Sylvia Thompson, the author of the article, says: 'The public library service is one of the few areas of civic society that appears to be benefiting from public funds even in these recessionary times.' Irish public libraries, she says, are thriving.

A draft Strategy for Public Libraries for 2013-2017, published by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, sets out ambitious plans for the growth of public libraries in the context of people’s changing needs.

She cites the new award-winning library in Ballyroan as an example of how library buildings, as well as the roles of librarians, are changing in the digital age: 'a shining example of a public building designed for multiple uses. Its double-height “internal street” offers self-service check-in and checkout, and an ebook station for self-service downloads.'

A new Central Library and Cultural Centre will open in Dún Laoghaire next September. The four-storey building will include general reading rooms, a public “living room”, auditorium, municipal gallery, restaurant, genealogical centre and writer-in-residence space. And, as previously reported by Designing Libraries, a new Central Library for Dublin is planned for 2017 as part of the city's new cultural hub.