The Library Goes On Line

Clare Champion, Friday, 19th November, 1999.

Thanks to a 100,000 grant from the Eircom Ennis Information Age Town Project, Clare County Library's plans to allow readers to bring their library home with them when they surf the net have now come to fruition. In the comfort of their own homes, they will be able to search the Library catalogue, check to see what books they have on loan and renew them. Plans to allow clients to place reservations on books through the Internet are well advanced and this facility will be available early in the New Year. The library also plans to communicate with its customers directly via e-mail.

People can also search a wide ranging Community Information database featuring clubs, societies and organisations in Clare, local facilities, education and training. This service enhances the information contained on the library's first award-winning website which contains a host of information on the Banner County, its people, places and history. The Department of the Environment is looking keenly at this project with a view to shaping the future of technology in public libraries in Ireland. The Department, in fact, has contributed substantial funding towards the project.

Over the last four years, Clare County Library has been re-inventing itself and the services it offers to the public. At present, all branch libraries are on-line using high-speed ISDN links. The library is a member of Talis Information Ltd. (formerly BLCMP), a co-operative of over eighty public, special and academic libraries, giving the library immediate access to the largest bibliographic database in Europe of over 15 million records.

This new venture, in partnership with the Information Age Town project, is a huge step forward with full and free access to the library catalogue and community information database being available from anywhere in the world. This is a first for Irish public libraries and establishes Clare County Library at the forefront of library development worldwide.

Internet Access in Branch Libraries

"As part of the Information site, it is very helpful and informative to those of us who, for now, are limited to visiting your lovely country through the miracle of technology", Jim Anderson, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

If you are a pupil or student researching any topic; if you are a teacher planning project work or outings to places of interest; if you are a newcomer to Clare and are wondering how to join a Badminton Club; if you are from Paris, Texas, and are planning a visit to Clare; if you are researching your ancestors; if you are looking for a good read and help to find it; if you are a parent whose child wants to know the inventor of the submarine; all this and much more will be satisfied by the click of a mouse when Clare County Library's Online Information Age Town Project becomes a reality.

As part of the Society Commission's drive to increase the use of modern technology, Clare County Library have received funding from the Department of Environment to make available 54 Internet access points throughout its branch library structure. This allows everyone in the county to have free Internet Access, courtesy of the county library service. In the case of De Valera Branch Library in Ennis, eircom Ennis Information Age Town has made available the most modern, high-speed communications facility, ADSL, which will ensure that the twelve access points in the branch will have instant access to the Web. This community-access facility will also allow the public full access to a wide range of PC Application Software.

The library's new Web address is http://www.clarelibrary.ie  The former library website (www.iol.ie/~clarelib) has been hailed by other library services as a model of its kind.

"Hello Clare County Library! I work in a library in Ontario, Canada. We are just starting to design our website, so I am searching public library sites all around the world for "do's" and "don't's". Your site provided lots of positive concepts!  Wonderful colours and graphics. Simple to use and I enjoyed your interesting library history. Definitely one of the better library websites I have visited", Sandi Hall, Waterloo Public Library, Canada.

"Hello, I was on the Web trying to learn a little about my Irish heritage when I found the Clare County Library Website. My ancestors came from Clare and I'm pleased that you have such a wonderful library and a great Website. No wonder my father was such an avid reader and had children who read a great deal - it must be in the blood!" Lisa (Clancy) Murphy, Florida, U.S.A.

Attending the launch of the new Clare
Library Website were from left : Anthony
Edwards, Executive Librarian; William
Moloney, County Manager; Noel Crowley,
County Librarian and Michael Byrne,
CEO Ennis Information Age Town.

Photograph by Eamon Ward, Clare Champion.

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