We are fortunate indeed that we have a library service here locally strategically located in the Ardkeen Stores Complex but doubly fortunate in the sheer quality and amazing range of services it actually provides. When you visit the Ardkeen Library it readily becomes evidently even abundantly clear that it is no longer just about books- we hope to bring you in this column a guide to the very varied range of services it provides today. Earlier this Summer (May) the Library here marked up its 7th anniversary here at Ardkeen so I thought it appropriate that we should celebrate its achievements to date and applaud the wonderful work of this service and the knowledgeable and ever obliging professionalism of the staff who have contributed to that success.


Here’s some number-crunching for you to get across the sheer volume of the service here at Ardkeen. While the modern library is no longer just about books as we said, they nevertheless constitute a core activity and will maintain their traditional pre-eminent position. Here the regular stock is comprised of over 5,000 books of fiction plus a very varied range of non-fiction which amounts to well over 7,000 items. But now in addition to these there are about 560 audiobooks, 1700 DVDs and in excess of 1660 CDs and language packs. Increasingly there is a good selection of computer games. The library has in recent times created a new space for teenagers with new collections of manga and computer games – Mamga books- graphic novels aimed at teenagers. Computer games include Nintendo Wii and PS33 games.

Furthermore, the children’s library section has been redeveloped with new shelves to display items better, increased stock of children’s DVDs almost 500, audio books over 250- now that’s impressive.

On top of all that the library here subscribes to over 100 magazines ranging from Hello, Leisure Painter, BBC Good Food, Autocar and Photography. There is, of course the very popular newspaper reading area – which has been allocated a new space amply supplied with the top local and national titles.

I also like another recent initiative which presents a ‘quick-pick’ fiction and non-fiction books including a classics section.

Further, the use of the library’s 9 computer terminals is hugely popular and represents a fabulous service. There 6 dedicated for adult use and 3 allocated for younger folk – all are in regular use and its free though you are given an allotted time ( up to 50 minutes) for their use, but then again its quite generous and flexible. The library by the way organises internet classes, so no excuse if you’re virginal in IT terms. Don’t forget there is also the amazing Ardkeen online service which is truly comprehensive in scope.

Great figures

To give you further indication of the level of activity and sheer volumes using the library at Ardkeen here’s some more impressive figures (according to the last full year report 2008): 129, 702 visits/use of a library service; of which 10, 589 were uses of the computer service. In June 09 there were 3,715 active users eg borrowers/browsers. Let’s take a snap shot of one day recently – Tuesday 6th August, of items borrowed, Adult fiction: 109, Adult non-fiction: 101, Adult DVDs: 76, Children’s DVDs: 39, Children’s books: 153, Teenage items: 54, Adult CDs: 18, Audio-books: 20, Large print books: 12, Magazines: 20, Others: 4. As we are crunching numbers it might be a good place to mention how much all this service costs the public- sounds it should be a lot given the range, quantity and variety but no, not a bit, the annual fee for an adult is 15 Euro; 6 for student or unwaged, 3 for a senior citizen and totally free for anyone under 18! That in any terms is remarkable value for something so valuable as open access to knowledge and entertainment and all on your door step!

So much more

Throughout the year varies events are organised in conjunction with the Central Library in the city and the branch at Paddy Brown’s Road – some are nationally organised while others are particular to Waterford. The list includes Aontas (adult education programmes); Library Ireland Week; Seachtain na Gaeilge; Bealtaine: Heritage Week (current); Literacy Awareness; Positive Ageing; Children’s Book Festival; Science Week; Sean Dunne Festival; Summer Sessions (ongoing).

Then to add all that there is a very active and worthwhile outreach/collaboration/partnerships with outside bodies which include such groups as local crèches, community development, women’s networks, home educators, VEC, Ardkeen online; Barnardos, literacy and parenting groups. Furthermore, I was most impressed to hear of the school lending programme and welcomes teachers in the area to call and discuss this first rate initiative especially for the times that are in it.

And of course, there’s a whole range of classes, talks and clubs, be it gardening, art, local history, internet, readings from visiting authors, exhibitions, alternativetherapies. Starting soon in response to popular demand will be a knitting club and a Warhammer Club – more about both and others another day soon. Meanwhile enjoy and perhaps participate in the upcoming Heritage Week

Heritage Week

Heritage Week will run from Saturday 22nd August to Sunday 30th August 2009. To celebrate Heritage Week, Ardkeen Library will have the following events:

Irish Dancing Exhibition with SCOR traditional Irish dancers at Ardkeen Shopping Centre Foyer on Saturday 22nd August at 2.00pm

Researching Local History on the Web

Are you interested in local history or would you like to find out how to research your family tree, if so then this class at Ardkeen Library will provide you with the skills you will need. Participants do not need to know anything about researching local history but a basic knowledge of how to search the internet will be needed. The class will be on Friday 29th August at 10.15am and must be booked in advance. Bookings can be made at Ardkeen Library, by telephone on 051 849755, 051 843633 or e-mail tfahey@waterfordcity.ie The same contact numbers/address for any other queries re Heritage Week.

Our Heritage: A Shared Inheritance an exhibition by Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland will be display at Ardkeen library during August and September. Our Heritage: A Shared Inheritance tells us about our built heritage, which encompasses the places where people were born, lived, learned, fished and traded, and how we can play our part in defining, preserving and examining our heritage.

I’m sure you will agree that we are indeed fortunate to be so well served by the Ardkeen Library and its staff ably led by senior librarian Sinead Cummins who gave me such valuable and generous assistance in compiling this account. Credit is due also to the work of City Librarian, Jane Cantwell and indeed to the City Council for their recognition of the invaluable role of libraries in our society and thus providing the essential financial support resulting in Waterford having one of the finest library services in the country. This is even more important during these recessionary times as there has already been increasing numbers using the library services. It is generally acknowledged now that building a ‘smart’ or knowledge-based economy is the best way out of where we are. So fortunate indeed then that we have a service ‘ready willing and able’ on our doorstep.

Go Seachtain Eile, Slan.