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Foto wins Excellence in Local Government Award in Arts and Culture category

Clare County Council was well represented in Chamber Ireland’s Excellence in Local Government Awards 2007. For the second year running Clare County Library projects were shortlisted in the prestigious competition. The Chambers of Commerce of Ireland established these awards to acknowledge and encourage best practice and constructive initiatives by local authorities and also to enhance the positive relationships that already exist between chambers, businesses and their respective local authorities. Now in their fourth year, these awards celebrate excellence in what is a vital area of interest to the Chamber movement both locally and nationally. The overall winners were announced at a special function in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin on 8th November. The awards ceremony took place in association with the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

The two projects shortlisted for Clare County Library were ‘Foto, Clare County Library Images online’, and ‘Historic Maps of County Clare’, another online project. The photographic project was the winner in the Arts and Culture category, which included Donegal County Council’s ‘Flight of the Earls Commemorative Programme 2007’; Dublin City Council’s ‘Hotel Ballymun’; Galway City Council and Galway County Council’s ‘Integrated Arts Service’ and Leitrim County Council’s ‘eNfore Art – Percent for Art Projec’t. ‘Foto’ was launched in August 2004 and is an online image database made available through Clare County Library’s website. To date it contains over 8,000 images. Initially, the project concentrated on digitising the photographic collections held by the Library. Later, the library commissioned an amateur photographer with an interest in archeology to take photographs. Also, a number of photographers have come forward and offered their collections for inclusion in the project. The collections date from the beginning of the 20th century and cover topics like archaeology, architecture, railways, landscape, flora, postcards, mortuary cards, gravestones and people.

The naming of unidentified people and places in some of the photographs may be undertaken by members of the public through an electronic form on the website. A large number of website users have been in touch to fill in the names of people they recognise in the photographs. In addition, the library contacts schools and individuals to help in identification. The library allows the public to download, and print free, any images of which the library holds copyright. The online photographs have captured the interest and imagination of many and encouraged a dialogue between the library and many of its clients.

14th November 2007

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