Library Staffing Crisis, Cllr Kieran McCarthy

Press Release, Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Comments made at Cork City Council Meeting, 8 September 2014


The retirement of three senior librarians in the Council’s library staff is a cause for concern. With nearly over one hundred years experience collectively, this city has lost their banks of knowledge. In a time, where culture and arts is blooming and booming in this city, and in a time where our libraries are actively rolling out great educational programmes, there is a staffing crisis in our libraries. You get the impression that some branches are just about staying opening – sudden sicknesses, maternity leave or general leave may result in a further reduction of hours across the city.

The closure of the local studies section for two days a week, has led to many foreign visitors seeking information on their family histories being turned away if they arrive on Monday or Tuesday. The queries of general scholars build up and lead staff catching up on the Wednesday. The closure of the mobile library in Blackrock and Mahon has led to many people not being able to access books to read, a process they enjoy. Plans are progressing to open up a new library in Mahon but at this point in time, there are no staff to man this very important piece of cultural infrastructure. I have called on the new Chief Executive to review the matter and come up with a sustainable plan going forward. Where we are at the moment does no justice to the great work our libraries do.  I am also worried as well that this will lead to a speeding up of the process of the amalgamation of the City and County Libraries Services, which I feel will be detrimental to both city and county. Both work fine without the city taking over the operation of libraries in the far reaches of the county. This is another matter that needs to be reviewed.