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Scariff Library begin collaboration with First Fortnight

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Scariff Library are running a monthly online book club through Zoom, in conjunction with First Fortnight, a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action.

The first meeting took place on Tuesday January 12 at 11am and looked at Matt Haig’s ‘The Midnight Library’. The novel, released in 2020, tells the story of a woman who steps into the possibilities of her life, inspecting both the best and worst possible outcomes.

Linking with the national First Fortnight festival, ‘The Midnight Library’ was selected from the Mind Reading recommended reading list. Clare County Library has been linked with First Fortnight Festivals for years, tells Senior Executive Librarian Cora Gunter. It’s all about creating awareness and letting members know that these books have these themes in them, she explains. The Scariff Branch joins a number of other Clare branches who have been operating book clubs before and during the lockdowns.

“We find that it is a bit of challenge for our members with regards to technology. Overall, that link and connection back into the group is beneficial. In sharing a reading experience, members of our book clubs and communities will have the opportunity to give their views and opinions after reading it. We wanted to keep this going through the third lockdown. The other two previous times we had them up and running. This lockdown has been more challenging than the others and this offers members of the community the chance to engage with their peers,” Cora states.

Zoom allows for an air of inclusivity, she stresses. Each book club contains between 8 and 10 members. Cora references several workshops delivered to book clubs throughout the County Library services. One particular workshop in Scariff brought in the author, allowing participants to discuss their views and opinions with the author throughout the session.

She states, “We would prefer our book clubs to be coming into the library. The Ennis Library runs three separate book club groups. Our preference would certainly be to have them in person. Obviously, we are following guidelines, and this is an adaptation in the same way everyone else is having to adapt”.

Anyone interested can contact their local branch. Bigger branches that are staffed are operating book clubs. The book will be delivered out to individuals that are cocooning or older and can also be accessed online. Clare County Library have a lot of resources through Borrow Box, where individuals can download the audio book or the full version also.

An avid reader from a young age, Cian’s love of the archives has been shared by Clare Echo readers who enjoy his Reeling in The Years section. Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett and Michael Crichton were his favourites writers in his younger years while he was always a fan of studying the opinion columns in The Irish Independent. A past pupil of Lissycasey National School and St Flannan’s College, he is currently completing his final year studies at the University of Limerick in New Media and English. From September, he will be commencing a Masters Degree in Journalism at UL.

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