Abstracts 2019

Everyone gets a library!

Rosie Jones

Libraries play a critical role in fostering inclusivity. It could be argued that the mission of the Open University, to be open to people, places, methods and ideas, is actually a mission close to the heart of all libraries and one that we all should follow.  The ideal library is one that supports welcoming, open spaces that encourage inclusivity. This presentation will share examples of inclusive approaches and highlight some of the tensions in a Higher Education environment.

Presenter Biography:

Rosie Jones is the newly appointed Director of Student and Library Services at Teesside University, a University which has a significant positive social, economic and cultural impact on local communities and wider economies. She was previously the Director of Library Services and Open Learn at the Open University, a University driven by its mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. She has worked in academic libraries since 2001 in a diverse range of institutions, taking a particular interest in games and learning, information literacy and learning space development.

Inclusive Libraries: Keep Stories, Share Stories, Make Stories

Erik Boekesteijn

Libraries around the world are constantly adapting and evolving. The digital transformation is taking place, but in the meantime there is a growing need for people to meet in person and listen to each others stories. ‘Libraries are here to elevate discourse’ a fine librarian in Salt Lake once said to me. This presentation brings stories and best practice examples from my travels over the world in search of the future of libraries and will show how Storytelling is used in Social Inclusion, Digital Inclusion and Lifelong learning and how the library as a 3rd place is settling in the heart of our library users.

Presenter Biography:

Senior Advisor at the National Library at the Netherlands (KB). Library Avenger. Consultant Public Libraries 2020 and founding father of Public Libraries 2030. Facilitator and consultant for IFLA. Owner of Shanachie Media and producer of This Week in Libraries and ShanachieTours, a worldwide tour of searching for best practice in libraries.

Built for Inclusion: Library Design that Welcomes All

Traci Engel Lesneski

Each of us experiences buildings differently, depending on our own cultural, social, economic, and physical circumstances. Religion, gender, age, mental health and the various ways we each rely on our senses also play a role in how we experience the built environment. Yet many buildings are designed to accommodate only a narrow slice of the human population. This talk will touch on the built environment’s role in inclusion, and how the design process, flexibility of use, and user-driven customization can be powerful tools in the quest for inclusive buildings.

Presenter Biography:

A principal with the US-based architecture firm MSR, Traci focuses on design for libraries and learning. She promotes an integrated design approach—equally valuing well-being, building performance, aesthetics, and delight. Recent building projects Traci has led include a 24/7 visual culture, arts, and media creative hub for Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Missoula Montana’s new library and culture house (opening 2020).

The Library as a Queer Space: Investigating Access and Provision for LGBTQ+ Patrons.

Mark Ward

This paper investigates access and provision for LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer,+) users of Dublin’s public libraries. It seeks to build a complete picture of access and provision by surveying not only LGBTQ+ users on their experiences, but also by surveying heterosexual and LGBTQ+ staff on their attitudes towards providing an accessible service, as well as interviewing management on their approaches and policies. An unresearched aspect of Irish library life, this crucial research looks to integrate LGBTQ+ experiences with the landscape of literature on the subject, as well as staff policies, procedures and provision.

This paper details the work undertaken for this author’s MSc thesis, In Dublin’s Fair City: An Examination of Access and Provision for LGBTQ+ Patrons in Dublin’s Public Libraries and discusses and synthesises the responses gathered, culminating in a number of evidence-based, literature-supported, easy-to-follow set of recommendations that can be applied to any library service, showing how to make your library a welcoming, engaging and inclusive space for your LGBTQ+ patrons and community.

Presenter Biography:

Mark Ward (@dogwithoutlegs) is a Development Librarian with South Dublin Libraries. He has recently completed his MSc in Library and Information Studies with Aberystwyth University, and this paper is based on his thesis: In Dublin’s Fair City: An Examination of Access and Provision for LGBTQ+ Patrons in Dublin’s Public Libraries. He has written for An Leabharlann, Cataloging & Classification Quarterly and LibFocus. He has presented at DBS (2016), ASL (2017, 2018), LAI (2018) and YLG (2018). He is the founder of the award-winning book review blog, South Dublin Reads (http://librarystaffpicks.wordpress.com). He is also a published poet and cabaret performer.

Maggie May's Day- A Collaboration between Cork County Library & Travellers North Cork (TNC)

Rachel Burke

This project is an excellent example of libraries engaging meaningfully with different ethnic groups,  developing and strengthening relationships between the library service and the Travelling community. In 2018 Cork County Library collaborated with Traveller’s North Cork (T.N.C.) and Dr. Nicola Bessel, Department of Speech and Hearing Science U.C.C. to produce a book called Maggie May’s Day.  

In 2017 the Children’s Librarian Rachel Burke met with T.N.C. who were keen to undertake a piece of written work, suitable for young children. 

The dearth of Children’s literature with which a traveller child can identify has always been an issue for parents, librarians and teachers.

It was also timely to include cant language given the formal recognition for Travellers as a distinct ethnic group in 2017 and in advance of the 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages.

Maggie May’s Day is a day in the life of a four year old Traveller girl living in a trailer in her grandparent’s yard in Fermoy. It incorporates the Traveller Cant language as Maggie May’s life moves between the Traveller community and the settled community. It is her story, in her own words.

Her grandmother, Kathleen McDonagh provided the Cant translations for key words which were used hoping to revive the language among younger travellers. Illustrations are by Jim Mellis, Romany artist based in Fermoy.   

At the book launch in Fermoy library, Maggie May’s mother Noreen read the story toMaggie May and her sister in front of an audience of settled and travelling people. Three generations of the McDonagh family were involved in the project, affording a fantastic opportunity for the library to engage with the Travelling community in North Cork.

The County Childcare Committee distributed the book to preschools in North Cork. Funding was from Creative Ireland, UCC Plus and T.N.C.

Presenter Biography:

I am the Children’s Services Librarian (including services to schools) for Cork County Library.  I am also the Right to Read Co-ordinator for the service.

I believe that outreach and engagement with appropriate literacy partners is central to libraries ability to assist people achieve lifelong learning, enabling them to participate and contribute to their communities.  I have worked to extend our outreach agenda, identifying opportunities to showcase the library offering, presenting at a range of locations and agencies. 

I am passionate about the capacity of libraries to deliver literacy and learning outcomes.

Including Students in the Acquisition Process: An Evidence-Based Acquisition Pilot at Maynooth University Library

Elizabeth Murphy

As a ‘user-driven’ acquisition model, Evidence-Based Acquisition (EBA), aligned with Maynooth University (MU) Library’s Strategic Plan 2016-2018 Action 3.3 to “Introduce new acquisition, budget and service models for the provision of collections which will benefit our user communities”.

Until then, recommendations for acquisition were predominantly the preserve of academic staff. This new model enabled the engagement of students in the selection process based on their interaction with the resources. It also gave equal opportunity to distance and part-time students to register their interest and be part of the process.

The Library embarked on an EBA Pilot following a scoping exercise in summer 2017. The project resulted in over 30,000 ebooks being accessible 24/7 to registered staff and students from March 2018 to February 2019. At the end of the access period, we expect to purchase c.400 titles based on usage and other criteria.

A cross-functional working group was established to implement the project. Suitable suppliers were invited to submit quotations based on mandatory and desirable requirements. Cambridge University Press was the successful supplier for MU Library. The additional resources were promoted in the University’s newsletter, on the Library’s webpages, on social media and by all staff at every opportunity. Usage is very encouraging and dynamic.

This presentation will outline the pilot and its implementation at MU Library, highlighting some of the issues and discussing the benefits of the model.

Presenter Biography:

Elizabeth has held a broad range of posts in her 25 years as an Assistant Librarian at Maynooth University Library. She is currently responsible for the development of print collections in support of the University’s teaching, learning and research curriculum and the management of the Library’s financial functions.

The Role of Libraries in Providing Health Information for Society

Jane Burns

This paper will examine the role of libraries in providing Health Information for Society in particular using materials from the emerging area of Graphic Medicine.

Graphic Medicine has a unique purpose for libraries in that graphic medicine represents the intersection between a variety of formats and healthcare. Graphic medicine refers to the use of graphic novels, comics and visual storytelling in medical education, patient care, personal health awareness and support primarily but there are other applications related to healthcare and the life sciences.

(Green,et.al 2010) identified that health care professionals and health librarians in particular those engaged with public health, with young people or with non- native speakers are using graphic stories for patient care and education.

The field of Graphic Medicine has continued to grow in popularity and size as new work is published and new applications for the work are explored. The International Comics and Medicine Conference meets annually, gathering clinicians, academics, health carers, artists, authors, and fans of comics and medicine.

For libraries the engagement and development of Graphic Medicine collections represents the provision and enlightenment of these information resources. Developing a Graphic Medicine collection presents opportunities to have a multi modal and multi-platform resource as Graphic Medicine is a new area of scholarship. Graphic Medicine is a combination of scholarly essays with visual narratives that are represented in comic from. This addition to a collection offer patients, family members, and medical caregivers new ways to negotiate the challenges of medical and health experiences. 

Green, Michael J., & Myers, Kimberly R. (2010). Graphic medicine: Use of comics in medical education and patient care.  British Medical Journal, 340(7746), 574.

Presenter Biography:

Jane Burns, MBA, MLIS, MPhil, FLAI is a Library & Information Professional with over 20 years experience in a variety of information environments. Jane is a member of CILIP and the Library Association of Ireland. She has been a member of the LAI Executive Council since 2013. Jane was the recipient of the 2018 John Campbell Trust Bursary for her presentation about Graphic Medicine at the 9th International Comics & Medicine, Conference at Centre for Cartoon Studies in collaboration with Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, New Hampshire in August 2018. She is also a lecturer at University College Dublin.

Facing the Dragons at Maynooth University Library!

Laura Connaughton

Maynooth University library is dedicated to listening to our library users – for years we have gathered feedback on what works or doesn’t work for our students and library users. In 2016, we started asking them for their ideas.  They, after all, are the ones using the spaces!  Based on the Eureka! project from University of Manchester library and as part of a broader suite of UX (User Experience) projects, we ran a competition called “If students did libraries….”.  The question was put to the library users – if you ran the library what would you do?  what would make your experience in the library better?  what ideas have you got that would make your life easier in the library?

It was a Dragons’ Den-style competition where students were asked to submit their ideas and then the shortlisted finalists pitched their idea to a panel of judges with implementation of the idea and €1000 as the winning prize.

The desired outcome of this competition was to develop the library spaces we have, add value to them and make it a space for everyone.  We wanted to make the library an inclusive space for all by asking our users for ideas, listening to them and implementing them. This talk will document the process, the success, what we learned along the way and how it has impacted life in the library.

Presenter Biography:

Laura is Engagement and Information Services librarian in Maynooth University Library. Laura has a real interest in the development of Library and Information Services, particularly meeting the needs of next generation library users in a changing library environment.

Going Global, UCD Library’s experiences of teaching information literacy in China

James Molloy

The globalisation of Third Level Education has implications for units such as libraries in providing support to overseas campuses. University College Dublin (UCD) library responded to an invitation to provide library support to UCD students based on a campus in Beijing, China. This short presentation reflects on the impact of two visits by library staff in 2017 and the subsequent development of a programme to deliver an annual schedule of information literacy training to students of the college. It will look at how we coped with working with staff and students in a different culture and work environment. We will examine how we can continue to deliver this initiative in a sustainable way allowing us to teach a high level of required support while also maintaining our teaching commitments on the main UCD campus. By offering solutions to several challenges we aim to create a model that we can use in potential future requests.

Presenter Biography:

James has worked in UCD Library since 2006 and is currently the College Liaison for Engineering and Architecture.  Alongside his teaching and learning responsibilities, he is the UCD Library lead on eLearning, library orientation and has a role in the development of teaching spaces.  He has previously held posts with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and working as a Library Adviser for at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA), Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  He is on the Board of LIR Heanet user group for libraries as Communications Officer. Twitter handle @jpjmolloy

Your Local Library: A Space for Everyone.

Sheila Kelly

Library services for homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers.

While anecdotal evidence indicates that many homeless people use public libraries we took a proactive approach to ensure that homeless people, particularly those living in hostels, hubs and hotels, are made welcome in our libraries.

I worked with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive to identify hubs and hostels and make contact with Case Workers/ Development managers to connect with these hard to reach people. I also contacted refugee and integration centres in the city to include them in the project. The idea was to relax membership rules and create linkages between the hubs and a particular local branch library, thereby providing a sort of ‘personal’ service to individuals who may not have been previously familiar with libraries or who may perceive them as institutions that may fail them. The singular aim of the project was to ensure that homeless people and asylum seekers would enjoy the same entitlement and quality library service that we deliver to everyone equally.

The project commenced in September 2018 and is ongoing and has some successes but it is not without difficulties. During the course of the presentation I would like to extrapolate my learning from the project and share my experience and of course learn from other services that may have addressed this issue.

Presenter Biography:

Sheila Kelly is a Divisional Librarian with Dublin City Public Libraries. She takes responsibility for Equality and Social Inclusion throughout the library network.

AIT Library Facilities – Engaging & Informing Students with Disabilities – Inclusiveness and Information

Mary Mulryan

AIT Library is actively engaged in the provision and development of services for our students. We have developed a number of initiatives in consultation with our institutional Disabilities office. This poster will highlight one such initiative whereby the use of the Irish Sign Language is used as a graphical instructional and directional instrument.  

This conceptual presentation is used to engage students through Irish Sign Language.  For example, Letter “E” will have a link to information about Epilepsy and Exam Support.

The use of other graphical representations such as images and icons are used to provide an engaging and aesthetically pleasing guide. This type of signage will also help to inform all library users about the many types of disabilities, especially the ones that are not physical.





Presenter Biography:

Mary Mulryan has over 18 years’ experience as a library professional at Athlone Institute of Technology. Initially her work involved the development and management of a specialised Design/Media off Campus Library.   Information Literacy, Library Instruction Sessions were key areas that Mary delivered to both staff and students.  However, more recently, Mary has been the library liaison for Students with Disabilities.  Working closely with the AIT Disabilities office.  Mary has been involved in a number of initiatives, which seek to improve access to library services for all.  Mary is a member of the LAI Literacies Committee.

Want to improve your English? Come to the library!

Celine Peignen

The proposed poster will demonstrate the way Athlone Institute of Technology library supplements International students’ English learning experience. It will first identify why there is a need for the library to be involved with International students’ experience on campus and then introduce and review specifically tailored services for International students in AIT. The services will be divided in three sections; services in the library and electronic resources, library intervention in the classroom and collaboration with academic staff, and finally staff training.

Presenter Biography:

Celine Peignen has been a member of the Athlone Institute of Technology Library for over ten years. She has worked in a variety of roles and is currently the Assistant Librarian for Reader Services. In this role she incorporated her previous experiences working with International Students as an information coordinator in the AIT International Office. Both of these experiences have given her a comprehensive understanding of the International students’ experience of the Irish Higher Education Landscape. Celine is in the final stages of her research work for the MLIS at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. 

Diversity and Inclusivity at the National Library of Ireland

Maria Ryan, Joanne Carroll

In 2017 the National Library of Ireland took active steps to become a more diverse and inclusive cultural institution. A Gender Policy and Diversity Strategy Focus Group made up of Library staff, met to discuss how to improve diversity and inclusion in the Library; covering topics such as programming, collections, acquisitions, exhibitions, digitisation and the building itself. From this group, a Diversity and Inclusion Committee was established and with the help of an external facilitator, a Diversity and Inclusion Policy was drafted, approved and published. The policy was launched by the Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with various invited guests, representing diverse groups in Irish society in attendance.

In partnership with the Creative Ireland Programme, in early February 2019, the NLI will hold a consultative workshop on the policy in the style of a World Cafe; the event will bring together representatives from various diverse communities in Ireland. The forum will focus on the policy and invite attendees to provide feedback on how the NLI can collaborate more effectively with underrepresented communities. The aim of the World Café is to provide insight on how to better represent diverse communities in Ireland and facilitate more inclusive access to the National Library of Ireland.

This presentation will discuss the outcomes of the workshop and how the NLI will take practical steps to represent diverse communities in Ireland through its collections, events and accessibility.

Presenter Biography:

Maria Ryan is the webarchivist at the National Library of Ireland. She previously worked as project archivist on the Abbey Theatre Digitisation Project in National University of Ireland, Galway. 

Joanne Carroll is an Assistant Keeper Grade II in Special Collections in the National Library of Ireland. She previously worked as the archivist for the Liam O’Leary Archive, a joint project between the National Library of Ireland and the Irish Film Institute, Irish Film Archive. Joanne also worked on the digitisation and metadata cataloguing of the Clarke Stained Glass Studios Collection for the Digital Repository of Ireland and the Library of Trinity College Dublin.

Developing a “digital” state of mind: charting a course for all libraries to develop digital competencies using the National Forum’s Professional Development Framework

Brigid Carey

This case study will present findings on developing digital competencies for Library staff arising from the L2L project (www.L2L.ie). L2L was a two year collaborative project based in Ireland led by Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), with Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Institute of Technology Carlow (ITC). This project was funded by the National Forum for Teaching and Learning with the aim of exploring its professional development framework (https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/wp-content/uploads/NF-2016-National-Professional-Development-Framework-for-all-Staff-Who-Teach-in-Higher-Education.pdf) through the lens of library staff.

This case study will consider how library staff can identify and chart the development of digital competencies and skills so as to remain current and viable in a constantly evolving digital landscape using the framework. Reflections will be offered on how engaging with the Professional Development Framework and more specifically Domain 5: Personal and Professional Digital Capacity in Teaching, can foster the development of personal proficiency/knowledge in digital competencies thus supporting our role in Teaching and Learning and our professional practice. The concept of drafting a “digital philosophy statement” will be considered and how this can be potentially used as a sustainable CPD tool. 

Presenter Biography:

Brigid has been the Liaison Librarian to the Faculty of Business and Humanities at the Institute of Technology, Carlow since 2004. In this role, she provides subject and learning support to the Faculty of Business and Humanities. Prior to this, she has worked in DIT Aungier Street and a variety of other library settings. Brigid’s qualifications include a Masters in Business and her professional interests include continuing professional development for Business Librarian’s and the application of new technologies in enriching the delivery of library services and information literacy.
Contact: Email: careyb@itcarlow.ie Twitter: @BredaCarey

IT Carlow L2L Poster Submission

Orla Foley

The Library Staff Learning to Support Learners Learning (L2L) two year project involved DkIT, DIT and IT Carlow and examined professional development among library staff. Although this project had a primary focus on academic libraries, outcomes are relevant to all grades of library staff across the whole library sector including public and special libraries.

The poster would: Give an overview of the project and its aims. Explore emerging themes such as professional identity, CPD, reflective practice, action research and user experience. Promote the outcomes of the project such as the book and website more widely among library staff.

Presenter Biography:

Orla Foley, Senior Library Assistant, Institute of Technology, Carlow

Breaking down Barriers- Engaging with our Students

Joanne Gillivan

A strategic objective for AIT Library is to remove all physical and perceived barriers to our students actively engaging with the library and library staff.  As part of our LIW2018 celebrations we at AIT Library decided to target non-Library users and library exiles by bringing our Library to our students with a Pop-Up Library in the Students’ Union Hub.

For some, the library space and services can be overwhelming and confusing therefore by bringing the library outside of its usual space and into a space where the student feels safeguarded we gave them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the services that are imperative to their academic success.

This poster will reflect the initiatives utilised, engagement with the AIT Student Union and feedback from students who found this to be a gateway experience to engage with their library. 

Presenter Biography:

Joanne Gillivan is a Library Assistant at Athlone Institute of Technology since 2006 where she manages acquisitions for the Institutes Libraries. Joanne is also involved in Technical services and Document Supply. Joanne is Treasurer of the National Acquisitions Group of Ireland Committee.   Joanne’s research interests are in Marketing she has completed a Diploma in Marketing Advertising and PR. She has been involved in various library promotional projects working on one of the strategic objective for AIT Library to remove all physical and perceived barriers to our students by actively engaging with the library and library staff.

To Inclusivity and Beyond! Developing a Library Service where all flying styles are made welcome.

Sally Bridge

With Customer Service at the heart of everything we do at Queen’s University Belfast Library Services, it is essential that all of our customers are made to feel welcome and included. A pivotal element of the Customer Service Excellence Standard, through which we have been accredited for four consecutive years, is that we break down our customers into groups, each of which has key characteristics and needs. This gives us in-depth insights into how we can best develop our services to meet these needs. However, to be truly inclusive we need to identify all groups which are in any way marginalised and try to address their individual needs.

This presentation will consider these traditionally excluded customers and where our service has, in the past, fallen short of making them feel included. It will look at the different ways that we have discovered this inequality and the changes which we have implemented to address this.

There will be an initial reflection on our customers with disabilities, looking beyond physical accessibility into creating a space which welcomes those with mental health and specific learning difficulties. International customers who are battling with cultural differences, often while still grappling with the English language, will also be discussed. The presentation will then go on to consider other marginalised groups of people such as student parents, LGBT customers and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

While it is challenging to create a space which is fully inclusive and meets the individual needs of every customer, it is important that, despite Woody’s derision of Buzz Lightyear’s flying style, we do everything we can to allow our customers to fly in whatever style they want!

Presenter Biography:

Sally Bridge is the Borrower Services Librarian at the McClay Library in Queen’s University Belfast. As well as managing the large front of house team, Sally is involved in the ongoing Customer Service Excellence Standard programme in the Library. She is also the liaison officer for both students with disabilities and international students. These are three areas which she has presented on both in the UK and Ireland. Sally is also the co-chair of the newly formed QUB staff LGBT network and is helping the University work towards becoming a more inclusive employer. 

Pop-up libraries: an outreach initiative

Colleen Tierney

The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland derives from a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast and the Department of Health. It provides a free library and information service to health and social care professionals.  As the majority of library training sessions are focused on the main hospital sites, there are many other locations that the library service could be promoted and training offered on how best to use its resources.  An outreach initiative was introduced in early 2018 to engage with hard to reach HSC staff.  This involved pop-up libraries as a means of taking the library out to its user group.

Presenter Biography:

Colleen Tierney is subject librarian for nursing and midwifery in Queen’s University Belfast. Her role also extends to the Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland.  Colleen has experience working in a wide variety of libraries including public, school, academic and more recently health.  She has served on the CILIP Ireland Committee and the CONUL Conference Planning Committee.

Armagh Robinson Library: A Case Study of Inclusive Engagement

Robert Whan

Armagh Robinson Library is an independent reference library and, with its second building at nearby No. 5 Vicars’ Hill, is an accredited museum. It is the oldest publicly accessible Library in Northern Ireland, older by seventeen years than the Linen Hall Library in Belfast. Founded by Archbishop Richard Robinson in 1771, and incorporated by an Act of Parliament of 1773, it still contains its original collections, in the Grade A listed building purpose-built to house them. Based in an eighteenth-century building, with manuscripts dating back to the twelfth century and books to the 1480s, there is a perception that the Library is only for ‘serious scholars’. This paper will demonstrate how the Library has been challenging this assumption as staff combine the continuing care of collections with the engagement of a diverse audience, including very young children. In particular, it will focus on the Library’s dementia friendly initiatives and participation in the Northern Ireland Museums Council’s Playful Museums Initiative. During recent years the latter has involved the Library welcoming parents and their under five-year-old children. They have also worked with young adults with autism. Staff have tried out different events, experimented with new activities, and worked in partnership with organisations for the first time, including local Early Bird and Sure Start Groups, the Southern Health Trust of Northern Ireland, the Alzheimer’s Society and Armagh Memories Café and Carers’ Group. This paper will provide a synopsis of staff learning, obtained through undertaking activities to enrich access for everyone to enjoy the Library and its collections.

Presenter Biography:

Dr Robert Whan has taught history at Queen’s University, Belfast and Ulster University, where he was Lecturer in Early Modern Irish History. He was History Engagement Officer for National Museums Northern Ireland (the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, and Ulster American Folk Museum in Omagh), where he was involved in the delivery of a £365,000 Social Inclusion Project and responsible for co-ordinating the “Remembering 1916” centenary programme involving six temporary exhibitions and over 150 events across the three museum sites. In 2018 he became the first lay Keeper appointed by Armagh Robinson Library.

Engaging through the Decade of Commemorations

Patricia Walker

Libraries NI poster/poster  session will demonstrate the successful engagement with a range of non-library users from varying backgrounds and  specifically excluded young men, through  the marking of key  historical events within the “Decade of Commemorations” (1912-1922)  and more recently to the fifty year anniversaries of the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and the Troubles in Northern Ireland to understand the shared history of Northern Ireland.

The poster session  will highlight  the digitisation of a collection of letters from library staff who served in World War 1 written to the Chief Librarian and  an exhibition created from this resource.

Libraries NI  also worked with partners to deliver elements   of the programming including the Community Relations Council, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, the Nerve Centre, and the East Belfast Great War project.

Examples of events held in libraries will be included on the poster.

Presenter Biography:

Patricia Walker, Service Development Manager, Libraries NI, responsible for Cultural Heritage Services across 96  NI Libraries and 2 specialist Libraries  – Irish and Local Studies, Armagh and the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (MCMS).

Promoting Books, Reading and Libraries through the Media

Sean Beattie

The parallel session will describe a high profile partnership approach to promoting enhanced  reading opportunities through a range of accessible media platforms.

The presentation will focus on the partnership between Libraries NI and the BBC. The partnership which has run for three years has seen the two organisations come together to promote a love of reading and Libraries.  The partnership has been built on a diverse programme of activities and is a result of the patient fostering of relationships and being in a position to exploit opportunities as they arise.  The background to the development of this partnership will be explored as will the challenges both in creating and maintaining the partnership together with the benefits to be gained in  working with a key  media partner.

Central to the partnership has been Book Week NI.  The  week features a series of features across the BBC Northern Ireland network looking at books and reading e.g. library customers, listeners, library staff, authors and publishers have all been featured during this promotion.

A key aspect of Book Week NI has been social media.  How Libraries NI have used this to engage staff, customers  and stake holders will be explored. The presentation will concentrate on the planning and delivery of this  programme, which has been live  for three years.

In addition the partnership has seen the creation and development of the “Biggest Book Group in the country”. The Stephen Nolan Show  – the mid-morning radio show on Radio Ulster – is the most listened to show in Northern Ireland.  The presentation will highlight the impact of working with, “The Biggest Show in the country” and the challenges of working with a current affairs programme.

Presenter Biography:

Sean Beattie, Service Development  Manager Libraries NI. Responsible for Reading and Reader Development across 96 Libraries. Manager of Stock and  Stock services for Libraries NI. Manager of Libraries in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and Newry Mourne and Down Council areas.

‘Actions speak louder than words’: co-delivering activity-based classes at MU Library

Áine Carey, Catherine Ahearne

In 2017, MU Library’s Teaching & Research Development team moved from a subject-based model of library support to a functional model, based around the core functions of our team i.e. Research Support; Academic Engagement; and Teaching & Learning.

Central to this change was the development of a new teaching programme, to be multi-disciplinary and standardised in approach, and considering information literacy provision in its widest context. The teaching programme is mapped to MU Library’s Information Literacy Strategy Framework. Classes under the programme were first delivered in 2018.

Our teaching programme focuses on activity-based classes to achieve the five IL competencies identified in our Framework.

In our presentation, we will explain the context and background to our decision to move to a functional model, with reference to the University’s new undergraduate curriculum, which focuses on critical skills, offers students opportunities to engage in experiential learning, and provides a multi-disciplinary focus for student module choices.

Aine will describe the process of creating a menu of class options with standardised lesson plans and content for our classes, and the pedagogical practice of student learning through active engagement.

She will give examples of this work in practice, showcasing tools used (e.g. Mentimeter software) and activities undertaken, and talk about the successes and areas for learning arising from the classes.

However, a key focus of our paper is to look at the practical aspect of class delivery and the benefits to co-delivery of these classes. How does this work in practice? 

Catherine will share her experience of co-delivering the classes, and describe her role, offering recommendations about successful delivery of activity-based classes.

We hope conference attendees will find our session practical, thought-provoking and will be able to take away some ideas for similar classes in their library, in whichever sector.

Presenter Biography:

Aine (MLIS, ALAI) manages the Teaching and Research Development team at Maynooth University Library. She has nearly 20 years experience working in the library sector, in special, commercial and academic libraries. She was a member of the LAI Board and past chair and member of the Academic and Special Libraries section of the LAI. She is currently Secretary of the CONUL Teaching & Learning Group. Her interests include innovation in teaching, creative use of online resources and fostering critical thinking skills at third level.

Catherine (MLIS)is a library assistant in the Engagement and Information Services team at Maynooth University Library. She has experience working in special, public and academic libraries. She also worked in the private sector for EY as an Information Officer. She is interested in supporting those returning to learning, and improving user experience.

Digital Citizen - Get Online Stay Connected

Paul Kelly

This project aims to tackle the serious digital skills deficit in N Ireland by delivering digital learning opportunities in an accessible form across the public library network.

Digital skills are now necessary life skills, and these skills will become even more important in the future given that so many everyday activities – such as shopping, banking, communicating and accessing services, advice and information – increasingly require interaction with technology.

A dedicated team of seven staff are delivering an additional 2,000 tailored training opportunities targeted at sections of the population with the greatest skills needs.

The target groups which this project is primarily concerned with are:

  • people living in poverty
  • people from rural areas
  • older people 
  • people with disabilities 

The Digital Citizen project takes people from ‘digital muggle’ to ‘digital citizen’

Digital Muggle: No digital skills required – digital technology may as well be magic

Digital Citizen: the same work skills as are required to be a full digital citizen. This is the ability to use digital technology purposefully and confidently to communicate, find information and purchase goods/services.

While also positively impacting self-efficacy specifically around developing confidence and skills and address inequalities in society. The action learning approach tailors the learning to activities the individual wishes to take part in.

This project has a number of additional elements which are not included in the current Libraries NI digital support offer – for example delivery of specific learning opportunities to people with disabilities or vulnerable adults and development of programmes in relation to online safety which is an area of concern especially for older adults.

The Digital Citizen  project reaches those in communities who have not been able to avail of basic IT training for reasons such as accessibility, affordability, awareness, or confidence.

Presenter Biography:

Paul Kelly is Senior Information and Learning Services Manager for Libraries NI. He has responsibility for  the Digital Inclusion and Health Services across Libraries NI  and leads  on the Digital Citizen project. 

Read Yourself Well

Julie Reid

Read Yourself Well: helping people understand and manage their health and wellbeing using self-help reading.

Promoting Positive Health and Wellbeing is a  Service Priority for Libraries NI in recognition of the importance of health to everyone in Northern Ireland and the prominence given to wellbeing in the draft Programme for Government and in Community Planning. Libraries offer access to health information in stigma free venues and are inherently inclusive. 

Read Yourself Well is an initiative developed by Libraries NI, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency. The initiative is based on Read Well Books on Prescription developed by the Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians.

Read Yourself Well is a collection of self-help health and wellness related books recommended by the Reading Agency and written by wellness experts, doctors and best-selling authors. The aim of the initiative is to help people understand and manage their health and well-being using self-help reading.

Books in the range offer library customers the opportunity to learn more about a variety of health issues including anxiety, dementia, addiction, women’s health, pain management and many other long-term conditions. 

Read Yourself Well was launched in May 2018 in four libraries, and will extend to four more locations in March 2019.  The books can be requested by anyone in Northern Ireland.

In the proposed presentation, I will review the success of the Read Yourself Well initiative and  its planned expansion.  I will discuss how this initiative is good practice in partnership working to exploit resources for a shared purpose,  how the initiative contributes to Community Planning and the Draft Programme for Government in Northern Ireland.

Presenter Biography:

Julie Reid,  Service Development Manager with responsibility for all libraries within the Belfast City Council area and Libraries NI Health offer. Julie has vast experience in the  Community Planning process.

Roads less travelled? Bringing the data community together in Maynooth University (MU) Library

Fiona Morley

This presentation will describe the MU Love Data Week, which took place in 2018 and 2019. This is an international event, with similar initiatives taking place in different countries worldwide. The aim is to gather data users and interested parties together to discuss the use of and possibilities for data, particularly open data.  

MU Library sought to bring together those with expertise and knowledge in the data area from within the library, the university and nationally, including external speakers from government, business and academia.  They shared their knowledge with the campus community via a series of talks, exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops.

Similar to Open Access Week, the purpose of the Love Data Week event is to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse and library-based research data services.  In addition, it is an ideal opportunity to promote the benefits of open data and open research generally.

The global theme for the 2019 event is open data and data justice, with participants encouraged to adapt and modify the theme to best suit their environment. MU Library plans to include open data and open research themes and also Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) and demonstrations.

This event has proved to be a useful means for the Library to promote data activity on campus as well as nationally and to build a community of data users and experts who can share knowledge and expertise across multiple disciplines. Since the first Love Data Week event the Library has established a Makerspace interest group to explore possibilities for our Makerspace and is collaborating on developing GIS services across campus. This presentation will be of interest to those seeking to create and use data in new and innovative ways.

Presenter Biography:

Fiona was appointed as Head of Digital Programmes and Information Systems, MU Library in December 2017. Previously she was Head of the Open Data Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER). In that role she developed the first national Open Data Strategy 2017-2022, worked on two Framework tenders for Open Data technical support and training and managed the first Open Data Engagement Fund to encourage re-use of Open Data from the national Open Data portal. Prior to this, Fiona was Senior Librarian in the Research and Information Unit (RIU) of the Legal Aid Board.

The Ken Saro-Wiwa Travelling Exhibition: a Collaboration between Maynooth University Library and Kildare Library & Arts Service

Helen Fallon, Sandra Turner

This presentation will explore a collaborative initiative, between Maynooth University and Kildare Public Library and Arts Service  to host an exhibition of a Unique and Distinctive Collection in Athy Community Library.

In 2011, Sister Majella McCarron (OLA) donated a collection of letters and poem she received from Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa to Maynooth University. The letters were written from military detention and smuggled out in breadbaskets.  Saro-Wiwa had been leading a peaceful protest against the environmental destruction of his homeland Ogoni, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, by the international petrochemical industry.  Despite the efforts of Sister Majella and global protest Saro-Wiwa and eight colleagues (The Ogoni 9) were executed in 1995.

While Maynooth University has exhibited material from the Ken Saro-Wiwa Archive in the University and at Quinnipiac University in the United States, this is the first time the archive has been exhibited in a public library. The presentation will cover a number of aspects including:

  • The selection of material for the collaborative exhibition
  • The creation of high quality surrogates
  • Deciding on the optimal way to tell the Ken Saro-Wiwa story
    The exhibition launch
    Community engagement
  • Lessons learned

This is an exciting partnership and will be of interest to those keen to make Unique and Distinctive Collections (UDCs) available to the public.

Presenter Biography:

Helen Fallon Is Deputy Librarian at Maynooth University. She has previously worked at Dublin City University and at the University of Sierra Leone. She has edited (with two colleagues) and published the letters of Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Sandra Turner is County Librarian, Roscommon County Council. She has been working in public libraries since 2006  and worked in Offaly, Carlow and Kildare County Council Library Services before taking up her current role in Roscommon County Council. Sandra is an active member of the Library Association of Ireland and is the current Website Officer of the LAI.

Kildare County Libraries – A Space For All​

Keith McKeag

Kildare County Libraries are committed to providing an accessible service for all our patrons, creating positive opportunities for those with additional needs.

This presentation will focus on the current work being done by Kildare Libraries in the form of the TTT programme, TTRS, Autism Awareness Training and our Multi-Sensory Garden project.

The Toys, Technology and Training (TTT) Programme provides specialised toys and equipment to children and adults with learning difficulties, disabilities or more significant needs. This community-based service is offered from our inclusive, public library space and membership is free. This is supported by a dynamic series of talks and workshops each year offering further guidance for parents, teachers and healthcare professionals. In 2018 the TTT programme for the first time included ASD sensory storytime sessions with an opportunity to use the library, while closed to the general public.

The TTRS programme runs in a number of libraries throughout Kildare and offers a comprehensive touch-typing course that aims to build literacy skills using a multi-sensory approach for users who struggle with physical impairments and specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.

Autism Awareness Training through AsIAm.ie is being undertaken at present by all Kildare library staff members to provide a better understanding of the condition and to ensure that our services are accessible to the needs of those with the condition.

Winner of the LAI Project Prize 2018, this year we plan to design and plant a multi-sensory garden in Leixlip Community Library. The creation of this garden will include ASD friendly workshops where the community can assist in the planting of the outdoor area. While a sensory garden is beneficial to all, it will be particularly therapeutic for those suffering from sensory problems, while raising disability awareness and promoting social inclusion.

Presenter Biography:

Keith McKeag, Executive Librarian, Leixlip Community Library

Lorna Kenna, Senior Library Assistant, Leixlip Community Library

Implementation of Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in Swedish Public Libraries

Sofia Gullö

With the aim to contribute to a deeper and more thorough understanding of the implementation of Article 31 of the UNCRC in Swedish public libraries, three factors of implementation were studied: discretion, accountability and resources. Research data was collected through interviews with professionally trained librarians from the six libraries involved in the study and through studies of documents concerning the regulation of their activities. The results show that Swedish libraries make great effort to implement Article 31 and  that accountability and discretion are factors that enable its implementation while the availability of resources affect its implementation either positively or negatively. 

Presenter Biography:

Sofia Gullö holds an MA in Human Rights and is currently working at a Swedish children’s library called Rum för Barn at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm, Sweden. 

L2L: Library Staff Learning to Support Learners Learning - Lessons Learnt and Plans for the Future

Philip Cohen, Ann Cleary

The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (National Forum) is Ireland’s advisory body for teaching and learning in Irish higher education.  In 2015 the National Forum developed a professional development framework for all staff who teach in Higher Education (PDF).  In2016, library staff from Carlow IT DIT (now TU Dublin) and Dundalk IT were awarded substantial funding for a 2 year project (L2L) to review the PDF through a library lens.  L2L was the first library-based project to be funded by the National Forum in this way. 

All library staff teach formally or informally, while also performing a wide array of other library tasks. The PDF provides a framework to prompt a deeper exploration of such multi-layered roles and, in doing so, helps to identify our complex and evolving professional development needs.

Tangible outcomes include the website l2l.ie, with its wealth of resources, and a book recording the experiences of project participants.  Other outcomes include greater self-confidence and recognition of all library staff as educators.

It is essential now that these outcomes are disseminated widely amongst the library community.  So the conference presentation will describe the project, discuss its findings and encourage attendees to engage with it.

Relevance of the presentation to the conference theme of ‘Inclusive Libraries’:

All library staff in all libraries (academic, public and special) ‘teach’ their users in some way and all users benefit (including those disadvantaged or excluded).  In addition, the presentation will be equally relevant to attendees from the North and the south.  Finally, the success of the project will encourage other library staff to apply for similar funding in future.

Presenter Biography:

Dr Philip Cohen has almost 40 years’ experience working in libraries, initially in the UK and then as Head of Library Services in Dublin Institute of Technology from 2004. He retired in 2018 to spend more time on other library-related activities, including a term as President of the Library Association of Ireland.

Ann Cleary has been Librarian in Dundalk Institute of Technology since 1990. During that time she has also taken secondments to other roles outside the Library.  She holds an M.LIS and an MSc in Personal and Organisational Development.

No Silence in the Library Please!Developing Services and Spaces for all in Cork City Libraries

Breda Hassett

Cork City Libraries is committed to enhancing real inclusion, minimizing barriers to use, and giving every citizen the means to Read, Learn and Explore.As this ethos is fundamental to the mission of Cork City Libraries we have developed a wide range of projects for the purpose of making our service more inclusive. I will focus on three such Projects namely:

  • No Silence in the Library Please! this is an umbrella term for the innovations we have introduced to our service for Deaf and Hearing Impaired citizens
  • Conversation Café. An initiative that encourages Corks New Citizens of migrant origin and Corks Denizens to meet in the City Library and discuss pertinent life and literary topics.
  • Growing Imaginations Sensory Books in a Bag for adults with intellectual disability. These books both fiction and non fiction are made by the adults themselves in workshops within our Library network city wide. This project is supported by Special Olympics Ireland, Healthy Ireland, and Bishopstown Credit union. Please see video clip

To make Cork City Libraries socially and culturally inclusive we aim to continually evolve and develop new strategies. We have appointed a dedicated Executive Librarian for Community and Inclusion who works with an Access and Inclusion Team of 23 library personnel. The group divides into subgroups to bring projects to fruition and make Real Inclusion happen.

Presenter Biography:

Breda Hassett works as a Senior Executive Librarian for Human Resources and Finance in Cork City Library. She is the first and former Executive Librarian for Community, Inclusion and Lending Administration in Cork City Library. Breda is a passionate advocate for inclusive services she has helped extensively to further the ethos of the Cork City Council Library Development programme by developing greater access and inclusion in all its aspects as well as specialist community services, e.g. to the Cork Prison Library, to migrants , New Corkonians,to  persons with special needs and hearing impairment.

The Young Entrepreneurs Club at Fingal Libraries

Barry O'Carroll, Siobhan Walshe

The Young Entrepreneurs Club is an initiative developed by Fingal Libraries in association with the Europe Direct Information Centre at Blanchardstown Library. Each club consists of twenty fifth and sixth class pupils from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds who spend eleven weeks learning about how to set up and run a business.

The main objective of the club is to foster an interest in entrepreneurship and business among primary school pupils. The long term aim is that some of these young people will themselves become the entrepreneurs, innovators and job creators of the future.

The Young Entrepreneurs are given access to and encouraged to use all of the resources available in the library.

The presentation will demonstrate the steps we took to achieve these objectives and how we plan to improve and expand the club going forward.

Firstly, we will describe where the idea for the club came from and how it ties in with the strategic objectives of Irish libraries and Europe Direct.

Secondly, we will describe the planning that took place with the facilitator before the club was launched. This included deciding what format the club would take; the content; and how to reach potential members and their parents. We will also describe the weekly preparation that was carried out before and after each club session.

Thirdly, we will demonstrate how the first Young Entrepreneurs Club worked in practice and how we adapted subsequent clubs based on the knowledge gained and feedback received.

The last part of the presentation will deal with how we evaluate the club. We will describe our evaluation methods and present some of the feedback we received from club participants, parents and facilitators. Finally, we will present our conclusions as to how well we achieved the objectives discussed at the beginning of our presentation.

Presenter Biography:

Barry O’Carroll is a Senior Library Assistant based at Blanchardstown Library. He is also the Asisstant Coordinator of the Europe Direct Information Centre Based at the Library and the Healthy Ireland Initiative branch co-coordinator. Barry has worked alongside Siobhan Walshe and other team members to organise several conferences and events on topics such as European Affairs, Women in Politics, STEM, entrepreneurship and healthy living.

Siobhan Walshe is a librarian based at Blanchardstown Library. She is also the Manager of the Europe Direct Information Centre at the Library. Siobhan is also the Coordinator of the Work Matters Business and Employment Centre also based at Blanchardstown Library. Siobhan has extensive experience organising and running events, initiatives and conferences on themes such child literacy, entrepreneurship and employment, cultural heritage, homelessness, Women in Politics, Brexit and STEM.

Laois Libraries Lego Film Studio- a creative approach to an age-old problem

Thomas Maher, Lori Moriarty

Since March of 2018, Laois libraries have been engaged in a Lego Film Studios project aimed at older children and teenagers. Funded in part by the LAI Public Libraries Project Prize and supported by our County Librarian, Bernie Foran, we have led a series of Lego stop-go animation workshops with the aim of producing short 3-5 minute films entirely created and controlled by young people from across Laois and into Kilkenny. The resulting films were then given an official screening at the Dunamaise Arts Centre early last October on a full size cinema screen. The participants were also presented with handmade Lego award statuettes. This year we are currently calling for other Library authorities to join with us in this library project and enter their film shorts created by young people in a nationwide competition.

The aim of this project is to encourage older children and young adults to come back to the library. It has developed into something much more. Apart from the skill sets the project involves (creative writing, story boarding, photography, Lego building, voice acting) and the more profound social exercises that the participants engage in (teamwork, critical thought, taking direction, finding their ‘voice’), we have seen these young adults become confident users of the library. They have gained a sense of ownership of the space and are no longer daunted by walking through the door. During our workshops we have discussed the influence of social media and internet security. In a world where this demographic are seen as the most impressionable, these participants have become creators of content and in turn start to view the media which surrounds them in a more critical way. Through this project we have gained creative, engaged and regular library patrons, making our libraries truly a space for all.

Presenter Biography:

Thomas Maher: After spending time in prison, Thomas has held many jobs and is also a serial college attendee. Now with a degree of history and sociology knowledge, he has spent three years playing with Lego in Laois Libraries. By the way, he was painting the prison, he’s definitely not a convicted felon.

Lori Moriarty: Lori is also a serial college attendee. She has come to public libraries by way of tour guiding, arts administration and lecturing. She has book hoarding tendencies which this career has exacerbated rather than appeased.

The Role of Libraries in Society

Niamh Ennis

Libraries in Ireland are a welcoming and more importantly free space for people of all ages, nationalities and ability to express their creativity, learn and build on that learning and generally feel safe and accepted. Our newest strategy enables this aim through reading and literacy, information and learning, culture and community and an accessible space.

Presenter Biography:

Niamh Ennis was born and got her thirst for library work in Mullingar County Westmeath, and has always dreamt of working with the public, most especially children. Her areas of interest include literacy, inclusivity and open access resources.

Digital Skills Self Directed Learning in Areas Of Social and Economic Disadvantage

Mags Curley, Joanne Dolan

The purpose of our paper is to share the experiences of DCPL’s pilot digital skills project, based in inner city Dublin, and to show that it is possible to establish a digital skills project which is consciously inclusive and can accommodate children and young people with differing learning abilities as well as different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. 

The national strategy Our Public Libraries 2022 emphasises the role that libraries can play in bridging the digital divide in Ireland. Libraries are ideally placed to deliver the necessary digital skills and to access the technology that is imperative for participation in the digital society.   

In terms of the outreach activities, we identified the CoderDojo model as being the most suitable method of delivering digital skills to a diverse group on an on-going basis. We work with DEIS schools and community groups, such as those who work with children in direct provision, to recruit participants for whom the experience would be most beneficial and empowering. By providing a familiar space within the area, the aim is to make digital learning accessible and welcoming.

We consciously cultivate a family-friendly environment for our Saturday “Dojo”, encouraging accompanying parents to make use of the library’s facilities and bring along younger siblings. For our mid-week, “Teen Dojo”, teens are introduced to project-based work, where outputs include tangible results, which keep teens engaged as what is being learned has ‘real world’ applications.  

Our experience with respect to the learning approaches used and the communities’ reception to the providing of digital learning opportunities to children in areas with diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds has multiple implications, including what value can be found in self-directed learning with this particular cohort and what benefits that exposing these children to the skills necessary for the future of work can be had.

Presenter Biography:

Mags Curley is a senior librarian working on a variety of children’s projects in the North East Inner City. She has worked in the library service for more than 20 years and has a First Class Honours Degree in Library and Information Studies and a Masters in Sociology which included a range of equality focused modules.

Joanne Dolan is the Coordinator of The Digital Skills Project

A Sound Initiative for Everyone

Deirdre Murphy

‘Wanted Musical Instruments! Ask at the desk for information.’  A sign declaring such a message may not be what you would normally expect to see on entering a library.  But this is exactly what patrons can see on visiting Cork County Library Branches.  The signs relate to the A Sound Initiative programme which has been running in the Cork County Library network since March 2018.  Studies show that the making of music is an essential part of the development and enlightenment of everyone. Making music can have an amazing effect on people’s lives. Everybody, from disadvantaged young people to older adults can blossom through discovering music, sometimes for the first time, later in life.   Everyone should have the opportunity to learn to play music. Sadly, many people are not fortunate enough to have access to musical instruments or ways to help them to learn and discover the joys of music.  And this is where the Cork County Library has stepped in.  A Sound Initiative gives borrowers a chance to try out an instrument, free of charge, for a minimum of three weeks. 

So far, we have a selection of violins and guitars of various sizes, including electric guitars as well as three keyboards and a mandolin available to borrow.  Music is an essential part of the fabric of our lives. It is an extremely powerful means of communication which can help break down cultural barriers and strengthen social unity. Making music can also play an important part in helping us find a balance in our busy lives, improving our wellbeing and helping us rediscover who we are through creative self-expression.  This paper will examine how successful this programme has been in Cork County Libraries to date and what may be expected from the programme in the future.

Presenter Biography:

A Kerry woman, Deirdre has spent her career in Cork County Library. Cataloguing supervisor and book-sale organiser, in 2018 she also set up and now manages ‘A sound Initiative’ in 2018. This is an instrument loan scheme that allows all members of Cork County Library free access to musical instruments.

The Transition Year Work Programme and Deis Schools.... The experience from UCC Library

Martin O'Connor

For a number of years University College Cork Library has been facilitating Transition Year Students and their schools in their Work Experience programmes.

This has been a really successful outreach initiative for the library and has positively raised the profile of the library in UCC and the Cork region. It has also been a beneficial experience for the TY students and their schools. But, as coordinator for this programme I noticed over the years that there has been a distinct under representation of students from Deis Schools* applying to do their work experience with us.

For the 2018/2019 term UCC Library, in the spirit of inclusivity, decided to tackle this under-representation and to actively encourage Deis Schools students to apply do their work experience with us.

This paper will briefly touch on why UCC Library facilitates TY students and gives them the opportunity to do their work experience with us in UCC Library. It will contend it is important for libraries to do this as part of their outreach programme.

But in the main it will talk about why and how we went about addressing the under representation of TY students from Deis Schools. It will talk about how we liaised with Cork Deis schools and a number of UCC departments to offer TY students the most positive and beneficial first experience of work and college life that we can.

It will report on the experience of the students themselves and what it means to them. It will outline what our programme involves and, finally, it will provide some general take away tips and guidelines I have learned from coordinating the programme.

* Deis schools are schools considered educationally disadvantaged with children often at risk of not completing an education programme due to financial or social hardship.

Presenter Biography:

Martin is an Administrative Assistant, working in Research Collections, at UCC Library. He has published and presented in the areas of library outreach and communications, marketing libraries, exhibitions, social media, blogging and Chinese & comparative Librarianship.

He co-runs the Irish Library blog Libfocus. He runs the music blog The Blackpool Sentinel. He co-hosts a weekly library radio show called Shush! Sounds from UCC Library. He also manages all the associated social media for these blogs and show.

Try a Bookclub: Children's bookclub taster session for 8 to 12 year olds.

Ciara Hogan

Try a book-club was a programme ran to give children the opportunity to take part in a book-club and determine whether it was something they would enjoy. Our  monthly junior book-club is well subscribed to by children who are heavy library users. It was hoped that the programme would encourage reluctant children to try something new.  Children were given six weeks to read the book . This gave all reading levels a chance to read the book at their reading pace. The programme was ran alongside the Summer Stars reading programme. It was hoped that this would give children with a lot of after school activities an opportunity to take part. The book chosen was ‘Tin’ by Pádraig Kenny. Slightly difficult in storyline which I felt was important to challenge the children.

The programme was well subscribed with a group of twelve children taking part. These were mixed in age, gender and reading interests. During the meeting, I gave an introduction to book-clubs and we set some ground rules for discussion . Each child got an opportunity to discuss their opinion of the book which varied in length. This was guided with follow up questions from me which hoped to further critical discussion.  Afterwards, we furthered discussion of character depth by drawing our own robots based on the main characters in the book. This allowed the children to understand the process of character creation and descriptive writing.

The event was well received by the children and the group were open to discussion.  Four of the twelve children signed up for the monthly book-club afterwards and have become key members to our discussions. The event allowed our library to provide an inclusive event in the summer programme that’s only limit was that children had to be between eight and twelve. 

Presenter Biography:

Ciara Hogan is a Library Assistant in Kildare Public Library and Arts Service. She has a keen interest in Youth services and collections in Public Libraries. She has previously completed two previous research dissertations in these areas:
Duty of Care or Duty of Access: Intellectual Freedom and censorship in children’s collections in the United Kingdom.
Enid Blyton: An Author to be Forgotten or Remembered? An exploration of Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five’

Back to the Drawing Boards: A more inclusive approach to library orientation at Maynooth University Library

Niall O'Brien

In planning a first year library orientation session for September 2018, Maynooth University Library led an initiative to welcome new students to the Library in a more inclusive and experiential way. Rather than repeat the format of the previous year, a presentation which feedback indicated students found forgettable, we organised an interactive poster tour whereby small groups of students were brought around seven distinct poster boards by a library staff member.

Over the course of one week, 2,790 students were welcomed in small groups to the library space by a main presenter. After briefly welcoming the gathered groups, library staff members then discussed the library’s services with their gathered groups by spending several minutes at each of the seven boards, each one profiling a particular library initiative. The tour was organised to flow in a synchronised loop, so that when the main presenter gave the signal, each group moved to the next board. This resulted in a more personalised and interactive orientation experience for students. The tour was concluded by the presenter calling the groups to order again and playing a game (complete with prizes) based on the benefits of Boolean searching.

This initiative is indicative of wider efforts to reach out to new library users and make them feel connected to their library. It resulted in a greater level of engagement and enthusiasm from students compared to the induction offered previously. Furthermore, developing content for the boards afforded the Library team the opportunity to showcase how our services foster the critical skills that undergraduate students are expected to develop as part of their Maynooth University education. Attendees for this presentation will learn how orientation in an academic library has the potential to be much more immersive and inclusive than a traditional library tour or presentation.

Presenter Biography:

Niall O’Brien is a Teaching and Learning Librarian at Maynooth University Library particularly interested in information literacy and effective research practices. Prior to this, he worked at UCD Library and as a secondary school teacher. He has presented at other library conferences and seminars in Ireland including CONUL, New Professionals Day and the LIR Annual Seminar. 

Nothing about us without us- the benefits of employing disabled staff in libraries

Elaine Chapman, Sarah Anne Kennedy

There is a common saying amongst the disability communities in many countries, and that is “Nothing about us without us”. This term is usually used to refer to the making of laws and operation of services without prior consultation with the disability community, including library services.

Employing disabled people as staff ties into some of the core philosophies of libraries: improving access, diversity, democracy, open education, lifelong learning, and social responsibility.

Disabled staff members have the benefit (for us!) of having faced accessibility issues of varying kinds in their own lives. They are often able to use this experience to point out flaws in library systems, services, and buildings. They notice things about each of these that ‘able bodied’ staff often miss. They also come with the advantage of having better understanding of many disabilities, not just their own, as well as having established contacts within the disability community. Employing staff members with a disability in Technological University Dublin Library Services has allowed us access to a wealth of knowledge that often goes untapped. It is enabling us to design successful, inclusive library services, activities and spaces. The only way to guarantee that success is to engage with the knowledge of the community, rather than designing for what we feel they need.

Representation itself is also a way to improve engagement, social standing and visibility for both ourselves and potential disabled staff or users. Visibility of disability is one of the key ways of changing attitudes towards disabled people, and employing disabled staff is a known way of improving public perceptions of a business or public service. Hiring disabled staff is mutually beneficial for the library and the staff member.

Presenter Biography:

Elaine Chapman is a library assistant in Technological University Dublin. She is also autistic and passionate about making libraries as open and welcoming as possible.

Sarah Anne Kennedy is the College Librarian for the Aungier St campus of Technological University Dublin. She is passionate about improving communication and education methods in libraries, as well as general library service improvements.

The Athy Library Project: Kildare Library & Arts Service

Evelyn Cooley, Laura Larkin

This presentation will introduce the Athy Library project which saw the architecturally significant Dominican church in Athy town centre being renovated to create this transformative library which has brought new life to an iconic community space.

This project highlights the continued investment in the public library service, not alone in Kildare but throughout the country. This community facility received €1.65m from the Department of Rural and Community Development – Library Capital Investment Programme 2016-2021 with a further €2.1m provided by Kildare County Council.

The presentation will cover a number of aspects:

  • Functionality, flexibility and accessibility of the building which have been achieved by the collaborative approach with the planning input and design.
  • The position of Athy Library in the centre of Athy from a social, cultural and economic perspective
  • How this new library has redefined and developed its role in the community
  • The digital services and IT spaces and their role in the library
  • The library as a space for all

Evaluation of the new Athy Library one year one from opening – what do the statistics show but more importantly what does the community think.

Service Design with Education in Mind: Teaching Moments at Library Service Points

Johanna Archbold

As more and more libraries create new spaces and revamp old spaces, the opportunity for wider changes as a consequence of new or updated spaces is significant. A physical change in environment is a natural instigator for service change whether planned or unplanned at the design stage.

RCSI Library used the opportunity of a completely new library project to re-imagine our approach to interaction with users at our primary service point. This focused on the physical space with openness, flexibility of use and the removal of the traditional ‘service desk’ as a barrier as key drivers of the change. Our Service Design also considered the types of interactions we were having in our old library, those that we wanted to have, and how we could maximise the impact of these interactions for the benefit of our users.

After almost two years of service at this new Information Point, what has emerged through ‘activating’ this space, is an understanding of how service point interactions can be significant ‘Teaching Moments’ between library staff and our users. This paper will tease out how we have developed ‘Teaching Moments’, starting with the space design, and covering developments for different cohorts of users, particularly those who are returning to education or those requiring additional supports. Staff training, incremental improvements, and relationship development across the organization will all be discussed in the presentation to provide useful areas for consideration for other libraries planning space and service changes. 

Presenter Biography:

Johanna is the Customer Services & Communications Coordinator in RCSI Library. She has previously worked in the NLI and the Library & Research Service in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Outside libraries, Johanna held a Research Fellowship in Trinity’s Long Room Hub, worked as Enterprise Programmes Research Officer in the Irish Research Council and in Information, Education and Outreach for BLOCK T, a start-up creative enterprise in Dublin. Johanna has a PhD in 18th century print culture (TCD), an MLIS (UCD) and a Certificate in Data & Analytics (DBS). Tweeting at @Johanna_speaks

Ashbourne Library’s Music Appreciation Club, Meath CoCo Library Services Service Points

Robin Stewart

Overview:  Weekly informal group exploring all aspects and genres of music. Usually 30+ attendees, open to all. Generally comprises a mix of pensioners living (mostly alone) locally, some of whom have memory problems, and adults with learning difficulties (aged 18-50) who attend local day service centres (Prosper Meath and Rehab Care). Age range 18 – 90+ 

Aims of the Club: To foster and celebrate a love of music through weekly presentations and live music performances. The club provides a welcoming, friendly and inclusive social outlet for some of our community’s most potentially vulnerable and lonely residents, giving them an opportunity to meet, chat, enjoy the music and socialise over a cup of tea. The club serves as a springboard to introduce attendees to the full range and scope of the events and activities the library and community have to offer.

Tie-ins with wider initiatives and agencies such as Healthy Ireland, Arts Office, Bealtaine, First Fortnight, Centenary Commemorations, Local History, Age Action and a wide range of other library activities and services. 

Benefits:  Provides a fun, welcoming space for people to mentally engage with new topics, artists and themes, to discuss their interests and memories and to form friendships and empathise with one another’s experiences. Bringing together people who otherwise would be unlikely to meet and have much more in common and to learn from one another than they might initially think. Providing an informal, inclusive forum where all are treated as equals with dignity and respect.

Requirements: Inexpensive to run, funded from general library budget with small discretionary budget to purchase DVDs, Healthy Ireland contribution and €400 from Arts Office to provide four live performances a year, augmented with voluntary and visiting performers. Requires little staff time or previous knowledge from staff. Immensely rewarding for all involved and easily replicable.

Presenter Biography:

From a background of working in third level education in the area of access and disability (UCD, DCU, Maynooth University, Irish Universities Association), qualified MLIS from UCD SILS in 2010. Currently working for Meath County Council Library Services in Ashbourne Library, specialising in Community Liasion, Event Manangement, e-services and Reader Development. Contributer to Inis Magazine.


  • sgaasg