Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill have celebrated the official opening of Draperstown Library today.
The £155,000 project was developed by Workspace and the local community in partnership with DCAL, DARD, SWARD (South West Action for Rural Development), Big Lottery and Libraries NI.
Speaking at the opening of the new library, which has received Rural Development funding, Minister O’Neill said: “Increasing the attractiveness of rural settlements such as Draperstown through the provision of more and better basic services is a key aim of my Rural Development Programme. This new library is one of the latest examples of this aim being met.
“The funding awarded, including £50,000 from Local Action Group SWARD, under the Rural Development Programme, has secured library provision into the future and also brought back into life the old Plantation Building which will now provide a range of services for the local community.”
The Minister added: “Currently, public consultation on the draft 2014-2020 RDP is ongoing. I encourage all in our rural communities to help shape the future investment opportunities and do this by responding to that public consultation which closes on 21 October 2013.”
Minister Ní Chuilín said: “The opening of a new library is a cause for celebration. I think this is particularly the case when it is in a rural area. Draperstown Library is a great example of agencies and organisations, at a community, government and international level, working together towards a common goal.
“These new premises, which are twice the size of the old building, reflect the changing nature of libraries in our society. They are modern educational, social and creative centres, offering welcoming facilities which are open to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
“Our libraries should be a window on the wider world – providing access to facilities which can further knowledge and fire the imagination.
“People value their local libraries and will passionately defend them. I welcome this. It confirms that people appreciate both the investment in our public library service and the work that Libraries NI does to improve the quality and quantity of the services it delivers in communities across the north.”
The Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and over this period is worth £500million to the north.