Oughterard Library is to be closed for the foreseeable future to facilitate structural works to the building.
Galway County County confirmed this week that a survey of the building has identified the need for extensive remedial works and the library would now be closed for the immediate future.
The Oughterard Courthouse building, which houses the library, was initially closed in early September in order for essential repair works to be carried out to the roof of the facility. It had been estimated that the closure would last a week but once initial works had begun, it emerged that the more extensive renovations were needed.
A condition survey of the structure was carried out to determine the full extent of the works required and quotations are now being sought by Galway County Council.
A spokesperson for the local authority said that it was “working to progress the reopening at the earliest opportunity” but one local member of the community said the closure was having a major impact on Oughterard residents.
“I looked forward to visiting the library every week, having a chat with the librarian and pondering over which books I would take home,” they said. “I’m now lost for the past four weeks. I’m finished all the books that I have borrowed.”
Maria O’Halloran of the Oughterard Courthouse Restoration Project told the Galway Independent that over 100 schoolchildren have been left waiting for certificates and medals for their summer reading programme since the closure, adding that the works had highlighted the need for a newly restored courthouse.
“The county library is housed to the right-hand side of the building and is suffering at the hands of neglect. It has now been closed for four weeks while the extent of repair work to the roof is being assessed. As if any more evidence were needed this shows the true, fragile condition of the structure and highlights the urgent need for restoration,” she said.
“The plans for the newly restored courthouse present a functioning venue for the community through which arts, culture and heritage will be promoted. The restored courthouse will be of benefit to all in the community and surrounding areas. It will increase education, knowledge and pride in the local area”
A ‘Who Wants to Be a Thousandaire’ fundraising event for the restoration project will be launched at Faherty’s Bar in Oughterard at 8pm on Wednesday 24 October.