INTERNET accessibility has long been an issue for those living in rural Fermanagh and it’s patchy coverage is an ongoing cause of frustration for many.
In a bid to tackle the problem Libraries NI have launched a pilot scheme giving those living in rural Fermanagh the opportunity to access Wi-Fi and computer facilities out of hours.
Lisnaskea and Irvinestown are two of six libraries across the North selected to take part in the year long pilot scheme.
The project funded by the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs will extend the hours which library users can gain access to vital services such as, photocopying, checking books out or accessing the internet.
Since its launch the service has gained traction and a good uptake of usage has been reported by the two local branches. Violet Smith, Lisnaskea Library Branch Manager said, “We’re pleased with the number of people using the service and we have had no problems with its roll-out so far. Our biggest footfall for the out of hours service is on Monday from 8am – 8pm but we also have a lot of people calling in and out at various times through the week.
This a valuable service in Lisnaskea as our internet connectivity in the town and surrounding areas can be very poor. Mature students who have young families at home find this new service invaluable for studying. It gives them a quiet place to come and do some work at a time that suits them.”
Colin McCaffrey a frequent out of hours service user at the branch said, “It’s very convenient and a very good service for students and those working full-time. I make great use of it and I hope it will continue.”
To access the out of hours service users must be over eighteen. This means school children require adult accompaniment to access the new service.
Kathleen Breen from Carrosyl Community Centre, Lisnaskea said, “I do think it would be important that it would be open after school hours and on Saturdays when kids may need to go in and catch up on work.
“Up round Newtownbutler, Roslea and Magheraveely there would be a lot of problems with internet access and this is a service available in the library. There may be time when kids desperately need this service as they don’t have the access at home.”
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Posted: 10:37 am November 1, 2018