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Draperstown Library is officially opened

On Wednesday 11 September 2013 Michelle O’Neill MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, performed the official opening of Draperstown Library in its new premises at 50 High Street.

To secure the lease on these new premises, Libraries NI worked in partnership with The Workspace Group who approached SWARD (South West Action for Rural Development) under their Village Renewal grant scheme, to obtain a £50,000 grant, part funded by DARD and the European Union through the NI Rural Development Programme, towards the approximate £125,000 cost of refurbishing the building for the library. A further £50,000 was secured from the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS scheme towards the costs with the balance of the £25,000 being met by Workspace.

This successful partnership working has created a new purpose build facility aimed at providing the residents of the Draperstown area with a modern, bright and comfortable library offering a range of services. Since opening in April, the number of people coming through the library’s doors continues to increase. Active membership has increased by over 19% (from April – July 2013) compared to the same period last year, proving that the new facility is being well used and supported.

 It is twice the size of the previous library and the open and airy interior gives customers the opportunity to browse, meet friends or find a quiet corner to read the local newspaper.  Members can also enjoy free Internet access on six public computers and use its Information Services. A children’s area has been created which can accommodate local schools visits and activities such as Rhythm and Rhyme sessions for pre-school children. The library will host free monthly events, including a Children’s Reading Group, an Adult Reading Group and Got IT! introductory computer sessions. Ask staff for details!

To mark the official opening, a celebration was held in the library and was attended by many community and local representatives. Background music was provided as guests arrived and the McKee Family played traditional music, while pupils from local schools participated in the event. Ballinascreen Historical Group displayed old photographs of the Draperstown area and a range of demonstrations highlighted services available in the library to support learning, culture, heritage and information.

 Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, explains:

“Libraries NI and Workspace are delighted that this partnership working and the drive and commitment shown by Workspace has resulted in the opening of this new library facility.

 “Libraries provide a central community hub for learning, information, culture, reading and heritage and since opening its doors in April, Draperstown Library has been holding a range of events to support these themes. I know that the people of Draperstown will make tremendous use of this new facility and that it will play a valuable role in the community. There is something for everyone to enjoy in these celebrations and I would urge everyone to come along and sample a little of what we have to offer!”

Brian Murray, Chief Executive of the Workspace Group added:

“Workspace are delighted to see the very positive joint approach between Libraries NI and the local community resulting in such an excellent facility being delivered on the ground.  It is great to see local consultation actually working for local benefit.”

 Catherine Elattar, Chairperson of Magherafelt District Council, said:

“The library has provided an important service to Ballinascreen and surrounding rural areas for many years and the community was very eager for the service to continue. I’m delighted that the hard work and campaigning of many in the community has been rewarded with this fabulous new library. “

 Cllr Sean McGuigan, Vice Chairperson SWARD JCC, went on to comment:

“With the help of the Rural Development Programme SWARD has been able to support rural communities to make much needed improvements to their local villages, both in terms of improving access to services and amenities and in improving visual appearance within the village. The new library here in Draperstown is an excellent example of what can be achieved through partnership working and we congratulate Workspace and everyone involved for delivering this fantastic facility”

Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair said: “The Village SOS funding which has helped develop this new premises in Draperstown will be a real cultural hub and bring the local community together. We are delighted to have supported such an exciting and worthwhile initiative.”

Library membership is free to all, simply bring along a means of identification (which includes a home address) and then you can enjoy many free membership benefits.

Draperstown Library’s opening hours are Tuesday from 1.30pm – 8.00pm, Friday 10.00am – 1.00pm and 2.00pm – 5.00pm and Saturday from 10.00am – 1.00pm and 2.00pm – 4.30pm.

 For further information, contact Draperstown Library (50 High Street, BT45 7AD), telephone: 028 7962 8249, email: draperstown.library@librariesni.org.uk or go to the Libraries NI website www.librariesni.org.uk   

Draperstown Library50 High Street official opening

Dr Michael McAllister, Chairperson The Workspace Group, Irene Knox Chief Executive Libraries NI, Catherine Elattar, Chair Magherafelt District Council, Michelle O’Neill MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development and Nigel Macartney Chairperson of Libraries NI.

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