Clare County Library
Library Champions
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Library Champions

Clare County Library Champions are people who love their libraries. Anyone can become a library champion…you just have to love and use libraries!
What do you need to do? Just write a paragraph - around 200 words long - on what it is you love about libraries or how libraries help you in your life,
and send it to us by email to, or drop it in to one of our branch libraries.
You might also send us a picture of you reading or visiting a library.
Champion your library, become a Library Champion!

Councillor James Breen   Councillor John Crowe  
Councillor James Breen

Libraries in Clare provide an invaluable service to the general public of all ages. It is a lovely place to go and enjoy the variety of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and many exhibitions. You can also undertake research or use the computers. When my four children were young we made a weekly trip to the library, there they were introduced to a vast array of books to read. They brought these home and were finished well before the week was up, reading is a passion for them even today. They also used the library to study for their exams and use the books to conduct research particularly for history. My wife also used the library extensively for archaeology and genealogy. Now my 6 grandchildren are repeating what their fathers and mothers did before them, going to the library as much as possible and hopefully this will cultivate for them a love of reading. Libraries are wonderful facilities to have in the County and I would like to complement the staff on the way they deal with the general public everyday with a kind and helpful manner.

  Councillor John Crowe,
Cathaoirleach Clare County Council

The Library is not only a place of learning but it also is a refuge for those seeking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by sitting in a peaceful spot with a book of their choice. Thankfully, the people of County Clare are served by a superb network of libraries. For example, my home village of Sixmilebridge is fortunate to be served by Kilfinaghty Public Library which has a stock of over 16,500 books for adults and children. Clare County Library's broad programme of activities and initiatives helps generate a fun and learning environment for the children of the County as well as an important social outlet for adults. I regard investment in our Library service as an investment in the mental health and well-being of all members of the local community. After all, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

  Councillor Johnny Flynn,
Mayor, Ennis Municipal District 2014/2015

Just a reflection on the role of libraries in modern society:
In an article I read recently in the Sunday Times Magazine, in which Stephen Best wrote about dlr Lexicon library in Dun Laoighaire, Stephen Best described libraries in general as follows:
"…the library is a third space between home and work where people come to improve themselves or be entertained. It remains one of the few places in which we feel like citizens rather than consumers."
I agree with this statement but would expand it to say Libraries are a safe space for all to come to improve themselves or to be entertained.

John Mayer, West Dundee, Illinois, USA   Councillor Mary Howard   Greg Duff, former Mayor of Shannon
John Mayer, West Dundee, Illinois, USA

The Clare County Library has been providing clues to the mystery of Irish Genealogy, to the descendants of Clare who are scattered all over the world. I have completed research there in person and on-line. Many times the information closes the door on a project, but more often it opens more, exciting doors. Maureen Comber and Anthony Edwards are great! Thanks for your assistance and friendship over the years.

  Councillor Mary Howard

My late mother Breda instilled a love of reading in all of her eight children. She used to say that you would never be lonely if you have a good book! Books enable a person to travel, experience and delight in ways that may not be available to them otherwise. I love to read because it allows me to travel through time and space to places and events, which I find fascinating.Books also offer the benefits of knowledge. Learning about people and places, whether present day or historically, is of utmost importance to me. When we are alone, books are our best friends. They entertain us in our spare moments. At times we become so absorbed in our books that we forget even our important engagements. They provide us with the best advice and guidance in our difficulties. Indeed, books are out best friends as they help us in our need. Libraries offer a vast and varied supply of the wonders that are books to anyone who wants them. I am an old fashioned reader no ebooks or kindle for me. To sit down with a book and be filled with the sense of anticipation and wonder as to what delights await me can never be replaced by technology.
  Greg Duff, former Mayor of Shannon

I joined the library when I came to Shannon in 1970. I was in a small apartment in Drumgeely Flats then. The two words that spring to mind when I think of the library's facilities and supports are the words heart & oasis. The word heart because I am reminded, in so many ways, how the library & its excellent staff are the real heart of Shannon. So many activities happen there from story telling to civic receptions and the word Oasis, not because I borrowed a book about that famous band, but because of the nice atmosphere for all who enjoy the discovery of new authors or who are at a particular time in their lives when they need to concentrate in preparation for exams.
Donald J. Trump   Paul Madden>   Denise Dunne, Clare Haven Services
Donald J. Trump

I have always liked libraries. I like the way they look—organized, elegant—and the contents can’t be beaten. It’s hard to be bored in a good library. My family used our local libraries so that became a part of our life, and I’m grateful they were available to us. I became a diligent reader while growing up and that’s a habit I’ve retained. I like to read biographies and history books, which equips one well for business and life in general. You can learn from other people - their successes, failures and how they coped with the ups and downs of life. My parents always stressed the importance of history as a teacher and they were right. I wish we had more emphasis on that in this country - the lessons are invaluable. Libraries provided me with a tremendous education.

  Paul Madden, Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis

I believe that a Library is a very necessary resource in any Town. There is no doubt that technology advancements over the years mean that people are now reading books on electronic devices, however, it is very encouraging to see that the Library in Ennis is still a very vibrant place. I bring my children regularly and I have to say it is the one place that they respect the rule of quietness! It is important to be able to find a place to sit and relax without any hustle and bustle, especially in today’s modern society. I like this notion so much that I have put a Library Room into my Hotel and it is the only place in the building where there is no background music or TVs...the perfect place to unwind, read a book or have a little rest.

  Denise Dunne, Clare Haven Services

I have been using libraries in Clare since I first arrived in Shannon in 1974. The library used to be located in Drumgeely Flats with Mrs. Brosnan as librarian. When the Seán Lemass Library opened in Shannon it was such a needed facility for the town, and still is. Over the years I happily spent many hours in the Shannon library enjoying the peace and tranquility and browsing through the books. My children, who are both now grown-up, became members as soon as they were able. Every Friday evening we'd go down and they would change their books for the week. We attended story-telling events there, Christmas craft fairs and local art exhibitions. When I took up my current position in 2005 with Clare Haven Services, a domestic abuse service for women and children based in Ennis, my relationship with the libraries in Clare took on another dimension. Over the years they have facilitated the distribution of our leaflets and posters throughout Clare and invited us to attend information sharing events with other local community groups. Throughout the organisation of these events I cannot compliment the library staff enough. Frances O'Gorman and her team have always been so supportive of Clare Haven. In terms of social connectedness, places of learning and awareness raising of important social issues our local libraries are resources in our community that cannot be over-estimated.

Tony Griffin, author and former Clare hurler   Rachel English


  Dr. Ciarán Ó Murchadha
Tony Griffin, All-Star Hurler, author and co-founder of Soar (

I've always loved reading and the library. Reading has been a source of great inspiration throughout my life. I remember first discovering who Muhammad Ali was in my local library and getting every book I could find on him as a teenager. This started me on a journey of discovery that continues today. Reading has always been the well I returned to when I needed direction, inspiration or to re-fuel my dreams. I am happy to be a library champion. Reading brings you to another world - a world where anything is possible. We all need that extraordinary world from time to time.

  Rachael English, Broadcaster and Writer

I grew up in Shannon at a time when the town was a permanent building site with new people arriving every week. One of my first and fondest memories is of the library in the flats in Drumgeely. Along with some friends, I would walk across the town on a Saturday morning to get a fresh supply of books. Even as a child, when everything seemed enormous, I knew that our library was tiny. In fact, I worried that I’d run out of books to read. Imagine my relief when the new library opened in the early 1980s. There was something reassuring about this huge building, packed from floor to ceiling with books. From The Catcher in the Rye and The Country Girls to 1984 and the entire works of Agatha Christie, I discovered so many favourites there. Happy days.

  Dr. Ciarán Ó Murchadha

Having availed of the facilities of many libraries in Ireland and abroad over many years, I can say without exaggeration that the Clare County Library, and especially its Local Studies Centre, is quite unique. Apart from the wide range of literary, academic and reference titles in the main library, the Local Studies Centre has a comprehensive collection of published material relating to County Clare’s past that is found nowhere else. No other county in Ireland has such a facility. The collections are curated by a dedicated staff of professionals who are committed to their development and use by the public, and the surroundings are most congenial to the researcher. The Manse of the old Ennis Presbyterian Church is a remarkable venue: intimate, inviting and conducive to study and reflection and the exchange of ideas and news with other researchers and with staff. Never, ever change premises: something valuable would die if it moved to a clinical modern building.

  Mary Hester    
Daire O’Criodáin, Reader and Writer

By a country mile, Ennis library is my main resource for contemplative recreation. I rely on it most for books. The range and the speed with which they hit the shelves after publication means, maybe sadly, that I am rarely tempted to buy books nowadays. But the library also boasts an extensive catalogue of CDs which has provided the backbone for my digital music collection and it has an eclectic mix of English and foreign language films, classics and contemporary. Being able to stock up with 8 items at a time means you can stay well supplied without having to visit the well too often. Moreover, the library brings its shop window into your home via its website where you can see the full menu of everything it has to offer so that you can prepare your shopping list before you visit and, indeed, ask the friendly staff to hold items for you. More recently, I have come to enjoy the library as a place simply to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the town. It constitutes a haven of peace and quiet, a kind of secular cathedral. To me, libraries generally represent the best embodiment of socialism in action; shared ownership and shared enjoyment of resources, with a genuine mission to inform and educate as well as to entertain. Hard to ask for more, really!


Mary Hester

The word library for me conjures up a magical place. Growing up in Ballynacally in the 1950s a mobile library visited Hewson’s every so often. I remember gazing longingly at the press which held the books - none for children. Boarding school in the ‘sixties was an improvement - another press with books but this time they were available. A very forward looking head nun even gave me ‘The Cardinal’ to read. On to Cork then and the City Library on the Grand Parade opened up to me the world of Hardy, Eliot, Hugo, Tolstoy, Steinbeck and a host of other authors. But it is Clare County Library and The Local Studies Centre which is my Aladdin’s Cave. If I am ‘missing’ my family knows where to find me - the library. No need to say where, there is only one library that counts. A favourite memory is visiting the DeValera Public Library some days before Christmas a few years ago and finding at least six newly published books on the shelves. What a Christmas present! Now retired and ‘on the pension’ I never have to buy a book. All one has to do is request them. Isn’t that a service? The Kindle for me has little attraction while we have such a service in Clare. While researching my thesis six years ago Clare Local Studies Centre had so much information available to me through local newspapers and books that I rarely had to search further afield. The wet summer of 2009 was spent in the centre and the weather didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the task in hand. My children also appreciated all the events available to them during Children’s Book Festival when they were young and of course that was a welcome respite for me at that time. I am a huge ‘Champion’ of Clare County Library. It is surely one of the treasures of our county.



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