Renewing a Partnership for Rural People

Renewing a Partnership for Rural People
Published 24 Mar 2023


Libraries NI Chief Executive (right) is pictured with David Reid, Dept Secretary DAERA
Photo: Libraries NI Chief Executive (right) is pictured with David Reid, Dept Secretary DAERA.


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Libraries NI have signed a memorandum of understanding to cement their partnership for another four years.

DAERA and Libraries NI have been working together to help people in rural communities across Northern Ireland. The work has focused on numerous projects connecting the support and infrastructure of a government department with the network of libraries and the services they provide.

An example of a project delivered through the partnership is the Out of Hours Library Service which is funded by DAERA through its Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme. The provision of extended access to library facilities and services in rural areas delivers a range of benefits, including access to high-speed broadband that can contribute to the reduction of social isolation and financial poverty.

David Reid, Head of Rural Affairs in DAERA said: Renewing this partnership will ensure that libraries can continue to contribute to the sustainability of rural communities and support individuals and communities, including farmers, farm families and rural dwellers, to access and benefit from library services.”

Speaking of the new partnership agreement Jim O’Hagan, Libraries NI added:

‘This MoU cements the strong relationship that has been built-up over a number of years between Libraries NI and DAERA and aims to enhance the reach of rural libraries ensuring they contribute to the sustainability of our rural communities. Some rural dwellers do not have access to adequate ICT facilities and broadband and in many cases ICT skills are limited. The network of rural libraries provides those in rural areas, with access to broadband and, facilities to carry out online transactions with support available from library staff if required.  We will continue to support individuals and communities, including farmers, farm families and rural dwellers, to access and benefit from library services.”