Dublin City Council plans to apply for permission to knock down the current Terenure Library building on Templeogue Road and build a much bigger replacement.
The current building is inadequate because it’s too small, said Mairead Owens, the city librarian, in a letter to councillors on the South East Area Committee meeting.
“Effectively, Terenure Library will be nearly tripled in size, we hope, all going well,” she said at the meeting on Monday. That would mean more space for librarians and locals, she said.
Owens said the council plans to make a Part VIII planning application – when the council applies to itself for permission to do something – at the beginning of 2023.
Local councillors say they are excited at the prospect of the long-pitched idea for a new library coming to life, and that they’d like to see more services, like kids’ activities and a sensory space, in any new building.
“It’s a very, very small library,” says Mary Freehill, a Labour Party councillor, of the existing building. “It’s probably one of the smallest libraries in Dublin.”
The one-storey building, tucked away behind a blue gate on Templeogue Road, was built in the mid-1950s, said Owens.
It has a temporary toilet, she said. “It is proving difficult to meet the library service needs and expectations of the local community, given the inadequacies of the existing building.”
In 2018, ASI Architects Ltd did a survey of the building and recommended that the existing buildings be demolished, as they aren’t capable of supporting structures built on top of them, nor are they of architectural merit.
The current building is 300 square metres. The new building would be two-storeys and cover 1,000 square metres, the plans say.
Maps show a building with two wings, one fronting Templeogue Road, the other backing onto the Terenure Enterprise Centre on Rathfarnham Road. It would be two storeys because the site is “extremely tight”, said Owens.
“We won’t have much outside space, folks, because the site is really, really limited,” she said at the meeting.
Freehill asked whether the council could buy up land at the back of the site. Owens said not.
Architects Cubetecture Design Limited were appointed in June to prepare a tender and manage the procurement of a firm to prepare a cost plan, said Owens.
James Geoghegan, a Fine Gael councillor, said the rebuild has been long promised.
“It’s been lobbied for for years,” he says. ”I think there’s great relief that it’s going to happen. I think people will be delighted with it.”
Councillors talked about the potential of a new library to host more activities for children and older people.
Opportunities at the moment are limited because of the size of it, said Freehill, the Labour councillor. “It doesn’t lend itself.”
Tara Deacy, a Social Democrats councillor, said she would like to see a sensory space, a quiet comfortable space for people with disabilities and sensory needs.
“I think something like that, being a little bit more inclusive of the needs of children that have various needs,” she says.
Deacy, the Social Democrats councillor, says she enjoys walking to the Rathmines library. But walking around Terenure needs to be a better experience, she said.
People jump into their cars to get around the village rather than walk or cycle, she says. “The roads in the area aren’t safe.”
“Senior citizens will maybe not go out and do their messages at particular times because it’s chaos. The speed of cars, the level of cars,” she says.
Pedestrian infrastructure needs to be made safe when local amenities are improved, she says. “So that people are happy to go there, and that they’re not nervous walking to the library.”
Six councillors brought a joint motion to the area committee on Monday asking for safer pedestrian infrastructure, and traffic-calming measures, in Terenure village.