Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harry Potter Week in Galway

Wizards, muggles, half-breeds and squibs, the magic within the Harry Potter books was celebrated during a week long event running up to the launch of the final Harry Potter book on Friday night, 21st July.
Workshops, games and story telling, all conducted by magical volunteers and organised by Pilar Alderete from the Spanish Department of NUIG, and Fionnuala Gallagher the NUIG Arts Officer, were held throughout the week in Galway City Library, Westside Library, Ballybane Library, Oranmore Library and in the University.

Children, teenagers and adults all responded with enthusiasm from the opening event at Ceannt Railway station (magically changed to Platform 9 and 3/4 for the day) right up to publication day.

On Friday morning a group of adults, teenagers and children met at the Railway Station and proceeded to City Library (Gringotts) via Diagon Alley (Shop Street). On arrival at Gringotts (the City Library) a sorting ceremony was performed (manually, as the Sorting Hat was unavailable) by means of a questionnaire to be completed. Once all were sorted to their respective houses a discussion was started on the first book in the series and a quiz was held. The depth of knowledge of all involved was tested as questions were posed on spells and potions and such like!
On Saturday and Sunday events were held in NUIG and involved the books The Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Monday everyone was back in the Library in Westside for art workshops and discussions on The Goblet of Fire
On Tuesday everyone headed to Ballybane Library to meet with the Ministry of Magic and a wonderful storytelling session by Claire Murphy on how to deal with giants, fairies, ogres and their likes should one meet with them. It was a magical morning in the library, with all enthralled by Claire’s wonderful voice and sweeping gestures. A discussion and quiz followed on the book The Order of the Phoenix
On Wednesday it was back to NUIG for a treasure hunt and discussion on The Half Blood Prince.
On Thursday the Harry Potter Week moved on to Oranmore Library with a workshop on Defense against the Dark Arts. This was a yoga workshop conducted by an Indian girl involving lots of concentration and the use of wands.
For the grand finale on Friday the event moved to Westside Library with The Big Harry Potter quiz. 50 easy and not so easy questions were posed. After much deliberation and lively discussion as to the right answers by children and parents an eventual winning team was announced and the answers to the questions were revealed.

Galway County Library want to say that it was a great was a pleasure to work with Fionnuala Gallagher, the Arts Officer in NUIG, and Pilar Alderete, a teacher in the Spanish Department in NUIG, who was the driving force behind the event. Pilar, who is from Spain, did her MA in Translation Studies choosing the topic of Harry Potter and its translation. She is a keen Harry Potter fan and expert on all aspects of the books.
The idea behind it all was to creatively explore the books and the writings of JK Rowling. While the target audience was 11 to 17 years, we actually had younger and older! We found many Harry Potter fans amongst the parents!
One little girl who attended all events said that the week was like "being at Hogwarts." This comment summed up the experience very well. Galway City Libraries became, together with NUIG, a place akin to Hogwarts School of Wizardry - a place of magic and mystery for a week.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Death of Galway Children’s Author Pat O’Shea

Pat O'Shea, the author of the children's novel The Hounds of the Morrigan, which took 13 years to complete and became a bestseller, has died recently, aged 76. Hailed as a classic by reviewers, the book is still admired by new readers of all ages more than 20 years on.
Telling the story of two children asked by an Irish god to recover a blood-stained pebble before it falls into the clutches of Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war, it draws deeply on Pat's idyllic early years - on long summers in east Galway, on her love of Connemara, and on a rich store of history, myth and folklore absorbed and added to with scholarly care over many years.

Born Pat Shiels in Bohermore, Galway in 1931 and educated at the Presentation and Mercy convents in Galway, she was the fifth and youngest child of an affectionate family. A keen reader, she grew up close to the sea in the unspoilt countryside around Lough Corrib in the West of Ireland. Benefiting from the still existing Irish tradition of story-telling by the fireside, she absorbed the many tales told both by her mother and her Uncle John. Outside the house, there were plenty of other older people, too, with time for children and telling stories that often reached back into ancient mythology.

The inspiration for The Hounds of the Morrigan came from a dream. Starting work on it years later, after making literally thousands of notes, Pat O'Shea welded a comic fantasy onto a scaffolding of Irish mythology at its wildest. In the story two children, Pidge and his younger sister Brigit, are asked by the Irish god Dagda to go on a quest to recover a blood-stained pebble before it falls into the clutches of the Celtic goddess of war Morrigan.
Moving from Galway to the land of Faery, the children encounter a series of talking insects and animals, all of whom back them in their great adventure. Ranged against them are Morrigan's two side-kicks, Breda Fairfoul and Melodie Moonlight, a brace of motorbike-riding witches in command of a terrifying pack of hounds.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Added to Galway City Library Collection

Ecological Design, by Sim Van der Ryn
This book contends that "in many ways, the environmental crisis is a design crisis." It is a consequence of how things are made, buildings are constructed, and landscapes are used. We have used design cleverly in the service of narrowly defined human interests but have neglected its relationship with our fellow creatures. The book explores new ways of designing cities, neighbourhoods, buildings, industry, food systems, and other areas of human activity.

The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream by Peter Calthorpe
Calthorpe sets forth the principles of building good neighbourhoods and communities. He feels that the commons — public spaces that provide communities with convivial gathering and meeting places — have become increasingly displaced by an exaggerated private domain: shopping malls, private clubs, and gated communities. Even the street, our most basic public space, is given over to the car and its accommodation, while our private world becomes more and more isolated behind garage doors and walled compounds.

Design With Nature, by Ian L. McHarg
This book has done much to redefine the fields of landscape architecture, urban and regional planning, and ecological design. Described as a "user's manual for our world," this book offers a practical blueprint for a new, healthier relationship between the built environment and nature. In so doing, it provides scientific, technical, and philosophical foundations for a mature civilization that will replace the polluted, bulldozed, machine-dominated, dehumanized, explosion-threatened world that is even now disintegrating and disappearing before our eyes.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Summer Events in Galway City Libraries

Events in Ballybane Library Children's Week 17 -20 July

Tuesday 17th July, 11.00am: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Storytelling workshop with Claire Murphy. (Ages 8 to 12 years).
12.30pm: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Discussion about the movie and the book. (Ages 8 to 12 years).

Wednesday 18th July, 11.15am-12.00pm: Multicultural Storytelling with acclaimed storyteller Niall de Búrca. (Ages 3-5 years)

Thursday 19th July, 11.30-1.00pm: Jewellery Making Workshop (Ages 8-12 years)
2.30-4.00om: Crafts Workshop (Ages 8-12 years)

Friday 20th July, 11.00-12.00pm: Yoga Workshop with Tatty Bumpkin (Ages 3-5 years)
2.00-3.30pm: Face Painting

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summer Events in Galway City Libraries

Summer events will be taking place in Galway City Libraries during July and August.

Events in Galway City Library, Augustine Street;

Monday 9th July: 2.30-3.30 Storytime for 3 to 7 yearolds. Come along and join the fun listening to a favourite story

Tuesday 10th July : 11.30 12.30 Amazing Animal Craft Session. For 6 year olds and older. Make your own friendly lion!

Wednesday 11th July: 2.30 – 3.30 Picture Mosaics for 5year olds and older. Create your own picture mosaics.

Thursday 12th July: 11.30 – 12.30 Magical Tales with Clare for 7 year olds and older. Wonderful stories interwoven with tales of Galway

Friday 13th July: 11.15 Storytime for 3 to 7 year olds. Guest storyteller Jim Mahoney with ‘Bubba the Cowboy Prince’.

  • Storyhour will take place in the City Library at 11.15 every week during the summer
  • Galway City Library is also running a Photography Competition for 13 year olds or younger. To enter just send your photo of what Old Galway means to you to Augustine Street before the 27th of July. All photos will be exhibited in the library.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Galway County Libraries Summer Reading Challenge

Galway County Libraries are inviting all children to participate in the Summer Reading Challenge and discover the joy and pleasure of reading. The theme this year is "The Big Wild Read", with an emphasis on nature, the environment and conservation.

The Summer Reading Challenge takes place during July and August in all Branch Libraries and Mobile Library. It is free and all children have to do is go along to their local library and get their reading log card. It is not a race or competition, all you have to do is read and enjoy at least six books (more in some Branch Libraries). There are book lists available to help you make your selection. Reading Certificates will be awarded to all children who reach the target of six books.

The Summer Holidays are a great time for children to explore reading for pleasure, also a time to improve reading skills and become super readers. Enjoying a new book is like making a new friend. There are lots of wonderful books to choose from in your local library. There will be all kinds of activities and events associated with "The Big Wild Read". You can also discuss your reading with library staff, who will be there to help and guide you.

Last year over one thousand two hundred certificates were presented to children throughout County Galway. The feedback from parents and teachers was very positive. Reading during the summer helps children retain and improve their reading skills.

We are asking all parents and teachers to support and encourage children to participate in "The Big Wild Read".
For further information contact your
Local Library or Library Headquarters on 091- 562471 or email

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Bibliotherapy initiative at Ballybane Library

Lá Nua, the Day Hospital, in Ballybane, which provides therapies and developmental clinics locally through its team of nurses, doctors and occupational therapists, is situated on the floor just above the Ballybane Library.

Taking their lead from the Book Prescription Scheme in operation in Dublin City Libraries, the Ballybane Library staff are working with the Day Hospital in providing book lists to patients who may have mild or moderate illnesses (such as mild depression, OCD, eating disorders and so on).

If a patient sees a book on the list in which they are interested, then on their way out of the hospital they are encouraged call into the Ballybane Library, borrow the book and take it home with them. In other words, the staff in Ballybane Library are working with local doctors and local health professionals to offer this scheme to those who want to use books to help themselves. The initiative gives people who are attending the Ballybane Day Hospital easy access through their local library to good self-help material to help them through any current difficulties which they may be experiencing.
Medication has an important role in helping people with emotional problems, and is often very effective. However, people can also be helped by reading appropriate ‘self-help’ material. Many self-help books have been shown to be very useful in helping people to overcome a range of psychological problems. The use of books as a means of providing psychological therapy is known as ‘bibliotherapy’.

This bibliotherapy initiative in Ballybane Library has been greeted with great enthusiasm all round, and the number of people availing of the service is growing.