A sod turning ceremony to mark the start of the works on Bettystown Library took place on Thursday afternoon led by Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, Councillor Nick Killian, Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., Cathaoirleach of Laytown/Bettystown MD, Cllr. Wayne Harding and Chief Executive, Jackie Maguire.

The much-anticipated development will bring a library service back to East Meath for the first time since the mid 2000’s. Laytown library was the first purpose-built branch in the county back in 1957 and the fabulous new library will deliver a whole new set of firsts to the residents of Laytown, Bettystown and Mornington. The new development will have the first Sensory Room in the county, the first library to offer users free access to the latest in 3D technology and the first library to offer group study pods to students.

The 1134 sq m library will be located in a landmark building with stunning views out over the sea and a major community meeting space overlooking a new plaza in the centre of the village. This state-of-the-art facility is designed with a variety of users in mind and features dedicated areas for children, teens and adults — whether they need a quiet place to work or are holding a book club. Expert staff, extensive collections and accessible learning spaces will provide the people of East Meath with the knowledge and information skills they need in the 21st century.

Three multi-functional meeting spaces will allow the library service to deliver a wide variety of events and activities for children and adults. The community and voluntary sector will also be able to book the meeting spaces for free as happens in our Ashbourne facility. The Ashbourne facility is home to a wide variety of groups with everyone from the local historical society to the bridge club to the local coder-dojo using the spaces at any one time. The spaces are in constant use as the library offers a uniquely attractive and safe space located in the heart of the community.

Speaking at the event Cathaoirleach Cllr. Nick Killian said “I am confident that this state-of-the-art library will serve the many educational, cultural and recreational needs in this growing community. As a vibrant, accessible and user-friendly centre of knowledge, open to everyone whatever their age, education or nationality the library service will offer a new heart to the centre of Bettystown”

Meath County Council Chief Executive Jackie Maguire said “We are thrilled that the entire East Meath community of over 100,000 residents will be able to share this one-of-a-kind space with us. A feature of the new building will be a stunning meeting room on the third floor. This room will accommodate civic, community and cultural events and we look forward to the community celebrating their own achievements in this amazing beach-front setting. We hope everyone will celebrate this new chapter for Meath County Council.”

Ciarán Mangan, Meath County Librarian added “The library will open 6 days a week, with two late nights and all-day Saturday opening. The new library will also offer extended opening through the ‘My Open Library’ model. This model allows controlled access to registered users from 8.00am to 10.00pm seven days a week. The system is already operating with great success in Trim library with over 400 users signed up to the service. Indeed five users visited the library on Christmas Day.”