Clones town, the location for Monaghan County Council’s new Library Headquarters, is the entry point to the county for visitors travelling from the West of Ireland. It prospered as a communication centre in the early 20th century, with its strategic railway links and its location along the route of the Ulster Canal.
The new library building is the Council’s flagship project for the town with the public sector leading the town’s regeneration with a new branch library and county library administrative headquarters. It comprises a branch library and local history collection, serving Clones and its environs, and an administrative headquarters for the County Library Service, incorporating book processing, and dispatch facilities and back stock storage facilities.
The main library is a double height volume with punched windows offering direct views over the new library forecourt and the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart to the north. A trabeated concrete roof (a classic Williams’ motif), incorporating large scaled roof light slots, provides daylight into the heart of the plan. Spaces for exhibition, local history and outreach meetings are all readily visible to the visitor, in adjacent single volume spaces.
The building has been organised north-south with a new public square enwrapping the building to the west and south from where new links to Fermanagh Street, the town’s steeply inclined main street, have been formed. It’s linear composition is a response to the fractured urban grain of the immediate built surroundings, which historically have developed northwards from Fermanagh Street as a series of backland strips reaching out to the bounding road, 98 Avenue.
The upper part of the building which takes the form of an L shaped bar, contains the county library headquarters function, and projects over the pavement on 98 Avenue, marking the presence of the new civic building from the north. The main entrance to the library is signified by a cantilevered cubic form, which projects into the main square and contains the library executive offices.
It is expected to develop as part of the local community and become integrated into the broad area of on-going learning, self-learning, adult literacy, creative writing workshops, and activities for children. The new library therefore has been designed to be of sufficient size and have the necessary facilities in place to cater for the future needs of the expected growth of the town and the region, which it serves.
The building is clad in off white honed aggregate reconstructed stone panels, which give an appropriate civic dignity to the architectural expression, and has already become a key landmark in the town.