Transatlantic Children’s Reading Challenge Wins Top Honour At Local Government Awards 2008

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Fri Nov 07 2008

The local authority received the prestigious honour for the "WOW Transatlantic Children’s Reading Challenge" project, which is organised by Clare County Library.

The project involves thousands of children from County Clare, Nova Scotia, London, and the United States 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 Program", which was 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 together with libraries. The police act as the bridge between the community and the library, and in return, the library develops programs and activities that directly impact literacy amongst children. Primary School children are asked to take up the challenge to read as much as they can during the year, using books at school, at home and from the public library.

Mayor of Clare, Cllr. Madeleine Taylor Quinn expressed delight with the award success noting that it followed less than two months after the Clare County Council Motor Taxation Office was presented with two national awards by the Excellence Ireland Quality Association (EIQA).

She added that the recent awards underlined the high quality of service being delivered by Local Government across a variety of areas.

Commenting on the Adopt-A-Library programme, The Mayor said, "I understand that Clare County Library is conscious of presenting the WOW Reading Challenge as a fun exercise where teachers, schoolchildren, the library and An Garda Síochána join as a community, to promote reading as a fun and inclusive exercise. From the library’s point of view, the ultimate aim is to encourage the children to read and use the library more. From An Garda Síochána’s point of view the WOW Reading Challenge is the ideal opportunity to engage in community policing and to advocate literacy as a means of ensuring children and youth have high self esteem and feel in control of their lives", explained the Mayor

Commenting on the role played by An Garda Siochana in delivering the programme, Mayor Taylor Quinn stated, "Gardai at Ennis Garda Headquarters, under the supervision of Sgt. John Staunton, has been exceedingly supportive of the project. Joining with the library service Clare Garda Division assigned fifteen members of the Gardai to the project, who visited schools on a regular basis, sometimes with library staff, to promote the challenge and to drive home the message that increased literacy means decreased crime. Teachers and Clare County Library staff involved in the project all agree that the participating Gardaí worked far beyond the call of duty in engaging and inspiring the young readers in the schools they visited."

Commenting on the award success, Chief Superintendent Gerry Mahon, said, "The Clare Division of An Garda Siochana is delighted to be associated with this immensely successful project, which has brought together children from two Continents under a common cause. Members of An Garda Siochana will continue to assist with this project, the continuation of which will prove be of huge benefit to many young people. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Clare County Library for developing this innovative project and earning this award".

Clare Schools that performed especially well 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 among schools in Nova Scotia, London and the US. Big Tancook Elementary School in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada, took first place out of the four participating countries.

Prizes were presented to Lahinch, Furglan and Clouna National Schools, in Ennistymon on the 22nd May 2008 by the then Mayor of Clare, Councillor Patricia McCarthy.


Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
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