2 April 2009
Culture Minister Gregory Campbell today officially launched Libraries NI, the new Northern Ireland Library Authority which will deliver a single unified and integrated library service.
Speaking at the launch of Libraries NI in the newly refurbished Bangor Carnegie Library the Minister said: “Now that there is a single body model it should deliver a high quality public library service across Northern Ireland.
“It combines the previous five library boards in a streamlining measure to end duplication and focus solely on libraries and their parity across Northern Ireland. Libraries NI will support a wide range of government priorities such as promoting literacy, lifelong learning, and addressing social exclusion.”
The Minister said that libraries are a rich resource which play a vital role in society. They make available knowledge, enlightenment and entertainment, with support and guidance from knowledgeable library staff.
Concluding the Minister added: “Over the last three years, considerable effort has gone into developing, legislating for, and setting up all the necessary parts of Libraries NI to ensure it develops a dynamic library service for all.
“I look forward to seeing in Libraries NI, a service that will, over the next few years develop the library service into a single unified service for everyone to enjoy; deliver service improvement across Northern Ireland; and put in place a significant programme of capital investment to develop and improve the library estate for the 21st century.”
Speaking at the launch David Elliott, Chairperson of Libraries NI said: "I am very pleased to be the first Chairperson of Libraries NI and to play a role in the development of a cohesive and integrated public library service for Northern Ireland.
“A good modern library is an information hub, providing a wide range of services for children, young people and adults of all ages. Membership is free and brings with it access to a wide range of services, not only books, but also free online access with skilled and knowledgeable staff who can help users to navigate their way through the mass of printed and online material that is available today.
“At this time of economic recession the services that libraries provide are more important than ever. The moment we persuade anyone to cross that magical threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, and for the better."