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Library Award for Reading Challenge

Clare People, Tuesday, 11th November 2008

by Tom McCullough

Clare County Council was named overall winner of the 'Arts and Culture' category at the Chamber's Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards in Dublin last night. The local authority received the honour for the "WOW Transatlantic Children's Reading Challenge". The project involves thousands of children from Clare, Nova Scotia, London and the US who 'compete' with one another to become the best readers in the world, in order to reduce crime through increased literacy.

The initiative forms part of the 'Adopt-A-Library Literacy Programme' developed by Clare County Library in 2006 in partnership with An Garda Siochana, National Schools in Clare, Pictou Antigonish Regional Library (Nova Scotia, Canada) and The Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Adopt-A-Library works by connecting policing agencies with libraries. The police act as the bridge between the community and the library and, in return, the library develops programmes and activities that directly impact on literacy amongst children. Primary school children are asked to take up the challenge to read as much as they can during the year.

Mayor of Clare, Cllr. Madeleine Taylor Quinn, expressed delight with the award, noting that it followed less than two months after the council motor tax office was presented with two national awards by the Excellence Ireland Quality Association (EIQA). Commenting on the role played by An Garda Siochana in delivering the programme, she said the Gardaí were assigned to the project and visited schools on a regular basis to promote the challenge and to drive home the message that increased literacy means decreased crime.

Commenting on the award success, Chief Superintendent Gerry Mahon said An Garda Siochana was delighted to be associated with this immensely successful project.

Clare schools that perfromed especially well in this year's "WOW Transatlantic Children's Reading Challenge" included Lahinch National School and Furglan National School who came second and third respectively in the overall International Challenge. Big Tancook Elementary School in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada took first place out of the four participating countries.

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