Thursday, 3 November 2011

Libraries rock! – Children’s Book Festival 2011

Oisin McGann at Ennistymon Library

Libraries rock! Staff at Clare County Library are confident that this is the opinion of thousands of children who attended music workshops and several book-related events during the month of October. Children’s Book Festival 2011 has drawn to a close for another year. The month long celebration of books and reading saw thousands of children from primary schools in Clare attend a bumper programme of events including live history workshops, children’s puppet theatre, art and craft sessions, music and author visits by some of the best writers for children in Ireland today. Poetry workshops also featured in this year’s line-up. Children were introduced to the great artistic creators including Shakespeare, Hemmingway, the Scottish bard Robert Burns and to the art of Claude Monet through the multi disciplinary sessions delivered by Tony Maude from London and Dr. Fred Freeman from Edinburgh. Both artists’ shows included an excellent mix of poetry, art, literature and music to the delight of their young audiences.

Music making of a more modern genre was enjoyed by 5th and 6th class children who took part in the workshops of John Lillis. Six sessions of non-stop entertainment featured beat-boxing, scratching and a very informative hands-on lesson on the techniques employed by a successful D.J. Authors Bob Burke, Nicola Pierce, Oisin McGann, Judi Curtin, Dolores Keaveney and Bridget Bhreathnach travelled the county with all library branches hosting at least one author event for their local schools. Judging by the attention paid to the stories of these writers and the questions that went on well after their presentations ended, the future of writing in Clare looks extremely promising.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival was The Irish History Live Show presented by Michael Moylan. Children in Ennis, Ennistymon, Miltown Malbay and Tulla were transported back to the Easter Rising of 1916 or to The Second World War which began in 1939. Michael successfully takes the printed pages of the history books and brings them one hundred per cent alive with his traveling museum of clothes, replica weapons and artifacts of the period which children are encouraged to try out as an integral part of his spell binding presentations. The number of times that this event features in the Library’s Children’s Book Festival programme is testament to the appeal of Michael’s show year after year.

The Library service is extremely grateful to all sponsors of the annual Children’s Book Festival, many of which are local businesses here in Clare. A list of 2011 sponsors is on display in all its branches and on the library website. You can be assured that the number of children attending events increases year on year and through your contribution you are facilitating community based education and a continuing liaison between two of the most important cornerstones of education: primary schools and public libraries.
Photo above shows Oisin McGann at Ennistymon Library

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