Both the Queen’s Lord Lieutenant in co Antrim Joan Christie and Sinn Fein Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín attended the official opening of the new library in Carnlough.
The purpose-built library and community facility in the former town hall cost £495,000 to construct.
The project was jointly funded through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Libraries NI and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Programme (RDP).
Children from Carnlough Controlled Integrated Primary School and St John’s Primary School helped to mark the event by providing entertainment for the attendees.
Ms Ní Chuilín helped to officially open the purpose-built facility, saying: “Thanks to support from Libraries NI, Carnlough Library stocks over 10,000 books, almost half of which are brand new, and members can also access ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines. They can also access the internet via free computers, and use free Wi-Fi with their personal devices. This enhancement of services has seen the library’s membership rise by more than 30 per cent since it reopened its doors last June.”
Cllr Paul Maguire (Sinn Fein, Braid) added: “The refurbishment of this building has been vital in helping to galvanise and regenerate the heart of this village.”
Irene Knox, chief executive of Libraries NI, said: “The new look, greatly improved library for the area is providing a central community hub for learning, information, culture, reading and heritage.”
A children’s area has been created in the centre which can accommodate local school visits and activities such as a weekly Rhythm and Rhyme session for pre-school children and is open to the public. The library is hosting free monthly events, including an adult reading group, a knit and natter group and Got IT! introductory computer sessions.
Community groups or individuals who would like to book the Community and Heritage space in the library should contact reception at Smiley Buildings, Larne on 0300 124 5000.