Libraries continue to thrive with over 335,000 library visits in Donegal last year
Donegal County Council assistant librarian and a native from Sligo, Rory Gallagher explains the ins and outs of his job and how in his opinion no amount of technology will replace a good old fashioned book.
“I’m the Assistant Librarian for three libraries in South Donegal these include Bundoran community library, Ballyshannon branch library and DonegalTown branch library. I joined Donegal County Council in September 2001. So that was twelve and a half years ago, that’s unbelievable, he laughed.
Tinfoil sculpture outside picture
“My everyday job does include issuing and returning books to the library, but as a librarian my work also gives me the opportunity to work researching local history, organising events, supporting community groups and local businesses and helping people use computers and genealogical resources.
“I think that traditionally the library’s image as a place of books might lead you into thinking we are under threat from new technologies like e-books or online information sources, but in fact the opposite is true.
“Books are just the means to distribute what we really provide in the library service, and that is Information. New technologies such as kindle and Google books expand the ways we make, use and distribute information. As people change the way that they use information the library of the future will reflect this.
“There is a quote from author Neil Giaman that illustrates the importance of libraries in the 21st century, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one”
Rory says the library is a place for everyone, young and old a like to get lost in the adventure of reading.
Engrossed in a good book
“Every demographic group is represented in our library users. We try hard to identify the needs of our users and tailor the library to suit them. If you visit the library on any day of the week you‘ll find people from every age group and walk of life enjoying some aspect of the services we provide.
“Parents and toddlers come to Rhymetime every Friday at 11am, Children can come and enjoy author and literacy events or research school projects on our computers. Teenagers use the library as a quiet study location and to socialise. Tourists use the library as a resource for staying in touch with home and for local information. For adults we are a source of any type of information that they may require be it official forms, health information, educational support, business and employment resources, internet or printer access. And last but not least free lending of books for all.”
Rory says that the amount of people visiting the library is astonishing.
“Statistically speaking participation in the library has never been higher we had over 335,000 visitors to the library in 2013 and they borrowed 344,000 items.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the demand for library services will only increase as our communities and economy become more reliant on quick and open access to quality information.”
Highlighting the issue of getting people back into reading the old fashioned way Rory says it’s been a concern of every new generation.
“Recently a librarian in Bundoran was researching local newspapers from the 1950’s on microfilm, and found an interesting article discussing the problems of getting young people to read more and away from the distractions of modern music, these days its social media sites but the principle is the same.
“I think that our libraries need to remain relevant to the needs of the community and the challenge is to support our fast paced and diverse modern community by investing in new technologies and services. If we do that then people will naturally come to us. It’s not about Facebook it’s about real books, laughed Rory.”
- Bundoran Library has a full size Pteranodon (Flying Dinosaur) skeleton suspended from the ceiling.
- If you wanted to borrow every book, CD and DVD in the Donegal libraries you would need a book shelf over 5 kilometers long.
- March is Fines Amnesty Month in the library, If you’re worried about any books that you have borrowed and are ovedue just return them during the month of March and we’ll cancel any fines, So now there’s no excuse to come visit us.
- Bundoran Library – 071 9829665
- Ballyshannon library- 071 9858824
- DonegalTown Library – 074 9725329
- For more info on Donegal Libraries visit www.donegallibrary.ie or follow us on Facebook or on Twitter @donegallibrary