Friday 28 November 2008

Clare’s Martin Hayes tops the list of most popular music CDs

Live in SeattleMartin Hayes and Dennis Cahill’s Live in Seattle was the most popular CD borrowed from the library’s music collection in 2008, beating the Beatles into second place. Martin was born in East Clare and grew up playing traditional music with his father, P.J. Hayes, leader of the famed Tulla Ceili Band. The Beatles claimed second and third place with The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. AC/DC’s Back in Black was the fourth most popular CD in the library’s collection with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours in fifth place. The next five places went to the Clash’s London Calling, Norah Jones’s Come Away With Me, Legend by Bob Marley, Brasileiro – an introduction to Brazilian music and The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Music CDs are available for borrowing from the libraries in Ennis, Shannon and Scariff with traditional music being available in Miltown Malbay. Music and film will shortly be available in Ennistymon Library.

Huge demand for Obama’s books

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American DreamBarack Obama’s books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, are flying off the shelves since Obama turned a new page in world history. The books have reached the top five in the bestseller charts in both Ireland and England. Sales of both his books have more than quadrupled in Ireland since Obama was elected president, and many Irish bookshops are already sold out of the two titles. Before the US election, weekly Irish sales of both books were stagnant at around 100 copies each. Now weekly sales of both have topped the 1,000 mark. Obama's memoir Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, written long before his political career began, is a remarkable story of one man's search for his identity. In The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Obama shares his personal views on faith and values and offers a vision of the future of America. Canongate, the publisher of both Obama books, said it has shipped 23,000 copies of Obama's first book Dreams from My Father and 20,000 of The Audacity of Hope to Ireland. "The demand for Barack Obama's books is unprecedented and we expect both books to be among our Christmas best sellers," said Joe Collins, deputy manager of Hodges Figgis bookstore in Dublin. "I can't remember Irish people being this interested in an American president."

We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures

We Are All Born FreeSome of the world’s best children’s book illustrators have come together to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the publication of this beautiful book. All royalties from its sale will be donated to Amnesty International. Published by Frances Lincoln, who are the leading publishers of multi-cultural books for children, it will without doubt get people talking about the Declaration of Human Rights and how 60 years on there is still much to do to make the world a safe and peaceful place. Each double page spread presents a simple child-friendly version of each of the thirty articles with the most amazing illustrations from the best children’s picture book artists there are today, such as Nicholas Allan, Catherine and Laurence Anholt, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Korky Paul and John Burningham. We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures is published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2008.

Booktrust Teenage Prize

The Knife of Never Letting GoThe winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2008 was announced on the 18th of November. The judges selected six novels, coincidentally, three by men and three by women. The books were chosen for their scope of imagination, their originality, their writing and their overall appeal. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness satisfied all these criteria to become the 2008 winner. Amanda Craig, Chair of Judges, said “The Knife of Never Letting Go made the judges laugh, cry and debate its contents with passion; a striking mixture of thriller, science fiction and literary tour de force”. The other five shortlisted books were Creature of the Night by Ireland’s prolific and multi award-winning author Kate Thompson. The Knife That Killed Me by Anthony McGowan, The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner, Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz and Apache by Tanya Landman.

Thursday 27 November 2008

An Accident 'at the gates of Coole.' by Michael O’Loughlin

Coole ParkIn May 1921, Margaret Gregory was the sole survivor of an IRA ambush near Coole Park in which three people died. This traumatic incident has received little attention in works devoted to Yeats or Lady Gregory, but it looms large in local folk memory. In addition, it can be linked to other incidents which directly inspired Yeats' great poem 'Nineteen Hundred And Nineteen' and ultimately, it may well have been a crucial factor in the fate of Coole Park itself. Michael O'Loughlin will discuss this event and its repercussions, drawing on Yeats' poems and local newspaper reports of the time tonight, Thursday 27th November 2008, from 8.00pm – 9.00pm at the Coole Park Visitor Centre, Gort.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Popularity brings down EUROPEANA , Europe's Digital Library

EuropeanaLaunched on 20th November, Europeana - the European digital library, museum and archive - slowed to a crawl following an average of 10 million hits an hour. At the moment the Europeana site is temporarily not accessible due to such overwhelming interest after its launch, and it is hoped to have a more robust version available by mid-December. For a preview of Europeana click here.

By mid-December at, Internet users around the world will be able to access more than two million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archival documents, paintings and films from national libraries and cultural institutions of the EU's 27 Member States. Europeana will open up new ways of exploring Europe’s heritage: anyone interested in literature, art, science, politics, history, architecture, music or cinema will have free and fast access to Europe's greatest collections and masterpieces in a single virtual library through a web portal available in all EU languages. But this is just the beginning. In 2010, Europeana will give access to millions of items representing Europe's rich cultural diversity and will have interactive zones such as communities for special interests. Between 2009 and 2011, some €2 million per year of EU funding will be dedicated to this. The Commission also plans to involve the private sector in the further expansion of Europe's digital library. In September 2007, the European Parliament supported, in a resolution voted by an overwhelming majority, the creation of a European digital library.

Europeana will make it possible to search and browse the digitised collections of Europe's libraries, archives and museums all at once. This means users can explore themes without searching for and visiting multiple sites and resources. Europeana was initiated by the Commission in 2005 and brought to fruition in close cooperation with national libraries and other cultural bodies of the Member States as well as with the strong support of the European Parliament. Europeana is run by the European Digital Library Foundation, which brings together Europe's major associations of libraries, archives, museums, audiovisual archives and cultural institutions. Europeana is hosted by the Dutch national library, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

Over 1,000 cultural organisations from across Europe have provided material for Europeana. Europe’s museums, including the Louvre in Paris and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, have supplied digitised paintings and objects from their collections. State archives have made important national documents available, and France's Institut National de l’Audiovisuel supplied 80,000 broadcasts recording the 20th century, right back to early footage shot on the battlefields of France in 1914. National libraries all over Europe have contributed printed and manuscript material, including digitised copies of the great books that brought new ideas into the world.

Internet users will be able to find fascinating cultural objects on Europeana such as the 9th Symphony of Beethoven, footage of the coming down of the Berlin wall (Germany), the French Déclaration des droits de l'homme of 1789 or 'Les Fleurs du Mal' (1857) from the French poet Charles Baudelaire, the British Magna Carta of 1215 from the British Library in UK, the Divina Commedia by Dante from Italy or pictures of the house and the tomb of the Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei, several paintings by Vermeer such as 'Girl with the Pearl Earring' from the Mauritshuis in The Hague (Netherlands), paintings by Jan Van Eyck, such as the 'Madonna met kanunnik Joris van der Paele' of 1436 from the Groeninge museum in Brugge (Belgium), the 'Carta plana de parte da Costa do Brazil' (a map dated 1784), illustrating Portugal's former colonies, the medieval Codex Vysegradensis from the Czech Republic, works by the Hungarian lyrical poet Sandór Petofi from 19th century, the bronze medal portrait of Alfred Nobel from Sweden, original letters and music scores by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Austria, the manuscript of symphony no. 5 by Jan Sibelius, his picture, and performances of his works in Finland, the handwritten text of 1563 signed by King Sigismund II Augustus (King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania) from the Lithuanian national library, the famous Slovenian folk song 'Sem hodu res zanjo' dated from around 1940, a history of the kings of Spain, written by the historian Prudencio de Sandoval and published in 1634, the manuscript of the ‘preludes’ by the famous Polish pianist Frédéric Chopin, a 15th century illustration of the ‘Danse Macabre’, from the Romanian national library, the cover of the ‘Righas Charta’, the cartographic masterpiece of the Greek enlightenment, by the Greek writer Righas Velestinlis, a photograph of the opening of negotiations between the two Cypriot communities in 2004, a Venetian map of Malta dated 1689, held by the National Library in Malta, a recording of the 1950 ‘Schuman declaration’, from the Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance de l’Europe in Luxembourg, the 19th century ‘Levski Ordinance to the workers for the liberation of the Bulgarian people’, the cover pages of the first edition of the Bible in Estonian (1739), the original film material showing the liberation of Denmark in 1945, a ‘Kalendarium’, a unique old book with type setting in red and black dated 1486-1504, held in Slovakia, posters announcing the 1933 Song Festival in Riga and the Latvian exposition of 1934 in Stockholm, the ‘Topographia hiberniae’, a map from the 11th century, representing the location of Ireland in Europe. Thousands of other unique pieces of European art, history and culture will also be available on Europeana.

Join us at the Ennis Book Club Festival 2009

Ennis Bookclub Festival 2009Love to read? Then why not combine your love of reading with a great weekend away? The Ennis Book Club Festival, run in association with Clare County Library, is a unique literary and social gathering for book clubs and book lovers everywhere. The programme has a very broad brief, reflecting the reading passions and interests of the many people who attend the festival. It covers a wide and eclectic mix of writings including fiction, poetry, crime, short stories, food, memoir etc. Diverse themes are celebrated and explored through readings, lectures, workshops, debates, music, cookery demonstrations and even chocolate tastings! The festival also includes walking tours, advice on organising book clubs and reading lists, and opportunities to meet other Book Club members. The ideal recipe for a superb short break in the west of Ireland! Authors/speakers confirmed as of November 2008 include John Boyne, Jennifer Johnston, Salley Vickers, Gerard Donovan, Gerry Stembridge, Kevin Myers, Conor O’Clery, Mark O’Halloran, Aifric Campbell, Allan Guthrie, Rita Ann Higgins, Medbh McGuckian, Micheal O’Siadhail and others. Join us in Ennis from 6 – 8 March 2009 to share a joy of reading and to have a weekend break with friends in one of Ireland’s most picturesque towns. Further details at

The Witch’s Children Go To School

The Witch's Children go to SchoolWhen little Gemma is afraid of starting school, the eldest witch’s child thinks she will solve the problem by turning her into an ogre. She hadn’t thought that this might scare her classmates so now it’s the turn of the second witch’s child to solve this problem. And she does, by changing the other pupils into storybook characters. Frogs, footmen, squirrels are everywhere. Young readers will thoroughly enjoy the zany storyline and teachers will particularly enjoy what the Little One does when the school inspector calls! Russell Ayto’s hilarious illustrations ideally match the author’s whacky storyline, to create a very original account of a different day at school, before everything returns reassuringly to normality. The Witch’s Children Go To School by Ursula Jones, published by Orchard Books in 2008, was the winner of the Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under in the recent inaugural Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Biographies for Christmas

Great Irish LivesBooks are always a welcome gift to receive at Christmas and publishers ensure that there is always a good supply of biographies from which to choose. This year’s offerings include books by some of Ireland’s biggest stars and should provide something to suit even the most difficult person on your shopping list. There is plenty of choice for sports fans wishing to find an autobiography in their Christmas stocking this year. Both Ronan O’Gara and Anthony Foley (Axel) have written books on their careers to date and offer real insights into the world of Irish rugby at the highest level. Final Whistle by Paddy Russell covers his 30 year stint as a GAA referee. Sonia by Sonia O’Sullivan takes us behind the scenes of international athletics and behind the mask of a brilliant, vulnerable sportswoman. Ronnie will delight not just music fans but anyone who was touched by the much loved Ronnie Drew, who died recently. His autobiography was completed by his son and daughter. Staying in the world of entertainment, Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up features the broadcaster’s views on life, the universe and everything. Fans of Joe Dolan will find Joe Dolan by Ronan Casey to be hugely entertaining and a fitting tribute to a beloved performer. For those with an interest in politics, Brian Cowen by Jason O’Toole follows the Taoiseach’s life story from his early childhood in Clara right up to his early months in the hot seat. Jack Lynch by Dermot Keogh is an authoritative portrait of the man who spent two terms as Taoiseach. Tim Pat Coogan’s memoir reveals both the public and private lives of one of Ireland’s most influential commentators. Stepping Stones by Dennis O’Driscoll is a series of interviews with Seamus Heaney recounting his life and work in a lively and eloquent manner. Great Irish Lives is an unique collection of obituaries of Ireland’s most distinguished individuals from the last two centuries. The Limerick lawyer, John Devane, has written a harrowing and painfully honest story of how his childhood was destroyed by sexual abuse. Nobody Heard Me Cry is an unforgettable story of survival and hope in the bitterest of circumstances.

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize

Mr Gum and the Dancing BearThe winners of the inaugural Roald Dahl Funny Prize were announced in London on November the 13th. The winner of the Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under was The Witch’s Children go to School by Ursula Jones and the winner of the Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen was "Mr. Gum and the Dancing Bear" by Andy Stanton, who has won numerous awards for his "Mr. Gum" books. The winners were presented with a cheque for £2,500 at a ceremony at the Unicorn Theatre, London. Michael Rosen, chair of the judging panel which included Ireland’s own funny man Dara O’Briain had the following to say about the winning books;
The Witch's Children Go To School is a rumbustious tale in the tradition of mishievous spirits causing mayhem and disorder where it's least wanted. Every page shouts with the sound of chaos and surprise.”
“Andy Stanton has developed a comic style all of his own, full of ludicrous similes, uproarious bathos, absurdity and grossness. Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear fulfils the requirement that a truly funny novel should have at least a laugh a page and a gasp-making denouement.”
The full judging panel comprised the author Sophie Dahl, the comedian Dara O’Briain, author Kaye Umansky and author, illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell.
The panel was chaired by the Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen.

Healthy Reading at the Library

Healthy ReadingClare County Library this week launched our latest book promotion – the “Healthy Reading” scheme. The aim of the scheme is to make high quality self-help books more accessible to families and adults experiencing mild to moderate emotional problems. The scheme has run successfully in the UK for some time and is now being introduced in some Irish Libraries. All families have questions or difficulties from time to time and many people develop emotional or psychological problems at some stage during their lives. Very few, however, will come in contact with a mental health professional or have access to the psychological treatments that have consistently been shown to be highly effective in treating depression, anxiety and other conditions. There's a growing belief among health professionals that self-help books can really assist with issues like depression, anorexia, bereavement etc. But they have to be good quality books. The books on this scheme have been specially selected and recommended by GPs, psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists and other health professionals. The term used for delivering psychological therapy by means of books is “bibliotherapy” and the effectiveness of bibliotherapy has been well established in many clinical trials. The best books can produce results comparable to those of drug therapy or psychotherapy. In the UK bibliotherapy has been recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). It can be used as a stand alone intervention, for clients presenting with milder clinical problems, or in addition to prescribed medication or counselling, or as a waiting list intervention. A booklist covering various topics such as depression, bereavement, self esteem, anorexia, stress etc. has been compiled and is available, along with the recommended books, throughout the Library service in Clare. Why not drop in to your local library and find out more?

Monday 17 November 2008

Listowel Food Fair Irish Food Book of the Year Award

Cornucopia at HomeThe recipient of the first ever "Listowel Food Fair Irish Food Book of the Year Award" is Cornucopia at Home, a collection of recipes from one of Dublin's best known vegetarian whole food restaurants. Written, designed and beautifully photographed by former Cornucopia staff members Eleanor Heffernan, Orla Keeshan and Orlagh Murphy respectively, the book is a labour of love and passion for the good things to eat they have produced over the years. It also includes the moving story of the origins of the restaurant, founded by Deirdre McCafferty and her late husband, Neil. Speaking about the award, Jimmy Deenihan, TD and Chairman of the Listowel Food Fair, said: "We were delighted to initiate this new award in this, our 14th year of the Fair. The winning book is a most attractive publication, beautifully designed and illustrated and superbly written. Listowel has a strong association with both writing and food and we plan to make food associated literature an ongoing, integral feature of the Listowel Food Fair." The Award was presented at the official launch of the Listowel Food Fair to Ruth O'Quigley on behalf of Deirdre McCafferty by the son of the late John. B. Keane, journalist and publican Billy Keane. Cornucopia at Home (ISBN 978-0-9552261-4-4, Hardback, 246 x 189mm, 564pp, €39)

Ready, Set, Bio! Small Science, Big Ideas

Science WeekReady Set Bio! - an exciting science workshop aimed at primary school children - took place in deValera Library on Monday the 10th of November to mark Science Week 2008. The interactive workshop introduced a hands-on approach to teaching science and was also lots of fun for the children who came from the Holy Family Primary School in Ennis. The workshop included discussions, experiments and games as well as some fun forensic crime solving. Teachers and children both enjoyed the event and became very involved in it.

Friday 14 November 2008

Two Irish authors nominated for the Impac award

IMPAC 2009The longlist for the 2009 Impac Dublin Prize – the most lucrative award for writing in English (or translated into English) and worth €100,000 - has been announced. One hundred and forty-seven authors have been nominated by 157 libraries in 117 cities and 41 countries worldwide. The bookies are backing Khalid Hosseini to win the prize. His novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, received nominations from 18 libraries, five ahead of the next most-popular book. Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje was nominated by 13 libraries, just ahead of Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach, which received 10 nods. Two Irish writers, 2007 Man Booker winner Anne Enright and Joseph O'Connor, feature alongside expected international names such as Doris Lessing, JM Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa. Anne Enright has been nominated for the award by libraries in Dublin, Prague, San Francisco, San Diego, Brazil and Frankfurt for her 2008 Man Booker Prize winning novel, The Gathering. Joseph O’Connor has been nominated by libraries in Cork and Limerick for his latest book, Redemption Falls. Irish novelist Colm Tóibín won the prize in 2006 for his book The Master. “The 156 authors hail from 41 countries. The books span 18 languages, 29 of which are translated from languages such as Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Slovenian and Hebrew. 19 of them are first novels. These are books that might not otherwise come to the attention of Irish readers”, says Deirdre Ellis-King, Dublin City Librarian. “The spread of languages and the number of books in translation continues to grow”. This is the 14th year in which the Impac prize has been awarded. Six translated works have won the award in that time. Last year’s winner was De Niro’s Game by the Lebanese novelist Rawi Hage. The shortlist will be announced on April 2 2009 and the winning novel will be revealed on June 11 2009

Bad publicity affects sales of Ross’s and Brand’s memoirs

Sales of Jonathan Ross's appropriately named memoir Why Do I Say These Things? almost halved in the week after the so called "Sachsgate" affair. Both Brand and Ross published new books on October 16. Figures released by Nielsen BookScan showed that Ross's book sales fell from 10,535 copies in the week before the radio programme to 5,791 copies the week afterwards, a 45% decrease. Brand also saw a drop in sales, with his new book Articles of Faith, a collection of his Guardian columns about football, dropping from 1,852 copies passing through the tills in the week before the scandal to 1,684 the week after. Ross has since been suspended for the now infamous prank, while Brand has resigned. Philip Stone, charts editor at the Bookseller, said that notoriety had been similarly unhelpful for other celebrity authors in recent years. Sales of John Major's memoir, he said, actually dropped after news of his affair with Edwina Currie broke in September 2002, while Jade Goody also saw sales of her autobiography fall in the week of the Big Brother racism row. "With so many celebrity memoirs out in the market this Christmas and the choices open to the public so wide and varied one can't help but feel that customers who were previously thinking 'Ross' may be persuaded to shop elsewhere. Alan Carr, Paul O'Grady, Michael Parkinson, Dawn French in particular, perhaps," added Stone.

Kenny’s Choice : 101 Irish Books You Must Read

Kenny’s Choice: 101 Irish Books You Must ReadDes Kenny’s choice of the 101 Irish Books you should read ranges over novels, plays, poetry, memoir, history and travelogue, written in the past two centuries by Irish writers or by foreign writers on Irish topics. The book features a two page review of each title, some as Gaeilge, as well as information on each author. All of the major writers such as John Banville, Seamus Heaney, Jennifer Johnston, Brian Moore, William Trevor, Samuel Beckett, and WB Yeats are included. However, Kenny also wanted to include writers whose work has suffered neglect or marginalisation over the last few decades and to convince people to read them again. As with all such ‘lists’ it is the books that are excluded as much as those included that generate interest. Everyone’s 101 books would be different but Des Kenny’s list will no doubt surprise, intrigue and perhaps even infuriate readers. Kenny’s Choice : 101 Irish Books You Must Read by Des Kenny is published by Currach Press, 2008.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Lauren Child

Goldilocks and the Three BearsIf you are looking for the ideal book gift for small children this Christmas, look no further than Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Lauren Child. The author brings her trademark innovative approach to this amazingly life-like retelling of a classic, well loved tale. The photographed toys specially created for the book along with the enchanting hand-built sets produce startlingly real illustrations that bring Goldilocks and the Three Bears to life like never before. The story too is presented in a refreshingly different way. It is guaranteed to become a treasure that young children, even as they grow older, will return to, over and over again. Lauren Child is one of today’s most talented and well-known children’s writers and illustrators. She has won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and the Kate Greenaway Medal and is loved by parents and children for her Clarice Bean and Charlie and Lola books. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Lauren Child is published by Puffin, 2008.

Monday 10 November 2008

Transatlantic Children’s Reading Challenge Wins Top Honour At Local Government Awards 2008

For the second year in a row Clare County Council was named overall winner of the ‘Arts and Culture’ category at the Chamber’s Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards, held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin on Thursday the 8th of November. The local authority received the prestigious honour for the “WOW Transatlantic Children’s Reading Challenge” project, which is organised by Clare County Library. Last year the library won in the same category for Foto, its innovative online photographic collection. The Reading Challenge project involves thousands of children from County Clare, Nova Scotia, London, and the United States who ‘compete’ with one another to become the best readers in the world, in order to reduce crime through increased literacy.

The initiative forms part of the “The Adopt-A-Library Literacy Program”, which was developed by Clare County Library in 2006 in partnership with An Garda Siochana, National Schools in Clare, Pictou Antigonish Regional Library (Nova Scotia, Canada) and The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Adopt-A-Library works by connecting policing agencies together with libraries. The police act as the bridge between the community and the library, and in return, the library develops programs and activities that directly impact literacy amongst children. Primary School children are asked to take up the challenge to read as much as they can during the year, using books at school, at home and from the public library.

Mayor of Clare, Cllr. Madeleine Taylor Quinn expressed delight with the award success noting that it followed less than two months after the Clare County Council Motor Taxation Office was presented with two national awards by the Excellence Ireland Quality Association (EIQA). She added that the recent awards underlined the high quality of service being delivered by Local Government across a variety of areas. Commenting on the Adopt-A-Library programme, The Mayor said, “I understand that Clare County Library is conscious of presenting the WOW Reading Challenge as a fun exercise where teachers, schoolchildren, the library and An Garda Síochána join as a community, to promote reading as a fun and inclusive exercise. From the library’s point of view, the ultimate aim is to encourage the children to read and use the library more. From An Garda Síochána’s point of view the WOW Reading Challenge is the ideal opportunity to engage in community policing and to advocate literacy as a means of ensuring children and youth have high self esteem and feel in control of their lives”, explained the Mayor.

Commenting on the role played by An Garda Siochana in delivering the programme, Mayor Taylor Quinn stated, “Gardai at Ennis Garda Headquarters, under the supervision of Sgt. John Staunton, has been exceedingly supportive of the project. Joining with the library service Clare Garda Division assigned fifteen members of the Gardai to the project, who visited schools on a regular basis, sometimes with library staff, to promote the challenge and to drive home the message that increased literacy means decreased crime. Teachers and Clare County Library staff involved in the project all agree that the participating Gardaí worked far beyond the call of duty in engaging and inspiring the young readers in the schools they visited.”

Commenting on the award success, Chief Superintendent Gerry Mahon, said, “The Clare Division of An Garda Siochana is delighted to be associated with this immensely successful project, which has brought together children from two Continents under a common cause. Members of An Garda Siochana will continue to assist with this project, the continuation of which will prove be of huge benefit to many young people. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Clare County Library for developing this innovative project and earning this award".

Clare Schools that performed especially well this year’s “WOW Transatlantic Children’s Reading Challenge” included Lahinch National School and Furglan National School who came second and third respectively in the overall International Challenge among schools in Nova Scotia, London and the US. Big Tancook Elementary School in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada, took first place out of the four participating countries. Prizes were presented to Lahinch, Furglan and Clouna National Schools, in Ennistymon on the 22nd May 2008 by the then Mayor of Clare, Councillor Patricia McCarthy.

The Power of Richard & Judy

My Sister's KeeperIn the four years since the Richard & Judy bookclub was born, sales of the 82 books that have been discussed on the show have been phenomenal. Combined sales of the 82 titles reached 26.6 million last month accounting for 2.6% of all book sales since the club began in 2004, according to Nielsen BookScan. Jodi Picoult is today one of the biggest names in contemporary fiction, having enjoyed sales of over 5 million in 2007 – the highest gross of any female fiction writer. But before the inclusion of My Sister’s Keeper in the Book Club in 2005, she was almost unheard of in Ireland and England. Now about 8,000 copies of her books sell each week. The authors who have benefited most from the appearance of their books on the famous list are those whose follow-on books contain the phrase ‘from the author of the Richard & Judy bestseller’ on their front cover. The major book retailers say that the only difficulty with a new book from a Richard and Judy author is keeping the book in stock. Richard & Judy have moved from Channel 4 to digital channel UKTV where they continue the Book Club. It remains to be seen whether they will continue to have such a huge influence on what people are reading.

Used Book Sale

De Valera Public Library, EnnisClare County Library is holding a sale of used books from Monday, November 17th until Saturday, November 22nd. The book sale will take place over the week in deValera Library, Ennis during library opening hours. All books are part of used stock from Clare library branches and are in good condition. With the continuous publication of new titles in all categories - fiction, non fiction, children’s and teenage - constant weeding of stock in all branches is necessary. Through this process library staff aim to ensure that the most reliable and attractive collection is available to borrowers at all times. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to have a presence of books in their homes at very little cost.

Ready Steady Read!

Clare County Library is set to embark on the WOW Transatlantic Reading Challenge for the third year running. The Challenge officially starts on Monday, November 24th, 2008 and ends on Friday, April 24th, 2009. Thirty National Schools in Clare took part in the Challenge last year resulting in an overwhelming total of 211,967 books being read by school children during its six month duration. Last year’s winners in County Clare were Lahinch National School. Like Moyasta National School, who were the previous year’s winners, they received €2,000 worth of books for their school. The winning school plus the second and third finalists also received additional prizes courtesy of Clare County Library and Canadian Libraries, who are the founders of the Adopt-A-Library Literacy Programme.

The Adopt-A-Library Literacy Programme was created as a result of a joint initiative between libraries in Nova Scotia, Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Its aim is to give children and youth the tools and the skills they need so they have the power to decide not to engage in criminal behaviour. These tools and skills come through literacy. The Challenge is planned to be a fun exercise where teachers, schoolchildren, the gardai and the library can link up in an inclusive way with the ultimate aim being to encourage children to read and use their local library more. By joining the Reading Challenge children will hopefully become more aware of what their local library has to offer and schools and pupils can decide to avail of free exchange of books on a monthly basis. This is of primary importance following the recent government decision to abolish the Books for Primary Schools Scheme which was delivered by the Library Service for several years up to and including 2008. The Reading Challenge encourages children to read, and read regularly, through friendly competition between schools. Public library staff and local gardai will encourage reading in a variety of ways. The overall winners from all participating countries are decided by the number of books read per capita per school. For 1st Place $3000 CDN goes towards books for the school, 2nd Place, $2000 CDN to go towards books for the school and 3rd Place, $1000 CDN to go towards books for the school. Clare County Library also awards €2,000 worth of books to the school who reads the most in County Clare. The top three schools who read the most will also receive a plaque to keep in their school at an awards presentation in April 2009.

One of the major highlights so far, of the WOW Reading Challenge in Clare was the visit by Constable John Kennedy, the founder of the The Adopt-A-Library Literacy Programme to Clare schools in April 2007. It is hoped that he will make a return visit in Spring 2009 dressed of course in full Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform to talk to the county’s young readers. Pre-school, primary and secondary school children are all entitled to free library membership. All schools, both Primary and Post Primary, are entitled to a free ‘school’ membership, facilitating borrowing of up to 30 books per month. More than one membership per school is allowed, e.g. one per class.