THE Watch House Cross Library is to spearhead an age-friendly access project in Limerick.
It’s part of a nationwide project responding to the country’s ageing population, and the Moyross library is just one of 48 libraries across the country to be nominated to take part.
As part of the initiative, Age Friendly Ireland is working with the Libraries Development Committee and the County and City Management Association to encourage libraries to recognise and adapt to the needs of older people.
It comes following data from the Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HAPAI) survey which shows that many older people are not using their public libraries as they find them difficult to access.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring officially launched the programme and presented Watch House Cross Library with an Age Friendly Charter to recognise the great strides taken to make the library more accessible to people of all ages.
The Public Library Strategy, Our Public Libraries 2022, was published this year and seeks to develop libraries into the ‘go-to’ place for a range of public services.
The strategy builds on recent technological and service developments to focus on improving access, increasing use and changing the status of public libraries in the community.
Minister Ring explains, “the public library strategy focuses on removing barriers to access, improving accessibility, and providing a welcoming and inclusive space for all. Age Friendly Libraries are enhancing the services and facilities and making sure that we are meeting the needs of older people in our communities.
“We want to make Ireland a great place for people to live and grow old in and I’m delighted to say that our libraries are here to help this.”
Meanwhile, Mary O’Brien, one of the Age Friendly Champions in Watch House Cross Limerick says the project will help build sustainability into the library service.
“It will increase the ease with which older people engage with our services and help us to grow our customer numbers,” she explains.
The initiative is planned to be expanded to more libraries in Limerick and across the country.