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Clare County Library and St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point have joined forces to promote reading for pleasure among students.

During December, Clare County Library staff provided an input to the ‘Well Read’ reading initiative currently running at the school.  Library Staff including Patricia Fitzgerald, Mona O’Connor and Helen Flynn made a presentation to first year students on what the public library service has to offer.

Topics covered included general information on library services from how to become a library member, thus enabling students to borrow items from any of the 330 libraries throughout Ireland, including Miltown Malbay Public Library. There was also a sample collection of books and graphic novels for teenagers on display on the day.

Students learned how to create and access their own library account online, how to download e-books and e-audio books, how to find their favourite magazines through the library website and learned about the extensive support available to them in all their school subjects through regularly visiting the library to borrow books and by visiting the library website.

Designed and organised b the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), ‘The Well Read National Award’ is a national initiative which aims to create heightened awareness about the importance of creating a culture of reading in school communities for young people as part of their personal and academic development.  One of the fundamental principles of the programme involves creating links with relevant stakeholders and the external community such as parents, newspapers and local libraries.

Class visits and teen book clubs at Miltown Malbay Library are just two of the initiatives currently being discussed as part of the newly established collaboration. The ‘Well Read’ programme at St. Joseph’s Secondary School corroborates Libraries Ireland’s Right to Read policy of which Clare County Library is a firm advocate. In delivering the Right to Read strategy Clare County Library plans to continue to build on existing good practice and to support and further develop several literacy initiatives already underway in the community.

Within the school, ‘Well Read’ initiatives are well underway. In recent months, there have been several innovative projects such as a Christmas ‘Book Tree, ‘Book in the Bag’ and ‘Drop Everything and Read’, which provide students with incentives for more regular reading. Additionally, Book Review boards, which are displayed in various locations throughout the school, have been created. In the coming weeks “Teacher Recommends” books will be rolled out. The books will be displayed outside of classrooms, accompanied by brief synopses. An online book club, which will provide monthly recommendations is also in the works. This site can be accessed by the wider community, allowing for reading to be promoted in the school, as well as the wider community. Through such initiatives, St Joseph’s aim to increase literacy standards as well as foster a culture of reading for pleasure. This initiative also encourages increased engagement between students, teachers, parents and the community.

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