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Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has highlighted that re-opening Douglas Library is a must in the short term for Douglas Village. At the recent Culture, Community and Place-making Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) of Cork City Council Cllr McCarthy noted; “Douglas Library is a focal point in the village and has a high membership with adults and in particular younger people using it. It also hosted a large number of weekly community events, which attracted a lot of interested local people”.
Cork City Council officials fear the damage caused to Douglas library following the recent shopping centre fire is worse than first imagined, with over 40,000 books and other items covered in soot from the blaze. The local authority is working on creating a replacement service for the library, but staff do not yet know the amount of the damage to computers and other electronic equipment in the library.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “Information given to me at the recent SPC and to those present noted that currently a cost analysis is being done to see what books can be saved and cleaned and what books need to be destroyed. The Library Service is also seeking advice from the Department of Local Government and sought an urgent meeting to see what rescue funding mechanisms are available”.
Mr Liam Ronayne, City Librarian, has articulated that the library’s position on the first floor of the Douglas Village Shopping Centre put it in close vicinity to where the blaze commenced on 31 August, meaning the facility has also suffered damage from the thousands of litres of water poured into the car park to extinguish the fire. The contents of many books are covered in a film of soot throughout the Library, worse in the northern side of the building nearer the car park. All of the stock, over 40,000 items, has been covered in soot, both along the edges and inside the individual books. Unfortunately, the delay in getting access meant that it is going to be more problematic to try and alleviate the situation.
Fortunately, Mr Ronayne has said there are no items of high value in Douglas Library, and that all stock was for borrowing by local patrons meaning there are no irreplaceable books there. The Chief Executive of Cork City Council Ann Doherty has given a commitment to have a replacement service as soon as is physically possible.