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