Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Man Booker Prize Winner 2016

A book described as a searing satire on race relations in contemporary America has been awarded the Man Booker Prize for 2016. The Sellout by Paul Beatty is narrated by African-American ‘Bonbon’, a resident of the run-down town of Dickens in Los Angeles County, which has been removed from the map to save California from embarrassment. Bonbon is being tried in the Supreme Court for attempting to reinstitute slavery and segregation in the local high school as means of bringing about civic order.

Amanda Foreman, who chaired this year’s judging panel, called it a “novel for our times”, particularly in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. She said ‘Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl’.

The Sellout beat five other novels: the psychological thriller Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, a book about revolutionary China Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, All That Man Is by David Szalay, the Scottish crime thriller His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet and the coming-of-age psychodrama Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (UK).

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner receives a further £50,000. On winning the Man Booker Prize, an author can expect international recognition, plus a dramatic increase in book sales.

Volunteering at Clare Museum – Case Study 2

In a previous case study we outlined the role that volunteer Karen Dunn has played at the museum and how her skill set has opened up new options in support of our exhibitions. This case study examines how the museum’s educational activities for primary schools has been developed by one of our volunteers.

Caitriona O’Sullivan joined the museum as a volunteer in January 2016 and came with a background in both primary school education and as an experienced field archaeologist. Caitriona initially volunteered to fulfil a research role at the museum, but following the departure of a staff member shortly before she started, Caitriona was offered the opportunity to develop curriculum based museum workshops for schools.

In the past Clare Museum’s educational activities for primary schools had centred around quizzes based on images of artefacts on our website and tours of the Riches of Clare exhibition. While use of the website in this way was quite innovative – it provided remote access to the museum collection – follow up school tours were of limited educational value as they failed to make the most of our unique selling point which is of course our collection of authentic objects.

A new approach was needed which would address this situation, one that would take the opportunity presented by a curriculum that encourages schools to utilize resources in the local community. Following consultation with the Clare Education Centre, the idea of curriculum-based workshops was born. Caitriona took up the challenge of researching and developing the programme to improve the museum as an educational resource to local schools. Her first workshop, entitled ‘Prehistoric Ireland’, has been developed to support teachers of 5th and 6th classes in the delivery of the curriculum strand ‘Early people and ancient societies’. This workshop focuses on the museum’s collection of prehistoric artefacts to teach children about the lives of Stone Age and Bronze Age people in Clare, as well as giving the children the opportunity to handle some of the more durable objects in the collection such as stone axes and quern stones.

Caitriona drew on her own field experience and utilises excavated material from Roughan Hill, a Neolithic farmstead and items from the burials of the same period at Poulawack, Parknabinnia and Poulnabrone which are all on display in the Riches of Clare exhibition. The workshop has been developed with an emphasis on pupil engagement and interactivity and Caitriona has also helped the children to develop an understanding of the work of the museum and an appreciation of its value to the community. It has been promoted to local primary schools through the Clare Education Centre and has proven very popular. The workshop is conducted on the gallery floor surrounded by the objects associated with early people and ancient societies.

Piloted to local schools in the Spring of 2016, feedback from teachers has been very positive. Teachers appreciate the value of enabling the children to experience authentic archaeological objects at first hand and have commented that the experience really brings the past to life for the students in a way that wouldn’t be possible in the classroom. Having a trained teacher and experienced archaeologist to deliver the workshop is appreciated by teachers, and has only been possible through the engagement of a volunteer. For the museum, Caitriona has provided the ability to achieve one of its strategic goals – the provision of workshops that are supportive of the school curriculum.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Children's Book Festival 2016 at Clare County Library

'There's So Much in a Book!

That’s the message from libraries across the country this October when the annual Children’s Book Festival gets under way. Clare County Library is hosting close on sixty events scattered throughout its branch network.

Visiting authors include Alan Nolan who’s known the length and breadth of the country for his Cartoon Capers workshops and for his very popular books for children including the Murder Can Be Fatal mysteries series. Alan’s more recent titles for children, Fintan’s Fifteen and Conor’s Caveman were published in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

E. R. Murray is a writer, reader, lover of adventures and all things outdoors will join us also for CBF 2016. She is the author of The Book of Learning (Nine Lives Trilogy Book 1) and her first young adult novel Caramel Hearts (Alma Books) is coming out very shortly. In her workshops she will make stories come alive in her Magical World of Senses & Storytelling workshops. There will be games and experiments included in Elizabeth’s talks and she will also answer questions about what it’s like to be a writer.

Alan Early returns to Clare’s libraries this October. Alan is the critically acclaimed author of the Father of Lies Chronicles (Mercier Press) including Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent, Arthur Quinn and the Fenris Wolf and Arthur Quinn and Hell’s Keeper. His events for schoolchildren are always engaging, interactive, and varied. In his new workshop, THOR BLIMEY! The Secrets of the Vikings and their Gods, children are invited to take part in the oldest game show in history – Who Wants to be a Viking God? They will learn all the secrets of the Vikings; how they lived, what they believed in, even how they kept themselves clean. Alan’s audiences will make up their own stories as he answers as many questions as they can ask at the end of this fun, interactive event.

Junior classes are guaranteed to thoroughly enjoy debut author Etain McCooey’s presentations including lots of chat, music and song based on her children’s book, Deefer’s Day Out. Illustrated by Alison O’Brien, the self-published book tells the story of Deefer the adventurous border collie puppy and her travels through a snowy countryside.

Other events for younger children include visits by first time guests for CBF in County Clare. Sarah Murphy, BA, H. Dip in Ed. loves to write children’s stories and is also a self-taught artist. She has worked for many years as a teacher at both secondary and primary level. Her workshops will be fun and interactive and are guaranteed to fire up, cultivate and give free reign to children’s imaginations.

Author Valerie Sheehan has written a series of stories for very young children featuring Tony the Turtle. These she describes as “short social stories to help families with children who see and feel the world a little differently.” In her workshops in Clare’s library branches Valerie will present circle time activity where, sitting on the floor everyone can interact with the story, ask questions and use a loveable puppet to bring Tony in and out of his shell while following the story. Valerie’s books have been showcased by Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Toy Show.

Clare County Library are also delighted to welcome the O’Brien Press published author, Gillian Perdue to four branches on the 21st and 22nd of October. Gillian worked as a primary school teacher for many years and this experience both informs and inspires many of her stories for children. Her first novel, Adam’s Starling, won the Eilis Dillon Memorial Award for that year (2002), and the Evening Herald hailed it as a book that ‘belongs on the shelf of any home with school-going children.’ Subsequently her Conor Stories in the O’Brien Press Panda Series for younger children were published - Conor’s Cowboy Suit (Panda 23), Conor’s Concert (Panda 25) and Conor’s Canvas (Panda 35). Gillian is also a dance teacher (ballet and jazz) and she brings this expertise to all her school and library visits, combining them with dance and drama workshops. Gillian encourages even the youngest or most reluctant children to engage with the characters in her stories, to get involved in the action and to bring the stories to life.

Children’s Book Festival was an ideal opportunity to join in the 1916 commemorative events and who better than author Brian Gallagher to bring a sense of the Easter Rising to children, through his novel Friend or Foe (O’Brien Press, 2015). Brian’s books have been hugely popular with schools, and have been chosen for many “One Book One Community” projects. In his visits to Clare libraries, Brian will reveal the nuts and bolts of how a historical novel is put together, using Friend or Foe, as a reference point to explore inspiration, research, plotting, and characterization.

Another 1916 commemorative event that needs little introduction is Irish History Live’s 1916 show. The inimitable Michael Moylan will be here with his display of weapons, ammunition, costumes and an impressive volume of information for four shows that are guaranteed to be presented with fun and laughter but will impress upon his young audiences the story of the Rising. During the hour-long show children will become Irish volunteers! join the Irish Citizen’s Army or the I.R.B.! and discover how our country became a nation.

Libraries are proud to present another event with an historical theme coming to us courtesy of Brid O’Sullivan, Learning and Outreach Department, National Library of Ireland. In the Ancient Art of Heraldry, Children’s Coat of Arms Workshop, classes will learn about the ancient art of heraldry and look at the ways coats of arms are used today. They can design their own imagined coat of arms at this fun workshop! Heraldry had its birth on the battlefields of Medieval Europe. This workshop has been specially developed for a primary school audience. Specifically, it explores themes covered by the SPHE syllabus for 5th and 6th class, including: Myself, Myself and My Family, My Friends and Other People and Developing Citizenship. An accompanying exhibition entitled Hosting Heraldry: Coats of Arms Uncovered consisting of eight banner stands and a discovery box containing hands-on learning materials and activities will be available for viewing at participating libraries. The exhibition was inspired by the National Library’s unique collection of genealogical manuscripts and explores the related themes of identity and citizenship.

Illustration and drawing workshops come courtesy of Alan Shoosmith and Aidan Courtney who will both focus on the books of Roald Dahl celebrating the famous author who would have been 100 years old on the 13th of September this year. Children and teachers are requested to attend in Roald Dahl fancy dress and library staff are very much looking forward to seeing the 2016 representations of Charlie Bucket, Veruca Salt, Harry Wormwood or Agatha Trunchbull from schools all over County Clare. In Kilrush and Kilkee libraries Alan Shoosmiths’s art workshops will be followed by helpings of Roald Dahl style delumptious delights; Liquid Chocolate Mixed By Waterfall, Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight Sauce or Fizzy Lifting Drinks are all possibilities, compliments of Marie Clohessy who is in charge of the menu!

Declan Holmes of Science Ireland will have children participate in activities and demonstrations, launching rockets, playing songs and making waves in Ennistymon, Miltown Malbay, Newmaket on Fergus and Sixmilebridge. Flight, pressure, density, waves, light, sound and electricity are among the topics covered in this interactive learning experience. His not-to-be missed show includes a multimedia presentation, experimental demonstrations and lots of group participation.

The closing event of Children’s Book Festival 2016 takes place in Glór Theatre, Ennis on the 27th of October. Renowned storyteller Niall de Burca will take to the stage for two shows beginning at 10am for junior primary school classes and at 12 noon for senior classes. A lover of stories and an advocate of reading and libraries, Niall’s show will be a fitting end to the festival. His memorable and bewitching stories are guaranteed to enchant audiences of all ages.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Photograph from Clare County Library's Foto collection to appear on Building Ireland on RTE One on the 14th October.

In the Building Ireland series a team of expert presenters in engineering, architecture and geography explore some of the finest example of Ireland’s building and engineering heritage. The series marries local heritage with construction technology and engineering. Architecture, geography and engineering are the disciplines brought to bear; each programme focuses on a prime example of Ireland’s built heritage and recounts the fascinating story of its construction.

The episode airing on Friday 14th October on RTE One at 20.30, explores the scheme that brought Ireland into the electric age – The Shannon Scheme and Ardnacrusha power station. The photograph from the Miscellaneous Photographs Collection shows workers on the building of the Ardnacrusha power station outside one of the offices and it was taken in the early 1930s.

In the episode Engineer Tim Joyce fulfills a life-long ambition to get up close and personal with Ardnacrusha power station and to explore the innovative engineering that made it the biggest hydroelectric project in the world when it opened in 1929. Tim meets with Plant Manager Alan Bane, who details how the scheme turns water into electricity. By any standards, Ardnacrusha was a marvel of modern engineering. Within ten years of opening, it was generating 96% of the state’s electricity. Tim also looks at the head race of the Shannon Scheme, which is a 100 metre wide and 12.5 kilometre long canal. It feeds water from the weir at Parteen to the turbines in the Ardnacrusha station. Tim speaks to Professor Tom Cosgrave to find out what it took to construct these huge man-made canals.

Geographer Susan Hegarty sets out to investigate why the engineers chose the Ardnacrusha site and to examine the River Shannon - an almost completely flat, slow-moving river. Susan speaks to Tom Hayes, Civil Engineering Manager at Ardnacrusha, about the challenges of diverting the river to create enough of the drop and provide sufficient water for the hydroelectric power station to function.

Above the surface, Ardnacrusha is an impressive structure. Its weirs, sluice gates, and penstocks are instantly recognisable as icons of Irish engineering. However, the buildings themselves have their own unique character, as architect Orla Murphy will explain. Orla meets with Jan Frohburg of the University of Limerick, to discuss the stylistic features of the building and the different cultures which inspired them.

The scheme was formally completed on the 22nd of July, 1929. By that stage, 700 tonnes of explosives had been used to blast away 1.2 million cubic metres of rock – and Ireland had changed forever. Tim concludes the episode by describing the value of Ardnacrusha as a national institution.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Clare County Library rewards Summer Reading Stars

The presentation of certificates to the children who completed Summer Stars, the Summer Reading Programme promoted by Clare County Library will take place for children in the North, West and East of the county in the coming days. On the 28th of September storyteller Liz Weir will entertain a large gathering in the Bellbridge House Hotel where children from Ennistymon, Lisdoonvarna, Miltown Malbay, Kilrush, Kilkee, Kildysart and Kilmihil libraries will attend a special library event to reward them for taking up the challenge to read at least six books during school summer holidays.

Liz Weir is a professional storyteller who works with all age groups promoting the traditional art for which Ireland is world famous. A children’s librarian by training, she now travels the world telling stories to adults and children, organising workshops on storytelling, and speaking at courses for parents, teachers and librarians. Her wealth of stories is drawn from both the oral and written traditions. Her publications for children include Boom Chicka Boom, a book full of magic and drama that comes with a nine track CD of stories, old and new, with participation rhymes and playful verses. Here, There and Everywhere is a collection of stories which is also available on CD, from many lands, for children aged six and upwards and she has also written a delightful and moving picture book called When Dad Was Away about a child whose father is in jail. Tales of the Road is another of her children’s books about Irish Traveller life. Liz Weir has told her stories to people of all ages on five continents. She has performed in pubs and prisons and hospital rooms. She worked on stages in the mighty Vanderbilt Hall of New York’s Grand Central Station and in the Royal Albert Hall. Clare County Library staff are delighted to welcome her to Clare this September to share her stories with readers young and old.

The Summer Stars Awards ceremonies for libraries in North and West Clare will take place on September the 28th beginning at 6.30pm at the Bellbridge House Hotel, Spanish Point and on the following evening, September the 29th at Sean Lemass Public Library Shannon at 6.30pm also.

Meanwhile Scariff Public Library staff welcomed all who had completed the Summer Stars Reading Challenge in the East of the county to their presentation of certificates on Saturday 24th September. Children and parents alike joined in a fun-for-all library day with facepainting and a host of arts and craft activities throughout the afternoon. The staff at Scariff Public Library wish to acknowledge that this year’s Summer reading programme has been extremely well received with approximately 130 children taking part.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

New book by author with Ennis roots

Curiosity about her Ennis-born grandmother and an innocent question she asked about a family name instigated the research that led to Mary Burns’s new book, The Reason for Time, an historical novel set in Chicago during one wild ten-day period in July, 1919.

Her Grandmother never talked much about the past, in Ireland or in Chicago, but Burns learned that she had lived in the city during those hot July days that began with a dirigible crashing into a downtown Chicago bank, and ended with the most deadly of the race riots that occurred in twenty-five U.S. cities that year. As she scrolled through the microfilm containing old newspapers, Burns thought, this has to be a novel.

Her first person character, Maeve Curragh, who comes from Ennis just as Burns’s grandmother did and may have some other things in common with her, works at the Chicago Magic Company in the grand Marquette Building and happens to have been on an errand to the bank just before the dirigible fell. Another Clare notable, Eamon de Valera, was also visiting Chicago that week, but no doubt navigating higher levels of society than Maeve, who becomes smitten with a streetcar conductor, Desmond Malloy.

“It’s all in the power to make people believe,” Maeve’s boss, the magician Mr. R frequently tells his small staff. Coming from a culture rich with superstitions, and having been born at the hour that she was sets up Maeve for wonder and possibility.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Man Booker Prize announces 2016 shortlist

Two British, two US and two Canadian authors have seen their books shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.
The shortlist is as follows:

Paul Beatty (US) - The Sellout
Deborah Levy (UK) - Hot Milk
Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) - His Bloody Project
Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen
David Szalay (Canada-UK) - All That Man Is
Madeleine Thien (Canada) - Do Not Say We Have Nothing

The 2016 winner will be announced on Tuesday 25 October in London’s Guildhall. Judges for the prize this year are Amanda Foreman (chair), Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent and Olivia Williams. Last year, the Man Booker Prize was won by Marlon James for A Brief History of Seven Killings.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Celebrate 100 years of Roald Dahl

2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl - the world’s number one storyteller. To celebrate Lisdoonvarna Public Library and Ennistymon Public Library are holding craft workshops and film screenings.

On Wednesday 14th September there will be a Make your own Fantastic Mr. Fox Mask workshop in Ennistymon Public Library from 3.15pm to 4.00pm. Later that evening there will be two film screenings:
Fantastic Mr. Fox at 4.00pm
Matilda film at 6.30pm

On Thursday 15th September, there will be a Make your own Fantastic Mr. Fox Mask workshop in Lisdoonvarna Public Library.

All welcome, contact the branch for more details.
Ennistymon: (065) 7071245
Lisdoonvarna: (065) 7074029

Monday, 22 August 2016

Book launch: A Clarewoman’s Journey by Anne Loughnane

When Edinburgh-based author Anne Loughnane was a young social worker in West Clare during the early 1970s, she found an elderly woman and her grown-up son inhabiting a semi-derelict cottage. During their short acquaintance, she learned of the woman’s astonishing life, which led from late 19th century West Clare, where memories of the Famine and terror of the workhouse were still all too present, across the Atlantic to years of service among the prosperous of New York, and back to marriage with a respected Clare farmer in a dramatically transformed Ireland. Then came widowhood and a descent into poverty, still haunted by a debilitating “Famine mentality”.

The result is A Clarewoman’s Journey, part authorial memoir, part fictional reconstruction, which vividly evokes Eilin’s contrasting lives on both sides of the Atlantic, in a moving and illuminating account of a life that encompassed enormous personal, cultural and historical change.

Anne, whose previous book, In Pursuit of Kate Corbett, charted her great-grandmother’s extraordinary migration from Dublin to a ranch in Wyoming, will launch A Clarewoman’s Journey in De Valera Public Library, Ennis, on Tuesday 6th September at 7.00pm. All welcome.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Traditional Music of Clare - Live Recordings, from the 1960s to the 1990s; over 100 sessions with over 60 hours of music, featuring the BR Taylor Collection, the John Joe Healy Collection and Carroll Mackenzie Music Collection

Traditional Music of Clare: Live Recordings

Shortly after Clare County Library launched the online Singers & Songs of County Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection, we were approached by Barry Taylor who wondered if we would be interested in his collection of live recordings of Clare musicians from the 1960s and later. When we took a look at the collection we recognised its value immediately, and began work on a new music of Clare project based on live recordings; when Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie donated their song collection to us, they had also donated a substantial music collection, and the music collection of John Joe Healy which they had been caretaking.

The result is this new online collection of traditional Irish music, played by Clare musicians, recorded from the 1960s to the 1990s, totalling over 100 sessions with over 60 hours of music in total.

As well as the actual recorded sessions, names of tunes are included and the timing for each tune in each session is also included on each session’s webpage.

We are extremely grateful to Barry Taylor, John Joe Healy, Pat Mackenzie and Jim Carroll for donating their collections for this project. We are also grateful to Peter Laban and Pat Mackenzie for allowing us to use some photographs from their collections, and to Mary Custy and Paddy Comber for their help in identifying tunes.

Musicians featured in this project include Paddy Canny, Bobby Casey, Willie Clancy, Martin 'Junior' Crehan, Elizabeth (Mrs) Crotty, Michael Downes, Martin Hayes, P Joe Hayes, John Kelly, Patrick Kelly, Paddy Killourhy, Séamus MacMathuna, Peadar O'Loughlin, Seán Reid, Micho Russell, Seamus Ennis, Martin 'Junior' Crehan, Miko Doyle, Thady Casey, James Flynn, JC Talty, Angela Crehan, Ita Crehan, Paddy Fahy, Martin Talty, PJ Crotty, Christy Dixon, Martin O'Brien, Tommy McCarthy, Kevin Burke, John Joe Healy, Tommy McCarthy Jnr., Stevie O'Halloran, John Kelly, Jnr., Joe Ryan, Joe Rynne, Sean Keane, Kitty Hayes, Peter Laban, Paddy Galvin, JP Downes, JC Talty, Michael Falsey, Michael Sexton, and Ita Crehan.

Sessions were recorded in Doolin, Mullagh, Ennis, Feakle, Coore, Cree, Tulla, Miltown Malbay, Annageeragh, Spanish Point, Kiltannon, Lahinch, Crosses of Annagh and Knocknahilla in County Clare, and in Dublin and London.

This new project adds greatly to the traditional music services of Clare County Library; the library offers a wide range of music for lending throughout the county, and we have had a very strong traditional music collection (tapes & CDs) in our branch library in Miltown Malbay for many years.

In 2012, we launched the Music of Clare project on the library website, offering a sample of the rich musical culture of the county of Clare, featuring traditional tunes associated with County Clare, played by musicians who are from the county or who have lived in it for many years. The tunes were accompanied by transcriptions designed to help anyone who wishes to learn the basic notes of a tune.

In March 2015, we launched the online Singers & Songs of County Clare from the Carroll Mackenzie Collection, featuring over 400 songs from over 40 Clare singers, collected by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in London and west Clare over a period of 40 years, with transcriptions of song lyrics accompanying each recording, and various playlists for easy listening. The project was also enhanced by the addition of articles on singers and the song tradition in County Clare.

And now we are delighted to launch the Traditional Music of Clare: Live Recordings project, featuring live recordings of Irish traditional music sessions from the 1960s to the 1990s, from the archived tapes of three outstanding collections of Clare music: the BR Taylor Collection, the John Joe Healy Collection and the Carroll Mackenzie Collection.

Maureen Comber, Executive Librarian,
Anthony Edwards, Senior Executive Librarian,
Library ICT & Information Services Department,
Clare County Library,
June 2016

Image above shows Barry Taylor and Michael Downes, photo by Pat Mackenzie.