A MAJOR library extension at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, was announced yesterday by Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe.
On a visit to the campus, Mr O'Keeffe announced approval had been granted for an extension that would enlarge the library by more than 6,000sq m to give a total area of 10,000sq m.
The project will be funded under the National Development Plan 2007-2013, and college authorities plan to begin building next year. The Department of Education said it was unable to release the costs for the extension as it would compromise the tendering process.
Mr O'Keeffe said the extension would give the university badly-needed space and provide job opportunities in construction. He noted that the university had undergone steady enrolment growth, with 6,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 postgraduate students now attending.
The new facility will have reader stations with IT infrastructure that will facilitate the use of PC clusters and individual laptops. This will enable the university to offer services complementing national strategies for the IT sector, the Minister said, noting that NUI Maynooth had developed strong links with Intel in Leixlip.
This year the university and Intel agreed to deliver a masters of engineering programme for Intel engineers. "This is the first formal accreditation link-up between the two parties, and it places NUI Maynooth at the forefront of university-industry collaboration in Europe," said Mr O'Keeffe.
"The partnership between NUI Maynooth and Intel symbolises the transformation that has taken place in the decade since the university established its own unique identity since separating from St Patrick's college. It is ironic that, with the advent of the digital age, many thought that libraries would become obsolete. Conversely, new technologies and the internet have made them even more relevant as information hubs today."