involved with FAS in a partnership project with their trainers providing eLearning sessions in the library. The Local Studies Department also catered for 591 research visits in addition to many more requests by email and telephone.
Staff proactively promoted the new library with the primary schools in the locality. Teachers brought 280 classes involving 5,408 pupils to the library during the year.
Staff also organised an events programme. Highlights included the Heritage Week exhibition on the Old Jail Site; Discover Mullingar open day with storyteller Neil De Burca; author visits from Brian Moses and Dolores Keaveney and poet Marty Mulligan during the Children’s Book Festival; A Christmas Carol promotion with artist Olive Whelan; and a visit from Oisin McGann during Library Ireland Week.