In November last year I had the opportunity to take part in the Library Ireland Job Swop Initiative. My swop was with Kildare County Library and Arts Service.
It involved shadowing a member of staff for a half-day in the local Public Library on Main Street, Maynooth. Keith, from the public library then returned to us for a day. Kildare Library Service has a countywide network of 15 branches of which Maynooth is one. The Headquarters of the Service is located in Newbridge.
Upon my arrival at the Library at 9.30 am I was welcomed by Keith. He introduced me to the other Staff members all of whom welcomed me to their workplace. Following this he took me on a tour of the library pointing out the various categories of material housed there, including Fiction, Non-Fiction, Large Print, Childrens’ Books, Audio Visual Material, Computers Area, Business Support Stand and various reading areas.
We discussed the sourcing and ordering of new material, how the inter-library loan service works, the type of events the Library hosts and the range of community groups served by the Library in its catchment area and beyond.
The library is widely used by children, ranging from pre-schoolers to older teens. It was great to see this and to know the impact this will have on the literacy skills of the children. Apart from young readers, the library hosts Community Groups who wish to hold small group sessions/classes. There is a meeting room in the Library that is used specifically for this purpose and groups such as the local Knitting Group, the Spanish and Polish conversation classes, the Creative Writing Group and lots more, use this facility on a regular basis.
Next we took a look at the inter-library loans; a delivery a material had just arrived from other libraries that morning. Keith processed a number of these items explaining to me the steps involved in inputting the information on the Library system and notifying patrons that their requested material was now available.
The Library provides a number of online services such as eBooks, Digital Library, eLanguage Learning, eLearning Online Courses and eServices. eServices allows one to search the catalogue, check what items one has on loan, extend the loan period, request an item and check for fines or blocks.
Other online facilities include eHistory, which provides a wide range of material relating to the history, archaeology and heritage of County Kildare. This is of particular interest to Local and Family History Groups while eMagazines provides online access to 35 popular magazine and periodical titles. eLearning is yet another online facility that provides members with access to over 500 unique online continuing education courses. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online is also available. It is set at three different levels catering for 18+, Secondary and Primary School age groups.
Members can also sign up for SMS Texting Service which will remind them when their books are due or overdue and also let them know if the material they requested in ready for collection. An eMailing Service is available through which information about upcoming events both at the local branch library and countrywide is posted. The Libanywhere App allows members to manage their accounts on the go. The Library has two late opening evenings during the week until 8 p.m. and opens for a half-day on Saturdays, which is a very busy day.
Following a short coffee break I signed up as a member of the Library and borrowed a book on my brand new library account! Keith talked me through the steps involved and issued me with a Library Membership Card along with a key-ring version. I was also given a PIN for on-line use and a Book Mark depicting their slogan “There is time for everyone at Maynooth Community Library”. We rounded off my visit with some light-hearted discussion on reading preferences, and I discovered that one of my favourite authors, Martina Reilly, would be visiting Maynooth in the coming days.
My visit to Maynooth Public Library was an enjoyable, informative and memorable occasion and I will definitely be paying a return visit there in the near future.