Saturday, March 29, 2008

Library Ireland Week in Tuam Public Library

Storyteller Matthew Noone entertaining local children. His style of telling uses African drums, Indian lutes and the odd touch of rockin guitar which creates a rich sensory experience of the myths and folk tales he weaves. His shows always incorporate audience participation and involve a great deal of humorous improvisation.

"Revolting Rhymes" drama workshops with Midi Corcoran, from "Earwig" . Midi brought along costumes and make up and the children dramatised some of the stories from ‘Revolting Rhymes’.

Galway based artist Jim Kavanagh faciltating a workshop for adults with learning difficulties. A group of ten people from Ability West painted pictures for their own homes, which will be framed and exhibited.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Writing Workshop in Ballybane Library

A Bilingual Creative Writing Workshop with Colette Nic Aodha and Michael O’Loughlin will take place in Ballybane Public Library on 28th of March 2008 from11am to 1pm.

Béidh Ceardlann Dhátheangach Scríobhneoireachta Cruthaith le Colette NicAodha agus Michael O’Loughlin Ar an 28 Márta 2008 ó 11.00r.n. go dtí 1.00i.n.

Colette Nic Aodha, a writer in both Irish and English, her poetry collections are Baill Seirce (Baile Átha Cliath, Coiscéim, 1998); Faoi Chrann Cnó Capaill (Coiscéim, 2000); Gallúnach-Ar-Rópa (Coiscéim, 2003); Sundial (Galway, Arlen House, 2005/New York, Syracuse University Press, 2006); and Between Curses/Baine Géar (Arlen House, 2007). Her short stories are collected as Ádh Mór (Coiscéim, 2004). Her poetry has been anthologised in such publications as Field Day, IV and V and in The White Page / An Bhileog Bhán: twentieth century Irish women poets (Galway, Salmon Poetry, 1999), edited by Joan McBreen. She lives in Galway.

Michael O’Loughlin has published four collections of poetry,most recently Another Nation: New and Selected Poems (New Island/Arc). In addition he has written essays and criticism, including After Kavanagh: Kavanagh and The Discourse of Contemporary Irish Poetry (1987), and I Do Not Know What This Country Is Called: Irish Writing In The European Context ( He has also published many translations from Spanish, French and Dutch especially Hidden Weddings: Selected Poems of Gerrit Achterberg, which was a Poetry Ireland Choice.
He also writes for the screen, and has written screenplays for three international feature films, the most recent of which is Snapshots (2002). He is currently Galway City Council's Writer in Residence

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke - 'He never grew up; but he never stopped growing.'

Science fiction writer, inventor and futurist Arthur C. Clarke has died. He wrote more than 100 sci-fi books, including "2001: A Space Odyssey." He is credited with coming up with the idea for the communications satellite and predicting space travel before rockets were even test fired.

Mr. Clarke was well aware of the importance of his role as science spokesman to the general population: "Most technological achievements were preceded by people writing and imagining them," he noted. "I’m sure we would not have had men on the Moon," he added, if it had not been for H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. "I’m rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books."
But the formative event of his childhood was his discovery, at age 13 — the year his father died — of a copy of "Astounding Stories of Super-Science," then the leading American science fiction magazine. He found its mix of boyish adventure and far-out (sometimes bogus) science intoxicating.

Among his legacies are Clarke’s Three Laws, provocative observations on science, science fiction and society that were published in his "Profiles of the Future" (1962):
  • "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
  • "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."
  • "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Along with Verne and Wells, Clarke said his greatest influences as a writer were Lord Dunsany, a British fantasist noted for his lyrical, if sometimes overblown, prose; Otto Stapledon, a British philosopher who wrote vast speculative narratives that projected human evolution to the furthest reaches of space and time; and Herman Melville’s "Moby-Dick."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Books and Reading initiative in Woodford Library

The public library in Woodford has just reopened its doors in the new Credit Union building in the town. In late 2004, the Naomh Brendain Credit Union, Loughrea bought the old Bank of Ireland premises in Woodford and undertook a splendid refurbishment at a cost of over €100,000.
The decision of the Loughrea Credit Union to share its building with the library service is a fine example of Credit Union operating principles in action, principles which are based on "the concept of human development, expressed through people working together to achieve a better life for themselves and their children."

And to inaugurate the service in its new location, the County Library has placed on the shelves of the Woodford Library, a set of beautifully bound hardcover books with decorative endpapers, silk ribbon markers, and European-style half-round spines. This selection of 100 of the bestselling titles from the Everyman Series, provides in Woodford an enduring hardcover library of classic and contemporary works from literature to history to philosophy.
And they are in keeping with the original 1906 Everyman belief of publishing books which would appeal to "to every kind of reader: the worker, the student, the cultured man, the child, the man and the woman."

Included in the collection in Woodford are:
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky of which Orhan Pamuk a recent Nobel prize winner has written: 'I have a vivid memory of reading The Brothers Karamazov at the age of eighteen, alone in my room, in a house which looked out over the Bosphorous....I felt as if its most shocking revelations were thoughts I'd entertained myself. I felt as if Dostoyevsky were whispering arcane things about life and humanity, things that no one knew, for my ears only: I felt like saying, I am reading a book that shocks me deeply and will change my entire life.'

And there is Madame Bovary. "What was her name, her home, her life, her past?" wonders Frédéric Moreau, in Flaubert's great novel, on seeing Madame Arnoux for the first time. It still astonishes. If one were to ask, "World, which is the most perfect novel ever written?, the world would immediately answer: Madame Bovary.' Clive James tells us: 'The first thing to say about Madame Bovary is that it's a terrific story. As a story, Madame Bovary is fit for worship'. The critic Michael Dirda even went so far as to say that "not to know such a masterpiece is to live a diminished life."
Also included is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, the man who ruled the Roman Empire at its height, and knew the secret of how to live the good life amid trying and often catastrophic circumstances. This important piece of ancient literature is as relevant today as it was in the second century. It speaks to the soul of anyone who has ever faced adversity or believed in a better day.

And that is just three of the books. Galway’s writer-in residence, the poet Michael O’Loughlin, will be in Woodford Library on Thursday night April 10th at 8.00pm when he will introduce and talk about some of the very interesting books in this Everyman collection.
Admission is free, and we would like as many people as possible to participate. However, as the library space in Woodford is small, admission will need to be notified to us in advance. You may do this by emailing or by telephoning 091-562471, or by leaving your name into Woodford Library.
In the course of a recent RTÉ radio documentary the Ballinasloe born writer Desmond Hogan said "then I started writing little stories. The library in Ballinasloe had Katherine Anne Porter, had Katherine Mansfield, had Scott Fitzgerald, had Willa Cather. Those writers, that quartet of writers, have stayed with me from Ballinasloe library all my life. They have never diminished. They’ve been great companions."
And he suggested that the experience of the library and conversations about books and writers on benches by the river and by the little canals in Ballinasloe gave "a real sense of the university of the town." That was a real education," he said. "What came afterwards was not education."
Perhaps the Everyman collection of books might provide readers who use the Woodford Library with the same experience, giving some sense of "the university of the town," and providing an opportunity for "real education."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

“Carrying the book around with me that summer”

Steve Jobs of Apple Computers writing in a New York Times Blog on January 15th about a new electronic reading gadget said that: "It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year."

Well, what is wrong with reading one book a year, one may ask? It depends on the book, does it not? In Other Colours: Essays and a Story, the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk recalls that a few years ago he reread Stendhal’s Charterhouse of Parma. "After finishing certain pages of this wondrous book," he said, "my eyes would pull back from the old volume in my hand to gaze at its yellowing pages from afar. As I was carrying the book around with me that summer, I asked myself many times why it was such a pleasure just to know the book was at my side."
And in the course of a very fine essay, Pamuk goes on to say that in reading the book he "experienced the joy of youth, the will to live, the power of hope, the fact of death, and love, and solitude."
And he concludes: "as in novels, there is in life a genuine wish, an impulse, a race towards happiness. But there is more than that. A person wishes to reflect on that desire, that impulse, and a good novel (like The Charterhouse of Parma) is well suited to this purpose. In the end a wondrous novel becomes an integral part of our lives and the world around us, bringing us closer to the meaning of life…"
It seems that it took Pamuk a whole summer, three months, to read The Charterhouse of Parma. And so it should.
Reading Pamuk’s ideas on reading go the heart if what librarianship is all about.

John Berry writing in Library Journal this month writes about the focus of librarianshiop today being "aimed at making sure everyone who comes in goes out with ‘product’ (books, CDs, DVDs, or downloads)." And he writes: "What the patron takes home is of as little concern to the storekeeper librarian as it is to the supermarket manager." And he continues: "The success of the library enterprise is measured in the number of products collected by patrons, now called ‘customers.’ It is no longer measured in the usefulness or impact of the service on the quality of life in the community served."
And he comments that he is surprised that so few leaders of librarianship are raising their voices in alarm at what is going on.

Jean-Francois Manier, the French poet and philosopher, is also concerned about such matters. And he is particularly concerned about how such matters are viewed in the kind of world we live in today.
"Confronted with the risk of having only ‘fast food’ literature left to enjoy," he said, "I feel an urgency to resist the growing powers of the entrepreneurs of culture."
He continued: "The book is such an inordinate life stake that it requires criteria of value other than the rate of its turnover."

As John Berry points out: it is the quality of the book collection, and how we assemble such a collection, which is of vital importance.

Just to go back to Pamuk again, he writes: "I have a vivid memory of reading The Brothers Karamazov at the age of eighteen, alone in my room, in a house which looked out over the Bosphorous....I felt as if its most shocking revelations were thoughts I'd entertained myself. I felt as if Dostoyevsky were whispering arcane things about life and humanity, things that no one knew, for my ears only: I felt like saying, I am reading a book that shocks me deeply and will change my entire life."

One need have no doubt that reading a book such as The Charterhouse of Parma or The Brothers Karamazov does what good books have always done; it enlarges the world of emotional and ethical options. When you are finished reading such a novel, you are stronger than when you started, though it may have made you feel pained or shocked. "The great value of such a novel is that it provides an arena for mustering emotion, intellect and imagination."

As the Polish writer Jerzy Kosinsky reminds us, "to read a novel is to practice for real life."

Perhaps the great value of the public library space is that it provides an arena for mustering emotion, intellect and imagination. It is a space which enlarges the world of emotional and ethical options.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Galway City Events for Library Ireland Week

Library Ireland Week continues with the following events happening around Galway City:

Galway City Library

Wed 5th March 1.10 pm: Kevin Higgins, Poet and winner of the 2003 Cuirt Festival Grand Slam will read from his collection of poems The Boy With No Face. Thurs 6th March 6.30 – 7.30: Anne Mc Keon, Author and Resident Gardener on the Keith Finnegan Show.
Fri 7th March1—2pm: "Relax with Watercolour " Artist, Harry Feeney of TG4 Fame.

Westside Library
3rd – 9th March: Children’s Gardening Art Exhibition
Tuesday 4th March 6.30 -7.30 Anne Mc Keon, Author and Resident Gardener on the Keith Finnegan Show.
Wednesday 5th March 3.30 – 4.30: Children’s Gardening with Anne McKeon

Oranmore Library
Wednesday 5th March 6.30 – 7.30: Cait Curran, Organic Vegetable Grower and Editor of Organic Matters
Thursday 6th 6.30 -7.30 Artist Harry Feeney of TG4 fame "Relax with Watercolour"

Ballybane Library
Thurs 6th March 11am – 12am: Cait Curran, Organic Vegetable Grower and Editor of "Organic Matters"
Friday 7th March 10.30 – 11.30: Artist Harry Feeney of TG4 Fame "Relax with Watercolour"

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Library Ireland Week - More Events

Here are further events taking place during Library Ireland Week in County Galway Libraries

Clifden Library
Monday 3rd March for week – Display of local craftwork and Exhibition of photographs and postcards of Clifden
Friday 6th 12pm: "Active Wellness; wellbeing and nutrition for everyone" a talk by Ms Eileen O’Connor.

Headford Library
Wed 5th March: " O’Donovan’s Placenames – Headford area" a talk by Ms Anne Ridge, BA, MA
Wed 12th March: Local gardener Kay Guy will give a talk on Springtime in the Garden. She will also judge the Chidren’s Art Competition and prizes will be presented.

Gort Library
Mon 3rd: for week-- Exhibition of old photographs of Gort
Sat 29th March: The renowned Storyteller Eddie Lenihan will perform for the Gort Literary Festival organized by the Western Writers Centre.

Loughrea Library
Mon 3rd to 18th March: Exhibition "Mo Leabhar" by Gaelscoil Riabach
Tues 11th: Gaeilge Locha Riach will host a Lecture on Patsy Tuohy—Piper by Pat Mitchell
Thurs 13th: Scealaíocht le Seamus MacAnnaidh do Gaelscoil Riabhach.

Athenry Library
Wed 5th: 'Colour me Beautiful', Consultant Nichol Cannon will give a talk and demonstration