Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Privileged Space of Incertitude by Carlos Fuentes

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the first publication of Don Quixote. Looking back at Cervantes’s major work allows us to explore the universal reach of great world literature.
Not long ago the Norwegian Academy asked a hundred writers from all over the world a question: name the novel that you consider the best ever written. Fifty of them answered Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. This answer poses the interesting question of the long-seller versus the bestseller.
There is, of course, no single answer to why a bestseller sells, or why a long-seller lasts. Don Quixote was a bestseller when it first appeared in 1605 and has continued to sell ever since, whereas William Faulkner was a bad-seller if you compare the meagre sales of Absalom, Absalom (1936) with those of the really big seller of the year, Hervey Allen’s Anthony Adverse, a Napoleonic saga of love, war and trade. So there is no thermometer: time will tell, and maybe time will sell.
One might think that Cervantes was in tune with his times. Whereas Stendhal consciously wrote for "the happy few", sold poorly in his own life, was given the reward of Balzac’s praise before he died and only came into his own thanks to the efforts of the critic Henri Martineau in the 20th century.
Some writers achieve great popularity and then disappear for ever. The bestseller lists of the past 50 years are, with a few lively exceptions, a sombre graveyard of dead books. Yet permanence is not a wilful proposition. No one can write a book aspiring to immortality.
We could take each one of the writers I have quoted so far and make an excursion into their relationship with the times they lived in. However fascinating, I wonder how much it tells us about the books that they wrote, the imagination that moved them to write, their use of language, their critical approach to the art of literature, their awareness of belonging to the larger tradition that Milan Kundera invokes in his recent book The Curtain: the fact that a novelist belongs - more than to his country or even to his native tongue - to a tradition in which Rabelais, Cervantes, Sterne and Diderot are a part of the same family and that family, as desired by Goethe, lives in the house of world literature, the Weltliteratur which each writer, Goethe suggests, fosters independently of national literatures that "have ceased to represent anything of importance".
If this is true, then all great works of literature contain both the tradition they spring from and add to and the new creation that depends as much on preceding tradition as tradition itself depends upon the new creations that nourish it.
Carlos Fuentes in Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2005.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Oranmore Library Reading Circle

The Reading Circle is a friendly, informal discussion group for people who wish to share their enjoyment of reading. Oranmore Library hosts two Reading Circles; the morning reading circle meets at 11.15am on the last Wednesday of each month and the evening reading circle meet at 6.30pm on the last Thursday of each month.
The next meetings are the 29th and 30th March. The books for discussion at the March meetings are: “The Bookseller of Kabul” by Asne Sieirstad (morning group) and “Small Island” by Andrea Levy (evening group).
Books for discussion at the April meetings are “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini and “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabrielle Garcia-Marquez.
Everybody is welcome to attend.

Preschool Storytime:
Every Friday at 12.00 noon Oranmore Library hosts a storytime for preschoolers.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Launch of Europe Direct in Ballinasloe

On Thursday March 30th, the Mayor of the County of Galway, Councillor Pat Hynes, will officially launch a Europe Direct Relay Point in Ballinasloe Library. The event takes place at 1.30pm.The Europe Direct Relay Point is an Information Point providing a whole range of free publications, brochures and guides relating to the EU. It also provides internet and other ICT access to EU information. It is provided by Galway County Council in cooperation with the European Commission.
Margot Wallström, Vice President of the European Commission, has written that: 'Europe' is everywhere. There are 450 million of us now and we are magnificently diverse. We share a marvellous Europe-wide cultural heritage - from the ancient Greek and Roman world, the Middle-Ages, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment down to the present.'
The Ballinasloe Library through its book stock and other material, and through EU published information, will in its Europe Direct Relay Point, seek to convey a sense of the rich variety of European cultures, languages and ways of life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The word rather than the fact, incantatory affirmation rather than objectivity, and in general, the sign rather than the thing. Jacques Berque


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

Strange Pilgrims: Twelve Stories, by Gabriel García Márquez,
Thematically, these dozen stories explore familiar Marquesan territory: human solitude and quiet desperation, unexpected love, the bizarre turns of fate, the intertwining of passion and death. The narrative voice is warm and affectionate and displays a penchant for tales of the strange things that sometimes happen to pilgrims in distant lands. (Washington Post)

Misadventures of Maude Marche: Or Trouble Rides a Fast Horse, by Audrey Couloumbis
Eleven-year-old Sallie March is a whip-smart tomboy and voracious reader of Western adventure novels. When she and her sister, Maude, are orphaned for the second time, they decide to escape their new self-serving guardians for the wilds of the frontier. Hard to put down, and a fun read-aloud. Ages 8 to 12. (School Library Journal)

Please, Mr. Einstein, by Jean-Claude Carriere, Harvill Secker
Attempts to reproduce Einstein's thought in his own words in the form of a posthumous conversation he has with a journalism student. Carriere creates a sense of expectancy and then satisfies it with delightfully engaging explanations – and physics becomes enchanting. Intended for all, for the pleasure of reading, for understanding, and for learning.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Our need to discover and explore

There is an interesting way of looking at the role of public libraries. Its basis may be found in a new essay by Guy Scarpetta published in the June 2005 issue of Le Monde diplomatique. The essay looks at the ideas of the novelist Milan Kundera.

For Kundera, the novel, like all art, involves a continuous creative process and incessant discovery. There are still novelists who share an insatiable need to explore and discover.

Far from promoting "truths", the intention of the novelist is to insert doubts, ambiguities, questions and paradoxes.

Some of the most important novels of the 21st century, Guy Scarpetta tells us, are meant to rip away the curtain to reveal the fallacies of great debates; he includes Crab by Günter Grass, Disgrace by JM Coetzee, The Human Stain by Philip Roth, and The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa.

The novel implies a wisdom, an understanding, that demystifies the world.

This role is now threatened.

Kundera's great merit is to remind us that the novel, when it avoids being branded as merchandise remains an incomparable instrument of personal resistance to a world where, as he writes, "commercial stupidity has replaced ideological stupidity".

The role of the library is to help the common man "in his need to explore and discover." Everyday our job in the library (through our book stock) must be (according to this essay) to "reveal new aspects of the human condition - those zones of incertitude, indecision and paradox."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Would you like to learn more about Galway's History?

The Galway Reader is a web site consisting of articles on Galway's history.

The original Galway Reader was a journal published by Galway County Libraries between 1948 and 1954. It ran to just 4 volumes with 4 issues per volume. It was edited by the County Librarian Samuel J. Maguire. It is now available online.

What Samuel J. Maguire did was to write a series of excellent articles about the history of Galway based on the resources in the local studies collection. Many of these are short articles and are highly readable and very accessible. What Samuel J. Maguire did, in fact, was to take some of the most interesting items from the collection, edit them, synopsise them, and distribute them to the public through the Galway Reader.

Some examples of the articles are:

Tuam in Olden Days
A Galway Election
Old Dunmore
Farming in County Galway before the Famine

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New DNB now in Galway City Library

The most recent addition to the Reference Section of Galway City Library is the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. This is an illustrated collection of more than 50,000 specially written biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of the history of Britain and Ireland, from the fourth century BC to the year 2001. Its sixty volumes contains 62 million words, 10,000 contributors 10,000 images. The complete set takes up 12 feet of shelf space.

The DNB is one of the most famous books in English. The new Oxford DNB will take its place as a modern classic. In book form it will remain a permanent archive, impervious to technical change, and will be seen as a historical landmark for the next hundred years.

While the online edition makes light of searching and navigation, many readers still prefer to read longer articles in a printed book, especially when the biographies have the literary quality that has always been a hallmark of the DNB.

Peadar O'Dowd, Local Historian at Oranmore Library

Peadar O’Dowd speaking about the History of Oranmore on Thursday 9th March, in Oranmore Library, as part of the recent 'Readiscover Library Week'

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Books open new possibilities: they enlighten, engross, testify, and document


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

Jordan: A Whole New World, by Katie Price, Century
Katie Price is Jordan, one of the UK's top celebrities. She is a glamour model, TV presenter, mother and wife. She currently lives in Sussex with her husband Peter Andre and her two sons.Wendy Holden (Daily Mail) says that here Jordan is shown in an "unexpected and moving light…riveting and very funny… a full on passionate love story…scarily readable."

Hecate, by Pierre Jean Jouve, Marlboro Press
Traces the carnal and emotional liaisons of Catherine Crachat, a Parisian actress. When she spies Pierre Indemini posing for a neighbourhood painter, she falls in love with the soulful young man and commences an ethereal affair with him. Obsession and sacredness blend in the hauntingly beautiful novels of Pierre Jean Jouve,

The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750, by Joseph Kerman, University of California Press
A rich and constantly surprising study of Bach's fugues, written with warmth and love, and an exhilarating sense of joy, illuminating what makes them particularly beautiful, powerful, and moving. These witty, insightful pieces are beautifully augmented by a CD with new performances made specially for this volume.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

‘Reminders’ An exhibition of Oil Painting by Máirín Lannin

Máirín Lannin's first solo exhibition entitled ‘Reminders’ officially opened in Galway City Library on March 9th and continues until March 25th.

Máirín’s work is in oil on canvas and features a range of vibrant close-ups of tulips and irises. Máirín describes her inspiration for the paintings in the exhibition in the following terms:

“In the past, tulips have inspired men to do great and foolish things. Today we are still susceptible to their charms. Tulips and irises are dramatic and glamorous flowers often with complex blooms producing an extraordinary array of colours and patterns.”

While studying art at the GMIT, a project involving colour, structure and form guided Máirín towards tulips - a natural choice for her given that she is a keen gardener and has been a frequent visitor to the Dutch tulip gardens in Keukenhof.
Máirín Lannin is living in Corcullen, co. Galway.

Visitors to the exhibition may wish to browse among the following two books which will be available for reference throughout the exhibition:
Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused, by the historian Mike Dash
Tulip: The Story of the Flower That Has Made Men Mad, by Anna Pavord

Readiscover Library Week Events

Local Historian and Writer, Peadar O’Dowd speaking on the History of Galway City at Westside Library

John Arden, celebrated author and playwrite and resident of Galway for many years, speaking to the Oranmore Library Book Group about his work on Wednesday 8th March

Creative Soul in Tuam Library

A Young Writers Group, who are organised by Bernadette McQuaid Murphy under the name Creative Soul, meet in the library in Tuam on a regular basis. The meetings include creative writing workshops, with guest writers and poets attending from time to time. Any child aged between 10 and 14 years interested in creative writing is welcome to attend.
The next meeting of the group is due to be held in the library on Tuesday March 28th and will run from 6.30pm until 7.45pm.
Our photograph shows members of the Creative Soul writing group celebrating the launch of their first publication entitled Red Hot Writers with the writer Colette Nic Aodha and Bernadette McQuaid Murphy.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Book comes first

Here is a wonderful contemporary tribute to the culture of the book. It is part of the acceptance speech given by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry after receiving their Oscar for Writing (Adapted Screenplay) for Brokeback Mountain during the Academy Awards recently:

Diana: Thank you to the Academy. The duty of art is to send light into the darkness of men's hearts. Thank you Annie Proulx, she's right over there, for trusting us with your brilliant short story. Thank you to Ang Lee, and our brilliant cast for breathing life into our words. Thank you to Universal, Focus Features, Bill Pohlad, Michael Costigan, my dear friend. My good friend Mark Poirier, for giving me The New Yorker that had that short story in it. And thank you to my writing partner, Larry. And thank you for giving him this award as well.

Larry: …..finally I'm going to thank all the booksellers of the world. Remember, Brokeback Mountain was a book before it was a movie. From the humblest paperback exchange to the masters of the great bookshops of the world. All are contributors to the survival of the culture of the book. A wonderful culture, which we mustn't lose. Thank you.

Maria Baranda, 'If we have lost our oldest tales'

Lorna Shaughnessy's translation of a long poem by contemporary Mexican poet Maria Baranda, 'If we have lost our oldest tales', will be launched in
Galway City Library on Monday 20th March at 6pm.
The cover design is by Aoife Casby.

Lorna will also be reading at Cuirt Festival/Over The Edge showcase reading
in the Town Hall Theatre at 11:30am on Thursday, April 27th 2006.

Mexico city, 1962 • María Baranda is author of six books of poems, including Eljardín de los encantamientos, Fábula de los perdidos, Los memoriosos, Moradas imposibles, which received the 1998 Villa de Madrid Prize in Spain, and Nadie, los ojos. She lives in Cuernavaca with her husband, fiction and short-story writer FranciscoHinojosa, and her two daughters.

Lorna Shaughnessy was born in Belfast and lives in Moycullen, Co Galway. Her poems have appeared in various Irish literary journals, anthologies, and in a pamphlet published by Lapwing Press, “Song of the Forgotten Shulamite” (June 2005). She was shortlisted for the Galway Firewords Poetry award in 2004 and her translations of two collections of contemporary Mexican poetry will be published by Arlen House in December 2005 and April 2006

Friday, March 03, 2006

What is an individual? Wherein does his identity reside? All novels seek to answer these questions. Milan Kundera

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

The Dream Life of Sukanov, by Olga Grushin
Two extraordinary things: this book exudes the wisdom of maturity in a first novel, and the young, Russian-born author writes beautifully-in English! Recounts the life of an art critic who enjoys all the perks of a pre-Gorbachev existence, but eventually is forced to confront the loss of his beloved wife, his two children, his editorship, in a word, his identity. An absorbing chronicle of life at the end of the Soviet era. Simply stunning. (Library Journal)

The Tango Singer, by Tomás Eloy Martínez
In September of 2001, a foreign student arrives at Buenos Aires in search of a mythological singer who has given back to the tango its purity and original wild abandon. What he finds is something much more precious: a city that is to him divulging its last and future secrets with an intensity, a beauty and a chaos. In a dazzling way, this novel summarizes the spirit of the tango, and simultaneously reveals Buenos Aires where the reality, like a labyrinth, is unfolded in infinite plots.

Cut Time: An Education at the Fights, by Carlo Rotella
Maybe it's our eternal search for meaning. Or maybe it's just our attempt to rationalize endless hours spent in front of the tube watching people run, jump, or pound on one another. Whatever the reason, many people seem compelled to portray sports as a metaphor for life. Rotella's conversations with Larry Holmes offer insight into a man who might have been considered one of the all-time greats had he not followed in the considerable wake of Muhammad Ali. (Library Journal)

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

Construction of new Library in Dunmore set to begin this year

Since the early 1970s the branch library in Dunmore was housed in a pre-fabricated building. This building was demolished in the year 2000, and since then the library service has been provided from a rented space.

A new library building is now to be provided in Dunmore. Proposals for the new Dunmore Library project received part 8 planning approval in the summer of 2005. Tender documents are now being prepared and construction of the library is due to begin this summer.

The architect for the project is Declan Molloy of Galway County Council.

The site located on High Street, on the approach to the Square, was previously occupied by the pre-fabricated building.

The architect, Declan Molloy, says that “the library will include an internal courtyard/garden which will provide an important sense of place, privacy, screening and will be a source of passive solar gain which will be utilised by the formal massing of the libraries various functions.”

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Readiscover Library Week 2nd -- 10th March 2006

Here are some of the events happening throughout County Galway during the 'Readiscover Library Week' as usual, everyone is welcome... Find your local library here

Westside Library
Local Historian and Writer, Peadar O’Dowd will talk on the History of Galway City on Tuesday 7th March @ 7.30

Oranmore Library
John Arden, celebrated author and playwrite and resident of Galway for many years, will talk to the Library Book Group about his work on Wednesday 8th March @11.30 am.
Peadar O’Dowd will talk on the History of Oranmore Thursday 9th March @ 8pm

Headford Library
Peadar O’Dowd will talk on the History of Headford Thurs 2nd March @ 8pm
Learn about Birds in your Garden’ Marianne ten Cate – Birdwatch Ireland.
Wed 8th March @ 8pm

Portumna Library
Poet, Rita Kelly will read from her work in Portumna Library on Friday 10th March @ 8pm

Inishbofin Library
Local Gardening Expert, Irene Coyne, will talk about ‘Spring in the Garden’ on Thursday 9th March @ 11am. Display of Gardening Books to accompany talk.

Galway City Library
Thurs 2nd of MarchStorytime for Children to celebrate World Book Day
Monday 6th- Age Action Reading Group will celebrate by reading their favourite poem of piece of writing
Thurs 9th- Launch of ‘Reminders’ Exhibition of Oil Paintings by Mairin Lannin
Fri 10th – Visit by An Grianach School, Renmore ( Tour of Library and Storytelling)
Mon 13 and Thurs 16thIrish Drama Workshops for Children with Priscilla Nic Con Iomaire
Tues 14th Poetry workshop with Priscilla Nic Con Iomaire
‘Presence of mind’ by local author Dolores Stewart will be launched at 6pm with Readings in Irish and English

Roundstone Library
Local Author Penny Perrick will work with local children to create a book on Friday 10th March @ 3pm.

Athenry Library
Introduction to Organic Gardening and Wildflower Arranging...Wed. 8th @ 8pm

Ballinasloe Library
'Colour Me Beautiful' Consultant Nichol Cannon will give a talk and demonstration on colour analysis, make-up etc...Tues 7th March @ 8pm.
Mary Clancy from NUI Galway will give a lecture on 'Women in History' with special reference to women from the Ballinasloe area...Wed 8th March 8pm

Portumna Library
'Colour me Beautiful' Consultant Nichol Cannon will give a talk and demonstration.
Wed 8th March @ 8pm.

Spiddal Library
Saturday Morning March 4th and March 11th. Creative Art Workshops for Children 5-8yrs and 9-12yrs.Facilitated by Elaine Conneely (Art Teacher) and Ursula Murray (Community Artist Loughrea Library)
Thurs. 2nd March @11am Table Quiz with 6th Class from St Brendan’s Boys N.S.
Fri. 3rd March 11am Table Quiz, Class from Gaelscoil
Tues. 7th March @ 11am Create your own bookmark with Artist Sheila Kelly
Tuesday 6th March @ 8pm. Bookchat; informal book discussion. The evening is about remembering and sharing the joy of reading.

Leabharlann na Ceathrun Rua
Aoine 14 Márta 11.30
Seoladh Beartla Broc Léitheoireachta Phléaráca Teo. Tabharfar suaitheantais, póstaeir agus marcanna leabhair amach. Scéalaíocht leis an gcaractair ‘Beartla Broc’ agus aoi nó údar speisialta le leabhair a léamh nó scéal a insint. Diarmuid de Faoite a sheolfas é.
Sathairn 22 Aibreán 11.00...Scéalaíocht le ‘Bartla Broc’

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Making Valentine Cards in the library

On Wednesday 8th February Carmel Gannon, Branch Librarian, Westside Library with the assistance of Eva Eichhorn, student of librarianship form Leipzig, and Isobel Anderson conducted a Valentine’s Card making workshop in Westside Library.

Seventeen children participated and they then displayed their finished cards in the library for everyone to enjoy. Three winners, John Healy (8), Nicola Feeney (8) and Aoife Barr (9) all from Westside were chosen. Bernie Kelly, Executive Librarian presented the prizes on Valentine’s Day on Tuesday February 14.

New Library under construction at Kilronan.

Comhar Chumann Inis Mór are providing a new community and enterprise building at Kilronan with assistance from Udarás na Gaeltachta. It has been agreed that this building will include space for a new public library for Inis Mór. Construction of this building commenced in 2005, and the new library in Kilronan is expected to open in June.

Our librarian on Inis Mór is Nóirin Ui Ghoill. The library currently operates from a space provided by the Comhar Chumann in the Heritage Centre, Kilronan.

The architect for the project is Aonghus McCann

The Letterfrack Library

Galway County Library cooperates with Connemara West and the Furniture College in the provision of public library facilities in Letterfrack. The Furniture College in Letterfrack in partnership with the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, provides degrees, diplomas and certificates in Furniture Design, Technology, and in Furniture Manufacture.

A major invesment by the Irish Government in the Furniture College in the 1990’s has led to over €6.5 million being spent on new campus buildings and the refurbishment of older buildings. As part of this project a new library of 3,000 square feet was provided.

Galway County Library and Connemara West worked together to develop this new library facility as a combined academic and public library. This new library serves both the students of the college and the public who live in the Letterfrack, Connemara area. Both the students and the local population have access to all the services and materials provided by the library.

The combined library houses the academic library books and public library books together. The intention is to provide a seamless service to all users.

Our Branch Librarian in Letterfrack is Noirín Hennessy.

Captions for photographs:
1) Young members of Letterfrack Library receiving their Reading Voyage certificates in September 2005. Also included are, left to right, Andreas Klinger, student of librarianship from Cologne, Noirín Hennessy, Branch Librarian, Letterfrack and Eva Eichhorn, student of librarianship from Leipzig.
2) A detail of the combined academic/public library in Letterfrack.