The Reopening of Roscommon Library Service after Restrictions were lifted, May 2020

Carolyn Tunney June 2021

“I rely on the library so much”, “the library is my fix”, “I’ve spent a fortune on books”, “I will do two things today: get my hair cut and go to the library”, “It’s good to be back”. These are comments from borrowers using Roscommon Library Service during the first few weeks of re-opening.

Following are initiatives and services being offered by Roscommon Library Service since returning to the workplace and in some cases while staff were working from home: seed kits, Little Library bags, Sense-Ability, social media presence, online library resources and Age Friendly Digital Training. Library membership and all services are free-of-charge.

The Grow-It-Forward seed-kits include lettuce, peas, beetroot, carrots and tomatoes. In partnership with Healthy Ireland and Libraries Ireland the Grow It Yourself organisation are giving away seed kits. The aim is to support people across Ireland to enjoy the wide range of benefits that come from growing food at home.

The Little Library Initiative includes a bag with picture books for children, five years of age and under. The bags are being distributed to the preschools in the county. Books of the same titles are also available to borrow. The Little Library Initiative aims to develop a link between early learning and care services and their local library to encourage a love of books and reading among young children.

Sense-Ability is a project launched by Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon Library services in the past number of months. Sense-Ability aims to offer positive library experiences for people with sensory or additional educational needs. Through consultation with professionals, extensive staff training, a programme of events and the development of new spaces and services, Sense-Ability gives everyone the ability to use library services in an inclusive and safe way. A series of six Webinars is currently underway through the three library services. Examples of the Webinar titles: Understanding Autism, creating an inclusive community; Dyslexia and Strategies for reading. A sensory space has been created and a pod has been installed in Roscommon Branch Library.

Roscommon Library Service continues to have a strong Social Media presence through Facebook and Twitter. Examples of posts/ videos are: storytelling by staff, book title suggestions and Healthy Ireland at your Library topics. Examples of Healthy Ireland topics: Understanding grief and loss, Understanding emotion.

Libraries continue to offer a wide-range of Online Resources. These include e -books, – audiobooks, -magazines, -newspapers and -courses. There has been a large increase in the use of Online Resources since March 2020.

Age Friendly Digital Training focuses on helping older people access library online resources. This service has been offered since the beginning of 2021. It is a partnership between Age Friendly Ireland and Libraries Ireland. One-on-one training sessions are delivered to the older person using Zoom or over the phone.

The library has felt busy since returning to work on Tuesday 11/05/2021. New books are arriving to the branch from Headquarters, items are being returned since December 2020 and before, there is an increased number of branch staff and Covid-19 protection measures continue to be in place. The increase in branch staff is a result of staff being recruited to fulfil the Workforce Plan and staff being relocated due to library refurbishment. This is in contrast to the previous five months (almost) when library staff were facilitated to work from home. Staff were supplied with a laptop which is linked to the Council network. This allowed us continue working online and to undertake training. Staff are adjusting to being back in the workplace and providing a service in person.

This is a flavour of what has been happening in Roscommon Library Service since returning to the workplace in May and the months before this.

Roscommon libraries are open for Browse and Borrow. 20 people max. are permitted in the library at one time. Statistics approx. for Roscommon Library Service May 11th-31st 2021: Check-outs of library items 3,800; Check-ins, 3,600; Footfall, 2,220 (two libraries out of five are currently closed for refurbishment).

Annual General Meeting 2021

The Western Regional Section of the Library Association of Ireland will be holding its Annual General Meeting virtually via zoom on the Friday 26th of February 2021.

WRSLAI is a unique group of the LAI based outside Dublin and represents diverse sections of the library profession.

The year 2020 was a strange and turbulent and we look forward to hopefully getting back to activities in 2021. The AGM is where we plan our activities for the upcoming year so if you would like to join our group or committee as a member or an officer, or contribute ideas for events, please join us on the 26th February over zoom. The details are below.

Meeting ID: 961 7788 1653
Passcode: 583165

Tell us about your lockdown


The LAI’s Western Section usually holds a summer seminar in June, many of you have attended and spoken at this event over the years.

We can’t have that seminar this year but we will instead host an online networking event, on the even of Thursday the 4th of June at 9pm.

It’s a chance to hear how people have managed during the 12 weeks of working from home, what has worked well, what hasn’t worked at all and hear about the plans to reopen libraries from our colleagues across the sector.

We think that sharing our experiences usually helps gain a sense of perspective so We invite you to sign up for this event.

It will be on Zoom and you can remain off-video, off-mic and just listen in, or participate fully, whatever you are most comfortable with.

This is a free event and we look forward to hearing your stories. Please follow the link below to register.


Annual General Meeting Announcement


The Western Region Section of the Library Association of Ireland will hold their Annual General Meeting on Monday 27th January @ 11.30 am at The Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Co. Galway


27TH jANUARY 2020 v2


Continuing with our innovative and accessible approach to everything, we will also host a virtual meeting room  to facilitate access to the meeting for those who cannot travel.  You can dial into a virtual meeting room using your internet connection to view shared screen and participants, or dial in with your phone to the number that will be provided.

Please RSVP to if you would like to attend either virtually or physically and we will add you to the meeting.

Opportunity: We  are looking for a new officers for this vibrant, small, but busy section of the LAI. We welcome new committee members to the team. Any new officers can work with the existing committee, which consists of our previous Chairs and officers, so guidance will be provided in the positions. We welcome fresh and interesting ideas to this dynamic group and are open to new ways of working.

We look forward to another busy year in 2020. If you would like to join our team, or would like to contribute ideas for networking events please join us.

What are we going to do about our own CPD? Views from recent LAI event in Athlone

Library staff from across library sectors gathered at Athlone Institute of Technology on October 11th for a networking event where skills and CPD were the themes steering the discussion. Our opening talk was the perfect confluence of personal interest meets CPD and Michael Doheny gave us a talk from the heart about how his passion for counselling sparked a really interesting library initiative around a bibliotherapy section in the AIT Library and an accompanying Positive Living LibGuide.

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Participants from HSE libraries, the Institutes of Technology, university and public libraries were vocal in their contributions around the CPD needs they identify for themselves and for the profession. The scene was set for a lively discussion early on when one contributor remarked that librarianship is no different to the other professions, in that our graduates are simply ‘ready for training’ once they complete their formal education. Recognising the need for ongoing professional development and upskilling is what characterizes a profession so the organising committees felt this was an appropriate and timely theme for this free event, attended by 26 library workers, about half of whom were LAI members.

Certain technical competencies and sometimes, as ASL Chair David Hughes pointed out, “a tech curious attitude” can go a long way in helping library staff to develop their systems acumen. David admitted that he is an accidental systems librarian and encouraged people not to be afraid to dabble with technology to explore what it can do. There are many ways that library staff can avail of technical upskilling, talk to us in ASL and WRSLAI if you need something in particular and we can try to help you out through our contacts and networks.

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The absolute pre-requisites for library staff to do their jobs were acknowledge as important with a growing emphasise emerging across all sectors for us all to be more digitally capable but it was the soft skills that attracted most discussion on the day. Participants felt that they could do with training in areas such as working in teams, leadership, PR, advocacy, marketing, report writing and the presentation of data. There was a good exchange of ideas as others at the event were readily able to suggest ways to get these opportunities. The following table lists some, not all, available training outlets for some of what was discussed on the day:

Required library skill Where to get training
Presenting Data Library Juice Academy, Excel For Librarians
Report Writing Robert Gordon University
Academic Writing Helen Fallon’s courses Maynooth University
PR, Advocacy, Marketing, Leadership, Working in Teams, Supervising Teams Check locally with your line manager or HR/Training officer
Look also at

Participants in the event will receive a CPD Certificate from the LAI and all were encouraged to begin or maintain a CPD diary. Having a diary, even if it’s just the back page of your work diary, reminds you of all that you have learned and achieved and is an invaluable record when you prepare an application for a job or when you apply for things like LAI awards.

The Western Regional Section of the LAI partnered with Academic & Special Libraries to hold this event and we were hosted by Jane Burns and her great team at Athlone Institute of Technology. Thanks to both committees and the local team in Athlone who made it all happen and to everyone that travelled to be with us in Athlone.


A&SL and WRSLAI joint event at AIT

The Academic and Special Libraries Section in partnership with the Western Regional Section of the Library Association of Ireland are joining forces for a networking event to take place at Athlone Institute of Technology on October 11th.

A&SL and WRSLAI are dynamic LAI groups that have a shared interest in library staff development.

This October they will jointly offer this free event to all LAI members (and prospective members) to explore the topic of Skills and Professional Development.

This event is generously being hosted by Jane Burns and her colleagues at Athlone Institute of Technology Library.

Registration is essential, for catering and logistics, but the event is free and participants will be awarded LAI CPD certificates of attendance.

Registration link will be posted soon.

Best wishes,
Michelle Breen, WRSLAI Chairperson

David Hughes, A&SL Chairperson

WRSLAI logoA&SL logoAIT Library logo

WRSLAI Summer Seminar OpenCafé – Part 3

Today’s post is the last in the OpenCafé recaps. The first two blogs can be found here and here. Below are some links to get you started on your Open Science Journey and hopefully some tools that you can start using in your own library straight away.

A Beginners List of Open Science Resources

Open Access and Plan S


Open Access Explained

Unpaywall (film)


Open Access Ireland

The National Principles of Open Access Policy Statement

Plan S Principles


Foster Science Open Access Publishing


Directory of Open Access Books


Browser Tools

Open Access Button

Unpaywall (Plugin)

Open Data and Fair Principles

Fair Principles

Fair Principles

Implementing FAIR Data Principles: The Role of Libraries – LIBER

Data Management Plans

Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts – Why DMPs matter

Data Management – Pixar Accidentally Delete Toy Story 2

Guide to Research Data Management Plans


Data Repositories

Registry of Research Data Repositories



Dryad Digital Repository

Data Portal



23 (Research Data) Things



Rian – Irish Open Access Repository

Digital Repository of Ireland



Registry of Open Access Repositories

Institutional Repositories

Aran – NUIG

Arrow@TU Dublin



Lenus – The Irish Health Repository

MURAL – Maynooth University

OAR – Marine Institute

e-publications@RCSI – RCSI

Research Repository UCD – UCD



Waterford Institute of Technology Repository

STÓR- Dundalk Institute of Technology


Public Health Well

Repository Search Engines



OER resources

What are OERs?



Policy example: University of Edinburgh

Click to access openeducationalresourcespolicy.pdf


Media Hopper (multi-media, Edinburgh)

edshare@GCU (Glasgow Caledonian, using edshare)

MERLOT (multiple institutions, based in University of California system)

OpenStax (multiple institutions, based at Rice, textbooks)

Repository of repositories:

Made with Padlet

Open licensing

National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit

The National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit

Social media






Librarians and OERs

Karl Suhr, 2016. Creating OER: One Librarian’s experience

Library Workers

Open Science MOOC

Open Science at the Core of Libraries

LIBER Open Science Roadmap

Defining the Role of Libraries in the Open Science Landscape: a Reflection on the Current European Practince by Paul Ayric and Tiberius Ignat

Reaching Further: Open Access and Public Libraries

Open Access Week

Academic Writing Workshop


Aerial View of Campus

Athlone Institute of Technology are hosting Helen Fallon and Jane Burns running an academic writing workshop which will include the following:


·         Getting a thesis to publication

·         Using your research for blogging, conference, article

·         Writing as a form of CPD

·         Publishing

·         Bibliometrics/altmetrics


The workshop will take place in AIT on the 16th of July.

If you want to find out more about the event or register, click Here

WRSLAI Summer Seminar OpenCafé – Part 2

Last week we posted the first part of our summary of the OpenCafé session we held during our summer seminar in Shannon College of Hotel Management on the 27th May. If you missed the first part, you can catch up here. For Part 2 we are going to focus on the responses collected at each table which gives an indication of where Irish library staff are at in terms of engagement and preparedness for Open Science.

Table 1 – Open Access and Plan S

  • Training and Awareness – The number one comment made by each group was about them feeling unaware about Open Access and generally uncomfortable with the area, sometimes even overwhelmed. This was expressed across grades and institutions. Plan S in particular was something that was not on peoples’ radars.
  • Copyright – There was also concern about copyright, particularly in relation to Pre-prints. Library staff worried that this may be off putting to researchers.
  • Teaching and Education – It was noted that Open Science awareness should be incorporated into basic information literacy education as a resource that could be utilised by all library stakeholders – students, staff, alumni, and visitors. As well as that people noted that being made aware of resources available to them was very useful e.g. Open Access Button, Unpaywall and MOOCs.
  • Library networks – Many people wondered about how libraries in all sectors could work together and support each develop Open Science services. Suggestions were made for an Open Science Network Hub where academic, public, school and all other types of libraries share their knowledge and support each other with delivering and utilising Open Science for their communities. A hub based in the west of the country was particularly attractive as Dublin was viewed as difficult to reach by some.

Table 2 – Open Data and Fair Principles

  • Awareness and Understanding – There was acknowledgement that researchers do not always consider their research as generating “data” and the need for better awareness around what data is and the various types of data that research can produce and thus will need to be preserved.
  • Education and Training – Research Data Management Plans are a core element of this for both library workers and researchers alike. Funders increasingly demand a RDMP as part of their funding applications. While it may seem like extra work for the researcher it is an excellent opportunity to build the infrastructure that will hold up their research later on.
  • Policy – The importance of FairData and Fair Principles i.e. That data should be Finadable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-useable. It was felt that many researchers have never heard of the Fair Principles.
  • Copyright and Control – There was discussions surrounding ownership of data. Creative Commons licensing can provide solutions and assurances to this, also assigning your data DOIs can help in this. It was acknowledged that sharing data could be a difficult thing for researchers but positive examples were mentioned like adding to the public good e.g. use of data mining to benefit public health.

Table 3 – Institutional Repositories

  • Value – It was the view of the groups that IRs were positive and worthwhile initiatives. There was a lot of discussion around the value of the IR, both in a cost saving sense but also to the institution as a whole.
    • IRs can harness vital stats about the institution and its researchers and can give an impression of their impact, provide an insight into the institution and can be used to measure quality.IRs provide a citation advantage e.g. they increase findability and accessibility and thus increases impact.
  • Staffing and Support – There was acknowledgement that people adapt to changes in workflows differently and that some people needed more help to embrace IR usage than others. A suggestion was made for a national repository, used by all institutions rather than each one having their own. This would be more cost effective and could possibly generate more awareness around the area of OS.

Table 4 – Open Education Resources

  • Awareness and Understanding – Educational resources come in all shapes and sizes; and so do open educational resources. There are important distinctions between ‘free’ and ‘open’. Something that is ‘free’ might not be available for reuse; or, it might not be clear that it is available for reuse. Making something available for reuse is key for it to be truly ‘open”; sometimes things that are called ‘open’, like MOOCs, aren’t really open in the sense taken by OERs.
  • Licensing – Open licensing is important as it makes clear to others what can be reused and how.
    • The challenge and opportunity of this is whether teachers want to make their resources ‘open’? There is a sense of them being proprietary. This is one area that libraries and librarians are becoming knowledgeable not just about copyright issues but about intellectual property issues. They can make the case that teachers can keep their intellectual property, but by sharing openly, they can increase their reputational capital and impact, along with that of their institution. Librarians are so far uncomfortable using open licensing in this scenario. How to get more comfortable, the way folks are with images and CC licensing? Use of them in own practice is one answer (which is also great modeling for others).
  • Promotion and Outreach – OERs can look quite distinct from other aspects of ‘Open’, i.e. Open Access journals, Open data. In the end much of what needs to be done is similar. OERs need to be accessible and easy to discover, for which repositories are part of the answer; open licensing another point of importance in common.

Table 5 – Library Workers

  • Training and Education – For library staff it all comes down to more training and institutions working harder to a) initiate a culture change where awareness of these topics reaches all levels of the workforce and b) fully prepare their staff for the needs of their stakeholders. Suggestions included:
    • Updates on Plan S, being shown how to find and use resources like Open Access Button, Unpaywall and change practices so that they can be utilised in day to day service provision.
    • The A to V of Open Scholarship that Stephanie Ronan included in the introduction was very popular and could be developed as a resource to share.
  • Outreach and Awareness – Libraries catalogue material they’ve paid for – what about the free stuff, isn’t that as important to be discoverable?
    • Suggestions were made about running info sessions in libraries for finding free open content, add some information into library websites on Open Research Resources if you don’t already have one. Run sessions for lecturers, library staff, teachers and the public.
    • Recommend DOAJ journals as part of your Alumni outreach as there is very little else they can access through library membership.
    • Perhaps this is something the proposed Open Science Network Hub of Libraries could do together?

The overall all sense from this session was that participants found it very worthwhile and did walk away more informed about Open Science, and hopefully with some ideas about how they can embrace it in their own libraries.

If this is a workshop you think could be useful in your organisation, please get in touch with us at our email, we’d be delighted to speak with you.

We will be back on Wednesday with the concluding part of the theses posts where we provide a list of resources that will be useful to get you start on your Open Science journey.

WRSLAI Summer Seminar OpenCafé – Part 1

Last week we posted a summary of our very successful summer seminar that took place in Shannon College of Hotel Management on May 27th. As promised we are now sharing a full compilation of the OpenCafé session that took place on that day. However, we are mixing things up slightly and doing three posts rather than one. We elected for this approach as there is just so much content to share and we didn’t want it to get lost in the din of one huge post.

The posts will run as follows:

  • Thursday 13th June – Introduction and how we ran the session.
  • Monday 17th June – The information gathered at the tables.
  • Wednesday 19th June – A beginners list of resources for Open Science based on the table topics on the day.

Now, with all the housekeeping out of the way lets jump into it, shall we?


Open Science is changing the way research is conducted and disseminated. With the imminent arrival of Plan S in Europe it is clear that this will impact libraries hugely. With this knowledge it is important that library staff in every role are familiar with the concepts of Open Science so that they can direct patrons and stakeholders to the correct information. This is why knowledge of Open Science must exist throughout the organisation, in every type of library; not just restricted to the digital or research departments within academic libraries. If we are to truly embrace ‘Openness’ we need to fight against those ever encroaching information silos!

How the Session Worked

The goal driving this OpenCafé was for participants to walk away with the foundations of understanding of how Open Science works, how it may impact their library services and to generate a feeling that they have a role to play regardless of what their job title is within their organisation.

With that in mind we took much inspiration from the OpenCafé held by Liber at the Open Science Fair in Athens in 2017. You can find the full details of that here.

The WRSLAI session was set up to bring participants in on the ground level and give them the opportunity to learn the very basics of Open Science in a non-judgemental and welcoming environment. We structured the session as follows:

  1. We opened with a 5 minute ice-breaker to engage the audience and to establish an understanding of how scholarly publishing works and why it is such a broken and unsustainable system. To do this we showed pictures of luxury items that had the same or similar prices as the top 5 APC publisher costs for a Russell Group Library in the UK. We then had people guess how much the items cost and then revealed the price and which publisher the money went to. We felt that if we could solidify this point well the audience would be able to build their knowledge around it.
  2. Next we gave a ten minute presentation on the basic definitions of Open Science so people could begin to recognise terms and concepts.
  3. Finally we gave  five minutes to explain to the audience how they as library workers fit in to the dissemination of Open Science and how it will potentially impact their jobs regardless of where their role lies in the library organisational structure.

There were 30+ participants plus 5 table hosts.  The participants were divided into 5 groups and each group was given a table to sit at to have discussions on specific topics concerning Open Science. The hosts and their table topics were:

  1. Open Access and Plan S – Sinéad Hanrahan – then University of Limerick, now Cork Institute of Technology
  2. Open Data and Fair Principles – Stephanie Ronan – Marine Institute
  3. Institutional Repositories – Sinéad Keogh – University of Limerick
  4. Open Education Resources – Kris Meen – National University of Ireland, Galway
  5. Library Workers – Michelle Breen – University of Limerick

The groups each sat at each table for 8 minutes and discussed the particular topic for that table. Once the 8 minutes were up they moved to the next table. Each table had a host that acted as a facilitator of the discussions and also ensured everyone participated in whatever way they felt most comfortable while also safeguarding that the discussion wasn’t dominated by any one voice.

While at the tables the participants wrote notes and ideas on white, paper tablecloths, with each group building on the work of the previous. When all groups had visited each table the host presented the most popular or most talked about topics on the tablecloth. The tablecloths were then pinned up around the room for the rest of the seminar so people could read them.

That it is for today’s post, we will be back on Monday to share what was discussed at each table.