Minister promises to revolutionise libraries by 2003

The Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister, Michael McGimpsey has promised that by the end of 2003, everyone in Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to electronically log on in their local library.

In two years time members of the public will be able to drop into their local library and access a wide range of high tech facilities, most of which will be provided free.

The £36 million contract, which has been awarded through public private partnership to AMEY and was signed by the Minister on Tuesday January 29, involves the supply of computer technology to public libraries throughout the province.

Mr McGimpsey explained that as well as using the personal computers to gain access to information on CD-ROMS or to request a book held in any other library in Northern Ireland, the services available would include the Internet and email.

The Minister said: “The completion of this project will dovetail perfectly into the Executive’s Programme for Government and make a major contribution towards lifelong learning - a key task in my Department’s Corporate Strategy."

Mr McGimpsey, who wished ‘Electronic Libraries for Northern Ireland’ every success, said that widening community access to Information Technology signalled another step in the drive to make Northern Ireland a more "learned and inclusive society". (AMcE)

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