The new state-of-the-art Bandon Library was officially opened by Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan, last week. The library occupies the ground floor of the new Primary Care Centre on Market Place, a short distance from its former location but almost five times larger in size. Members can choose from a selection of almost 30,000 books, with dedicated areas for younger children, teens and young adults to enjoy a storytelling zone or simply a quiet space to read and relax.
Bandon Library has been specially equipped with customised furniture and technology. The €250,000 fit-out cost includes two 3D printers and a multifunction meeting room with digital conferencing equipment. Free access to high-speed internet and Wi-Fi is available throughout, supporting the community to study, work, create and play.
Mayor Coughlan was delighted to cut the ribbon on the new facility and said, “The library provides a vital service in towns and villages right across Cork County. It is an inclusive and inviting space to read, be entertained and learn. I believe that libraries are becoming even more relevant in the digital age. Bandon Library has ambitious plans in this area and will be providing free computer coding classes for children, Lego robotics workshops and will be introducing both adults and children to the basics of 3D printing and design. The printers have already generated huge interest from visitors. We want to ensure that there will be barrier-free access to science, technology and the arts which is why laptops and iPads will be available to borrow.”
Library members will soon be able to borrow books and access the facility every day of the year outside of normal opening hours. Bandon Library is set to become the first My Open Library in West Cork where the library will be open on a self-service basis from 8am to 10pm, 365 days of the year.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, highlighted how, “The extended opening hours will allow for more equitable access to library service for people of all ages, at a time that suits them. It will provide a quiet space for students to study and will also be available for community group meetings. Inclusivity is one of the cornerstones of Bandon Library’s ethos, which is why this facility is both autism and age friendly. Visiting the library can be an overwhelming experience for some members of the community which is why we’ve installed a sensory nook pod. We also have a wide range of services for older people including large print books, internet access, printing facilities and Acorn tablets for a new training and technology programme.”
Bandon Library serves 17 primary and four secondary schools in the region. Regular class visits will be facilitated as well as arts and literature events for students and teachers. The library also provides extensive literacy support and dyslexia-friendly book collections. Is it a registered Eduroam wireless hotspot which allows third-level students to access their university network.
The library is staffed by a team of seven experienced staff with plans to host up to 500 events a year attracting over 6,000 people to Bandon town. The events include lectures, educational workshops, and concerts. A community exhibition space will allow artists and amateur art groups to exhibit their work in a professional gallery environment.