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Libraries NI Celebrates Ten Years of Serving Communities

Throughout the first week of April, Libraries NI will be celebrating its 10th anniversary to acknowledge and recognise ten years of serving communities across the network of libraries.  

In the last ten years, public libraries have strengthened their position as local hubs providing services that connect people with information, with new learning opportunities and with help and support in their own community. Reading remains an integral part of the service but today’s libraries offer so much more and customers will visit a library for many reasons including regular social interaction, learning programmes and cultural experiences.

For parents, carers, grandparents and children, Rhythm and Rhyme has become a stable part of their weekly programme introducing young children to the wonder of rhymes, songs and stories in a fun relaxed library environment. Since Libraries NI was established, over 1,000,000 participants* have attended Rhythm and Rhyme sessions providing young children with best possible start for developing their reading and listening skills whilst having lots of fun! Libraries NI is proud to have raised a decade of readers. 

Tracy Meharg, Permanent Secretary Department for Communities, Libraries NI Chief Executive Jim O’Hagan and R&R's Alana 

 Tracy Meharg, Permanent Secretary Department for Communities, Libraries NI Chief Executive Jim O’Hagan
and Rhythm and Rhyme participant Alana

Since its inception Libraries NI has invested in local service delivery through the opening of five new libraries, the refurbishment of 30 libraries and the introduction of 14 new mobile libraries. New technology has also been introduced including self-service RFID kiosks, free Wi-Fi and improved broadband in every library and new online services such as eBooks, Audiobooks and eMagazines with over 2,000 eloans every day.

Libraries NI Chief Executive Jim O’Hagan said: 

“It is very encouraging to see the positive change which has occurred since Libraries NI was established in 2009. The changing nature of the service means that libraries are now woven into the daily life and habits of people and communities across Northern Ireland. Libraries are in the heart of communities offering welcoming facilities, helpful and supportive staff and access to a range of free services.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making the first decade of Libraries NI a great success, from our hard-working staff members that continually deliver a friendly, modern day library service, to the Department for Communities for the funding and support they provide and most importantly to the public, regular users and supporters of libraries throughout Northern Ireland. Libraries NI plays a vital role within the community and we look forward to continuing to play our part in shaping and moulding the library service of the future.”

Tracy Meharg, Permanent Secretary DfC:

‘The Department for Communities is heartened to celebrate 10 years of Libraries NI. Libraries make a positive contribution to people’s lives, helping to build communities and support people through educational, social and creative community hubs which benefit people of all ages and backgrounds.

Libraries NI is inviting everyone to help us celebrate our 10th anniversary by calling into your local library to see what the library has on offer for you and your family. If you are not yet a member, you can sign up today by visiting If you have a story about how Libraries NI has made a difference to you, join the conversation on social media by using #LibrariesNI10. 

*The number of Rhythm and Rhyme participants refers to instances of participation rather than individual people​