Monday, 10 November 2008

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.

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