Refurbishment of Skerries Library
18th August, 2019
I’m personally delighted and excited to see the plans for a refurbished Skerries Library. As a big fan of the library service and as someone who has campaigned for greater public involvement in the development of our library, I am encouraging people to get involved again in making this exciting plan even better.
Back in 2014, I started a campaign to try to get more transparency and public participation in how Fingal County Council spend the public’s money. The capital plan at the time had €100,000 allocated for the refurbishment of Skerries Library. As a key community resource, I felt proposing a participatory budgeting process for the refurbishment of the library would be a good way forward.
I started a campaign to convince the Council to run a Participatory Budgeting process on the allocated funds for the library. I handed out leaflets at the train station, wrote to the Chief Executive, got many other to do the same and in general created a bit of noise on local and social media about how to spend what was a large sum of money for a key community resource for the town.
At the time (2015) Fingal didn’t agree to run a proper participatory budgeting process however they did agree instead to run a public consultation process on what people wanted to see in the refurbished library. The response was excellent with 247 submissions received!
“Last week saw a big step in the community’s vision for their library being fulfilled.”
The following capital plan for 2016 to 2018 stated the following about the survey: ‘A recent survey on the proposed refurbishment of the Library attracted 247 responses. 74% of those who responded said they would like to have a more comfortable leisure reading area in the refurbished library and 48% said they would like to have more study desks’.
But the big impact of the public response to the survey was the increased spending allocation in the capital plan which at the time went to over €500,000.
Last week saw a big step in the community’s vision for their library being fulfilled with the publication of planning documents for the refurbished library. You will see from the plans that public involvement has been central to creating this vision of the library which sees much more space for library users. I would impress upon people that this current impressive vision can still benefit from the community’s ideas and suggestions, so please have a look and send in your thoughts: