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Written Answers. - Library Facilities.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 238. Mr. Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods  the amount of funding which his Department has made available to the Kildare library service to ensure proper facilities for literacy, computer and audio training in all of the libraries of the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10380/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael Woods Zoom on Michael Woods My Department makes a grant available to each local authority on an annual basis to enable local authority librarians select, purchase, and deliver books to the primary schools in its area. The grant is based on the number of pupils enrolled in primary schools in each local authority area. Kildare County Council received €58,577 from my Department in respect of this grant in 2001.

It is a matter for each local authority to provide a library service for the schools in its area. My Department has no involvement in the operation of this service. Nor does my Department have an involvement in providing libraries with facilities for literacy, computer and audio training. This is a matter for each local authority.

However, in the implementation of Branching Out, the comprehensive review of public library policy that was published in October 1998, a working group was established in May 2000 to explore all of the issues relating to the schools library service. My Department, the Department of the Environment and Local Government, An Comhairle Leabharlanna and the library authorities are represented on the group. The work of the group is ongoing.

I am very conscious of the need to ensure that all schools have access to proper library facilities and resources. In this regard, in addition to the funding that my Department provides to local authorities on an annual basis, two grants have issued in recent years from my Department directly to primary and post primary schools to assist them with the development of their library resource materials. The first grant was issued by my Department in December 1998. At that time all primary schools received a grant of some €1,269 per school, while schools designated as disadvantaged received €4,025 each. The grant that was issued to second level schools in December 1998 amounted to €3,174, while disadvantaged schools received €6,755.

A second grant was issued to all primary and post primary schools in December 1999 as part of the national reading initiative. Under the terms of this grant, primary schools received a payment of €9.78 per pupil, while a minimum grant of €586.62 was issued to all schools with 60 pupils or less. Post-primary schools also received €9.78 per pupil, while a minimum grant of €1,955.40 was paid to all schools with less than 200 recognised [887] pupils. At primary level the total value of these two grants was approximately €9.78 million, while at second level the two grants amounted to €6.60 million.

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