The Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Councillor William Aird, and the Chief Executive of Laois County Council, Mr. John Mulholland have signed the contract for the construction of the new library on the main street Portlaoise on the former Shaws site.
The successful tenderer is Frank C Murray and Sons Construction Ltd, Ballybritt, Roscrea.
The new library development will involve the demolition works , site clearance and the construction of a new library building.
The new library will provide over 1800 square meters of public space and will include children’s library, adult and local history sections, study areas, community meeting spaces, digital suite and exhibition space.
The budget for the construction is in the region of €5 million and is jointly funded by the Department of Rural Community Development with a grant of €3 million and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with additional financial aid of 1 million under the Ireland 2040 URDF Fund.
The balance of funding is to be provided by Laois County Council.
Works are expected to start in January 2020.
County Librarian Bernie Foran commented:
“Laois County library service are delighted that the new library is continuing to progress to construction stage.
The library services provide a vital and valuable service to all parts of the community and we continue to adapt our services and premises for our modern society.
Library member ship is now free for all and in 2018 there has been over 240,000 stock items loaned in libraries and over 240,000 actual visits by our customers for 2018.
Laois has seen some outstanding architectural library buildings developed in the last decade such as Abbeyleix, Stradbally, Mountrath, Durrow , Mountmellick and Portarlington and they continue to provide wide ranging library and information services in these areas.
Portlaoise has had transformational population growth in the last decade and the new county library will upgrade services for the public and cater for the growing demand in the town for services in the areas of lifelong learning, literacy and reading ,printing, scanning digital learning and classes , culture and arts , local history , genealogy and a host of other services.
The location of the new library in the heart of the town will strengthen Portlaoise Main street as a cultural centre and as well as support economic and social activity in the town. ”