JCSP Libraries Project is 2019 recipient of Children’s Books Ireland Annual Award

The Junior Certificate School Programme Demonstration Library Project, led by Kathleen Moran, is the winner of the 2019 Children’s Books Ireland Award, given at the 2019 Children’s Books Ireland International Conference at Light House Cinema, Dublin on Saturday 21st September.

This award is made to an individual or organisation in recognition of an outstanding contribution to children’s books and to the reading lives of children in Ireland. The recipient is nominated by the members of Children’s Books Ireland and highlights the importance of reading for pleasure and the work that individuals and organisations around the country undertake to further that aim.

In 2002 the Junior Certificate School Programme Demonstration Library Project was established as a completely new library service focused on the literacy needs of underachieving, disadvantaged students in lower secondary school. To date, over 200,000 students have benefitted directly from having access to a JCSP library and librarian in their schools, and tens of thousands more have benefitted from the range of outreach initiatives that the Project coordinates. Over the last school year, over 120,000 books were borrowed by the 10,000 students in the 30 JCSP Library Project schools. Kathleen Moran has led the project since 2006 and has been instrumental in developing and growing the project by building new partnerships and seeking additional funding to allow the project to flourish, acting as an advocate for the importance of school libraries.

This award from Children’s Books Ireland will allow all 30 JSCP librarians to attend the 2020 International Conference, a weekend long celebration of the very best of children’s books, allowing a unique opportunity to critically reflect on the impact, imagination and importance of books for young people.

‘School libraries are so crucial in ensuring that all young people have equal access to the joy of reading and all its associated benefits,’ said Children’s Books Ireland CEO Elaina Ryan. ‘The JCSP Library Project is exemplary in the work it does to enthuse and engage young people, and it is more than deserving of this award in recognition of the significant impact it has had on so many young readers.’

Jane O’Hanlon, Poetry Ireland’s Education Officer, who announced the award winner, said, ‘Kathleen Moran and the JCSP Library team has been tireless in their endeavours to ensure that the cohort of students that are targeted by the Project are supported to develop a life-long joy of reading and are given the tools they need to successfully navigate their world as 21st century learners.’

Previous recipients of this award include: Eason bookseller, children’s and young adults book buyer and programmer of Deptcon, David O’Callaghan; lecturer and co-founder of TCD’s MPhil in Popular Literature Amanda Piesse; author, programmer and former dlr libraries Writer in Residence Sarah Webb; author, former Laureate na nÓg and publisher Siobhán Parkinson; retired teacher Irene Barber; Fighting Words; retired teacher Liz Morris, publisher and author Colmán Ó’Raghallaigh and retired librarian Rosemary Hetherington.