The Robert Dunbar Memorial Libraries 2019/20

Children’s Books Ireland is pleased to announce the six schools which have been chosen to receive the 2019/20 Robert Dunbar Memorial Libraries, named in memory of our former patron and long-time friend of the organisation. Children’s Books Ireland received three hundred applications from schools all over the island of Ireland for this round and has received over 700 applications in the three years that the scheme has been in existence. This year, we are pleased to be able to extend the scheme to six schools, an increase from the three schools advertised.  There are now fifteen Robert Dunbar Memorial Libraries across the island of Ireland.

The winning schools and their Champions of Reading are:

Primary Schools

Aillebrack National School Galway Alan Nolan
Graiguenamanagh National School Kilkenny Alan Early
St Conaire’s National School Clare Judi Curtin
Sunday’s Well Boys National School Cork Olivia Golden

Secondary Schools

Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School Waterford Sarah Maria Griffin
St Aloysius’s Girls Secondary School Cork Sarah Maria Griffin

Each school was originally to receive libraries worth up to €2500 plus an artist as Champion of Reading visiting the school six times. With the current Covid-19 crisis, we have been working with each school to tailor a digital offering, with each Champion of Reading creating excellent work to encourage creativity at home for the students in the schools they are mentoring. We will continue to work with each school in September to hand over excellent new books for their library with an artist event, in person or in digital format. While responding to these project changes, the budget has freed up further funding to be spent on books. Each school will now receive between €3500 to €4500 worth of books, with lots of great class sets too thanks to generous publisher donations.

Here’s what the Champions of Reading have been up to at each school.

Graignemanagh National School, Kilkenny  – Alan Early

Alan worked with ER Murray on a series of videos on writing, on topics like ideas, characters, setting and the five senses, with each video containing top tips and writing challenges from both artists.

St Conaire’s National School, Clare – Judi Curtin

Judi has created a video series encouraging children to write on topics like time travel, developing characters, plot, with resource documents of questions and tips included for the teachers to share with the students.

Sunday’s Well Boys National School, Cork – Olivia Golden

Olivia has run ‘Create Your Own Book’ – a video series which breaks down the various elements (characters, place, colour, lettering) in illustrating a book with the aim that by the end the students will create their own book. Check out some of the brilliant artwork below!

St Aloysius Girls Secondary School, Cork and Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School, Waterford – Sarah Maria Griffin.

Sarah ran zinemaking video workshops with the two secondary schools she is working with. Sarah made a series of short videos introducing the history of zines and their context. She has also sent each school tips and ideas, suggestions on getting started with supporting materials and a series of zine prompts. In subsequent videos, she broke down some of her recent zines from first idea to final creation and the creative process inbetween. She also worked with author Dave Rudden on two ‘in conversation’ sessions where they interviewed each other and answered questions from students in their schools.

Aillebrack National School, Connemara  – Alan Nolan.

Alan created a series of four short videos on different topics such as Design Your Own Superhero, a ‘Brain Swap’ workshop, kinetic paper sculptures and more. This school is small, with 40 pupils, so Alan worked hard to create videos that have lots to interest the widest possible variety of ages. Aillebrack NS students are penpals with students at Inishbofin NS, so the island students were also included and sent Alan’s videos. Check out some of the amazing  artwork below!

Support for the Robert Dunbar Memorial Libraries is gratefully received from the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency, publishers Gill Books, The O’Brien Press, Little Island Books as well as Walker Books, Penguin Random House Ireland and HarperCollins Ireland who generously donated additional titles. The Annual Children’s Books Ireland Christmas Table Quiz also raised funds for this project.