Nenagh Library was the place to be on Saturday, the 15th September, where over 560 children and their proud parents gathered to be presented with Reading Tree certificates and medals.
The children had taken part in our annual Summer Reading Project and read 6 books (and in most cases multiples of 6!) throughout the months of July and August.
For every book they read they put a leaf on our tree and the results were there for everyone to admire on Saturday.
This Summer Reading Programme is a collaborative effort and so the children sat down and waited patiently for the speeches to be finished and the real business of the day to start.
Librarian Margaret Ryan welcomed everybody to the library and began by thanking the sponsors of this year’s Reading Tree, Stakelums of Thurles and the North Tipperary LEADER Project (NTLP). In deference to this new age of austerity much was made of the fact that medals could not have been presented were it not for the kind sponsorship of Stakelums, who were delighted to be part of this event. The children were duly impressed. Again, the librarian thanked the NTLP for their generous financial donation which helped fund bookstock for the very successful book bus that visited Newport during the Summer months.
The Book Bus has visited Newport every Wednesday during the Summer months for the past three years and serves the community not just of Newport but also Lackamore, Rearcross, Ballina, Birdhill, Ballinahinch and Murroe, Co. Limerick.
This year over 100 children read over 1300 books over the 6 week period of the Summer Reading Camp in Newport. Unfortunately, due to staff shortages it could only visit for 6 weeks and indeed would not have been possible at all were it not for our volunteers.
Mary Vaughan from Newport has been a stalwart with the book bus for the past two years and is always ready to step into the breach.
This year we were joined at different times by Rebecca Ryan from Newport and Shauna Callanan from Murroe. Both Rebecca and Shauna had just finished their Leaving Cert. and it was heartening to see them volunteering and giving back to their community. It is wonderful to see local people getting involved in staffing the Book Bus and indeed it will be necessary in the future if the bus is to continue coming to Newport.
Nenagh library staff acknowledged the commitment shown by parents, grandparents and childminders who not only took the time to bring their children to the library and book bus every week but encouraged them to read and, in the case of the little ones, spent time reading to them.
Joining a child at their local library and reading to them from a young age is one of the great gifts that parents can give their children and it’s free, which is surely something to cheer about in Ireland today.
Finally, it was the children’s turn to be congratulated and thanked. They had completed the Reading Challenge and helped dress our trees.
They had kept library staff busy all Summer, cutting out leaves to put on the trees and getting books by their favourite authors for them.
For those who weren’t quite sure what they wanted to read but knew that they wanted a medal at the end of Summer they had kept staff on their toes suggesting suitable authors that they knew would interest the children if given a chance. And sure enough they did and then it was the task of library staff to keep that new found interest alive with still more books and authors.
But those children had also done one other very important thing. Over 560 of them took part in this programme and in so doing they sent out a clear message to the adults in charge. We need our libraries; we need our books. We read a lot and so you need to keep us supplied with our favourite books.
For this reason staff at Nenagh library thanked them.