The Library of my Childhood: Still going strong and more important than ever!

 

Clonmel Public Library

It’s been a long semester and with only 6 weeks to go I can’t fathom how I have gotten this far already. I’m on mid-term and I’m exhausted. I’m home in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary for a few days trying to get some work done and I thought it would be a good idea to visit the library where it all began. I was worried that I was going to be saddened to see the library in a poorer state than I remember it or to see it empty of people because everyone is at home on their computers. However, I’m extremely happy to report that the library was busier than I can ever remember seeing it and this was during the day while the children were in school. It was a hive of activity and full of colour. I have such fond memories of the children’s area and it is as vibrant as ever, now equipped with computers at lower tables. There were quite a few older members of the community seated in the comfortable sitting area at the back reading their books and newspapers and there were plenty of people using the computers. It was clear to me that the library is still an essential part of the community. Probably even more so now; people who may be unemployed etc. need computers to access job postings, to apply online, to check their benefits and supports on various websites, older people who may not have computers in their homes need to access banking, bills and other services online. Having access to the computer and library employees to turn to for help is probably vital for some people.

I’ve noticed they’ve recently done up their website too. I may be mistaken but I think its a WordPress template site that they’re using and I think they’ve done a really good job on it. It just goes to show that you can do a lot with a little money and a bit of effort. Having this kind of site also means it should be easier for staff who may not be trained in coding to keep the site updated and fresh.

They seem to have a wide range of services available for all age groups. Although, it does seem that the teenagers aren’t as involved with the library as other groups with services for this age-group mainly internet based. There was plenty for children of all ages, from picture books to story-time and reading groups and the computers as I have mentioned. They offer services for parents and elderly members and it seemed very warm and inviting.

I’m delighted to see my old library still going strong and helping members of the community.

As part of my module Information Professional as Educator I have to design an information literacy programme and I’m hoping to create one for Transition Year students to teach them about subject choices for Leaving Cert and preparation for college. I think a programme like this might be beneficial for public libraries to outreach to the teenage group that may be missing out on the library experience. I truly believe that learning about the digital world, information retrieval and information evaluation is so important for that age-group and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have a place in their education. But….that’s a post for another day.

Nothing like a bit of nostalgia to inspire and it most certainly worked for me. Libraries are still important, useful, and more than anything, they are exactly where I want to be and what I’m about. Information, learning and support!

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2 thoughts on “The Library of my Childhood: Still going strong and more important than ever!

  1. I’ve also been taking a Library Programming class this semester, and while it probably has a slightly different focus since I’m getting my LT diploma and not my full MLIS, there are similarities.
    One thing we’ve talked about is how teens and young adults tend to drift away from the library, and ways in which to draw them back. One thing that can, apparently, be VITAL, is doing library tours and programs specifically for first-semester students. Getting them in to the library as soon as they hit the school and then going on to provide excellent service can basically remind “kids” in this age group that the library is a good place to go to get homework done or get some help with an assignment or project.

    I’m sad to say my own college library completely failed in this regard. My first several experiences with my college librarians were so bad that I now won’t even go into the library on campus unless none of the public libraries nearest me can provide me with what I need. :0(

    On a different note, it’s awesome that your hometown (?) library is doing so well! I recently got to visit my hometown library as well, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they’ve undergone a huge renovation to create more space, allow better light, and update other facilities. When I went in to explore all that had changed, it was a bustling hive of activity, and I was thrilled.

    • It is so important to show students the importance of the library. I drifted away from the library myself in secondary school and then found it extremely intimidating when I started university. The uni I attended offered tours etc. but being quite shy I found it difficult to talk myself into attending. I think if there were good school libraries or if there was effective outreach by public libraries specifically focused on that teenage group it would be a much easier transition from school to university. I know in Ireland there’s a serious lack of focus on research and information evaluation in secondary schools (ages 12-18) and also a serious lack of education in relation to being active in an online environment, i.e. privacy issues, copyright issues and cyber-bullying. Although it’s taught in some schools, it seems as though it is completely up to the school management and it isn’t a part of the curriculum. I think libraries could become really useful in bridging this gap if they could garner the support of the schools and parents.
      Delighted to hear your hometown library is also doing well, it’s important for us to spread the success stories. I’m sick of only hearing about closures and negativity when there are so many positives to focus on.

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