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.