by NEIL GREENLEES
IT took almost three decades for the vision of those who wanted
a new library in Lisburn to become reality but the state of the
art building which now stands in Linenhall Street is a fitting
tribute to their tenacity and sense of
Likewise, its high level of usage and wide
range of facilities is proof of the hard work and commitment put
into its development by Branch Manager Julie Reid and her 22
members of staff
Indeed, its success was acknowledged recently
by Arts and Culture Minister Edwin Poots who is also a Lisburn
Councillor when he opened the exhibition 'Hidden Connections' in
He revealed the Library was at the top of
Northern Ireland's lending league and said it was 'one of the
busiest' in the province. The Minister's comments came just
before Christmas as the library celebrated the second
anniversary of its opening.
Looking back over two years of continual
development Manager Julie, who travels to Lisburn every day from
her home in
Dundonald, recalled how her appointment to
the position really was 'a dream come true'.
She explained she jumped at the opportunity
which arose as Bangor Library, where she was previously
employed, was preparing to develop along similar lines to the
Linenhall Street site.
She is now in charge of a library covering an area of 2000
square metres which makes it one of the largest in Northern
"The aim is to provide a welcoming space in
which members of the public can spend a lot of quality time,"
"They can use a computer, enjoy a snack and a
drink and read a newspaper or book."
The library's computer suite offers as many
as 50 terminals on which members can obtain free access to the
They can also use their home computers to access
electronic reference sources.
Printers and scanners are available as is a fax
An adult reading group currently meets at the
Library on the second Thursday of each month. These meetings
will continue until June.
The Library's involvement with the community
also developed further at the start of the Autumn when the
Health Centre Baby Clinic began to meet there on Mondays.
This will continue until the end of March.
People visit Lisburn Library from many areas of
Northern Ireland. This has been facilitated by the introduction
in recent years of a system which allows items borrowed within
the Northern Ireland library system to be
returned to any library in the province.
Julie also revealed the number of original
item issues being made at Linenhall Street has grown by almost
60 per cent during the two years the library has been opened.
"During the period 2005/2006 we made around
155,220 original issues. This grew to
243,099 during 2006/2007," she said.
Library opening hours are 9am to 8pm on
Mondays and Tuesdays; 12noon to 10pm on Wednesdays and 9am to
5pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
There is also a large exhibition space and a
community meeting room.
The bookshelves are well stocked and offer a
wide selection of large print editions as well as 'talking
books', CD's and videos.