Friday, December 22, 2006

Final Over The Edge of 2006 in Galway City Library

Poets Medbh McGuckian, Hugh Doyle and Cate Huguelet read to a packed house at Galway City Library

Saturday, December 16, 2006

New collection of Fr Browne photos published

Father Browne's Galway is the title of the latest set of Fr Browne's photographs to be edited by Fr E.E. O'Donnell, curator of the 42,000 photographs in the collection.
This is the nineteenth book of Fr Browne's photographs to be published, and the third to be published by Currach Press.

Father Francis Browne's photographs enjoy international acclaim. In this latest collection, he showcases the magnificent sights of Galway city and county, as well as her people and customs.There are some 42,000 photographs in the Father Browne archive. This is the third volume to be published by Currach Press, with Father Browne's Trains and Railways and Father Browne's Limerick, being the earlier productions

Frank Browne was born in Cork in 1880. In 1897 he toured Europe with his camera and on returning to Ireland joined the Jesuit Order. After his two years of noviceship, he attended the Royal University in Dublin where he was a classmate of James Joyce. He is mentioned several times in Finnegans Wake. He served as chaplain to the Irish Guards in World War I, after which he suffered poor health. Two years in Australia cured him. On his return to Ireland, his priestly work took him to practically every parish in Ireland. He won numerous photographic awards and died in 1960.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Medbh McGuckian to read at December Over The Edge

The final Over The Edge: Open Reading of 2006 takes place in Galway City Library, St. Augustine Street, Galway on Thursday, December 14th, 6.30-8pm.

The Featured Readers are Cate Huguelet, Hugh Doyle & Medbh McGuckian.

Cate Huguelet was raised on Chicago’s South Side and moved to Ireland in 2005. Her writing has appeared in various publications in Ireland and the US. Her collaboration with visual artist Emma Petterson featured in the 2006 Cúirt Document exhibition. After completing an MA in Writing at NUI, Galway, Cate has relocated to Cork, where she is working on a first collection of poems.

Hugh Doyle lives in Spiddal. He was a finalist in this year’s Cúirt Poetry Grand Slam and was also selected for Mark Doty's poetry master-class during the Cúirt Festival. He has read his work at the launch of the Oxfam Life Lines poetry CD during the Project 06 festival in Galway, at the Clare Island Festival and at the Newcastle Irish festival in the UK.

Medbh McGuckian was born in 1950 in Belfast. She is one of Ireland’s most critically acclaimed poets. She has been Writer-in-Residence at Queen's University, Belfast, the University of Ulster, Coleraine, and Trinity College, Dublin. Among the prizes she has won are England's National Poetry Competition, The Rooney Prize, and The Forward Prize for Best Poem. She is the author of twelve poetry collections; the most recent The Currach Requires No Harbours was published by Gallery Press earlier this year.

As usual there will be an open-mic when the Featured Readers have finished. This is open to anyone who has a poem or story to share. New readers are especially welcome. The MC for the evening will be Susan Millar DuMars.

For further details contact 087-6431748.Over The Edge acknowledges the financial support of Galway City Council, Poetry Ireland and The Arts Council

Friday, December 01, 2006

Post-Primary Essay Competition

An Chomhairle Leabharlanna in association with the Europe Direct Information Centres and The European Commission Representation in Dublin, is delighted to announce an essay competition for secondary school students for the prize of a trip to Brussels in April 2007.

Each of the eight centres will choose two winners from the essays submitted to them. There are two categories the first/second/third year category and the fourth/fifth/sixth year category.

Please submit all entries to your local Europe Information Centre –in Co. Galway they are Ballinasloe or Carraroe Libraries.

The deadline for submission of entries is by Friday 19th January 2007. The Essay can be written in English or Irish. Information on the competition and the essay theme has been circulated to all secondary schools by An Chomhairle Leabharlanna. Judging will be completed by each centre by 23rd February 2007 and winners will be announced by Friday 2nd March 2007.

Competition details and application forms are here

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Libraries in the sand Manuscripts Are The Subject of Intensive Study

Researchers in Timbuktu are fighting to preserve tens of thousands of ancient texts which they say prove Africa had a written history at least as old as the European Renaissance. Private and public libraries in the fabled Saharan town in Mali have already collected 150,000 brittle manuscripts, some of them from the 13th century, and local historians believe many more lie buried under the sand.

The texts were concealed under mud homes and in desert caves by proud Malian families whose successive generations feared they would be stolen by Moroccan invaders, European explorers and then French colonialists. Written in ornate calligraphy, some were used to teach astrology or mathematics, while others tell tales of social and business life in Timbuktu during its "Golden Age," when it was a seat of learning in the 16th century. "These manuscripts are about all the fields of human knowledge: law, the sciences, medicine," said Galla Dicko, director of the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library housing 25,000 of the texts. "Here is a political tract," he said, pointing to a script in a glass cabinet, somewhat dog-eared and chewed by termites. "A letter on good governance, a warning to intellectuals not to be corrupted by the power of politicians."

Bookshelves on the wall behind him contain a volume on mathematics and a guide to Andalusian music as well as love stories and correspondence between traders plying the trans-Saharan caravan routes. Timbuktu's leading families have only recently started to give up what they see as ancestral heirlooms. They are being persuaded by local officials that the manuscripts should be part of the community's shared culture. "It is through these writings that we can really know our place in history," said Abdramane Ben Essayouti, Imam of Timbuktu's oldest mosque, Djingarei-ber, built from mud bricks and wood in 1325.

Experts believe the 150,000 texts collected so far are just a fraction of what lies hidden under centuries of dust behind the ornate wooden doors of Timbuktu's mud-brick homes.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Over the Edge - Galway City Library

The Over The Edge Open Reading Series, an evening of featured poets plus an open mic session, takes place once a month on a Thursday in Galway City Library (Hynes Buildings, Augustine Street) from 6.30-8.oopm. The next next reading will take place on 23 November.

The featured readers are Adrian White, Joan McBreen & Fiona Claire. As usual there will be an open mic when the featured readers have finished. This is open to anyone who has a poem or story to share. New readers are especially welcome. The MC for the evening will be Susan Millar DuMars.

Adrian White moved from Manchester to Galway in 1990. He has worked as abookseller, a barman, a painter and decorator, a removal man and a car park attendant. His first novel, An Accident Waiting to Happen, was published in 2004and his second, Where the Rain Gets In, came out in March 2006. Both are published by Penguin Books. Man Dog Bitch is the title of his third book.

Joan McBreen is from Sligo and now lives in Tuam. She edited The White Page - Twentieth Century Irish Women Poets (Salmon Publishing). Joan has published three collections of poetry; the most recent Winter in The Eye - New and Selected Poems, was published by Salmon in 2003. In 2004 she launched a CD, The Long Light on the Land - Selected Poems by Joan McBreen with Traditional Airs and Classical Music.

Fiona Claire is an actress and writer who lived for many years in Los Angeles, but recently moved to County Galway. She has worked in numerous television shows, including Third Rock From The Sun, Star Trek Voyager, and King of Queens, and in films such as L.A. Confidential, and Contact. She has written a collection of fables for adults, one novel and is working on a second.

Over The Edge is now also offering a manuscript appraisal service to new writers. Fiction and non-Fiction will be assessed by Susan Miller DuMars, while poetry will be critiqued by Kevin Higgins. For information about readings and script appraisal, tel. 087 6431748 or e-mail

Thursday, November 16, 2006

T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2006

The Poetry Book Society has announced the Shortlist for the T S Eliot Prize 2006, to be awarded to the writer of the best new collection of poetry published in 2006. Now in its fourteenth year, the T S Eliot Prize is 'poetry's most coveted award'

  • Simon Armitage, Tyrannosaurus Rex versus the Corduroy Kid, Faber
  • Paul Farley, Tramp in Flames, Picador
  • Seamus Heaney, District and Circle , Faber
  • W N Herbert, Bad Shaman Blues, Bloodaxe
  • Jane Hirshfield, After, Bloodaxe
  • Tim Liardet, The Blood Choir, Seren
  • Paul Muldoon, Horse Latitudes, Faber
  • Robin Robertson, Swithering, Picador
  • Penelope Shuttle, Redgrove's Wife, Bloodaxe
  • Hugo Williams, Dear Room, Faber

Judges Sean O'Brien (Chair), Sophie Hannah and Gwenyth Lewis chose the following ten collections: The judges will make their final decision on Monday 15 January 2007, when the prize of £10,000 will be presented by Mrs Valerie Eliot.

The T S Eliot Prize is sponsored by the broadcaster and supported by the T S Eliot Foundation.

Friday, November 10, 2006

2007 IMPAC Literary Award - Longlist

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is open to works of fiction written in, or translated into English and published within a specified period of time.

The nomination process for the Award is unique as nominations are made by selected libraries in capital and major cities throughout the world. Participating libraries can nominate up to three books each year for the Award: the books must meet the criteria for eligibility which are distributed to libraries each year.

The longlist includes 138 novels which have been nominated for the 2007 award, with 28 of them works in translation.

There were nominations from 169 libraries around the world.

The Irish nominations, including Galway Public Libraries, are here

The short list will be announced on April 4th 2007 and the winner on June 14th 2007

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Ireland Life-Writing Archive

Many Irish people - and people connected with Ireland - have written (or are writing) about their lives. This is Irish 'Life-Writing'.
UCD is launching the Ireland Life-Writing Archive which will collect as much of this material as possible. It doesn't matter when or why you wrote about your life - we would like to include your writing in this archive. Material may be of any length, and in any written form - in English, Irish, or any other language.

The archive will include:

Life Stories/ Autobiographies
Personal memoirs
Travel writing
Biographical Fictions

Anything written about life in Ireland will be of interest in the future. The Ireland Life-Writing Archive invites anyone who has written (or who has access to) reminiscences or life-accounts to join us in our project of preserving and archiving this valuable material. The texts you send us will be catalogued and preserved in UCD for the use of scholars and researchers; some material (only with your permission) may be published on the UCD website.
For further details, contact Dr Eibhlín Evans, The Ireland Life-Writing Project, School of English and Drama, USD Belfield, Dublin 4; tel. 01 7168530, e-mail, or go to the website and follow the links.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Artist in the Community Scheme 2006

Twice yearly, the Arts Council offers grants to enable artists and community groups to work together on projects. The scheme covers all art forms. The Artist in the Community Scheme is managed by CREATE.

The aim of the scheme is to encourage intense collaboration between community groups and artists. The focus of the collaboration must be a project in which the members of the community group and the artists work together in order to realise an artistic project or an event. It is essential that consultation take place between the artist and the community group, so that both parties are involved in deciding on the nature of the project. Group ownership of the art should be maintained at every stage.

Phase One , the research and development award of up to €1,000, gives artists an opportunity to explore and develop a project in a community context. This work should constitute the preliminary stage of a project with the intention of eventually leading to a full length project. Any professional artist may approach a community group with a view to making an application for research and development. Equally, a group may approach an artist. However the research and development strand is an artist led initiative and as such artists make the application.

Phase Two is open to community organisations or groups who are planning a project of between 6 weeks and 5 months with a maximum award of €5000, and those who are planning a project of between 6 months and 9 months with a maximum award of €10,000. The artist and the community group must demonstrate that they have influenced each other significantly in the drafting of the project. It is the community organisation or group that makes the application to the scheme.

Further information Katherine Atkinson, CREATE Phone: + 353 1 4736600

Friday, October 20, 2006

Eclectic trio of poets for October ‘Over The Edge’

Once a month Galway City Library hosts the 'Over the Edge' poetry reading evening. The October 2006 session takes place on Thursday the 26th between 6.30 and 8.00pm.
The Featured Readers are Yvonne Green, Brendan Murphy & Niamh Ní Lochlainn.
Everyone is welcome.

Yvonne Green lives in London, where she practised at the English Bar for 20 years before stopping to concentrate on her poetry. Her poems have appeared in leading UK poetry magazines such as Poetry Review, Magma, Modern Poetry In Translation, The London Magazine, European Judaism, The Jewish Quarterly and Arete. She has read her work at the The National Portrait Gallery, the Institute for Contemporary Arts and on BBC Radio 4.

Brendan Murphy was born in Liverpool to English parents and Irish grandparents. He is a graduate of Sheffield University, where he studied the History of Art, Film and Design. His first performance was a Saturday night slot with a friend at his local pub, with whom he developed an improvised repartee on the week’s news. Brendan has lived in Galway for the last eight years. He won the 2006 Cúirt Festival Poetry Grand Slam, and recently performed at the famous Green Mill in Chicago.

Niamh Ní Lochlainn grew up in Dublin with Irish as her first language, spending her summers in the West Kerry Gaeltacht. She has been living and teaching in Connemara for the last four years. She was a prize-winner in the 2005 Strokestown Poetry Competition and her first collection Guth ón dTobar, (A Voice from the Well) was short-listed for the Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish Poet at the 2006 Poetry Now Festival in Dun Laoghaire.

As usual there will be an open-mic when the Featured Readers have finished. This is open to anyone who has a poem or story to share. New readers are especially welcome.
The MC for the evening will be Susan Millar DuMars.
Over The Edge acknowledges the financial support of Galway City Council and The Arts Council
For further details contact Kevin Higgins on 087-6431748 or e-mail .

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Children's Book Festival in Oranmore

Lots of New Children’s Books!
New Education Toys for use in the library!

Tues. 24th Oct. 11.00am
Inter Schools Table

Wed. 25th Oct. 4.30pm
Fancy Dress Competition

Fri. 27th Oct. 12.00pm
Special Preschool Storytime

Fri. 27th Oct. 4.30pm
Balloon Mania

Kindly sponsored by Supermac’s Oranmore

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Youngest ever woman wins Man Booker Prize

At age of 35, Kiran Desai was named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Inheritance of Loss, published by Hamish Hamilton. The Indian-born writer has a strong family tie with the prize as her mother Anita Desai has been shortlisted three times since 1980 but has never won. This year, however, her daughter, Kiran, has won the acclaimed literary prize. Author of the 1998 universally praised Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.

Desai is the first woman to win the Man Booker since 2000 when Margaret Atwood scooped the prize with The Blind Assassin. Her winning book, The Inheritance of Loss, is a radiant, funny and moving family saga and has been described by reviewers as ‘the best, sweetest, most delightful novel’. This is the first time that Hamish Hamilton has published a Man Booker Prize winner although they had two shortlisted authors in 2005.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Computers and Communications Course in Inishboffin Library

Coiste Gairmoideachais Chontae na Gaillimhe
(County Galway Vocational Education Committee)

Basic Computers and Communications

  • Basic Computers including internet and email
  • Improving writing, spelling and grammarWriting letters, forms, C.V.’s etc.
  • Reading - for personal and work purposes
  • Listening Skills

Venue: Inishboffin Library/Community Centre
Dates: Thursday 12th. October 2006
Time: Registration 7.30p.m. to 9.00p.m.

For more information contact: Teresa Gilligan at 091 555877

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Murakami wins O'Connor Prize

Haruki Murakami has won the second Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, his third collection of short stories to be published in English.

The €35,000 (£23,000) prize, which is awarded to new collections published in English during the last 12 months, is the world's richest short story prize. The prize will be shared between Murakami and his translators, Philip Gabriel and Jay Rubin.

Rubin paid tribute to the famous short story writer as he accepted the prize.

"If you have read Frank O'Connor's Guests of the Nation you'll be familiar with his theme that people need to recognise each other's common humanity," he said. "Haruki's stories are similarly powerful. As a translator, I am overwhelmed and honoured and I am sure Haruki will be too."

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman topped a shortlist which spanned three continents. First collections from Irish writer Philip Ó Ceallaigh and American author Rachel Sherman were nominated alongside entries from English writer Rose Tremain, Nepal-born Samrat Upadhyay and Peter Stamm, a Swiss author who writes in German.

The award, created in memory of the Frank O'Connor, is the highlight of the annual Frank O'Connor Short Story Festival, which ran from Wednesday to Sunday last.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Man Booker Prize Shortlist

The six authors shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006, are Kiran Desai, Kate Grenville, M.J. Hyland, Hisham Matar, Edward St Aubyn, and Sarah Waters.

The six shortlisted books were chosen from a longlist of 19 and are:
Desai, Kiran The Inheritance of Loss - Hamish Hamilton
Grenville, Kate The Secret River - Canongate
Hyland, M.J. Carry Me Down - Canongate
Matar, Hisham In the Country of Men - Viking
St Aubyn, Edward Mother’s Milk - Picador
Waters, Sarah The Night Watch - Virago

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 10th October

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Harding Books Prize for Perfect Parody!!!!!

Due to overwhelming public demand and in advance of this year’s Public Libraries Conference (November 8th-10th at the Cavan Crystal Hotel, Co. Cavan), George Harding of Harding Books will once again kindly sponsor The Harding Books Prize for Perfect Parody!!!!!

To Enter:
Write the opening paragraph of a crime novel –entitled Murder at the Library in the style of your favourite (or least favourite) crime writer

The rules are as follows:
· The competition is open to library staff only
· All entries must include the following words –
Love Letters

The judges will include Val McDermid (award-winning author of Wire in the Blood and many other critically-lauded crime novels), Simon Brett (writer, actor, producer & broadcaster) and Mike Ripley (twice winner of the CWA Last Laugh Award, journalist & critic).

Now, most importantly, the money!
First Prize - €300 and a specially commissioned wood-carving by Sligo artist, Michael Quirke.
Second Prize - €200 and a specially commissioned wood-carving by Sligo artist, Michael Quirke.

Stop Press:
Details of a second competition for those of a gentler persuasion:
Write a paragraph entitled What I Did on my Summer Holidays in the style of any Irish writer, living or dead. Once again, the competition is open to library staff but as a special dispensation to non-crime lovers, you do not have to use the magic words as mentioned above. This competition will be adjudicated by academic and writer, Ruth Dudley-Edwards.
Prize - €100 and a copy of the Times Atlas of the WorldPlease send you entries to
Brenda Frawley, c/o Dooradoyle Library, Dooradoyle Road, Limerick or by e-mail to before
Friday, 29th September, 2006.

All winners will be announced and winning entries read aloud at this year’s Public Libraries Conference at the Cavan Crystal Hotel, Co. Cavan after the Banquet dinner on
Thursday, November 9th, 2006.

The Harding Books Perfect Parody Prize is kindly sponsored by George Harding of Harding Books, supplier of high quality, low cost paperback collections to libraries throughout the U.K. & Ireland

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Teenage Reading in Galway City Library

The Teenage Book Club has been meeting every second Tuesday during the Summer in the City Library and after much debate they have come up with the following titles as their favourites of 2006:

Boy Soldier, Payback, Avenger ……………………Andy McNab

Small Steps …………………………………………………….Louis Sacher

Elsewhere ……………………………………………………….Gabrielle Zevin

Faerie Wars, The Purple Emperor……………..Herbie Brennan

The Secret Hour, Touching Darkness,
Blue Noon (
Midnighters Trilogy)
………………Scott Westerfeld

Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday,
Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday
…………Garth Nix

The Road of Bones ………………………………………Anne Fine

And the perennial favourites

How I Live Now …………………………………………..Meg Rosoff

Alex Rider (series) …………………………………..Anthony Horowitz

Stargirl ………………………………………………………Jerry Spinelli

The Amulet of Samarkand, Golem’s Eye,
Ptolemy’s Gate (
Bartimaeus Trilogy)
……Jonathan Stroud

Noughts and Crosses, Knife Edge,
…………………………………………………Malorie Blackman

Eragon, Eldest …………………………………………Christopher Paolini

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006 Longlist

The judging panel for the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction announced the longlist of books for this year.
The longlist of 19 books was chosen from 112 entries; 95 were submitted for the prize and 17 were called in by the panel of judges.

Chair of judges, Hermione Lee, comments: "Judging the Man Booker Prize puts you through almost as many emotions as there are in the novels. We’ve tried to be careful and critical judges as well as being passionately involved. We have many regrets about some of the novels we’ve left off, and we could easily have had a longlist of about 30 books, but we’re delighted with the variety, the originality, the drama and craft, the human interest and the strong voices in this longlist. It’s a list in which famous established novelists rub shoulders with little known newcomers. We hope that people will leap at it for their late summer reading and make up their own shortlist.”

The longlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006 is as follows;

Carey, Peter Theft: A Love Story (Faber & Faber)
Desai, Kiran The Inheritance of Loss (Hamish Hamilton)
Edric, Robert Gathering the Water (Doubleday)
Gordimer, Nadine Get a Life (Bloomsbury)
Grenville, Kate The Secret River (Canongate)
Hyland, M.J. Carry Me Down (Canongate)
Jacobson, Howard Kalooki Nights (Jonathan Cape)
Lasdun, James Seven Lies (Jonathan Cape)
Lawson, Mary The Other Side of the Bridge (Chatto & Windus)
McGregor, Jon So Many Ways to Begin (Bloomsbury)
Matar, Hisham In the Country of Men (Viking)
Messud, Claire The Emperor’s Children (Picador)
Mitchell, David Black Swan Green (Sceptre)
Murr, Naeem The Perfect Man (William Heinemann)
O’Hagan, Andrew Be Near Me (Faber & Faber)
Robertson, James The Testament of Gideon Mack (Hamish Hamilton)
St Aubyn, Edward Mother’s Milk (Picador)
Unsworth, Barry The Ruby in her Navel (Hamish Hamilton)
Waters, Sarah The Night Watch (Virago)

The judging panel for the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction is: Hermione Lee (Chair); Simon Armitage, poet and novelist; Candia McWilliam, award winning novelist; critic Anthony Quinn and actor Fiona Shaw. The 2006 shortlist will be announced on Thursday 14th September

Friday, August 04, 2006

Oscailt Gairdín Cuimhneacháin in ómós don scríbhneoir cáiliúil Liam Ó Flaithearta

As part of Heritage week which runs from 26th August – 3rd September 2006, The Minister, Éamon Ó Cuiv will officially open a Garden of Remembrance in honour of one of the Aran Island's most famous and prolific writers Liam Ó Flaherty. The event takes place in Kilronan at 2.00pm on the 28th of August.

Beidh an tAire Éamon Ó Cuiv ag oscailt an Gairdín Cuimhneacháin in ómós don scríbhneoir Liam Ó Flaithearta ag 2.00 i.n. Dé Luain 28ú Lúnasa 2006 i nGort na gCapall. Is é Pádraic Reaney a dhear an gairdín agus a rinne an obair ar an dealbh agus ar an leac eolais. Beidh leabhrán le fáil ar an lá agus beidh chuile eolas ann.

Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union. In Ireland Heritage Week is co-ordinated by the Heritage Council with support from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ask About Ireland?

Ask About Ireland is a website designed to find answers about Ireland, our countryside, our heritage, the way we work and play. It offers access to new information, rare images and documents from Irish public libraries, museums and archives.

Ask AboutIreland and the Cultural Heritage Project is an initiative of public libraries together with local museums and archives in the digitisation and online publication of the original, the unusual and the unique material from their local studies' collections to create a national Internet resource for Irish culture.

The participating organisations have selected material of particular public interest from their holdings within a variety of common topics ranging from sport, transport and architecture to flora and fauna and Irish writers and set in a narrative context. In particular, Galway Public Libraries have contributed material on the Lawerence Family Album & Lisreaghan House and The Samuel L. Maguire collection (He was the County Librarian at the time.) of Irish language books published during the nineteen twenties and thirties and now housed in Carraroe Library.

AskAboutIreland is a constantly growing resource with content being added to the website on an ongoing basis.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

2006 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award

The second Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award will be made in September 2006 at the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival in Cork, Ireland. The prize is for 35,000 euros and as such it is currently the world's richest prize for the short story form.It is organised by the Munster Literature Centre

Eligible books are those by living authors, published for the first time, in English anywhere in the world, between October 2005 and September 15th 2006 .

The 2006 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award Shortlist:

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - Haruki Murukami, Harvill, London (translated by Philip Gabriel and Jay Rubin)
Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse - Philip O Ceallaigh, Penguin, Dublin
The First Hurt - Rachel Sherman Open City Books , New York
In Strange Gardens & other Stories - Peter Stamm Other Press , New York (translated by Michael Hoffman)
The Darkness of Wallis Simpson - Rose Tremain Chatto , London
The Royal Ghosts - Samrat Upadhyay Houghton Mifflin ,New York

The winner of the inaugural award in 2005 was Yiyun Li of China and the United States for her debut collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers published by Random House US.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Summer Reading Mission continues at your library

Galway County Libraries are inviting all children to embark on a Reading Mission this summer. The mission for children of all ages is to read and enjoy at least six books during the summer.

The Summer Reading Mission is being held in all our Branch Libraries and Mobile Library during July and August.

It is free, and all children have to do is go along to their local library and pick up the details and the Reading Mission card.

Find the opening times of your nearest library here

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a library, we've changed their lives forever, and for the better. Barack Obama

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:
Kamishibai Man, by Allen Say, Houghton Mifflin

The Kamishibai man used to ride his bicycle into town where he would tell stories to the children, but gradually fewer children came. They were all watching television. Aging, cultural change, the way humans seem to lose warmth with technological advances-the story gestures toward all of these. This beautifully evocative tale will attract even the most jaded kid away from the TV to enjoy a good, good book.

The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper , Grosset & Dunlap

The classic tale of the determined little engine that, despite its size, triumphantly pulls a train full of toys to the waiting children on the other side of a mountain. Loren Long has brilliantly re-illustrated this classic story, bringing it exuberantly to life for today’s child. Both faithful fans and newcomers will enjoy this triumphant ride and eagerly climb aboard for repeat excursions. Ages 3-up.

Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem About China, by Ed Young, Chronicle Books

Ed Young's spare prose describes in measured detail the beautiful and mystical land that
the author so clearly loves. The unique format and gorgeous paper-collage illustrations, highlighted with Chinese characters, combine to convey the many facets of China to form a poetic picture of the land’s grace, depth, and majesty. The textured illustrations are breathtaking, as Young invites readers to glimpse a world of stunning beauty.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Agustin Maruri at Oranmore Library

Agustin Maruri and some of the audience that enjoyed his concert in Oranmore Library recently

Mary Carpenter, Agustin Maruri and Rosemary Finlay

Mary McConn,
Anne McDermott
and Mary McBride

GráinneO’Callaghan and Josette Farrell

Seán Magee and Mary McHale

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Spiddal Public Library –a day in the life

A visitor to the library in Spiddal on Tuesday 2nd May would have had the opportunity of enjoying an exhibition by two artists, would have been absorbed by a series of mosaics in contemporary style by Siobhan Ní Fhloinn in which nature in its different forms and colours and pattern is finely captured, and would have reflected on a number of works by Geraldine Ní Churraoin in which the bog and waters and mountains of Connemara are revealed in vivid colours.

This exhibition of work by the two artists hangs in the Reading Room area of the library, where in addition to enjoying the art on the walls, it is also possible to just sit quietly and read from a newspaper or magazine, or browse a book from the library’s collection.

From the window of the reading room on that Tuesday, one was also able to enjoy a wonderful view of the Atlantic tide breaking over the rocks near the old Spiddal pier, with the sun glinting on the sea as one looks as far as the Aran Islands.

In the main library a number of library users were intently searching the Internet on the library’s free internet access PCs, while a young girl was busily photocopying from a number of reference books as part of a school assignment.

A father arrives with two young children and spends some time choosing books in the children’s area of the library.

And another man arrives with a young child in a buggy and sits in the reading room with his child examining a picture book. It turns out that this man is from Argentina, and is the son of the famous Argentine writer and poet Luis Ricardo Casnati. Casnati is a man who has written that:

"I cannot happen to be indifferent before the beauty which exposes the world to me. I have loved an infinity of things that have convinced to me of the glory to be alive. "

Casnati is a poet whose work uplifts love. He has said that his ambition is to rescue the rescueable with words that don't deserve to fade away. With the thundering Atlantic waves outside, here in Spiddal is a library space in which an expectation that the privilege of ideas, and the silence in which to consider them, will be cared for and exercised, and that its exercise will make us strong.

Among the books which the Spiddal Librarian, Máire Breathnach, has on this display on this Tuesday is a copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. This novel contains the lines:

"In the silence we listen to ourselves.
Then we ask questions of ourselves.
We describe ourselves to ourselves."

This is what happens in a library. We go to a library to find ourselves. We go to a library in the hope of sometimes finding the beauty which exposes the world to us.

The concept of the library providing the silence in which to consider the privilege of ideas is taken from the article "Silence, Please", by Sallie Tisdale. It was published in Harper's Magazine in March, 1997.
You may contact the artist Siobhan Ní Fhloinn by calling 087-9503340. Rince is the title of her mosica which illustrates the opening paragraph above.
You may contact Geraldine Ní Churraoin at 087-7747087.
Máire Breathnach is Librarian in Spiddal Library. You may contact Máire at 091-504028 or by e-mail at

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

a public library anywhere...

I can come in here.... no questions security on the door. I can sit down on a comfortable chair and read or write or study. Even if I live in the direst circumstances, and have just a small income, I can come in here and have a chair and a clean, unencumbered table all to myself. I have done it today.
I can check the catalogue of the entire library - should I say the catalogue of the universe - there must be thousands of books here - I can check the catalogue of the entire library on any one of six computer terminals... I see long lists of books by my favourite writers...Octavio Paz and Liam O’Flaherty and Joseph Roth.
On other terminals I can access the Internet without charge. The atmosphere here is so conducive to study... the range of books that people are looking at... the intensity of their searching. What a wonderful place of adult education this is. What an idea a library is...not driven by commerce or the market pressure to buy... no need to buy another cup of coffee to retain my seat. And the light is good here. There is a faint sound of music coming from the music section of the Library..... the melancholic strains of Amalia Rodriguez, the Portuguese singer.. Why are libraries rarely mentioned when it comes to lifelong learning...? it is all around me here.... people taking notes..... or quietly talking to each other about their studies.

Taken from an EU Socrates report on Libraries and Adult Education.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

“Everyone should have a library to love…………..”

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:

Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink, by David Margolick, Vintage
Fought with thunderclouds of war on the horizon, this book recounts a charged moment in boxing history: the 1938 heavyweight rematch between Detroit's Joe Louis and Germany's Max Schmeling. The African-American Louis's success and demeanour were an unsubtle rebuke to the Aryan theories of race; the affable Schmeling, for his part, would be shoehorned into the role of "Nazi Max," despite the uneasiness of the fit. One of the best sports books of recent years,

Tor! The Story of German Football by Ulrich Hesse-Lichtenberger, WSC Books
Germany did not have a national league until the 1960s, yet it became one of the most successful football nations in the world. Tor! (Goal!) traces the extraordinary story of Gertman football, challenging the myth that German football is ‘predictable’ or ‘efficient’ and brings to life the fascinating array of characters who shaped it: the betrayed pioneer Walther Bensemann; the all-conquering Franz Beckenbauer; the modern misfit Lothar Matthäus.

Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
If the only image of the wooden boy that children have is the Disney puppet, then perhaps it is time to introduce them to the original. Not sanitized by Disney, this Pinocchio is revealed as sometimes arrogant, often naughty, very disobedient, but with an underlying desire to do what is right. From the rich buff pages to the exquisite paintings of 19th century Italy, this is a work of art. Here is a classic that belongs on every bookshelf.

We invite you to visit your library in Athenry, Ballinasloe, Ballygar, Carraroe, Clifden, Dunmore, Eyrecourt, Glenamaddy, Gort, Headford, Inishbofin, Inisheer, Inismeain, Killimor, Kilronan, Leenane, Letterfrack, Loughrea, Moylough, Oranmore, Oughterard, Portumna, Roundstone, Spiddal, Tiernea, Tuam, Westside, Woodford, and the Mobile Library.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

80th Anniversary of Galway County Libraries

Town Councils were allowed by an Act of 1855 to levy a rate not exceeding one penny for library purposes and the produce of this rate could also be used to meet the expenses of a museum or school or art and science. The council could delegate the business of managing the library to a committee. However, as Town councils were slow to adopt the Act by the latter part of the 19th century only a few municipal libraries had been established, otherwise there was no public library provision at that time over the greater part of the country.

Andrew Carnegie, an American entrepreneur, encouraged the library movement by presenting buildings and shelving if a free site was made available and a full rate levied but the absence of trained librarians and the limited rate levied made satisfactory development difficult. When the rural district councils were dissolved in 1925 the county councils were given power to adopt the Libraries Acts for the rural areas, and enabled urban district councils to hand over their powers to county councils. The Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, created in 1913 by Carnegie, abandoned the policy of presenting library buildings but instead gave financial assistance to the county councils to establish libraries.

In 1923 the Carnegie Trust established the Irish Central Library for Students in order to supply books other than fiction that may not have been available locally. In 1948, under the Public Libraries Act, 1947 an Chomhairle Leabharlanna was established. This body resumed responsibilities for the Trust’s functions. The functions of An Chomhairle include the improvement of the library services, mobiles libraries and book stocks, and to make recommendations regarding library matters to the Minister.

Prior to the adoption of legislation empowering County Councils to establish countywide library services a Library Schemes Committee for county Galway was formed under the aegis of the Carnegie Trust. It was the fifth such scheme established in Ireland. Lennox Robinson, secretary to the Irish Advisory Committee of the Carnegie Trust, took the Chair at the inaugural meeting held on 2nd August 1924 at the Courthouse in Galway. When this Committee ceased to act in May 1926 the library scheme was transferred to Galway County Council. It in turn delegated its power as Library Authority for the county under the Public Libraries Acts (Ireland) 1855 - 1902 and the Local Government Act, 1925 to a County Library Committee. The Committee was made up of elected representatives (County Councillors) and co-opted members, such as local clergy and members of the teaching profession.

Samuel Maguire coordinator of the Galway Carnegie scheme continued to act in that capacity, with the title later amended to County Librarian.
The first meeting of the Galway County Libraries Committee was held in the County Book Repository, Bishops Court, St. Augustine Street, Galway on 22 May 1926. Subsequent Committee meetings were generally held in the County Council Chamber and occasionally in a branch library. Galway County Council took over official control of the Carnegie Libraries on 1 July 1926. Change in the structure of local authorities at the end of the 20th century resulted in the dissolution of the Library Committee in 1998.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Literature defeats time

For the Colombian writer Laura Restrepo literature can restore the meaning of life.

Anyone reading a piece of text who can say "this is the face of humanity, this is the smell of the sea, or this is the flavour of love, can understand the meaning of being alive and living on earth." Words give answers to many of our personal questions.

"Literature offers us the gift of an oblique view, it summons light and darkness, the universe and a human face." It is “an epiphany that opens doors from above and also within, and enables us to extract that which is essential in us." ...

A number of her books are available in English translation in Galway City Library, including The Angel of Galilea, The Dark Bride and Leopard in the Sun.

Come in to Galway City Library in Augustine Street, Galway and pick up a library card. You library card will entitle you to take home four books to read at any one time. You may retain the books for three weeks, then return them and borrow some more. In our fiction collection we seek to combine the popular with the excellent. We are trying to develop a library collection that features books not readily available elsewhere.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Search back copies of newspapers from your home or office

Did you know that with your library card you may search back copies of newspapers from a computer at home. The NewsBank Internet service on the Galway County Library website will provide you with full-text articles from four leading newspapers.
The service offers full text access to The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Guardian and The Washington Post. With a simple search you can access original newspaper articles covering a specific event. You may search by headline, date, author, section, subject, or name. Remember, you can do this from a computer at home. You may do this using your Galway Public Library card.

You access our library website: and go to online resources. When you press the NewsBank button, you will be prompted to key in your library card number, and the service is then available to you.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"Everyone should have a library to love..........."

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:

The Woman Who Waited, by Andrei Makine. Sceptre
A sensuously styled, elegiac tale set in the mid-1970s. A 26-year-old folklorist from Leningrad meets an intriguing older woman named Vera, who has been waiting for 30 years for her lover. The closer the narrator gets to her, the more he is shamed in the face of her towering presence. Makine transforms a very simple premise into a richly textured story of love and loss. Another fine work from one of Europe's most lavishly gifted writers.

The Love Poems of John Keats, by John Keats. St Martin's Press
"Here lies one whose name was writ on water." These are the words John Keats chose to epitomize his short, frustrating, and tragic life. They appear as his epitaph in Rome's Protestant cemetery. This beautifully crafted collection contains some of the most heartfelt of Keats' personal poems, and provide a personal glimpse of the young poet's dreams and dreads.

Inferno, by Dante, The Modern Library Dante believed that the goal of human life was to behold beauty. The Inferno is not a poem about wickedness and punishment, but about beauty and love. Modern readers are attracted to Dante because they find in him what the modern world cannot offer: a cogent and coherent vision of the universe. I want to make people fall in love with Dante–really fall in love with him. Anthony Esolen, translator.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Photographic Exhibition at Roundstone Library

Limerick man Walter Fogerty, an amateur photographer who works with an old fashioned Rolleiflex medium format film camera, is holding an exhibition of his work at the Roundstone Library. The exhibition forms part of the Roundstone Arts Festival and runs from June 29th until July 9th.

The photographs on exhibition are landscapes and seascapes of Connemara. The great beauty of the area is reflected in the rich colours and the visual impact of the work on display.

During the festival Walter will be present from time to time in the Roundstone Library to talk about photography and about the kind of cameras he likes to work with.

It will be possible to purchase any of the photographs during the period of the exhibition.

Situated right on the seafront, the library in Roundstone is perhaps in one of the most charming library locations in the world, and receives many foreign visitors. Roundstone Library is a small library with a relatively small collection of books, but under the skilful direction of the local librarian it serves, from time to time, as a library, an information centre, and cultural centre for the village.

We look forward to seeing you in the library and at the exhibition.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Classical guitarist Agustin Maruri performing in Oranmore Library

At 8.00pm on 20th June, classical guitarist Agustin Maruri from Madrid will be performing in Oranmore Library. Admission is free and all are welcome. The performance is aimed at an adult audience and will be followed by wine and strawberries. The performance will start at 8.00pm sharp. It is recommended to arrive early as doors will be shut when we have a full house.

He has performed in halls such as The Grand Theatre, (La Habana), National Hall, (Madrid), Royal Dublin Society, Tuomikirkon, (Helsinki), Votivkirche, (Vienna), Circulo Artistico Napolitano, Atlapa Hall, (Panama), Covarrubias Hall, (México), Charles III Theatre, (Madrid), India International Centre, (New Delhi), Central Superior Conservatoire, (Peking), Villa Decius, (Kracov), Lincoln Centre, (New York), John Hancock Centre, (Chicago), National Gallery, (Dublin), Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), Kunsthal, (Rotterdam) and Radio Hall (Wasrsaw), Salle Vincent-d’Indy, (Montreal), Nationalmuseum, (Stoockholm).,Konzerthus (Oslo)

Maruri representd Spain in Athens during the concert celebrated by Greek Radio Television in 1989 for the EU Greek Presidency. In 1990 he received the medal of the Spanish College in Paris. In 1995 performed live for the Central Chinese Radio and in 1997 performed for the RTE in Dublin.

He has given masterclasess as invited Profesor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Cork School of Music, the New Delhi School of Music, and the Peking Superior Conservatory.

Among the composers who have written for him are, Francesco Telli, Pedro Sáenz, Jose Maria Sánchez Verdú, Josep Pascual, Erik Marchelie, Manuel Seco, Zhangbing, etc

Maruri has premier many guitar works including Torroba´s "Interludios", Francesco Telli´s, "Serenata", etc

His work in the rediscovery of Adam Falckenhagen´s music has received acclaim by the Yuste European Academy, who award him in 1996. In 1999 Maruri started a series of recording for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, using the original historical instruments from the Museum´s´collection.

His discography , (20 CD), is distributed worldwide receiving audiences and critics recognition.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A book returned to Athenry Library

In Athenry Library yesterday, a copy of John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent was returned as part of a routine library transaction.

This copy in question was published by Heinemann in 1961 and printed in a lovely typeface and on good paper by the Windmill Press in Surrey in England.

Galway County Library purchased the book in March 1972. Although there probably were previous date labels on the book which would have indicated the book being loaned throughout 1972 and 1973, it is possible to see evidence from old date labels located at the front of the book showing the book being borrowed in 1974. There is evidence from the date labels of the book then being continually borrowed over the years right down to the present fresh date stamp showing the book due for return on June 8th 2006.

Galway County Council paid IR£1.50 for the book when it was purchased 34 years ago.

The Winter of Our Discontent (1961) is a novel which indicts society for its focus on materialism and individual's disregard for the family of man.

Steinbeck was a man who wrote from the depths of his heart. His most enduring themes were: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence.

The book is dog-eared, some of the pages are torn, there are stained pages here and there. Some of the binding has been sealed with book tape. But anyone picking it up will get a sense that they are sharing an experience with all the other readers who have taken this book from the library before. Holding the book in one’s hand, there is such a sense of thought and of philosophy and of thinking and of reflection and of questioning. The book is about loss and the attempts to regain some sort of equilibrium in life. In some ways the ups and downs of lives of all the people who read the book seem inextricably linked.

There is also a sense of community: this is the community’s copy. And there is the sense that the book, like the community, has survived many tribulations and joys over the past 34 years.

When the South African writer, John Maxwell Coetzee, won the Nobel Prize for literature two years ago, he went off to Stockholm to receive the award, where it is traditional for the winner to make a speech. Coetzee puzzled his audience by speaking about Robinson Crusoe. But what Coetzee wanted to do was to equate all human adventure with the destiny of Robinson, alone on his island.

Yes, there are many poor Robinsons, “enduring shipwreck, hunger, loneliness and near-death. Everyone comes to find communication a problem and ends yelling and gesticulating like a madman, with no one listening.”

We can think of the many people living in the various housing estates all around our various libraries. Many are enduring loneliness, even, in a certain way, some are enduring “shipwreck.”

"What are they calling (these afflicted men and women) across the waters and across the years, out of their private fire?" as Coetzee put it.

Perhaps our libraries might have what they are calling for, be it the example of Robinson Crusoe, or this book by Steinbeck. Our libraries and our books, and the reading experiences we provide, enable people to cope with some of the “shipwrecked” moments which we all experience from time to time.

In spite of all the changes, the new technology and the development of the cultural role of the library, perhaps the most important thing we do is putting good books into people’s hands.

And think of the education and the enlightenment provided for an investment of IR£1.50 back in 1972.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Participate in the Reading Mission this summer at your library

Galway County Libraries are inviting all children to embark on a Reading Mission this summer. The mission for children of all ages is to read and enjoy at least six books during the summer.

The Summer Reading Mission is being held in all our Branch Libraries and Mobile Library during July and August. It is free, and all children have to do is go along to their local library and pick up the details and the Reading Mission card.

There are lots of wonderful books and also booklists to help children choose the best stories.

Check out your local library and encourage your children to participate in the Summer Reading Mission this year.

Details from Maureen Moran, Galway County Library Headquarters, Island House. or your local Branch Library.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Books and Reading – a view from Madrid

Fernando Valverde, President of the Spanish Booksellers’ Association (CEGAL)) recently said that the last years have not been easy for those involved in the world of books.
He said that we need to have 'a society which is reading more, and that we need to see our children and young people becoming addicted to books and bookshops and libraries. '
We have to understand, he said, that “the book is an essential tool for the construction of the future. There isn’t one educational process possible without the support of the book.”

His message is: “strengthen the book, increase it, watch over its quality and diversity.”

Friday, June 02, 2006

Poet Eugene O’Connell reads on Inishbofin

The poet Eugene O’Connell read to a full house in Inishbofin Library on Saturday afternoon May 15th. The event was part of the Inishbofin Arts Festival, in which the library participates every year. An editor with Bradshaw Books (poetry publishers) Eugene edits the Cork Literary Review and is currently compiling a new anthology of Irish poetry.

Eugene O’Connell read from his own work, and he also read from the work of the Latvian poet, Guntars Godins, whom he has translated into English. The 35 minute reading was wonderfully paced and there was great sense of engagement between the poet and his listeners.

Our picture shows left to right: Audrey Murray, Librarian, Inishbofin Library, the visiting poet Eugene O’Connell, and Pat McMahon, County Librarian

Saturday, May 27, 2006

New Kilronan Library

The main construction on the new library on Kilronan is nearing completion. It is expected that the shelving and furniture will be installed during July, and the library is expected to be officially opened in September. This library project is a cooperative effort involving Comhar Chumann Inis Mór, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Galway County Council. From a previous post, you can see the construction plans for the new library here.

Photographed at the site of the new library on Thursday May 25th are: Pat McMahon, County Librarian, Mairín Ni Fhlatharta, Nóirín Bean Ui Ghoill, Librarian at Kilronan Library, Maureen Moran, Executive Librarian and Mari Sandnes, who is a student in the Library and Information Sciences department at Oslo University College and will be completing her BA with this placement in Galway. Thanks to the Leonardo da Vinci programme grant, she will be working in the Galway library for 13 weeks this summer. She comes from a small village in Norway called Solbergelva about 50 km from Oslo. She is 22 years old.