Why you should join your local library

A library is like having the internet in a building. If you can imagine it, chances are someone has written about it. And in the same way that clicking a link brings something new, each shelf or room in a library offers more and more new discoveries for the curious mind.

If you think a library is a dusty old building full of old people telling you to shush, where all you can do is get a book…then think again.


I was going to a flowery, romantic piece about how brilliant libraries are, how they open portals to other worlds found only in books, are a playground for the imagination, and can take you to places you might never visit. But, while all of that might be true, the reality is the Library Service speaks for itself on a much more practical level.


Yep – That’s MY library card 🙂

What my library card does

A good library service really is one of the best things our County Council provides for us.

Think about it for a minute.


That’s just the stuff you take away from the library!

Stay in the library and –

  • You get free wi-fi,  and use of computers
  • There is study space if you are a student – quiet space for homework
  • You can sign up for, and take, e-learning classes (Not available in all of Wicklow’s libraries)
  • You can sit and read a magazine or newspaper freely available for all
  • There are places to find out about your local, and sometimes, family history
  • All libraries tend to have story time events for little ones, so a great place for both parents and children to meet with friends
  • There are book clubs for adult, teens and junior readers
  • There are different holiday activities including arts & crafts or different workshops (check your local library for dates of different events)
  • Blessington Library for example, hosts a lego club, autism support and citizens advice among its services.
  • It is also a great place to find out about local services on the various posters and flyers on the notice boards
  • You get REALLY friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff


And you know the jokes about FINES?  If you are late, they only charge 5 cent per day. So if you were a week late it would be 7days x5cent =35cent.  That is a fair deal by any standard.



Image Source: Otis College of Art & Design Library – Found at mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com


Where can I join?

We are well served for libraries in Wicklow.  There are ten around the county, and if you can’t get out to a library, or there is none near you, Wicklow has a mobile unit that travels to different locations right around the county.


A tiny bit of history

I got my love of reading from my dad. I fed that love through the library in Enniskerry.  Another reason I’m fond of that library in Enniskerry is because it’s a Carnegie library. One of three in Wicklow (Bray and Greystones are the other two).  I love that fact, because Carnegie libraries are names after Andrew Carnegie from Scotland who made his fortune in America, and one of the ways he shared his wealth was by building almost 3000 public libraries around the world.


A short flowery bit

If I was king of the world, I’d give everyone a library card. Of course, it would be a little unnecessary because, everyone can already get a library card for free, or at least they can in Co Wicklow.

Libraries are for everyone. They don’t discriminate.  Whether you are a millionaire who could buy their own library, or a poor family that can’t afford to buy a single book, your library card entitles you to the same service, the same welcome and the same experience.

Books broaden our horizons. They are the gateways to possibility and potential. So libraries are like a great bunch of keys to a humongous number of gateways…yeah, too much!!


Join your local library. You’ll never regret it.



Summer’s here and the time is right…

Summer fun


Summer now feels like its hitting top gear. The Summerfest is starting in Bray, and the local youth projects and summer camps are underway.  It’s an expensive business keeping children and young people busy, so what can families do for little or no cost?

A question we at YouthSpin and colleagues in the youth service often get asked is, ‘is there anything for children and young people to do over the holidays?’ We generally don’t hold a list of summer activities, as inevitably you miss out on a certain amount, but usually the workers will have an idea of some of the local community based summer projects that happen each year. There are also a large and growing number of commercial summer camps that happen each summer in different towns that will let you get involved in sport, art or general activities.

The difficulty for many families is the cost of these projects and camps.We make some suggestions for families to do for little or nothing around County Wicklow?


Summer projects
The community based summer projects are a low cost option, usually run by volunteers who fundraise through the year to make the project happen. They usually cater for local children only with a mix of activities run in local community centres with trips out and about. They are generally a lot of fun, and really well run.


The Spinc Glendalough

The Spinc overlooking Glendalough lakes

Take a walk
We are really lucky in Wicklow to have a fantastic place to go walking. Whether you prefer to go inland to the mountains or stay on the coast there is plenty of choice.

There is of course the Wicklow Way which stretches right through the county, but there are more local walks to be found all over the county. Bray Head is always popular with visitors, but how many locals are aware of the less strenuous path up from the roundabout at the Southern Cross, running beside the golf course. Wicklow Head, Brittas Bay, along the quays or beaches in or near Wicklow Town and Arklow, the Spinc at Glendalough or by the Lakes in Blessington are all options around the county.


If you are too old for a summer project, maybe you could get involved as a volunteer. It would be probably too late to volunteer this year as the Garda Vetting process can take weeks, but you can volunteer though out the year. Volunteering is a really rewarding experience and can boost your CV that might be missing some work experience. Check out Wicklow Volunteer centre to see what is available in your area


Local Festivals

In Bray they have the month long Summerfest with it’s airshow and big slide, but from Enniskerry to Arklow there is some sort of festival happening during the summer. Check local news or social media or posters in shop windows and see if there is something happening where you live.

Edit: Some festival events happening around Wicklow county (Thanks to Wicklow Arts Festival FB page)


A day on the beach

Have a day out on the beach, but mind where you walk

Have a day out on the beach, but mind where you walk


If the weather is suitable there are any number of beaches along the East coast. They aren’t all gorgeous and sandy like Brittas, but each has its own unique charm, and a bit of local knowledge can help find the best spots. Watch out for parking costs at Brittas Bay though.



Catch up on your reading

We wrote a piece for the European Youth Portal which recommended young adult or teen books that would be turned into movies. Reading for pleasure is a much more satisfying experience than reading for school. Wicklow libraries are free to join, giving you access to thousands of books, as well as audio books or music cds. If they don’t have what you are looking for, try borrowbooks.ie to borrow items from other libraries.


Make a video

If like us at YouthSpin you could spend hours watching Youtube videos, why not create your own. A lot of phones offer HD or at least decent quality video, as do regular digital cameras. Alternatively put a load of photos of your summer adventures together in a slideshow. Share with your mates, and hey presto, you are a Youtube hit.


The list goes on, and only limited by weather and imagination. Summer should be a time for exploration and creating memories that will be the subject of those nostalgia filled family get-togethers in years to come. We have a great county, so get out and enjoy it.


End of the day