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Library service must be kept

The threatened closure of the SEELB library headquarters in Ballynahinch by March 31 taken by the newly-formed board of Libraries NI is a decision that has been made without properly assessing the library services and research facilities provided.

At present, the SEELB library HQ houses both local and Irish history collections. This includes various types of books, periodicals, ordnance survey parish memoirs, maps, postcards and photographs and microfilmed material. It is used by the general public, researchers, academics and historians for both genealogy and Irish history research purposes.

It is deeply concerning that the threatened closure could lead to both the history archive material and the extensive collection of historical archive material relating specifically to Co Down being transferred to other locations.

To split such historical material across various locations clearly illustrates that the board of Libraries NI have not properly assessed the services in Ballynahinch and are more interested in cost-saving.

I would urge the Minister to look carefully at the premature decision and retain this important library and research facility.

PATRICK CLARKE

Dundrum, Co Down

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